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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
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Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
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GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
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Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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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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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


But It Is Unclear Whether Leads in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Are Indicators of a Trend Or 'Bumps' from Clinching Democratic Nomination
By Jon Ponder on 6/19/2008 3:55am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

There is good news for the campaign of Barack Obama in polls from states that are traditionally keys to winning the general election. However, it is too soon to tell if the upticks are indicators of a trend toward Obama or simply "bumps" resulting from his finally clinching the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton.

Quinnipiac Polls in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania released Wednesday indicate that Barack Obama leads John McCain in all three battleground states...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2008 1:39pm PT  

Faced with extraordinarily bad press concerning her company's failed voting machines, which a NJ judge has now ordered to be independently examined (decidedly not by the "blonde nymph"-seeking dude Sequoia originally employed for their own "independent examination"), an impending hostile takeover by competitor Hart InterCivic, and her own boss's recent admission that the company doesn't even control the intellectual property rights to its own voting machines, Sequoia Voting Systems VP of Communications & External Affairs (and part owner), Michelle Shafer, has been left fairly desperate to find some "good news" lately with which to try and fool the company's clients.

But Never-Say-Die Shafer doesn't give up the ghost easily. So in a quick, if somewhat sad, bottom-of-the-barrel scraping article posted to her "Ballot Blog" at the Sequoia website this week, she attempted to trumpet the "Keystone State Success" for Sequoia, following last week's PA primary.

"Pennsylvania elections went very well last week," she writes. "We’ve had a chance to check in with our customers in York, Montgomery and Northampton counties, and it looks like it was a successful primary for all of them," blogged Shafer, before going on to quote the "success" of the company's voting systems, as reported by two different PA newspapers.

One selective quote, from one of the papers, sings the praises of Sequoia's AVC Advantage e-voting machines (the same ones which were found to have failed to tabulate votes correctly in NJ's recent Super Tuesday primary), because "Even the older people liked them."

But the same papers Shafer selectively quoted from also offered not-so-wonderful stories about the "success" of the company's machines in Pennsylvania.

Here's what Shafer --- who may as well tattoo a permanent "Kick Me!" sign on her back at this point --- seems to have forgotten to quote, from the very same articles she pointed to, in her blog item about them...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2008 9:01pm PT  

At least one photo I hadn't previously seen, even as Pennsylvania officials were telling the media that all was going well last Tuesday. Even while we documented, in no uncertain terms, that it wasn't.

Trouble with Diebold, purportedly in Allentown...

More at this Barack Obama community page...

(Hat-tip to NCVoter's Joyce McCloy, to whom we wish the best of luck in the upcoming North Carolina primary. What could possibly go wrong?)

UPDATE: Several readers have written in to point out the above photo does come from Allentown, PA, but from the 2006 election, as originally reported here. Can't believe I'd never seen that photo before! In any case, happy to put it on the official BRAD BLOG record here, as just one more way these machines can fail on Election Day, leaving the possibility of voters unable to even cast a ballot (much less have it be counted in a way that can be verified as accurate, a notion that is strictly impossible with the type of voting machine seen above, even when it "works" as designed!)

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Oddity, Which Applied Only to Obama, Never Occurred Before, Remains Unexplained, But 'Didn't Make a Difference' in Final Results, According to State Official Who Confirmed the Anomaly...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2008 4:19pm PT  

Early on election night last Tuesday, with just 18.07% of the unofficial returns from the Pennsylvania Primary in, astute BRAD BLOG reader Matt Sircely (who was aware enough to save off the HTML page locally!) noticed the following oddity on the official Dept. of State website results page...

Note the three different sets of bars and percentages representing Obama's tally. The problem did not occur for any other candidate [Update: looks like it did, see updates at bottom of article for more info], as seen on the full web page, which was noticed early in the evening, and saved locally by the alert reader. Whatever the problem, it was eventually corrected by officials.

Today, Sircely called the PA Dept. of State to try and get an explanation of what caused the problem seen above (audio from call is posted at the end of this article)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2008 5:02pm PT  

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the luckiest woman in the world. Just when it looks like she'll have no chance to become the party's nominee, extraordinary good news comes her way, just at the last minute. Again.

Take, for example, yesterday's Pennsylvania Primary. For weeks we heard endlessly how she would need a double-digit victory margin in the Keystone State to offer a legitimate reason for her to stay in the race. And, as the gods would have it, she achieved the ability to trumpet that double-digit margin by a single tenth of a percent.

