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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, August 30, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring the GOP's Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin? Let us catch you up quickly with the latest...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become; Plus: another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
OR nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


[NOTE: Please Bring a Video Camera to the Polls To Document These Things This Year!!!]
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2006 1:15am PT  

We didn't much report on these incidents back in 2004 because they seemed anectodal at the time and couldn't be independently confirmed. After two years now of thousands of such reports from '04 --- almost always showing votes hopping to Republican candidates only --- and still the Voting Machine Companies and Elections Officials saying "it never happened," it seems appropriate to report a few of these incidencts as we hear of them before Election Day, during Early Voting, so folks can look into them.

Here are three different reports over the last day or two of touch-screen votes flipping from Democrats or Libertarians over to Republicans.

-- In Texas...
-- In Arkansas...
-- In Missouri... (via Email. See below.)

From: [redacted for privacy]
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 10:38 PM
Subject: Vote Miscount in MO

[snip]

A friend of our family’s went last Friday to early vote in Maplewood at Sunnen Park. He voted for Claire McCaskill, but each time he, the election worker, and the election supervisor pressed the screen for Claire, the screen said he had voted for Jim Talent.

I sent this info along to a friend that works in Claire’s campaign. I have the name and number of the guy this happened to if you are interested.

[snip]

PLEASE BRING A VIDEO CAMERA WHEN YOU GO TO VOTE THIS YEAR SO THESE INCIDENTS CAN BE DOCUMENTED! Spread the word...Thank you.

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Candidate Names Truncated on 'eSlate' Review Screens...
By John Gideon on 10/25/2006 10:35pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

As reported by The BRAD BLOG on Tuesday, Hart Intercivic machines being used in Virginia are cutting off the names of candidates when they appear on the review screen. Thus James H. "Jim" Webb shows as James H. "Jim" on the screen.

Well, when a problem is found in one place it is going to be found elsewhere too. Now counties in Texas are reporting the same problem according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that a voting machine must provide the voter with an ability to review their vote before they finalize the process. These machines may be in violation of that law but that can be left to the attorneys. It might be nice if those attorneys showed up now, instead of after the election when it'll be too late.

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BRAD BLOG SOURCES, STORIES COVERED EXTENSIVELY...
EXTENDED EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 12:08pm PT  


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who filed a landmark article last June in Rolling Stone concerning evidence of a stolen 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, is set to rock the country again in tomorrow's Rolling Stone, The BRAD BLOG can now report.

The issue is currently on the stands in some sections of LA and NY, and will be available across the nation tomorrow.

Through interviews with a number of BRAD BLOG insider sources over the past several months, Kennedy, along with co-writer Dick Russell, will expose a plethora of new details concerning the scandalous and outrageous overtaking of our public election system by private companies such Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and others.

The article is titled: "Will The Next Election Be Hacked? - Fresh disasters at the polls --- and new evidence from an industry insider --- prove that electronic voting machines can't be trusted".

Many of the items covered may be familiar to readers here, as a good number of them were originally broken on these very pages over the last year or so. We worked closely with Kennedy and Russell on this story during its development over the past several months.

The article, however, covers several new and sometimes explosive details of Diebold's rollouts in both Georgia and Maryland dating back to 2002, as well as Florida, Ohio and Texas in 2004.

Characterizing the unchecked spread of electronic voting as "insane," Kennedy and Russell conclude, "It is time for Americans to reclaim our democracy from private interests."

Some of the damning details covered in the extensive piece include: the now-infamous and mysterious patch applied to the paperless touch-screen systems in GA just prior to the Chambliss/Cleland election; the presence of Diebold elections division president Bob Urosevich in the tabulation room in MD in 2002; Diebold's interest in downplaying, hiding the significance of several scientific reports in 2004 warning of the vulnerabilities in their machines; Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) involvement with former staffers and Diebold lobbyists in passing the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) through congress; ES&S shenanigans in Texas in 2004; E-Voting anomalies in Ohio and Florida may have given the election to George W. Bush; the Diebold electronic voting machine which kicked off the 2000 Presidential Election debacle...

The article is now posted in full at the RS website. Extended excerpts from the article follow below...

###

...TROUBLE COMING THIS NOVEMBER...

[A]s midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election – and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries. In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for unsupervised “sleepovers” before the vote, leaving the equipment vulnerable to tampering.
...
“Every board of election has staff members with the technological ability to fix an election,” Ion Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. “Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I’d ever find out about it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to throw a presidential election.”

