w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
I was on CNN's 'Live' webcast program this morning to discuss the Iran situation, along with two other bloggers, Fausta Wertz of FaustasBlog.com and Ben Parr of Mashable.com, in their "Blogger Bunch" segment (a name that I hate, but maybe that's just me)...
As always, you'll let me know how I did.
(This appearance follows my previous appearance on CNN a month or so ago, discussing 'Plan B'. Just in case you missed it or otherwise just can't get enough of 'Brad on CNN'.)
At the risk of undermining the vigorous debate and discussion now ongoing in response to my Saturday morning article drawing a comparison between Iran's '09 election and Ohio's '04 election (and the ongoing speculation about the reported Iranian results going on just about everywhere else today), allow me to amplify a bit on the point I was hoping to get at in that piece, written as reports were just coming in about skepticism in the reported results.
Since The BRAD BLOG began reporting on issues of democracy and concerns about elections, most intensely beginning on or about the early morning hours of November 3rd, 2004 and continuing ever since, we've likely investigated, researched and/or written as much or more on virtually every aspect of the topic as any other media outlet in the world.
In the process of observing one election after another since that time, and the increasingly inevitable ensuing questions about, as well as disbelief and/or belief in the validity of each election's results, one thing has become crystal clear: without complete transparency and 100% citizen oversight of every aspect of any given election, most notably the tabulation of its ballots, certainty in any given officially-announced result has become nearly impossible.
Without the transparency required for democracy to actually work, each "democratic" election, whether in this country, or in any other, has become more and more like Russian Roulette, but without the certainty...
The New York Times has an unbylined editorial today, headlined "Neither Real Nor Free" which blasts the Iranian election, alleging that "it certainly looks like fraud."
Our friend Michael Jay, a former delegate to the California Democratic Party who amended their party platform to include language encouraging Democratic candidates to not concede until every ballot is counted, took the opportunity today to riff on our weekend comparison of Iran '09 to Ohio '04 with a letter to the NYTimes editors which begins as follows...
To The Editor:
I'm afraid your spell check software got the better of you in preparing "Neither Real Nor Free," (Editorial, June 15, 2009.) It appears both the country and a key political party were misidentified.
I've included a corrected, and abbreviated, version. Too bad the Times, and other news outlets, didn't publish such editorials following our 2004 election.
See Michael's "corrected" version of the piece, sent with his letter to the Times editors, below...
It sounds a lot like Ohio 2004. A less than popular old-line incumbent facing massive public demonstrations against him and in favor of his main progressive challenger promising reform; polls that suggest a swell of support for the challenger; unprecedented turnout on Election Day; long lines at polling places; paper ballot shortages and names missing from voter rolls; widespread rumors, concerns, and evidence of voter intimidation and vote-rigging, all accompanied nonetheless by a general feeling among the populace that the incumbent has been turned out, only to learn from officials, late on Election Night, after secret vote counting, that the incumbent has been declared the winner of a second term.
The most substantive difference from Ohio 2004, however: the declared winner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is said to have defeated his main opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi by a 63% to 34% "landslide," instead of the razor-thin margin seen in Ohio (and across the popular vote in the rest of the nation). In Iran, a result of anything less than 50% + 1 for the leading candidate would have triggered a national runoff election.
The other main differences between Iran '09 and Ohio '04: New York Times is already asking "Landslide or Fraud?" this morning; in Iran, supporters of the challenger are taking to the streets; and the challenger himself has already called the election results a "fraud"...
Two stories of thousands of "phantom votes" being added to election result totals by electronic voting system were in the news over the past couple of days.
One is some news in the older story of 1,500 votes added to a precinct's results in D.C.'s primary election last September. The maker of the failed voting system, Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc., originally tried to blame "static electricity" and then "human error" for the failure. But as the D.C. City Council was having none of it, the company has now agreed to allow an independent inspection of its hardware and software, in order to avoid yet another expensive court battle for the beleaguered company.
The other story concerns nearly 5,000 "phantom" ballots added by the ES&S AutoMark optical-scan system used in last week's Rapid City (Pennington County), South Dakota, City Council race, for some still unknown reason, currently chalked up for now to "software glitch." The discovery of the failure led to a change in the originally reported election results.
The skinny on both stories, and an extra observation or two on the Sequoia/D.C. matter, follow below...
-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG
As if the former U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio hadn't done enough damage to our nation's electoral system during his disastrous reign as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007, it looks like he's now more than happy to cash in on his Bush-appointed public post in the private sector as Chief Operating Officer for a dubious Internet voting operation.