With 99.51% of the vote reportedly counted as of this moment, according to the PA Dept. of State's own numbers, it's Clinton's 54.6% to Obama's 45.4%.

So, in truth, that's actually just a 9.2-point difference, but, as luck would have it for the New York Senator, rounding each of those numbers to their nearest percent, as the bulk of the media were happy to do today, allows for a nice, easily-trumpeted, double-digit, 55% to 45% number that can be reported far and wide!

The stunning turn of good fortune comes on the heels of Clinton's last make-or-break moment back in New Hampshire, when conventional wisdom had all but counted her out after her loss to Obama in the Iowa Caucus. But, there again, Clinton came through, despite both pre-election and exit poll numbers which all, almost uniformly, predicted she'd face a thumpin'.

Of course, you conspiracy theorists out there are likely to spin this tale of remarkable providence, into a shadowy tale of skulduggery by supporters of a Clinton nomination, be they Democrats or Republicans, who'd rather see her, instead of Obama, go up against John McCain in the fall.

But you'd have not an iota of actual proof to support your paranoid suspicions...

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

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Updated Throughout the Entire Day (and Night)...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2008 10:29am PT  

Problem reports from polling places in PA, including voting machine malfunctions and long lines, began coming in early this morning. That could be an ominous sign, given that on most Election Days, the real extent of problems, at least with voting systems, isn't fully revealed until later, and often in the days after the election. See our report yesterday detailing concerns about e-voting equipment (though not from officials, who weren't concerned at all) and whether there would be enough machines to go around (presuming they work at all) across Pennsylvania.

Election Prob Hotlines...Machine probs: 1-866-MY-VOTE-1, Machine & other probs: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, Fraud tips: 1-888-VOTE-TIP

Map of counties, showing which type of machines each uses, available here. (Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "GWN".)


NOTE: Updated throughout the day and night of the primary, and the following morning.
Newest items posted on top.

4/23, 2:40am ET: "Smooth Sailing" say the media...even if their very own reporting revealed otherwise...

This will likely be the last of our "Problem Report Wire" dispatches added to this item. We'll pick up the rest of the PA mess, and there is a lot of it, in subsequent blog items.

The long list of reports that you can peruse below, from the past 24 hours, mostly culled directly from the corporate media itself, belie the claims made all day yesterday by many public officials and even the media themselves, that all went well at the polls in the Keystone State.

Countless voters were unable to cast a vote yesterday in PA. The overwhelming majority of those who succeeded in doing so, will never be able to determine whether or not their vote was counted accurately, or even at all, given that some 85% of those votes were cast on machines in which it is literally impossible for anyone, ever, to verify that a single vote was recorded accurately as per the voter's intent. We explained all of that here Monday night, prior to the election, in our article "The Pennsylvania Primary: Democracy of the Gods".

As we mentioned then, if any election official in PA (or anywhere else), or any voting machine company employee, or even any citizen, has proof otherwise, The BRAD BLOG would be happy to see it, and share it with everyone. But that proof will never come, because it does not exist, to the eternal shame of those who would allow such voting systems to be used in American democracy.

The headline of the first story in our final posted collection below, may say it all. The headline indicates "Mostly smooth sailing at polls," yet we suspect the voters referenced, who will never know if their vote was counted at all, and those who can never know if their vote was counted accurately (that would be all of them who voted on an e-voting machine!) may feel otherwise.

From Vindy.com...

Another machine, at the Greene Township Building on Dowling Schoolhouse Road, started freezing up at one point during the day, he said, so the polling place stopped using it."He said that machine has 23 votes on it."He said that if necessary, the company that manufactures the machines, Election Systems and Software out of Omaha, Neb., can retrieve those votes.

NOTE FROM JOHN GIDEON OF VOTERSUNITEORG: Since when is it NOT necessary to count every vote? This tells me that it may not be necessary, in the county's mind, to count the provisional ballots.

From the Times Chronicle...

A Montgomery County judge Tuesday evening turned down a request by the county Democratic Committee to extend voting hours by an additional hour at one Cheltenham poll for voters who could not use an electronic voting machine to cast their ballots until some 2 1/2 hours after the poll opened.

