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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, December 18, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
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'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
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'Green News Report' 12/9/14
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Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
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'Green News Report' 12/4/14
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'Green News Report' 12/2/14
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'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
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21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
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'Green News Report' 11/25/14
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


State Senate Dems reportedly win both contests today, 5 overall, compared to 4 wins by GOP...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2011 9:12pm PT  

The final round of state Senate recalls in Wisconsin, brought on in response to anti-union legislation by Gov. Scott Walker and state Republicans, have completed today. AP is reporting tonight that the two Democrats up for recall in the state's 12th and 22nd have each retained their seats. TPM has the numbers by district here.

By way of reminder, in Wisconsin most votes are cast by hand-marked paper ballot though tallied secretly by optical-scanners made by Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S. The state does not examine any optically-scanned ballots to assure the machines have tallied accurately after they've already been scanned, other than in the even of a recount if permission is granted by the courts to hand-count ballots. I'm told, but haven't been able to confirm today, that some of the municipalities in the two districts where elections were held today, may have been hand-counting ballots, though centrally, after they've been transported, rather than at the precincts. Given there was only one single race on the ballot today and hand-counting would consist largely of making two separate piles, it seems as if it would have been cheaper and easier (and certainly more reliable and transparent) to hand-count all of the ballots in these recounts. But, sadly, that's not the case. So we're forced to rely, in most cases, on the oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer-reported results from the Badger State. Mack Trucks, if you will, used to deliver pizzas.

Once again, election watchdog Election Defense Alliance (EDA) and a number of other organizations were carrying out Exit Polls at the several sites today, as one of the few weapons left to help avoid and/or ferret out potential election fraud or vote tabulation error. I spoke with EDA's National Coordinator Sally Castleman earlier this evening, and --- unlike during the July primaries and during last week's GOP recalls, no problems have been reported by the Exit Poll teams at the wards.

By way of another reminder, problems with vote tabulation often do not come to light until days, or even longer, after elections. So far, however, there have been pleasantly few reports of problems that I've heard about or been able to find today. There was this odd incident at a Kenosha ward and at another ward there where they reportedly ran out of ballots for a short time (is that report accurate, where it says the County "printed up 300 additional ballots" in a pinch? They can print up ballots just like that??) as turnout was reportedly heavy in most areas today, said to have been on par with a gubernatorial election. That's some good news to report at this hour. If anything changes, of course, we'll let you know.

If the largely unverified results stand as currently reported, there will have been 5 wins total for Democrats --- 2 tonight, 2 last Tuesday, and 1 in July --- in these state Senate recalls. Republicans will have won just 4 of the races, all last week, and will have lost 2 seats, while the Democrats lost none.

Despite their victories, however, the Dems will have fallen one short of re-taking the majority in the state Senate, where the GOP will still enjoy a slim 17-16 advantage. One moderate Republican, however, state Senator Dale Schultz, who voted against the GOP anti-union agenda, may well serve as a firewall against continued radical Republicanism in the state. Nonetheless, after last week's recalls of 6 Republicans, where Democrats picked up 2 seats from the Republicans, the GOP sent out statements declaring "victory" in Wisconsin.

Until Walker's own recall election, which could happen early next year if Democrats are able to gather enough signatures beginning in November, we may be done with the wild string of elections in Wisconsin...at least for now.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2011 9:59pm PT  

Okay, so it's Nicole Sandler, not "Micole", but it makes for a more alliterative headline, so too bad.

I'm back on deadline on the exclusive series I've been working on for a few weeks. So, for the moment, here's just a few of the more fun media appearances I've done lately, in the wake of Tuesday's recall elections in Wisconsin. Looks like I was able to help, if only momentarily, to turn the topic --- on a few Progressive airwaves anyway --- away from the idiotically premature horse race nonsense (Iowa Straw Poll anyone?), to the far more important track conditions that otherwise almost never get discussed on air at all...until it's too late...

Stephanie Miller Show (this morning, appx 17 mins total)

Includes my appearance in the first few minutes and then, after I'm gone, continuing discussion of the points raised during it by callers throughout various moments during the rest of the show. One of those moments was a caller who identified himself as Derek Woodward from Alton, PA who was clearly (and purposely) misinformed about the GOP push for disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions.

"Why would you not want to ensure that only the people that can vote are eligible to vote?," asked the Woodward. The responses he received from Stephanie and Jim Ward and a caller or two were great. My work here is done!

