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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2010 5:57pm PT  

After reports of ES&S touch-screen votes flipping away from Republicans, for a change, over the last several days in North Carolina and in Texas, reports are now coming in from Nevada about similar occurrences on that state's Sequoia touch-screens, just in time to underscore the importance of my story published today at Truthout, "Hacking Harry Reid (or Sharron's Angle)" arguing that one or both of the candidates locked in the Silver State Senate Standoff need to get to a court immediately, even though neither of them are likely to do so.

First, the reports of touch-screen troubles today in NV (which closely mirror the scores of reports in the same state that I detailed exclusively in 2008 as affecting Obama and the Democrats during early voting). This time, however, it's Republican voters charging trouble with touch-screens...

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

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County GOP Chair: The ES&S machines 'ain't worth a damn, we ought to go back to paper ballots'
One voter says: 'I pressed confirm and screen went totally black'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2010 9:47pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with additional reports of additional vote-flipping and touch-screen failure from other NC counties at bottom of article.]

Aaand the touch-screen voting machines continue to flip votes during the early voting period. Right on schedule. Just as always. But, for the second time this week we have the unusual occurrence of votes reportedly flipping away from the GOP.

Yesterday our report was of a touch-screen in Dallas, TX, caught on video flipping an attempted vote for Republican Gov. Rick Perry to straight-ticket Green Party selections in Dallas, TX.

Today's report, where the local election official is also misleading voters by downplaying the incident, comes from the same type of 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machine, but it took place in Craven County, NC, according to P. Christine Smith of the Sun Journal...

A Craven County voter says he had a near miss at the polls on Thursday when an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended.

Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.

"They pushed it twice and the same thing happened," Laughinghouse said. "That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted."
..
"Something is not right here," [Craven County GOP Chair Chuck] Tyson told the Sun Journal. He said he "got two or three calls" from people describing the same problem while they were voting.

Tyson also went on to report there were long lines reported as voters waited to use the two touch-screen voting machines available at one location (paper ballots don't cause that problem) and, even more disturbingly, "machines reporting 250 ballots cast where 400 voters had signed in to vote."

Well that's a problem, isn't it?...

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

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Incident challenged by election official, reported to D.A., highlights familiar problem with unverifiable machines
ALSO: Vote said flipped from Dem to Repub in Collin County...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2010 3:38pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

Aaaand here we go again. Our first report of touch-screen vote flipping of the year during early voting. And, for an added twist, this time it's Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry who seems to be getting screwed by the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system in question.

Most such reports of touch-screen vote-flipping or vote-hopping, historically, have been from Democratic voters seeing their votes flip to candidates of other parties, though there have been isolated reports over the years of Republican voters experiencing the very same problem. Indeed, another report has been published today from a voter in Collin County, TX, who says his vote flipped from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White over to the Republican Perry.

The Dallas incident was posted as a YouTube video by programmer Don Relyea and began to go viral early this morning, before being set to "private," presumably by Relyea, at YouTube a few hours ago. So, unfortunately (for now), we're unable to show the video itself, though we watched it several times this morning before it was made unavailable, and have a step-by-step analysis of precisely what is seen in the video, as detailed by an Election Integrity expert who reviewed it a number of times to explain what is actually seen in it.

The removal of the video, seemingly shot via a cell phone camera, may be due to Texas law barring recording equipment of any kind in polling places. Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbert told The BRAD BLOG that he has now referred the matter to the District Attorney for investigation, not due the purported incident of vote-flipping, but rather due to Relyea's video-taping of the event.

Sherbert's explanation for what is seen in the video, however, downplays the purported problem and does not appear to sync up with what is actually seen in the video supporting Relyea's contention that his attempted vote for Perry was being inappropriately flipped to a number of Green Party candidates on the ES&S iVotronic system...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2010 1:45pm PT  

It's getting incredibly difficult to keep up with the amount of The Crazy out here of late. So here is a very quick round-up of the latest today (so far)...

She Did What?!: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' activist Tea Bagger wife --- and, apparently, long-term denialist --- Virginia leaves a voice message to Anita Hill asking her to apologize for Hill's accusations, twenty years ago, that she was sexually harassed by Thomas. Hill's attorney was "shocked" by the call. In 2007, in a New York Times op-ed, as we noted at the time, Hill said she stood by her testimony. Hill repeated the sentiment again today, saying she has "no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony," as WaPo reports on yet another woman who knew Thomas back then coming forward today to say "The Clarence I know was certainly capable not only of doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then."