Election officials in Cheltenham's 4-1 ward reported problems with both electronic voting machines assigned to that polling place shortly after the polls opened at 7 a.m. There were approximately 200 people in line at the time.
...
A replacement machine, which had to be programmed, was not delivered until after 11 a.m.
...
Poll workers offered emergency ballots to those initial would-be voters who could not wait for a functioning voting machine or could not return to vote. However, those at the polls said the offer of emergency ballots came too late for many who were angry and stormed out, claiming they had to get to work or go out of town. Only some 60 to 70 emergency ballots were filled out.

From the Times-Leader...

WILKES-BARRE A woman wanting to vote was turned away after no proof of her registration could be found. The judge of elections at Ward 16 on Hanover Street, Walter Griffith, said Annmarie Lee, of Wilkes-Barre, told Griffith she registered to vote, but did not specify where she had registered. Griffith said he called a county elections inspector who told him there was no evidence of her registration and not to give her a provisional ballot to fill out.

Griffith said that is a violation of the law.

It is. Read the full story for the reasoning of the election officials, but as time allows, we will try to look into this story a bit deeper for more details.


CONTINUE READING BELOW FOR MANY MORE PROBLEM REPORTS,
AS RECORDED BY THE MEDIA DURING TUESDAY'S
DISASTROUS PENNSYLVANIA PRIMARY...


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

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Tuesday's Election Will be 'Unrecountable, Unverifiable, and Unauditable'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2008 8:05am PT  

On Tuesday night, you will be told who the winner of the Pennsylvania Primary is. You will accept it. You will have no choice. No matter who the winner really is. Or isn't.

This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

Most of the votes, more than 85%, will be cast on such DRE systems which do not provide so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs), as their use has been found unconstitutional in the state, since its been determined, accurately, that ballot secrecy cannot be guaranteed when using such paper trail systems. Not that it matters.

With or without a so-called "paper trail" printer, all touch-screen/push-button/DRE voting machines are equally unverifiable and antithetical to American democracy. Period.

So, as with South Carolina's primary, so so long ago, and other states since, whatever the officials tell you at the end of the election is what you, and we, will have to accept. Whether votes are counted accurately is completely out of anyone's hands at this point. It's strictly Democracy of the Gods...

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

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Philly Mayor Nutter Says 'No Problems, They Got Me Elected'; PA Gov Rendell Admits He 'Knows Nothing About Them, But They're All Approved by HAVA'
Great Work by Jake Soboroff from Last Night's Dem Debate...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2008 1:46pm PT  

The following video comes fresh from our buddy Jake Soboroff of Why Tuesday? He was at last night's Democratic debate and tried to get some answers from some of the local Democratic public officials on hand --- including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and PA Governor Ed Rendell --- to see if they had any concerns about the e-voting machines to be used in next week's crucial PA Primary.

Kudos to Jake for asking, just one of the so-many questions (if, arguably, one of the most important) that the Corporate Media, such as ABC News, couldn't even be bothered to dream of, apparently.

Despite the fact that, next week, wholly unverifiable, 100% faith-based e-voting systems will be in use across much of the Keystone State --- including, perhaps most notably, Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screens in Montgomery and Northhampton counties, even though very same systems failed so spectacularly in neighboring NJ on Super Tuesday (see this recent BRAD BLOG story for the quick skinny on what happened, and continues to be going on with the NJ/Sequoia failed touch-screen imbroglio) --- the election officials interviewed by Soboroff, in the following quick video recorded just last night, remain utterly and completely clueless.

It's simply amazing...


And folks wonder why the job of restoring Election Integrity in this country is so frickin' hard?!

The above video --- including Nutter's comments that there have been "no problems" with the machines, since, after all, they got him elected, and Rendell's admission that he "knows nothing about them", but that they are "all HAVA approved machines" --- underscores how unbelievably difficult this fight is, and how clueless the very folks needed to help make a change actually are, in this entire fine mess.

Suggestion to Soboroff for next vid: Ask any elected official or election official in PA, or anywhere else, if they can prove that even a single vote --- as cast on any touch-screen machine during any actual election --- has ever been recorded and counted accurately as the voter intended. Just evidence of a single such vote will do. They will not be able to do so. None of them.

UPDATE 4/19/08: The good election integrity champions of VotePA touched base with us concerning our above suggestion to Soboroff to point out that there is one way possible to prove that a touch-screen/DRE counted a vote accurately, as per voter intent, during an actual election. An unusual write-in candidate could be cast, and then checked after the election to see if it was recorded accurately. Therefore, we'll slightly modify our currently suggested challenge above, to any election official, asking for proof of any non-write-in vote having been recorded accurately as per voter intent, as ever cast on a DRE/touch-screen voting machine during an actual election. We've made that challenge for quite a while (minus the "non-write-in" part), and we've yet to receive an iota of proof from any election official, even from those who will tell you that their DRE/touch-screens record votes "accurately".