Much more now below...

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

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As the Voters Continue to Pay the Price
And as We Continue to Connect the Dots the Mainstream Media Still Won't�
By John Gideon on 4/30/2006 6:20pm PT  

By John Gideon Executive Director VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager VoteTrustUSA.Org

When asked by a reporter, "Which is harder to manage, your two children or ES&S?" Marion County, Indiana Clerk Doris Ann Sadler told the Indianapolis Star this week, "Oh, ES&S, definitely. My children are really very easy. In fact, at times I think my children would have done a better job with the voting machines. And they're (ages) 7 and 4."

The Electronic Voting Machine Vendor locomotive is still running away down the track at an alarming speed. However, this week some states and county election officials seem to be beginning to notice and are now sending out signals that they intend to either stop the train or � barring that --- at least ensure that companies such as Election Systems and Software (ES&S) do not profit too much from their arrogance, ineptitude and now epidemic failures.

Legal complaints against the company were filed this week in West Virginia and Indiana to add to the one previously under way in Oregon. Threats have been heard from Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and elsewhere. Election officials have been forced to change voting procedures in many states and counties to accommodate for ES&S' growing array of failures.

Meanwhile no one seems to be talking about the people who will be most affected by this train wreck; the voters�

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

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Director of Elections Sends Letter Authorizing Measure in Light of Latest Failure by Electronic Voting Machine Vendor
Says Company's Performance in Most Recent - of Many Similar Incidences Around the Country - is 'Completely Unacceptable and Disturbing'
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2006 11:46am PT  

On Monday, Texas Director of Elections Ann McGeehan sent a letter to all state Election Officials authorizing them to create "emergency paper ballots" in light of statewide failures by Election System & Software, Inc. (ES&S) to provide ballots in time for the state's upcoming May 13 Runoff Elections, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

Early voting begins on Monday for those elections and counties across the state do not yet have ballots and, in many cases, programming for their optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines. ES&S has contracts with more than 140 Texas counties.

McGeehan has instructed officials to create and number their own paper ballots, secure boxes to store them in, and hire additional workers to manually hand count ballots as an emergency procedure to deal with the rapidly deteriorating situation.

The letter from McGeehan (posted in full exclusively at the end of this article) --- which does not mention ES&S by name, but refers to the Omaha, Nebraska-based company only as "a certified voting systems vendor" --- was sent in response to complaints from officials around the state that "programming media or, in some cases, your ballots" had not been received yet by officials.

In a statement to the San Antonio's Express-News this morning, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says, "It sure is exasperating...We are looking at avenues to hold them responsible for this." Bexar County is just one of more than 140 in Texas with whom ES&S has contracts.

"They made their priorities," Wolff says, "and I think Texas certainly wasn't one of them."

The BRAD BLOG has also received statements from officials in other states who were still more direct in expressing their frustration with the company's business practices now being described by some as including "coercion" and "threats."

This most recent embarrassment for ES&S, the country's largest Electronic Voting Machine Vendor, is just the latest in what has now become an epidemic string of failures to meet contractual obligations in scores of states and counties across the country. The BRAD BLOG has reported on many of these troubling problems in a long series of articles in hopes of connecting the dots of those failures to illustrate and warn of the rapidly approaching E-Voting train wreck.

So far, both the mainstream corporate media, as well as many elections officials across the country have --- to the delight of ES&S --- failed to notice the remarkably clear pattern of delinquency and failure the company has demonstrated time and again across the nation in recent weeks and months.

Texas was plagued, during their recent March 7th Primary Election, by a host of failures in voting equipment made by both ES&S and Hart InterCivic, another voting machine vendor certified to do business in the state. Those failures on Election Day led to a statewide Election Contest filed by a former Republican Supreme Court Justice after tabulators failed and electronic ballots were misprogrammed and miscounted.

In Jefferson County, TX officials threatened to withhold payment after the debacle until their machines were fixed by ES&S. The company, however, answered by reportedly refusing to program the machines at all for the state's upcoming Runoff Elections unless payment was made in full. The county, in a bind, was forced to comply with the strong-arm tactics.

And now, with new elections just weeks away, officials all over the state are finding themselves --- like many other states across the country --- without the promised ballots from ES&S and scrambling for alternative solutions. Election Director McGeehan describes the situation as "completely unacceptable." Writing in her letter to Election Officials, she says:

We recognize that this kind of service from a certified voting systems vendors [sic] is completely unacceptable and disturbing. We will be pursuing all appropriate remedies from a state level that are available to us.