Okay, not really. So here's just a couple of articles to support their responses on that question which arises in light of the Rightwing disinformation masters who purposely misinform gullible folks like Woodward...

Ed Schultz Show (this morning, w/ Guest Host Mike Papantonio of Ring of Fire, appx 13 mins)...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2011 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast on Pacifica Radio's KPFK here in Los Angeles, I picked up on all that's transpired over the last several days in the Wisconsin recall mess, as reported at The BRAD BLOG of late, including yesterday's late-night concerns about our old friend Kathy Nickolaus, the GOP activist and County Clerk of Waukesha County which played a key role in last night's drama and reported results.

Other links of note, as quickly referenced during the show, the blocking of exit polls (only) in Waukesha yesterday, the miselading absentee mailers from the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity and the Kochs' AFP front group front man in WI.

After an opening rant or three, my guest, straight from Wisconsin, was former Green Party chair Ben Manski of LibertyTreeFDR.org, MoveToAmend.org, WisconsinWave.org and DemocracyConvention.org on what happened yesterday in the Badger State and how to move the democracy ball forward in the future against the enormous forces working to crush it (even more than they already have.)

As discussed, democracy is now under direct assault, very generally, in at least three and seemingly insurmountable areas:

  • Access to the polls (Photo ID restrictions, etc.)
  • Overseeing tabulation of votes (E-voting issues)
  • Corporate control (Citizens United and the obscene flood of corporate $ bastardizing the entire electoral/democratic system)

Luckily, we were able to solve all three of those issues in 28 minutes of commercial-free radio, the archive of which follows below for your listening pleasure...

Download MP3, or listen online below...

P.S. I'll be live on Stephanie Miller's show tomorrow (Thursday) at 8am PT, and then on Ed Schultz radio show at 10am PT. Tune in if you're inclined!

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By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2011 7:41pm PT  

AP's running totals are here. TPM's "scoreboard", which breaks down by race, but not by county, but does offer percentage of vote reported, is here. Some pre-election poll results for comparison are here.

* * *

1:32am CT: State Democrats now retract their previous charge of "election tampering" (as posted in the 11:54a update below). The full statement/retraction from WI Democratic Party chair Mike Tate, via TPM:

On Tuesday night, Wisconsin spoke loud and clear with the recall of two entrenched Republicans. This is an accomplishment of historic proportions that I do not wish to be overshadowed by statements regarding results in the 8th Senate District. Though we believe that Sandy Pasch was able to battle Alberta Darling to a virtual tie, on her turf, we will not pursue questions of irregularities. Those heat-of-the-moment statements came in light of the uncertainties that arose from a recent election, known too well.

Lame, Dems. You don't charge election tampering and evidence of fraud when you ain't got none. Want some? Try counting the actual ballots in Wisconsin rather than relying on oft-failed, easily-manipulated computers to do so. You might be amazed at what you find.

12:51a CT: AP is now calling it for Darling (R) over Pasch (D) in the 8th district, 39,471 to 34,096 (54% to 46%) with all but one counting unit in Milwaukee County reporting. That means if tonight's unverified results do not change, the Democrats failed to win enough seats for a takeover of the majority in the Wisconsin state Senate. Republicans are reported to have retained 4 of their seats tonight, while Democrats are said to have taken over 2 in today's unprecedented, historic recall elections.

Pasch has said (see 12:09a update below) she would not be conceding tonight and neither her nor the state Democratic Party would have any further comments for the evening, even in response to the Dems claims of "tampering" in Kathy Nickolaus' Waukesha County (see 11:54p update below).

For night owls & election integrity mavens: I'll be on KGO am810 in San Francisco tonight (Tuesday) at 11:30p PT (1:30a CT) with Peter B. Collins to discuss what we know about Wisconsin results tonight, today's shut down of exit polling only in Waukesha, the Koch's Americans for Prosperity dirty tricks leading up to today, and undoubtedly a bit on Kathy Nickolaus' long and storied history. If you're not in SF, you can listen live online here.

(For "morning owls", I'll be on Nicole Sandler's Radio or Not Wednesday morning at 8:30am PT/10:30a CT. And for "afternoon owls", I'll be on my own show on KPFK/Pacifica 90.7FM here in Los Angeles at 3:30p PT/5:30p CT Wednesday. You can listen to that one live online here. I suspect we'll be talking about WI on all of the above.)