Everyone Counts (E1C) is the San Diego-based firm which ran "America's first all-digital online and telephone election" in Honolulu, which was completed last week. That's the way it was described by Aaron Contorer, the company's Chief of Products and Partnership, in a very thinly disguised press release, sadly posted, as if a news article, recently by Huffington Post. [Full Disclosure: We also contribute articles to HuffPo, though we try to offer news, rather than press releases.]
As COO of Everyone Counts, DeGregorio has posted a video commercial (and a bad one at that, see the bottom of this article where it's re-posted) on his bio page at the company website. His face is also featured on the front page of their site. In the short video, DeGregorio crows about his 22 years in the election "business" while posing in front of the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument in D.C.
Trading on his former self-proclaimed status as "America's chief election official," DeGregorio endorses the private company for which he now works, noting in the video: "I've been involved in this business for 22 years, having risen to the, America's Chief election official. And I have found that Everyone Counts is the place for me to be, because it's the only organization that provides transparency, accessibility, security and choice. And I think that's the most important thing for any election official, anywhere in the world."
While evidently accuracy doesn't even make DeGregorio's list of "most important thing[s] for any election official" --- not surprising, given his oversight, during his tenure at the EAC, of federal approval for myriad electronic voting systems that fail to meet federal accuracy standards --- the idea that EC's Internet voting schemes provide "transparency" seems to be entirely without evidence, as The BRAD BLOG confirmed with a representative of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office which sponsored last week's election.
Moreover, Everyone Counts' virtual election in Hawaii, according to late news reports this week, seems to have been a dismal failure, at least if the 83% plummet in voter participation might be taken as any indication, in addition to the election's lack of transparency and verifiability.
Numerous commenters, including us, left responses to Contorer's misleading and disinformative HuffPo item, noting serious concerns about E1C's "all-digital" voting scheme. Concerns were expressed by many posters about citizens' lack of ability to verify the accuracy of votes cast, and of transparency and security in the system which, Contorer claims, employs "military-grade encryption technology." He goes on to try to convince readers that it's also "faster, more reliable, and more secure than if they had voted on paper." He failed to answer to any of our critical comments, however, and neither did he offer evidence to back up his claims about his company's superior reliability and security over fully-transparent, paper-ballot voting.
Despite his shameless promotion, and an offer in his video to contact him with any questions, DeGregorio himself did no better in responding to our request for comment in regard to our concerns...
Readers of The BRAD BLOG may remember my disturbing experience last June, while voting in the California state primary election on the audio balloting system here in Los Angeles County, as 4 out of 12 of my votes were misprinted by the lousy electronic voting system. As the ES&S InkaVote Plus system is generally meant for blind voters, it was doubly troubling that the only way I was able to discover the misprinted votes was by closely studying my computer-marked paper ballot before dropping it into the optical-scanner, where it would have disappeared, incorrectly voted, forever.
Well, it was Election Day again today in CA. And, after skipping the "opportunity" to use the audio ballot system to vote in last November's General Election (it takes too damn long, and I had very little time to vote that day), I thought I'd take it out for another spin during today's special election...
With hand-counts taking place in Pheonix (a criminal investigation into allegations that a 2006 Tucson election may have been defrauded electronically), and completing in Minnesota (the 3-judge panels just completed count of remaining, lawfully cast, previously-rejected absentee ballots) this week, we've neglected to keep you up to date on the remarkably close results of the NY-20 U.S. House Special Election from last week in which the Democrat Scott Murphy had edged out the Republican Jim Tedisco by just 65 votes on Election Night, after polling place lever machines were initially, and unofficially, tallied.
The special election is meant to fill the vacated seat left open by now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand after she was tapped by the Governor to replace now-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate.
The numbers in the NYT-20 race have gone back and forth and back and forth over the last week as counties canvassed their numbers, checking and double-checking for accuracy, in advance of the counting of some 7,000 absentee paper ballots which is set to get underway today.
Thankfully, TPM's Eric Kleefeld has been following every peak and valley in the roller coaster ride over the last week and, as thankfully, David Kurtz over there has rounded up the highlights of Kleefeld's ongoing coverage to give us a quick summary of where things stand today as the hand-counting is set to begin...
Republican Army and Marine vet caller to Rush: "You're one reason to blame for the Republicans losing...You're a brain-washed, Nazi...Anybody who could believe in torture, has got to have something wrong with them...What's the matter with you?! You never even served in the Army!"
Rush replies: "You're stupid and ignorant...you don't know diddly-squat..."