In the letter, McGeehan goes on to explain that officials should crate "emergency paper ballots" by either creating their own, or using "PDF format to print copies of the ballot" in cases were "proofs" had been previously supplied by ES&S.

Instructions are included for number and initializing thousands of ballots by hand:

After you print a copy of the ballot, you will need to put a ballot number at the top of the ballot beginning with the next ballot number of the last number of your original ballot order. In other words, if you ordered 15,000 ballots numbered 1-15,000, any ballots you create would be numbered beginning with the number 15,001. You will need to put your initials on the back of the ballot so you can determine it was an official ballot provided by you.

Further, officials are instructed that they may have to manually hand count ballots that would otherwise be counted by either optical-scan systems or recorded by touch-screen voting machines.

They are also told to create boxes for the ballot storage and find people to count them. McGeehan writes...

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

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Our Elections are Now Officially 'A National Disaster in the Making'
A MUST READ GUEST EDITORIAL BY JOHN GIDEON OF VOTERSUNITE.ORG
By John Gideon on 4/9/2006 5:24pm PT  

By John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Normally this space is taken with my ideas of what are the "Top 5" voting news stories for the week. Today I am going to use this space to talk about what I see as the beginning of a disaster in the making with our elections. This isn't the election fraud that some point to when they talk about the vendors and some elections officials. It's not about recounts or audits. This is a real, get your hands around it, happening problem that will disrupt our election process if we do not do something about it now. While we have been involved in all of our issues about Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or "touch-screen") voting machines or paper ballots the electronic voting machine vendors have been wreaking complete havoc across the country.

So far this year two states have conducted primary elections. In Texas there is at least one candidate who has stepped forward and has challenged the election because of anomalies in vote counts and known voting machine failures. One county's machines counted some votes up to 6 times which resulted in approximately 100,000 more votes being counted than were cast. Though the vendor, Hart Intercivic, initially blamed the problem on human error, they finally had to admit that it was a programming error and not poll workers or voters who had erred. In Illinois some county officials are threatening to withhold final payment of funds on contracts with Sequoia Voting Systems because of failures with their machines that ended with results in the primary not being known for over a week after the voters went to the polls. In both states the involved vendors were very successful in the media with deflecting the blame from their machines to "human errors" or "glitches". However, when you listen to people who were there and who saw and worked through the problems you get a very different picture...

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

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Former Judge Finds March 7th Texas Primary Results Fraught With 'Absolutely Egregious' Electronic Voting Machine Errors!
May Lead to First Independent Examination of Electronic Machines Made by Hart InterCivic and ES&S!
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2006 10:53am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the road...

As The BRAD BLOG reported last week, a Conservative Republican former Texas Supreme Court Justice had been considering an Election Contest after electronic voting machine problems and inexplicable tallies plagued the first-in-the-nation March 7th primary in the Lone Star State.

Steve Smith --- who ran for election to the state Supreme Court, Place 2, in the Republican primary against an opponent backed by both Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry and the Bush family --- will be filing an official Election Contest this afternoon in Travis County District Court, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

Since our previous report, the Smith for Supreme Court campaign has been examining election tallies around the state and report that they continue to find anomolies in virtually every county they look into.

"The more research we do, the more irregularities we find," campaign manager David Rogers told The BRAD BLOG this morning.

The problems are being found on machines made by both Hart InterCivic and Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S) --- the two major Electronic Voting Machine vendors supplying the state of Texas.

Rogers says the campaign plans to file the Contest before 5pm (CT) today. The Contest (to be posted in full here when available) will outline some of the many problems they have found so far including counties "where there were more votes than voters."

They hope the Election Contest may allow, for the first time, a closer examination of both the Hart InterCivic and ES&S electronic voting machines used in Texas elections, as well as elsewhere around the country.

An earlier statement from the campaign had detailed a number of the campaign's initial findings including several mysterious totals in Smith's home county of Tarrant where officials admit some 100,000 votes were incorrectly added to the reported results on Election Night.

Smith had outperformed his statewide average in Tarrant County during the 2004 Election by 13%, but this year, his campaign reports, he underperformed the statewide results by 23%. One other such puzzling number reported previously by Smith's campaign:

Winkler County, which went for Smith by margins of 260-92 (74%) and 468-249 (65%) in the 2002 and 2004 elections, went against Smith by an unbelievable 0-273 (100%) margin. Governor Perry received only 83% of the vote in Winkler County, and no other contested candidate topped 80%. The propositions on the ballot topped out at 93%.