Kreepy Scam: Matt Osborne from Osborne Ink notices our report on the insane email from Gary Kreep, Esq, Executive Director of the group calling themselves "United States Justice Foundation", sent out to the Tea Bag set on Monday, warning that ACORN is "still alive and ready to steal the November 2 elections" with "MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD". (Never mind that the org has been knocked out of business by the O'Keefe/Breitbart/MSM "pimp" hoax, and that they've never been shown to have stolen even one vote, much less an entire election.) Osborne tweets to us that Kreep is the same cretin who actually aired an Obama Birther Infomercial asking viewers to send him money for...something or other. He's doing the same thing in his latest ACORN "voter fraud" email scam.

More Birther/Voter Fraud Fraudster Connections: TPM picks up on Mother Jones' report that the so-called "voter integrity program" discussed by Illinois' GOP candidate Mark Kirk on a recorded phone call "was launched by the Illinois Republican Party, working with a conservative political action committee and an anti-Obama birther". Without evidence for the claim, Kirk had cited two predominately African-American areas of Chicago as "vulnerable" and "where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat."

He's back!: And speaking of phony "voter fraud" allegations, we reported some weeks ago on the Houston group calling themselves "King Street Patriots" and their "True the Vote" campaign warning about, as usual, massive Democratic voter fraud!!! (Sans evidence to support the actual claim, naturally). Their call to draft "poll watchers" has now reportedly led to voter intimidation charges such as "poll watchers 'hovering over' voters, 'getting into election workers' faces' and blocking or disrupting lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots" as early voting has opened in Houston where a fire recently destroyed all 10,000 of their 100% unverifiable e-voting machines (don't worry, they borrowed more from neighboring counties). The DoJ has now been called in to investigate the complaints. But, as it turns out, one of the folks supposedly responding to the complaints of voter intimidation on behalf of the county attorney's office is none other than John Tanner, George W. Bush's disgraced Voting Section Chief at the DoJ. Tanner was forced to step down from his post after The BRAD BLOG, in 2007, infamously caught him, on video, downplaying concerns of racial discrimination and intimidation at the polls by telling folks at an L.A. seminar that white people are more likely to be disenfranchised because "minorities...die first". He looks to be making a similar "both sides do it" play now in Houston, telling TPM "There are a lot of allegations out there on both sides." Really? Where are the complaints of voter intimidation by Democratic poll watchers in Houston? None have so far been reported, but we'll try to get more info on this.

Uhhhh...: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)'s opponent, businessman Ron Johnson has a "deer in the headlights moment", caught on tape, during an interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board when he was asked what he plans to do to bring back jobs for the middle class. He can't think of anything other than cutting government spending and freezes up when asked for more specifics. The moment helped lead to the paper's endorsement of Feingold for the first time ever (previously, they've always endorsed his opponent.)

Mythgivings: If you missed it in yesterday's Green News Report, WV's GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, in a debate Monday, discussed "the myth...and I say myth, that there is Global Warming." His Democratic opponent in the coal state, Gov. Joe Manchin, while not necessarily believing GW is "a myth", none the less ran a campaign ad last week displaying his manliness by shooting a hole, literally, through "Cap and Trade" legislation (which had been killed months ago anyway in the U.S. Senate.)

Louder Than Words: Obama's Dept. of Justice appeals for an "Emergency Stay" of the Federal Judge's recent order for a "worldwide injunction" on the military's unconstitutional "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. This comes after Obama has repeatedly claimed he will end the policy "on [his] watch"; after the Military instructed recruiters yesterday to begin accepting openly gay applicants; and after Arabic translator Lt. Daniel Choi --- who had been discharged from the military for being gay --- walked into the Times Square recruiting office yesterday to sign up again (great video there, btw! Choi says there was plenty of "unit cohesion" in the office, even after his application to serve his nation openly.)

Man in the Mirror: Glenn Beck, The Crazy personified, says the idea of evolution is "ridiculous" because he hasn't "seen a half-monkey, half-person yet". Sigh...

Seeing more of The Crazy out there? Let us know about it in comments.