Truth is, they have nothing to prove their case. Not even a single (non-write-in) vote ever cast. Yet they still claim them to be "accurate" without any such scientific evidence of same. Go figure.

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Judge Orders Mandatory Testing of Machines After Company Previously Threatened Legal Action Against Princeton Professors if They Dared To Examine Machines...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2008 4:21pm PT  

Just out from the NJ Star-Ledger...

Subpoenas were issued in six New Jersey counties today, demanding that officials turn over for testing all voting machines where discrepancies were found in the presidential primary tallies.

Election officials in Bergen, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean and Union counties were instructed to turn over the machines by April 15. Activists trying to persuade Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg that electronic voting machines should be discarded succeeded in convincing her that examining these counties' machines is critical to their case.

"In order to succeed in our case and show Sequoia machines are insecure and can be hacked into, we need to look at these machines," Venetis argued. Clerks in the six counties uncovered discrepancies in 60 machines when they doubled check the vote tallies after the Feb. 5 presidential primary.

Michelle Shafer, a spokeswoman for Sequoia in California, said her company would try to have the subpoenas quashed. But no motions were filed today with Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg, who is presiding over the case in Trenton.

In the meantime, we repeat our background detail on this amazing (and sometimes hilarious) story in full below, as we ran it this weekend when one of the Princeton professors threatened by Sequoia found the failures in NJ were even worse than previously thought.

Please note: The same failed Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screens are scheduled for use in Pennsylvania in the important upcoming Democratic Primary!...

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

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New Findings Directly Contradict Company Explanation, Excuse...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2008 1:33pm PT  

Princeton computer science professor and now-well known academic hacker of e-voting systems, Ed Felten, reports on his blog...

This week we obtained six new summary tapes, from machines in Bergen and Gloucester counties. Two of these new tapes contradict Sequoia’s explanation and show more serious discrepancies that we saw before.

His article offers the details of the latest findings, but for the disturbing --- and too-often hilarious --- background on this incredible continuing scandal...

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

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And BRAD BLOG Requests your Help...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2008 10:15am PT  

Meanwhile, over at tech 'zine InfoWorld, Robert X. Cringely takes notice of BRAD BLOG's exposé from earlier this week, on the man Sequoia Voting Systems is paying to "independently" review their failed AVC Advantage touch-screen machines (the ones that failed in NJ recently, but which are still set for use in the upcoming, crucial PA primary). He was as amused/horrified at whom they'd hired, instead of the actually qualified computer science professors at Princeton University whom Sequoia had threatened with legal action, should they dare a real examination of the company's faulty machines.

Cringely sums up our report succinctly this way...

While I was digging through the Net looking for the skinny on Sequoia Voting Systems and its mystery contractor Kwaidan Consulting (aka Mike Gibbons), the Bradblog's Brad Friedman was doing the same. He managed to unearth a cached version of Gibbons' MySpace page that's just a wee bit different than the current model. Instead of a photo of Gibbons shaking hands with Bush I, this one shows a good-old-boy leaning against the hood of a pickup. The list of people Gibbons wants to meet has changed too. Instead of Jesus, Einstein, and Newton, Gibbons was looking for “a well endowed blonde nymphomaniac ... that likes to be under the influence of Jim Beam whiskey in a dimly lit room at least 3 times a week.” (Hmm, Jesus or a busty nymphomaniac – that's a tough call.) It's nice to know the gatekeepers of our electoral system go shopping for their code experts in New Orleans bordellos.

One small thought in response to the good Cringely here. Sequoia are not the "gate-keepers," they just think they are, and therein lie the problems. He, we, and you are the gate-keepers. And until now, we've failed horribly to keep the crooks and liars --- like the folks at Sequoia and Diebold and ES&S and Hart InterCivic (take a look at that report please Robert, and the stunning complaint downloadable with it!) --- outside of those gates.