Says Rogers, "We are contesting the state as a whole, but looking at specific larger counties where there are problems and a few of the smaller counties where the mistakes were absolutely egregious."

The BRAD BLOG has also previously reported on whistleblower William Singer who had worked at both Hart InterCivic and then as an "Election Programmer" in Tarrant County. Singer had attempted to alert the Texas and Ohio Secretaries of State and Attornies General about concerns, including possible criminal fraud by Hart, ES&S and Tarrant County, as long ago as July of 2004. His letters were all virtually ignored by officials in both states. The Texas Secretary of State was recently forced to shutdown a mandated recount in Tom Green County when it was discovered that recount numbers from the machines differed by some 20% from results reported on Election Night.

Up until now, many critics who have doubted or ignored the many concerns about the hackable hardware and secret software used in Electronic Voting, as expressed for some time by Election Integrity Advocates, have said that it is only Democrats who seem to be concerned about results as tallied on such machines which are now blanketing the country in the wake of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

That flawed law was written and sponsored in large part by Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and passed in 2002 along with heavy lobbying by Voting Machine Vendor Diebold, Inc. of North Canton, OH and their top lobbyist, Ney's former chief of staff, David DiStefano. HAVA's full impact kicks in by statute for the first time this year. Ney recently stepped down from his chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee after being named in one of the plea bargains by disgraced former Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Smith's election challenge, by a conservative Republican Supreme Court Justice from Texas, may well help to change the tenor of the debate over Electronic Voting, as is becoming apparent in several national mainstream publications of late including USA TODAY who published a front page story finally touching on these matters today.

We are on the road for the bulk of today and this evening, but if one of our friendly Guest Bloggers can update this item with a copy of the full Election Contest as filed by Steve Smith later today --- once we receive it --- we will do so.

UPDATE 3:50pm PT: Campaign managaer David Rogers has contacted us to let us know the campaign has found additional information that they wish to investigate before filing their contest. Due to this new information they will be delaying the filing by 24 hours.

UPDATE 4/1/06: The complete Election Contest filing is now attached here. [PDF] We hope to have a new report on the details/specifics later.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2006 11:56am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the Road...

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram picks up on our previous report about Hart InterCivic / Tarrant County, TX election software whistleblower William Singer.

Does the "Startlegram" give any love to The BRAD BLOG in their article? Despite an hour or two on the phone with them after they called for deets and a hook-up with our source last week? Not a jot.

But we're not in it for the love. We're in it for the big bucks.

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Inexplicable Tallies from Electronic Voting Machines in Tarrant County, Elsewhere in State Require Full Recount and/or Contest, According to Campaign Manager
'Serious mistakes were made,' Understates Candidate, Former Texas Justice Steve Smith
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2006 5:40pm PT  

A Conservative Republican former Texas Supreme Court Justice, who ran against a Republican opponent backed by Gov. Rick Perry, is considering a challenge to the tremendously flawed Primary Elections held in the state two weeks ago on new Electronic Voting Machines.

The campaign for Steve Smith announced last week in a Press Release received only last night by The BRAD BLOG (and posted in full below) has filed a "Public Information Act request with the Tarrant County Elections Administrator seeking to review public documents relating to the Republican Party primary election in Tarrant County" on March 7th.

As discussed in their press release, but elaborated upon to The BRAD BLOG in an interview this afternoon with Smith's campaign manager, David Rogers, the results reported from all across the state seem to make little or no sense.

For example, though his was a statewide race, Smith's home county is Tarrant where in 2004, according to Rogers, Smith "outperformed the statewide results by 13%, but this year, according to the results, he underperformed the statewide results by 23%."

"Something doesn't make sense here," he noted, adding that turnout went up this year by 12,000 votes, but apparently a full "11,000 of them did not go to Smith."

Amongst the many concerns alleged by Smith's campaign are that audit tapes from the voting machines are only available on 103 of the 211 election day voting locations, making it impossible to audit all of the races. "No audit can be correctly performed on more than half of the machines in the state," says Rogers.

Perhaps more troubling still, is this item from Smith's press release:

Winkler County, which went for Smith by margins of 260-92 (74%) and 468-249 (65%) in the 2002 and 2004 elections, went against Smith by an unbelievable 0-273 (100%) margin. Governor Perry received only 83% of the vote in Winkler County, and no other contested candidate topped 80%. The propositions on the ballot topped out at 93%.