12:16a CT: As she told me she would (see 11:54p update below), Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has just updated her results with the final counting unit now included. Her totals in Waukesha are now, Darling (R): 9,449 - Pasch (D): 4,767.

That last (previously) unreported counting unit was the largest of the 11 total in the 8th District section of Waukesha County. It was the Village of Menomonee Falls, Wards 14, 15 & 21. They report a total of 1,956 votes from the three wards making up that unit.

I've posted a copy of those results here [PDF], just in case Nickolaus forgot to hit the save button.

12:09a CT: 8th District Democratic candidate Sandy Pasch told supporters an hour or so ago that the race would be too close for her to call tonight. Her @SandyforSenate account just now tweeted: "Neither Sandy or the Democratic Party will issues any statements tonight. Thank you very much for your support tonight."

11:54p CT: I just spoke with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to ask her why there was one outstanding reporting unit still unreported (Village of Menomonee Falls, Wards 14, 15 & 21) in her posted results (reposted here [PDF]).

She told me: "They were absentee ballots, I just got it in, I'm just printing it. The municipal clerk just faxed it to me 5 minutes ago."

I asked why they were so late in coming, she said: "They were so busy they didn't get their absentee ballots done during the night, so they had to get them done after that."

Within the past hour, the WI Democratic Party issued a statement, accusing Nickolaus of "tampering" with the results. Here is their full statement:

Waukesha County Tampering

MADISON-Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate following evidence of election tampering in the 8th State Senate District race.

"The race to determine control of the Wisconsin Senate has fallen in the hands of the Waukesha County clerk, who has already distinguished herself as incompetent, if not worse. She is once more tampering with the results of a consequential election and in the next hours we will determine our next course of action. For now, Wisconsin should know that a dark cloud hangs over these important results."

Tate offers no additional evidence to support his claim of "tampering".

At this hour, according to AP, based on computer-reported results, the Rs have held 3 seats, Ds have picked up 1, but the last, in state Senate District 8, is still too close to call. Here are their numbers at this hour (and prior to Nickolaus posting the last unreported unit in her county.):

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Other reports good, poll turnout said very high...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2011 6:17pm PT  

[8/10/11: Now UPDATED with statement from the WI Government Accountability Board concerning the problem for Exit Pollsters in Waukesha County yesterday. See bottom of article for statement.]

The polls in Wisconsin closed moments ago. So far, so good in the state's unprecedented recall elections today, at least according to the bulk of media reports throughout the day. Turnout was reportedly very high, nearing or even exceeding rates from the 2008 Presidential election in some areas. "It's astronomically high," according to Matt Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive in Madison, WI, with whom I was just on air with on Santa Fe Public Radio's KSFR to discuss today's recalls.

The contests in six state Senate districts could mean removal from office for the GOP Senators facing recall today following their support of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union agenda. If Democrats take three of those seats --- and hold onto the two Democrat seats up for recall next Tuesday, they would retake the majority in the Senate. The Assembly, the Senate and the Governor's office all went to Republicans in last November's wave election.

While reports of problems with electronic voting systems frequently don't come to light until after polls close --- sometimes days and even weeks later --- we've heard of very few problems so far at least. With most of the voters in the state today voting on hand-marked paper ballots, voters shouldn't get held up by malfunctioning machines. Even in cases where the op-scanners fail to work --- and that has been the case, reportedly, in at least one ward in Fond du Lac --- voters can vote and their ballots can be tallied later by a different computer.

That WI doesn't bother to check any of the op-scanned ballots by hand to assure the machines are tallying them correctly is a different problem entirely, but one we discussed in our item earlier today and, depending on what results look like tonight, may need to discuss again later.

But so far, so good today, as far we can tell, except for yet another problem with Exit Pollsters --- an echo of similar problems that occurred during the July primaries --- where again today they were blocked from doing their work at a polling place in Butler Village...in Waukesha County...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2011 5:05am PT  

This is it. The citizens of Wisconsin respond to Governor Scott Walker's anti-union agenda today at the polling place with six Republican state Senators facing unprecedented recall elections all on the same day.

If Democrats succeed in winning three of today's races they will wrest control of the state Senate from the GOP in what is clearly being regarded by all sides as a referendum on Walker's radical agenda. (Democrats will also have to defend two seats of their own in two more recall elections next Tuesday.)