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GOP groups warn fellow suckers to stop the ACORN bogeyman from stealing 2010 elections!!! (AND PLEASE DONATE!!!)...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2010 4:46pm PT  

We've seen a lot of insane, hyperbolic Rightwing scare emails in our time. But the one posted at the end of this article, signed by the appropriately named Gary G. Kreep, Esq., Executive Director of a group calling themselves the United States Justice Foundation (USJF), warning that ACORN is "Still alive and ready to steal the November 2 elections"(!!!) just may take the cake.

As expected, as they now do every election year, the Rightwing is ginning up this year's Republican War on Voting right on schedule. They've been at it so long, and have disinformed so many of their own gullible voters and politicians, that it's likely most of them have come to actually believe their own cynical propaganda about "massive voter fraud" by Democrats and their evil evil election-stealing allies at ACORN!

If you read TPM Muckraker, you know the RNLA ("Republican National Lawyers Association," though "Republican National Liars Association" would be at least as accurate) has been running a series of a bunch of disinfo seminars over the last few days, featuring all of the "voter fraud" fraudster all-stars and the usual suspects like grand-daddy of the GOP vote-fraud-myth set, John Fund in what they disingenuously describe as their "unprecedented" "election education efforts".

On the ground, of course, the years of disinfo has translated into Rightwing voter suppression efforts meant to do absolutely nothing more than challenge and/or intimidate Democratic-leaning voters on Election Day in order to squeeze out an advantage for Republicans as needed. We covered the shameful efforts of the "True The Vote/King Street Patriots" bunch a few weeks back. Since then, new organized efforts at playing out the GOP's great anti-democracy tradition have popped up around the nation, as expected.

The email from the "USJF" today, encapsulates the growing madness brilliantly...

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

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[Now UPDATED with audio archives from today's show]
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2010 2:20pm PT  

During my weekly gig this afternoon from 3-4p PT (6p-7p ET) on L.A.'s Pacifica Radio affiliate KPFK with Harrison, I'll be interviewing Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org about the "massive improprieties" she's been uncovering from the Shelby County (Memphis), TN, August 5th election. We detailed some of the alarming points coming out of that election, where ten candidates have now filed suit, a few weeks ago here, and Harris has a more recent update --- including on the "3,221 more votes than voters" discovered "in large Republican precincts" --- now posted here.

We'll also be discussing other recent Assaults on Democracy (see my piece earlier today for example). So I hope you'll tune in and/or call in!

KPFK is heard on air at 90.7 FM in L.A., on 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara and coast-to-coast and around the globe via KPFK.org where there are more live streaming options for ya. The call-in number is: 310-737-TALK.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Some disturbing information on the Memphis Mess from Harris on the show today. And a bit of an exclusive about the FAIL of one of the excuses given by Shelby County officials for the reason that thousands of voters were turned away from the polls, having been told they already voted (when they hadn't). That, and more on the GOP's freshly cranked up War on Voting.

I've edited out the news and traffic and other breaks for ya, to make it easier and quickier to listen to the bulk of the main content. Enjoy.

Download MP3, or listen online below [appx 28 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2010 12:50pm PT  

Thousands of borrowed e-voting machines made by Austin-based Hart Intercivic have begun arriving in Harris County (Houston), TX, this week in the wake of last month's massive warehouse fire which destroyed all 10,000 of the county's 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems in advance of early voting for the mid-term elections.

Some 3,000 machines are being loaned to Harris County from 15 different counties around Texas and one in Colorado. Paper ballots are also being printed up, thankfully, to help in an emergency pinch, though it's clear that Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, a long-time fan of unverifiable electronic voting systems, hopes voters will use them, rather than paper. Most precincts, she says, will have just one less machine than they normally would for an election of the size expected this November.

Arson has not yet been ruled out as the cause of the overnight blaze which remains a mystery nearly three weeks after it destroyed some $40 million worth of voting equipment. While an official finding may still be months away, according to Houston's KPRC TV no accelerants have yet been found, and arson investigators seem to be focusing on "evidence that the fire started accidentally in the building's electrical system."

But before the ashes had finished smoldering, literally, partisans from both the Right and Left had already begun to speculate on what the fire might mean for the mid-term elections and who, if anybody, might have had a motive to touch off such a blaze.

As long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG may have guessed, some of the allegations had more basis in reality than others, as Republican activists, like clockwork, have begun their loud, if still-unsubstantiated, cries of "massive Democratic voter fraud" soon to "steal an election" near you.