Due to time-constraints (we were supposed to hit the road about five hours ago), we weren't able to confirm those incredible Winkler County numbers. But if they are true, they are indeed mind-blowing.

As previously reported, Tarrant County saw some 100,000 votes added incorrectly to the election totals on Hart InterCivic and ES&S voting machines on Election Day. As well, The BRAD BLOG reported on a whistleblower who worked for both Hart and later at Tarrant County. In July of 2004, he sent letters warning the Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General about serious problems which he regarded as both "criminal" and "fraudulent" both at Hart and in Tarrant County's Board of Elections. His letters, he told us, were completely ignored by all of the officials.

And yesterday, that same Sec. of State in Texas was forced to shut down a mandated recount in Tom Green County when the Hart InterCivic machines were reporting results that differed by some 20% from the original totals as reported on Election Night.

We wonder if he might decide to go back and talk to our whistleblower now. Apparently both the Smith campaign and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (as we learned earlier today when they contacted us for more info) suddenly have an interest in doing so.

Rogers indicated to The BRAD BLOG this morning that they were seriously investigating a complete challenge to the election statewide and hope to get a much closer look at those Hart and ES&S machines in order to try and make sense of whatever the hell happened in Texas.

We'd like to see that happen, of course. And now that a conservative Republican may have had his own ox gored by these infernal machines, perhaps it'll actually become a reality.

The complete Press Release issued by Smith's campaign --- detailing even more "irregularties" in the race --- follows. [emphasis in the original] ...

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

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Hart Intercivic Touch-Screen Voting Machines in Tom Green County Fail To Print Ballots for All Votes in Mandated Recount!
REPORT: 'Electronic machines not providing all info', 20% Discrepany Between Recount and Election Night Results!
By John Gideon on 3/21/2006 2:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Just reported by San Angelo (TX) Standard Times.

The Texas Sec. of State has stepped in to stop the recount of ballots being printed from the Hart Intercivic "eSlate" Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines during a mandated election recount. The stoppage of the recount is due to failure of the voting machines to print all ballots cast during the Texas state primary two weeks ago...

On orders from the Texas Secretary of State's office, the recount for the Tom Green County Court-at-Law No. 2 race has been suspended midway through its second day.

About 1:30 p.m. today, county Republican Chairman Dennis McKerley stopped the recount after workers found discrepancies of as much as 20 percent between what was counted Monday and what was reported Election Night.

"We're having some trouble with the electronic equipment," McKerley said.

Apparently, McKerley said, new electronic voting machines provided by vendor Hart InterCivic are not printing ballots for every vote cast on the machines. During recounts, which must be done by hand, the machines are designed to print out separate ballots for every vote.

A Hart InterCivic representative is expected to arrive Wednesday morning, McKerley said, to determine whether or how to retrieve the remaining printouts.

The problem affects early votes cast in what appears to be every precinct, McKerley said. All of commissioner's Precinct 1 was affected, he said, as were all the randomly selected voting precincts in other parts of the county.

Although sign-in sheets match the counts provided by the machines on Election Night, he said, the number of printouts does not match the sign-in sheets.

More than 3,000 early votes were cast in the race between Assistant County Attorney Julie Hughes, incumbent Judge Penny Roberts and former prosecutor Dan Edwards, meaning the problem likely affects more than 600 votes of the 9,500 cast early and on Election Day.

Just 12 votes separate third-place finisher Edwards from second-place finisher Roberts to see who will face Hughes in the April runoff election. Edwards requested and paid for the recount."

This is another instance where a voter verified paper ballot would have saved the day for voters and voting officials.

If we hear more we will pass it on.

ADDITIONAL BRAD BLOG BACKGROUND...
-- Sec. of State Was Warned in 2004: Hart InterCivic Whistleblower's Report
-- Trouble in Tarrant: 100,000+ Extra Votes on Hart Machines in TX County
-- March 7, 2006 TX Primary: Loads of E-Voting Problems Across State

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100,000+ Votes Were Errantly Added by Hart Machines in a Single County in Last Tuesday's Primary via Flawed, Paperless 'eSlate' Touch-Screen System!
Former Hart Employee, Tarrant County TX Election Worker Notified State, Legal Authorities in 2004 About Serious Voting Machine Problems, Procedures...All Warnings and Complaints Ignored
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2006 1:20pm PT  

Continuing in an exclusive BRAD BLOG series of Voting Machine Vendor and Election Fraud whistleblowers, another insider, from yet another voting machine company, has now come forward to reveal a myriad of known problems inside both the company and in several states and counties with whom they do business.