Yesterday, Public Policy Polling (PPP) came out with their final round of polls from over the weekend finding, in the four races surveyed, the Democrat with a healthy lead in one district, the Republican with a healthy lead in another, and two races too close to call either way, both statistical dead heats. PPP polled the other two races back in June, finding the D leading in one and the R leading in the other. (Eric Kleefeld at TPM has a few additional numbers from alternate sources.)

According to the pre-election polls then, this thing is believed to be incredible tight all around. Some $40 million is being spent on these races (only $3.75 million was spent on the entire slate of 15 Senate seats and all 99 Assembly seats last November) and dirty tricks are likely to be flying. But the bottom line seems to be that nobody knows what might happen given the unprecedented nature of six recall elections happening at once --- in the middle of Summer. There is simply nothing to compare this to.

The one thing about which all pundits and partisans and partisan pundits seem to agree at this hour: It'll all about turnout.

That's almost true. In addition to turnout, it'll also come down to the electronic vote tabulators used across the Badger State. Most municipalities in WI allow voters to vote on hand-marked paper ballots, but most of those ballots will be tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer op-scan systems. Additionally, to their shame, the state has absolutely no mechanism for post-election human examination of optically-scanned ballots to ensure the computers have tallied them accurately. Once the computers (made by Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia) report the supposed results, there is no double-checking of those computer tallies other than in the event of a recount...and readers of The BRAD BLOG know how well those go in the state of Wisconsin.

So we'll be watching as close as we can today, and hope that voters in WI will be doing the same, from the moment wards open at 7am CT through close at 8pm CT and then throughout the tallying of ballots after polls close inasmuch as they can. Photographs and video tapes of ballots bags and poll tapes at the wards at the end of the night will be a very good idea tonight at every polling place.

If you spot any problems or concerns you feel we should know about --- in the media or at the polls --- please feel free let us know. We'll do our best to keep an eye on comments today. In the meantime, we'll be praying for six blowouts...one way or another.

* * *
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Creator of 'United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, Inc.,' John Connors, is a long-time AFP affiliate, has history of deceptive campaigns...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2011 5:17pm PT  

On Saturday we posted an article detailing the similarities, and apparent coordination, in misleading "Absentee Ballot Application" mailers sent out to Democratic voters by both the David Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin and a mysterious group calling themselves United Sportsmen of Wisconsin.

The Americans for Prosperity mailer, sent out in Wisconsin last week in advance of tomorrow's state Senate recall election of six Republican state Senators, included instructions that absentee ballots must be submitted by August 11th --- even though the election in question is actually tomorrow, August 9th.

The PO Box described as the "Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center" on those mailers belonged to a Rightwing family group tied to the anti-abortion movement. A spokesperson for the group, as we reported, said that while they were part of a "coalition" with AFP, they claimed to have had no idea AFP was using their PO Box on the mailers until they started receiving them, and that they hadn't seen the mailer before it went out. For their part, AFP claimed the incorrect date was simply a "typo" in two districts where they had sent the mailings, and that "liberals" were making a "mountain out of a molehill" about it all. Late last week, however, in a followup mailing, the group admitted that it had gone out to "everyone" in all of the state Senate districts, rather than just the two where Democrats will face recall elections next week (as opposed to tomorrow's GOP recalls) and blamed the incorrect date on their printer.

The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin (USW) mailers, almost identical in form, font, content, and type-setting, as we showed, had no information about who had paid for the mailings on them, and instructed voters that they needed to return their absentee ballots to the elections clerk by August 4th --- even though ballots may be delivered to the Wisconsin election clerks as late as the close of polls on August 9th.

Since we ran our article over the weekend, which suggested, among other things, previously-undocumented coordination between AFP and USW, and since there was little information to be found about USW on the web, a number of readers have been digging in to try and figure out exactly who the so-called United Sporstmen of Wisconsin actually are, as have we.

And, whaddaya know, a bit of digging reveals that the group was very recently founded by one John W. Connors, a long-time staffer and director of Americans for Prosperity, a College Republican leader, and a rather prolific founder of a number of hard-right political front groups with a record of deception in recent Wisconsin elections...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Several RW groups cooperate on fraudulent recall scams
PLUS: Election Integrity volunteer needed in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2011 7:35am PT  

No doubt by now you've heard of the deceptive absentee ballot applications mailed to Democrats in Wisconsin by David Koch's Americans for Prosperity, WI, as reported earlier this week by David Catanese at Politico.

As seen below, the mailer instructed recipients to return the application to the "Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center" by August 11th, even though the recall elections for 6 Republicans is next Tuesday, August 9th...