The effort in Houston which, coincidentally or not, kicked off at almost the exact same moment as the voting machine fire, is particularly egregious and irresponsible in its effort to scare voters with unsubstantiated and hyperbolic charges of "voter fraud"...

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

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Update: Accident or Arson? Paper or Plastic?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2010 10:09am PT  

First, we didn't do it.

Second, via KHOU in Houston:

HOUSTON – A three-alarm fire swept through a northeast Houston warehouse early Friday wiping out more than 10,000 pieces of voting equipment. City officials said they are unsure what will be done when voting begins in the next few months.

The Harris County Election Technology Center, located on Canino at Downey, caught fire around 4:20 a.m., and the blaze quickly grew to three alarms.

The warehouse stored more than 10,000 pieces of equipment, including voting booths and eSlates, the computer-based machines used for collecting votes.

The fire comes just months before the general elections on November 2, which include the governor’s race. Early voting is scheduled to begin in October.

Former KPFT (Houston Pacifica) radio host and election integrity advocate Pokey Anderson tells us there are some 1.8 million registered voters in Harris County, the third largest in the nation. "Harris County is huge," she writes via email this morning, "est. pop for 2006 is 3.6 million people, which is larger than the population of 23 states. That is about the size of Iowa and Vermont combined."

KTRH NewsRadio reports County Clerk Beverly Kaufman is hoping to "depend on other counties around the state, even across the country, to donate similar machines." Until God tried to intervene this morning, Harris County used 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems made by Austin-based Hart Intercivic.

A source familiar with Hart Intercivic tells The BRAD BLOG that the nation's fourth-largest e-voting company has fallen on hard times of late and does not have machines to ship to replace those lost in the fire.

If they can't get "similar machines" from somewhere, how, oh, how will the citizens of Houston be able to have elections this year?! Especially since pieces of paper, pens, eyeballs, citizen oversight and common frickin' sense were all long ago outlawed in Harris County, Texas, apparently.

Also related: This year's Harris County Pac-Man Tournament has been canceled.

* * *

UPDATE 8/28/10: The early work into determining the cause of the 3-alarm blaze, whether or not it was an accident or arson, is underway...along with determining the plan for how the county will proceed with the upcoming elections in the wake of the loss of $30 million dollars worth of unverifiable electronic voting machines...

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

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It's time for the corporate 'Death Penalty'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2010 2:45pm PT  

Not satisfied with merely destroying the Gulf of Mexico, on Friday, BP reported the emission of more than 500,000 pounds of pollutants and non-pollutants in April and May at their refinery in Texas City, TX. The emissions included hundreds of thousands of pounds of deadly benzene, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

Via Think Progress:

While BP touts the mild success of its most recent attempt to contain the massive gusher spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, they would probably rather people don’t notice the other spill they recently caused, this one of deadly benzene from a refinery in Texas City, TX. The refinery released more than 400 pounds a day of the chemical over a 40-day period from early April to mid May of this year, BP quietly informed the state environmental regulator yesterday. Over that period, the refinery released 500,000 pounds of benzene and other toxic chemicals into the air, the Galveston Daily News reports [emphasis in original]:

Refinery spokesman Michael Marr said in its follow up reporting with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, BP estimated 36,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 17,000 pounds of benzene were released in the 40 days. State law requires 10 pounds or more of benzene and 200 pounds or more of nitrogen oxide during a 24-hour period must be reported through the commission’s air emissions database.

The bulk of the emissions during that time included an estimated 189,000 pounds of carbon monoxide and 61,000 pounds of propane, according to the company’s report to the TCEQ.

For the record, this is the same BP refinery where an explosion in 2005 killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 others. The company was forced to pay a meager $71 million in federal fines for that incident. It's as if the company has friends in high places, or something...

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

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UPDATE: 'Not Terrorism'? Say what?!
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2010 1:27pm PT  

Authorities indicate the pilot who crashed his plane into the building housing the IRS offices in Austin, TX, this afternoon did so deliberately. He also set his house on fire. So far, just one person is confirmed dead, other than the pilot, Joseph Stack.

Stack left behind an anti-tax, anti-government, anti-corporate, anti-Catholic "manifesto" suicide note (posted in full below), which concludes "Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well."