During last Tuesday's Primary Election in the state of Texas, scores of "computer glitches" --- as voting officials and electronic voting machine vendors like to refer to them --- were revealed occurred across the state. Many of those "glitches" occurred on electronic voting equipment manufactured and supplied to various counties in Texas by the Hart InterCivic company.

One such "glitch" occurred in Texas' Tarrant County, which encompasses Fort Worth. That "glitch" resulted in some 100,000 votes being added to the result totals across the county's paperless Hart-Intercivic "eSlate" touch-screen voting system.

Election Officials in Tarrant claim they didn't look into the problems on Election Night as the problem emerged because, as reported by the Star-Telegram last week, "they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment."

The BRAD BLOG can now report, however, that according to a Hart InterCivic company whistleblower --- who also happened to have later worked as an "election programmer" in Tarrant County --- the problems with Hart InterCivic's systems in Tarrant County, Texas and elsewhere are not new at all. Not by a longhorn long shot.

Letters sent by William Singer of Fort Worth, a former Hart InterCivic "technical specialist" and Tarrant County election worker, to state officials back in July of 2004 warned of exactly such problems. The letters, obtained and published here for the first time exclusively by The BRAD BLOG, reveal that serious problems and concerns of possible election system meltdowns were already apparent with the Hart machines in Tarrant County long ago. However, the warning letters were all but ignored by both election officials and even state law enforcement officials.

The "glitch" in last Tuesday's primary, as reported the Star-Telegram, "caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast." After the problem was discovered, they report, "the local turnout [dropped] from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000."

A review of several notarized letters sent by Singer to officials in both Texas and Ohio in 2004 warned of fraudulent activities, buggy software and hardware, dysfunctional testing and development procedures, unsecured working environments and possible criminal behavior by both Hart InterCivic and Election Workers in both states.

Singer --- who eventually resigned from the company and ended up working as an Election Programmer for Tarrant County, where last Tuesday's "glitch" occurred --- wrote of allegations that Hart illegally supplied specially prepared machines for testing to state election officials. Along with doing so, they also withheld a number of known security, programming and hardware flaws during official review and certification of the systems.

TROUBLE IN TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS...

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

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DoJ Staff Attorneys Now Barred From Offering Opinions in VRA Cases After WaPo Exposed Political Appointees Overruled Civil Rights Division Staffers
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2005 1:15pm PT  

The beloved 40 year-old Voting Right Acts, implemented by Lyndon B. Johnson after violence and death to Voting Rights activists in Selma, Alabama in 1965 has been all but gutted by the George W. Bush administration. The VRA celebrated it's 40th anniversary this summer, even as Bush's Department of Justice was destroying one of its most important measures by covert political caveat.

That gutting now appears to be becoming a still greater threat to our democracy as it is being institutionalized by recent policy changes which bar career Voting Rights staffers and attorneys in the DoJ from offering opinions on new laws that fall under the jurisdication of the VRA.

Two recent reports by Dan Eggen of the Washington Post revealed that Bush political appointees in the DoJ has overruled the recommendations of career staffers and attorneys in the Voting Rights division tasked with determining the legality of two separate laws sent to the department for "pre-approval" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Section 5 requires that states with a history of discriminatory election practices --- like Texas and Georgia --- must receive pre-approval from the DoJ before implementing any changes to their voting systems. It prohibits "retrogressive" changes to voting laws, or laws that would bring harm to minority voters.

In the last several weeks Eggen has reported on remarkable memos leaked by DoJ staffers showing that they had recommended against approval of new laws both in Georgia, where the legislature had insituted a new Photo ID requirement at the polls, and in Texas, where then Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) had helped to redistrict the state to allow for more Republican representatives after the GOP gained control of the state house in 2002.

Georgia's law has since been ruled unconstitutional by two Federal Courts who deemed the law to be a "Jim Crow-era Poll Tax". Texas' law has resulted in 7 additional Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. The fallout from the DeLay led gerrymander of Texas districts has resulted in several indictments for DeLay and his cronies who helped force it through the legislature and allegedly conspired with the Republican National Committee to launder money in support of GOP candidates running for the new seats. The Texas law, which had been unanimously recommended against by 8 DoJ staffers, including the lead attorney in the Voting Rights Act division, still stands.