The wrong date on the mailing, however, was not the only problem with it. The address where the application was to be submitted is also a problem, but one that is worse than has been widely reported so far, according to some digging from a Wisconsin activist and election integrity advocate.

Moreover, a comparison to another absentee ballot application mailer from a different, supposedly unrelated, Rightwing group, suggests a coordinated effort by a number of these groups to defraud and disenfranchise voters in Wisconsin in advance of the unprecedented state Senate recall elections to be held next Tuesday...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Primary election results hang in balance...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2011 3:46pm PT  

On Tuesday, we highlighted some of the many failures of e-voting systems in the Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County), metropolitan area during their statewide primary election that day. Apparently enough systems failed, touch-screen systems that simply malfunctioned and refused to allow votes to be cast, names missing from electronic "ballots," etc., that the Clarion-Ledger quoted a senior Democratic party official yesterday offering this remarkable statement:

“What the public needs to know is that there is no election at this point,” said Claude McInnis, vice chairman of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee. “All we have is numbers from precincts. Until the committee verifies the election, we don’t have one.”

What? Verify an election before announcing results?! Candidates refusing to concede before that's done?! And how exactly will they be able to "verify" those numbers from 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems? My goodness. It's anarchy in Mississippi!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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DoJ deploying election monitors in 11 counties today...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2011 4:42pm PT  

It's Primary Election Day in Mississippi and so, in a preview of next year's nightmare to come, a quick look at the early reports of voting machine problems coming out of the Jackson metro-area as reported by the Clarion Ledger who, as is required by law for MSM reporting on such things, refers to the reported voting machine failures as little more than "technical glitches." That, even in one case where 3 out of the 4 voting machines in use at a single precinct had failed. Good thing they had paper ballots on hand --- and that this wasn't a Presidential election!

So here's a quick roundup, from the Clarion-Ledger's running blog earlier this morning, of some of the technical "glitches", "hiccups", "snags" and "snafus" reported before noon near Jackson where, unless they break down, fail, won't start up, have the wrong names on the "ballots" or feature other problems that keep voters from being able to cast their vote on anything but a verifiable paper ballot, they use 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.

Oh, and the Dept. of Justice is deploying monitors to 11 counties in the state today for some reason...

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Bank statement examined for 'activity'; 'Free' ID must be specifically 'requested' by voter, DOT official concedes to BRAD BLOG
DMV Supervisor: 'They shouldn't even be doing any of it'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2011 5:58pm PT  

"This is what voter suppression looks like."

Those are the words on the final title card in the video [embedded below] shot by a Wisconsin woman documenting her experience at the DMV in Madison last week. The video purports to illustrate the ridiculous extra, and invasive, efforts many previously-legal voters in the Badger State will now likely face in order to exercise their right to vote in the state since the passage of the GOP majority's newly enacted voter suppression laws.

In this case, the woman was trying to help her son get a free Photo ID at the DMV, as is his right under the new statutes. At first she was told the charge for the supposedly-free ID would be $28, and that was only after she convinced a clerk that there had been enough "activity" in her son's bank account, as used by the clerk to determine whether or not he actually resided in the state.

And that was for an affluent white resident. If you're a homeless person in WI, as the woman's interview with another clerk in the video suggests, you can pretty much just forget about being able to vote at all under the new law.

An official at the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that those seeking the Photo ID for free must actually know to request it during the application process, as required by the language, she told us, in the new state statute...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2011 1:46pm PT  

We were off the grid for much of last week, blissfully ignorant somewhere in the mountains of Arizona, as the first of Wisconsin's series of state Senate recall-related elections took place last Tuesday. Thanks to, quite literally, "fake Democrats" put up by the state Republican Party, the six elections held last Tuesday were forced to be Democratic primary elections, instead of Republican recall elections, as the state GOP hoped to game the system to buy more time before six of their state Senators will be forced to face the real recall elections.

Last week's, largely pointless elections cost the state nearly half a million bucks. Remember that fake "budget emergency" the GOP and Scott Walker claimed as their reason for the need to strip the right of citizens to collectively bargain with the state? Guess the state wasn't in such dire straits after all, since they could afford to blow money on elections meant only to buy Republicans time to stave off the unprecedented recall challenges.