UPDATE 4:06pm PT: Say what? McClatchy reports that WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the incident does not appear to be terrorism. Huh? Are you kidding? Would it be terrorism if the pilot's name had been Abdullah instead of Stack? Wouldn't Fox "News" be going wall-to-wall with coverage at this point if that had been the case? Had Gibbs read Stack's note (as posted below), which reads "violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer," before making that assessment? What the hell is he talking about? Or perhaps I should ask, what the hell is "terrorism"? Only the stuff that's done by tan or darker guys with names like Abdullah? Or did McClatchy misreport Gibbs' comments, and he was trying to say it doesn't appear to be Muslim extremist terrorism?!

* * *

Stack's complete suicide note follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2009 11:15am PT  

Straight-party ticket voters have long been getting screwed by touch-screen voting systems, whether they knew it or not, in election after election, as the systems have failed in various ways in states around the country for years.

But, for a modicum of good news on that front, finally, last week a panel of federal judges in Dallas County, TX, have responded to a lawsuit from the Texas Democratic Party --- who finally bothered to notice the problem --- by halting the use of such systems until corrective action of some sort can be taken. As the Dallas Morning News reported the county's E&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems have now been decertified for the moment, leading the chair of the Texas Democratic Party to declare a "victory," even as he went on to demonstrate he still seems somewhat unaware of the overall problems of voting at all on such systems...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2009 7:55pm PT  

From Saturday's Houston Chronicle [emphasis added]...

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

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By Ellen Theisen on 6/9/2009 4:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org

Co-Editors: Dave Klein and John Washburn

This from Harris County, Texas --- the third largest county in the US:

Johnson is the associate voter registrar at the Harris County Tax Assessor Collectors office, but according to state documents, that's just his day job. Johnson is also a paid director of a small company that provides voter data to Republican candidates for office. That company, Campaign Data Systems, billed at least $140,000 in 2008.

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

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Voting Machine Issues, Confusion Compounded Delays Faced by Untold Thousands of Voters This Fall
Though Even That Number Fails to Reveal Untold Counting Errors on E-Voting Systems Across the Nation...
By Steven Rosenfeld on 11/16/2008 5:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Steven Rosenfeld of AlterNet

The electronic voting problems in the 2008 election are broader than recently-publicized snafus such as machines not turning on, voter databases omitting names, or touch screens not properly recording votes, according to an analysis of 1,700 incident reports from the nation's largest voter hotline.

Moreover, the voting machine issues and the confusion they caused among poll workers appear to have compounded the delays faced by untold thousands of voters this fall, a preliminary analysis of 1-800-OUR-VOTE reports by Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a researcher at Princeton University and the University of California, has found...

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

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State After State, ES&S iVotronics Are Flipping Democratic Votes to Republican!
What You Can Do About It, And Where the Hell Are Those 'Thousands' of Obama/DNC Attorneys?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2008 5:04pm PT  

This is just getting worse and worse. Now it's happening in Texas. (And in MO, if you read to the end of the article). And the vaunted "thousands of attorneys" from the Obama campaign and the DNC are still nowhere to be found.

With every incident so far reported of touch-screen vote-flipping during early voting in this year's general election --- from county to county in WV and in Nashville, TN) --- it's been the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machine that has failed, flipping votes from one candidate to another not chosen by the voter. In most every instances [see update below], it's been an attempted Democratic vote, flipped to a Republican, or another party.

These are the same machines that lost 18,000 votes in Democratic-leaning Sarasota County in the 2006 U.S. House Race for Katherine Harris' old seat. The Democrat, Christine Jennings, was declared the loser to Republican Vern Buchanan (whose own wife had trouble voting for him that day), by just 369 votes. Several academic studies, and even the GAO, have been unable to rule out either tampering or hardware/software error for the disappeared 18,000 votes.

As we wrote earlier this week, after there was finally one report of a vote flipping from Democratic to Republican in TN (a very rare instance, btw), these machines need to be taken out of service now, impounded and quarantined immediately, and every voter needs to be given a paper ballot where these machines are currently being used. Voters who have such problems need to inform other voters waiting in line which machine should not be used (and we offer other tips below, as well).

[Update: The rare vote-flip from Republican to Democratic now seems to have been a hoax carried out by local Republicans, according to a TN election integrity activist who did some digging and reporting. Details here...]

The latest reports today of ES&S vote-flipping come from Palo Pinto County, TX, where two voters --- one of them an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters --- saw straight-ticket Democratic votes flipped to straight-ticket Republican votes. Two times for the first person, and three times for the alternate election judge!

The report is a doozy...

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

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