Today Eggen reports that such staff opinions are now completely banned in Bush's Department of "Justice"!

The Justice Department has barred staff attorneys from offering recommendations in major Voting Rights Act cases, marking a significant change in the procedures meant to insulate such decisions from politics, congressional aides and current and former employees familiar with the issue said.

Disclosure of the change comes amid growing public criticism of Justice Department decisions to approve Republican-engineered plans in Texas and Georgia that were found to hurt minority voters by career staff attorneys who analyzed the plans. Political appointees overruled staff findings in both cases.

The one ray of hope that Eggen offers is that Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) is considering Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings...at least on the Texas redistricting case.

We often bristle when we hear those on the Left criticize the Bush Administration as Fascistic. It's simply too easy to ascribe to them the worst possible traits as a blunt political weapon. But if the issues discussed above don't send a shiver down the spine of every democracy-loving American it's either because they don't understand what's actually at stake --- and being dismantled in the process --- or they simply don't give a damn about this country's most important legacy to the world: A free and fair electoral system where all citizens are given an equal voice in the selection of our leaders...or at least a system as close to that as we can possibly muster.

Our Republic is in grave danger.

Another in our series of occassional and annoying reminders that it is your support that allows us to keep going. Please help support The BRAD BLOG with a donation if you can. It means the world.
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...While Democrats solidly take the state.
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 2:49pm PT  

MyDD has a telling analysis of the situation in North Carolina where problems with vote counting (some votes apparently counted twice in some places, 4,500 votes completely lost elsewhere, etc.) may require a re-vote in all, or part, of North Carolina.

Nonetheless, it's telling that, though the Republican candidates for President and U.S. Senate were able to claim victories down there, Democrats somehow had virtually all the rest of the success in NC.

The NC Democratic candidate for Governor won in a landslide (55%-44%), Dems won control of the NC House by at least 3 seats, and in the NC Senate the Dems added to their "already healthy" margin. Additionally, the first openly gay lesbian to be elected to the NC statehouse was also victorious in her Senate race!

That victory on the state level mirrors other results around the country, where Dems solidly increased their foothold, or took control of many State Legislatures and Governships.

Even Dallas, TX(!!!) elected a lesbian/hispanic Sheriff!

All of which just serves to make me even more suspicious of the election results.

Republicans control the "Solid South" says conventional wisdom --- but then how does one account for North Carolina? "Value voters" showed up and gave Bush his victory, says CV, and yet gay and lesbian candidates had unprecedented victories in "solid" GOP strongholds.

It's certainly reasonable to assume that voters preferred the GOP at the national level while opting for Dems back at home...for whatever reason. Had there not be so many other oddities in the days following this election, I'd likely not have given it all too much thought. But taking everything we now know about highly improbable disparities in the Exit Polling --- where alleged "inaccuracies" just happened to only benefit Bush and never Kerry in the final results --- along with everything else we now know about the manufacturers of the E-Voting and Counting machines, their secrecy and their exceedingly close ties to the Republican party, it all just adds to my existing suspicions here that something stinks. Bad.

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While 150,000 Votes Already Miscounted or Lost!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 11:50am PT  

Yesterday Bev Harris' BlackBoxVoting.org site began issuing "Bandwidth Exceeded" messages to users attempting to access the site. Such a message generally occurs when more users are attempting to access the site than the server can comfortably handle or when the bandwidth allocated by the domain's Internet Provider is exceeded.

Today, attempts to access the site now simply return a "Cannot Find Server" page, leading me to believe that hack attempts and/or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been successful for the time being. [UPDATE: BlackBoxVoting.org is now finally back online. At least for now.]

We have had such attacks here at the BRAD BLOG for the last three days which have taken us similarly down and/or greatly slowed page retrieval at various times. Given the much higher profile BBV has had, it's little surprise that folks who'd rather see patriotic efforts like theirs discontinued would work feverishly to disrupt it.

Ms. Harris and BBV has been spearheading a huge "Freedom of Information Act" filing to collect and review audit logs and other materials from the election in some 3,000 US counties, and thus, her group has attracted quite a bit of attention in the past week. BBV has been attempting to warn Americans for at least the past year about the ticking time-bombs of unregulated, unauditable, and privately owned Electronic Voting machines and their corporate owners (the vast majority of them very closely tied to the Republican party).