The real recall elections to unseat six Republican state Senators are now scheduled for August, as all six of the real Democrats soundly defeated each of the Republicans' "fake Democrats" in last week's primaries. At least according to Wisconsin's unverified, computer-tabulated results. 5 of the 6 real Dems reportedly received over 60% of the vote against their fake opponents. One received 54%.

Yesterday, there were three more elections in the Badger State. One actual recall election against a Democratic state Senator, and two Republican primaries featuring real GOP candidates vying for the nomination to take on the other two Democratic state Senators facing recall elections scheduled for August.

The Dem facing the recall yesterday handily defeated his Republican challenger, but we'll defer to Daily Kos' David Nir for his smart summary of the computer-reported results...

• SD-30: The first general election of the recalls featured Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen vs. Republican Dave Vanderleest. It was an utter blowout, as expected, with Hansen crushing Vanderleest by a score of 66-34. This takes one defensive hold off the table, meaning that only two more Democrats face recalls. I should also mention that Daily Kos's polling partner, Public Policy Polling, nailed this race — something that's not easy to do in such a lopsided affair — pegging the contest at 62-34 Hansen over the weekend.

SD-12: Kim Simac won the Republican primary over Robert Lussow by a 59-41 spread. Simac is a hard-core movement conservative who writes Tea Party-themed children's books. Lussow didn't have a lot to recommend him either, but most Democrats seem to be pleased that Simac was the victor, given her profile. She'll face state Sen. Jim Holperin, the most vulnerable of the three Democrats up for recall, on Aug. 16.

SD-22: Jonathan Steitz beat Fred Ekornaas for the right to take on Dem state Sen. Bob Wirch by a 66-34 margin. It's hard to say which candidate is "better" for us, as both have their flaws, though some have pointed out that Steitz lives a mile from the Illinois border and works at a Chicago law firm, thus raising questions about his Badger State bonafides. The Steitz-vs.-Wirch contest will also take place on Aug. 16.

If the state Dems are able to pick up just three of the Republican seats, out of the six in contention next month --- without losing either of the two remaining recall elections that the Dems still face --- they'll take the majority back from the Republicans to effectively neuter the hard Right Republican Gov. Scott Walker agenda until he too is likely to be up for his own recall election next year.

In Wisconsin, however, as in all of our states at this point, the wild cards are always the electronic voting systems and access to them. To that end, there are a few more recently-related items of note to make sure you have on your radar. At least two of them involve "our old friend" and transparent democracy's enemy, Kathy Nickolaus, the now-infamous Republican County Clerk of Waukesha County...

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Says nonpartisan polling 'electioneering' because candidates' names appear on exit poll 'ballot'
UPDATED TWICE: G.A.B. responds, then corrects original response...
By Emily Levy on 7/13/2011 10:58am PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy

Two national election integrity organizations jointly conducted exit polling at a pair of poll sites yesterday, during round one of Wisconsin's recall elections. Election Defense Alliance (EDA) and Protect California Ballots teamed up with local activists to poll voters as they exited from voting in now-infamous Waukesha County, with the goal of checking the accuracy of the official election results.

According to a press release (see below) issued yesterday by EDA, despite local volunteer pollsters being equipped with copies of regulations from Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election authority, and a letter from the agency's Executive Director outlining permission for exit polling, the rules were apparently changed during the day and pollsters forbidden to hand out the exit polling 'ballot' voters were asked to complete anonymously.

EDA National Chairperson Sally Castleman told The BRAD BLOG, "The numerous red flags that came to light in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election this spring alerted many Wisconsinites to the need for citizen oversight in their elections. With official vote counts being conducted secretly inside computers, exit polling is one of the very, very few mechanisms left to the public for assessing the legitimacy of official outcomes." Castleman added, "We need to see this level of public participation all over the nation in order to halt the privatization of our elections."

Full text of press release:

GAB Shutting Down Non-Partisan Exit Polls in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Government Accounting Board (GAB), apparently changing their regulations as they go along, has effectively shut down citizen-run exit polls in today’s Democratic Primary Recall Election in Wisconsin.

Despite having the GAB Regulations (§§5.35 (5), 7.37 (2) ) in hand plus a letter from Kevin Kennedy, head of the GAB, both clearly allowing exit polling, the GAB today through GAB member David Buerger, has said that the group is “electioneering” because candidates names appear on the polling “ballot.” He further dictated that no voter would be allowed to touch an exit poll ballot, that pollsters can only verbally ask the voters their responses. This despite the fact that Edison-Mitofsky, the polling company commissioned by the Media Consortium to conduct Exit Polling nationally over the last many years, uses written polling ballots that the voters fill in themselves.