Must-Listen Musical Addendum: And as long as we're on the topic...We'll opportunistically take this opportunity to share Rush 'admitting' he's 'a Nazi'. If you haven't heard this brilliantly hilarious satirical tune, featuring Rush in his own words (as created by Atlanta's WNNX-FM), well, get your goose-stepping boots on, turn it up loud, and hit play below...
While out on the stump for VA's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, former Gov. Mike Huckabee made an hysterical joke to the laughing assembled crowd of Republicans, instructing them to "Do the lord's work" by not letting voters to the polls if they don't plan to vote for McDonnell.
Of course, it was just a joke. Who in the Republican Party would ever do such a thing in this country?!
Well, other than the guy in the video on the right, Paul Weyrich, one of the founding fathers of the modern Republican vote suppression movement, who, until he recently died, was a regular, legendary consultant to the nation's top Republicans, and also another hysterically funny Republican Baptist just like Huckabee.
McDonnell's Democratic opponent in the VA race, former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, wasn't laughing. He sent a letter to supporters describing Huckabee's comment as "no joking matter," noting: "People died for the right to vote in this country, and we have to protect it." Rachel Weiner has the full letter tonight at HuffPo.
Beyond that, we'll spare you the photographs of the who-knows-how-many African-Americans who not only were kept from voting in this nation by others just "doing the right thing" and "the lord's work," but who were strung up in trees by their necks in order to keep them from voting and to send the hilarious message to others that they'd best not be let out of their "driveways" come Election Day. We'd go on, but it's all just so funny, we can't even keep typing.
[Update 4/1/09: Murphy's lead shrank to just 25 votes "after local election officials began double-checking totals and their math today".]
Can't you citizens make up your minds?! Please?! The NY-20 U.S. House Special Election held today to fill the vacant seat of now Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is, of course, too close to call. Big time. Sigh.
The Democratic candidate Scott Murphy leads the Republican Jim Tedisco by just
65 25 votes out of more than 150,000 votes cast at the polls (lever machines, the last state to have them), with 100% of the precincts now having reported in tonight. It would be quite a come-from-behind victory for Murphy if he's able to pull it off, as Tedisco had been leading in the polls, in the heavily Republican district, until just a few days ago.
Of course, this will all now come down to the absentee ballots cast in the race. Just like Minnesota. The NY Board of Elections must now work out a schedule for their counting, as there are still a number of days for those to come in. It's being reported tonight that some 10,055 absentee ballots went out, "including 1,882 military and overseas ballots, of which 5,907 total had been returned" so far.
As Gregg Levine at FDL noticed earlier this afternoon, in a peculiar legal move, the NY Republican Party filed a strange legal motion [PDF], long before the polls were even closed, including this pre-emptive election challenge:
That part of the motion, Levine reports in a followup was "struck out by the court on the spot". They didn't buy the old "heads I win, tails you lose" routine from the GOP, apparently.
But the last graf of Eric Kleefeld's TPM coverage of the NY-20 race tonight deserves an all-time special prize:
UPDATE 4/8/09: Over the past week, the lead has shifted back and forth several times between Murpy and Tedisco in advance of the hand-count of some 7,000 absentee paper ballots set to begin today. We've got a quick update on the week's roller coaster ride as the count gets underway, now posted here...
Guest Blogged by Parke Bostrom of the Humboldt Transparency Project
At the California Secretary of State's public hearing regarding the possible decertification of Diebold's tabulator systems, GEMS v1.18.19, in relation to the "Deck Zero" covert deletion of 197 ballots in the November election, the audit log's magical "clear" button, and the GEMS audit logs failing to report when ballots were manually deleted by the operator, Diebold/Premier representatives tried to shift blame for the 197 deleted ballots onto the Humboldt County, CA, Registrar of Voters, Carolyn Crnich.
Crnich responded, "If you're saying that your system needs to be checked every damn time we turn it on, I agree with you."
Crnich's use of an expletive seems to have pushed Diebold/Premier's legal counsel over the edge, causing them to reach for and firmly press the "nuke" button in response, by petulantly informing the county of termination of licensing for the use of any of the company's products.
Several days after returning to Humboldt, following the hearing in Sacramento, Crnich received two letters from Premier. Both letters arrived in a single envelope, but unlike Premier Khrushchev's two letters to President Kennedy, Crnich did not get to choose which letter to respond to....
Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher dropped me a note over the weekend to inquire if I'd heard anything about a company called Universal Identification Solutions (UIS) who was to be announcing the results of El Salvador's presidential elections over the weekend. A bunch of election observers down there had been "suddenly" informed that the company would be responsible for election night reporting, yet nobody had heard of them, and their website was "really sketchy and vague" at best, as Jane noted.
"Sketchy and vague" is right...
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