Attempts to silence and/or disrupt sites like hers and ours, I believe, speak volumes in support of the underlying charges that we've been making. If there was nothing to fear in examining the inner-workings of these companies, and the way that our votes our counted --- specifically in last week's election --- there would be no reason to attempt to silence and disrupt those who are attempting to do so.

In other words, if the election was clean and fair, what's the fear of giving it a close inspection?

Now perhaps the problem at BBV really is simply related to an overage of bandwidth demand, however, given past attacks the site has received, similar attacks here, and the message changing from "Bandwidth Exceeded" to "Cannot Find Server", I'm inclined to believe that the problem is hostile attacks.

To those who claim that the roughly 150,000 (so far) documented votes that have been reported and confirmed by Election Officials as being mis-allocated would not have changed any election results, I'd point out:

1) Those are just the numbers reported by a mainstream media which by and large went "on vacation" after Kerry's "concession" last Wednesday.

2) Many of those mistabulated and/or lost votes discovered were due to software errors that likely exist on many other identical computers in many other counties in America where they may not yet have been noticed and/or reported.

3) The results of at least one ballot initiative last Tuesday has already been reversed when 70,000 previously mis-counted votes due to "software error" were "discovered" in Broward County, FL!

4) There has been a long record of elections in this country being mis-tabulated and/or reversed due to Electronic Voting Machine error in recent history.

Chapter 2 of Bev Harris' book, Black Box Voting outlines tons of those recently overturned elections. Here's the PDF version of Chapter 2, but since it's currently offline as of this posting, here's a summary of just a few such recent incidents summarized courtesy of Hunter over at DailyKos:

In the 2002 general election, a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina. Incorrect programming caused machines to skip several thousand partyline votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election for state representative.
...
Voting machines failed to tally "yes" votes on the 2002 school bond issue in Gretna, Nebraska. This error gave the false impression that the measure had failed miserably, but it actually passed by a 2 to 1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that had provided the ballots and the machines.
...
An Orange County, California, election computer made a 100 percent error during the April 1998 school bond referendum. The Registrar of Voters Office initially announced that the bond issue had lost by a wide margin; in fact, it was supported by a majority of the ballots cast. The error was attributed to a programmer's reversing the "yes" and "no" answers in the software used to count the votes.
...
Software programming errors, sorry. Oh, and reverse that election, we announced the wrong winner. In the 2002 Clay County, Kansas, commissioner primary, voting machines said Jerry Mayo ran a close race but lost, garnering 48 percent of the vote, but a hand recount revealed Mayo had won by a landslide, receiving 76 percent of the vote.
...
In the November 2002 general election in Scurry County, Texas, poll workers got suspicious about a landslide victory for two Republican commissioner candidates. Told that a "bad chip" was to blame, they had a new computer chip flown in and also counted the votes by hand --- and found out that Democrats actually had won by wide margins, overturning the election.
...
In 1986 the wrong candidate was declared the winner in Georgia. Incumbent Democrat Donn Peevy was running for state senator in District 48. The machines said he lost the election. After an investigation revealed that a Republican elections official had kept uncounted ballots in the trunk of his car, officials also admitted that a computerized voting program had miscounted. Peevy insisted on a recount. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "When the count finished around 1 a.m., they [the elections board] walked into a room and shut the door," recalls Peevy. "When they came out, they said, `Mr. Peevy, you won.' That was it. They never apologized. They never explained."
...
A software programming error gave the election to the wrong candidate in November 1999 in Onondaga County, New York. Bob Faulkner, a political newcomer, went to bed on election night confident he had helped complete a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel. Just a few hours later, election officials discovered that a software programming error had given too many absentee ballot votes to Lytel. Faulkner took the lead.
...
In a 1998 Salt Lake City election, 1,413 votes never showed up in the total. A programming error caused a batch of ballots not to count, though they had been run through the machine like all the others. When the 1,413 missing votes were counted, they reversed the election.

If an official investigation doesn't take place immediately, there is little hope of determing the correct winner of any number of races from last week's election. Not the least of which is the race for President of the United States. And I would think, especially after four years of questions about George W. Bush's legitimacy as "President" that even the Right Wingnuts would like to be able to demonstrate once and for all to the American People that he was, in fact, legitimately elected this time.

For more on the suddenly silent Right Wingers, see my recent BuzzFlash Editorial. And be sure to sign this Online Petition calling for an immediate investigation!

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