The polls were being run by concerned Wisconsin citizens volunteering under the guidance of Election Defense Alliance and Protect California Ballots, two non-partisan organizations with the mission of restoring transparency to our elections. Both organizations have run non-partisan exit polls many times in the past in close to a dozen states. Neither group has ever been harassed in such a way before.

“This is reasoning beyond specious”, said Jonathan Simon, Director of Election Defense Alliance. “Exit polling in this country has been going on for decades. To call it ‘electioneering’ simply because candidates names appear on the poll ballot, when all names appear without any advocacy involved, is absurd. This is concealment in OUR elections. Public participation is being forbidden!”

“If exit polling has now conveniently been relabeled as ‘electioneering’ this spells the end of exit polling in America and one of the last few mechanisms for evaluating the legitimacy of official vote counts,” added Sally Castleman, National Chairperson of Election Defense Alliance.

“The implications for upcoming primary and general recall elections are of the utmost importance” said Simon. “This encroachment on the public right of observation and participation must be challenged forcefully and immediately.”

“The irony of ‘Government Accountability’ is beyond belief,” Simon added.

Despite the fact that the law says a photo ID is requested but not required for this election, reports have been received from Glendale that voters are not being allowed to vote without photo ID.

In another related story, robo-calls, reportedly coming from Virginia, are being made to Democrats throughout the primary districts today telling them not to vote today because an absentee ballot is in the mail.

See Eric Kleefeld's coverage at TalkingPointsMemo for background on the WI recall elections and the announced outcome of yesterday's Democratic primary recall elections. Round two of the recalls will be held next Tuesday, July 19, when two more primaries and one general recall election (two Republican primaries, and one Democratic state Senator facing a recall) will be held.

* * *

UPDATE 7/15/11: Reid Magney, spokesperson for Wisconsin's G.A.B., wanted to offer the board's point of view on their ruling which effectively shut down the EDA's exit polling by forcing pollsters to move outside of the 100 ft. zone around the polling place, as the group noted in their press release posted above. His response follows in full below, along with EDA's response to Magney's remarks...

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Latest in line of inappropriate and/or criminal behavior by newly re-elected Republican member of the high court caught on video...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2011 12:10pm PT  

Good lord. What next? Does WI Supreme Court Justice David Prosser need to strangle a baby on camera before members of all political parties in the state fully realize how absolutely inappropriate this man is for holding a seat on their highest court?

Following on the recently reported allegations that he placed a fellow justice into a chokehold during a contentious debate about the legality of the controversial anti-union legislation of Prosser's former colleague, Gov. Scott Walker, a local news team --- this time on camera --- caught another glimpse at Prosser's long-reported anger management problems.

A reporter from a local Fox affiliate attempted to get answers from Supreme Court justices about the choking issue, as six of the seven were said to have been present at the mid-June incident. He was able to confront four of them with questions, but only one, Prosser, snatched the mic out of his hand in anger, before quickly handing it back.

Watch:

Both the Dane County Sheriff's office and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission are now investigating the claims that on June 13th Prosser placed both hands around the neck of fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during deliberations on Walker's bill which strips many rights from citizens to collectively bargain with the government. In a statement, Prosser says the assault claim "will be proven false."

The mic snatching incident, as well as the choking allegations, are just the latest in a long line of examples and allegations concerning the hard-right Republican Prosser's problems with anger management, truth-telling and even criminality...

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UPDATE: Dane County Sheriff now investigating incident...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2011 2:42pm PT  

Wisconsin's far Rightwing Republican Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has come up with a novel way of demonstrating his fake conservative bona fides. According to a report over the weekend by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (a paper which endorsed Prosser in his recent Supreme Court election bid), Prosser is said to have attempted to make government smaller a few weeks ago, by placing fellow Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley into a chokehold.

Hey, at least he didn't attempt to drown her in a bathtub.

"The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold," Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.

The incident, confirmed to the paper by other sources also present when it is said to have occurred, happened on the day prior to the court's decision on the legality of Gov. Scott Walker's bill legislating away the right for public employees to collectively bargain.

An alternate description of the incident, offered by supporters of Prosser's, is that he, not Bradley, was the victim in the alleged assault. Prosser has claimed victim-hood in other incidents in the recent past after being called out for abusive treatment of his fellow (female) Supreme Court Justices...

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