By the way, with the crush of other news elsewhere, and even at The BRAD BLOG this week, our rather jaw-dropping report on Gibbons (even if we say so ourselves) was largely overlooked out there by the CMSM and even the blogosphere. These stories --- the embarrassing Gibbons/Kwaidan report, the remarkable federal fraud case against Hart, and all the others here --- don't spread themselves around. Please do not misunderestimate the importance of your DIGGING, REDDIT-ing, and otherwise emailing and linking up to these stories far and wide. Notifying your local media about them (include the URL when you email them), can make all the difference.

We're doing our part, and appreciate whatever hand you can lend in return. It matters.

As we often say, this democracy ain't gonna save itself. And the gates ain't gonna keep themselves, either.

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Meet Mike Gibbons of 'Kwaidan Consulting': Seeking 'Well Endowed Blonde Nymphomaniacs'...Or 'Jesus Christ, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein,' Depending on Whose Paying...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2008 8:02pm PT  

Last week, in the wake of their AVC Advantage touch-screen voting systems having been found to have failed in at least six counties following New Jersey's Super Tuesday Primary, and on the heels of much-deserved ridicule for having threatened Princeton computer scientists with legal action should they go forward with an independent technical review of their voting systems, as requested by NJ election officials, Sequoia Voting systems issued a laughable press release headlined "Sequoia Voting Systems supports third party reviews and testing of its election equipment," which John Gideon appropriately eviscerated for all of the (putting it nicely) "misleading half-truths" therein from the dishonest, desperate folks at Sequoia.

The company, which claims their oft-hacked votings systems (accidental hack here, on purpose hack here) are secure and "tamperproof", subsequently saw their own website ignominiously hacked thereafter late last week.

But, as if the constant predilections of Sequoia VPs Michelle Shafer and Edwin Smith to slap "kick me" signs on their own backs wasn't enough, they then went on to release another statement last Thursday announcing they were commissioning their own "external review" of their own voting systems "that includes review by an independent company," which nobody has ever heard of.

So who is this "Kwaidan Consulting of Houston, Texas," whom the geniuses at Sequoia have selected to carry out their independent, third-party review? You're not gonna be believe this one...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2008 9:59am PT  

Blogged quickly by Brad from Palo Alto, CA...

We can't think of a clever enough turn of phrase this morning to adequately cover the full irony here... Via Computerworld...

A company whose e-voting machines have come under fire from election officials in New Jersey confirmed today that its Web site had been hacked.

A section of Sequoia Voting Systems Inc.'s Web site was hacked overnight, and when the company realized what had happened, it took the site down and removed the "intrusive content," Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer said via e-mail.

Sequoia made "security enhancements" to protect the site from further hacking, and it was back online this afternoon, Shafer said. The company is investigating the origin of the attack.

Not enough irony yet? Add this...

The hack was noticed Thursday morning by Ed Felten, a computer scientist who has been asked to investigate voting-machine discrepancies in the state's primary election.

Yes, that would be the same Ed Felten, computer science professor of Princeton, who last week was sent a threatening email from a Sequoia executive, warning of legal trouble should he dare examine the Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed in New Jersey's Primary Election in February.

In the wake of this latest PR nightmare for the company, as John Gideon pointed out last night, they've decided to mount a Campaign of Lies instead of simply allowing their "tamperproof" e-voting systems to be examined by a third party. Brilliant strategy, guys. As usual.

The same failed Sequoia touch-screen systems, which have never been tested by any independent third-party, are currently set for use in Pennsylvania's Primary next month. We continue to encourage readers to click here to encourage NJ's AG to immediately commission a complete technical review of NJ's voting machines to determine what went wrong.

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By John Gideon on 3/20/2008 6:41pm PT  

By John Gideon VotersUnite.Org

In a press release dated March 18 Sequoia Voting Systems attempted to quench the fire storm that resulted from failures of their voting machines in New Jersey and their subsequent threats of legal action against New Jersey counties and Princeton University scientists if they independently review the problematic voting machines. Unfortunately the press release is full of inaccuracies and obfuscation.

Here are the worst of them...

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

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Private Information Left Online, Available to All...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2008 2:22pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

Remember in the summer of '06 when citizen Election Integrity advocates from the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project (IBIP) discovered that Chicago's voter registration system was hackable, and allowed for access to voters' private information, such as Social Security number etc?

Looks like a similar thing has now been discovered in Pennsylvania, where their online voter registration system has now been taken offline after it was found that anyone was able to access other voters' registration information.

We can't even do online registration securely, and yet Democrats have been talking about actually voting by Internet?! There is, apparently, no bad voting idea (touch-screen voting machines, "paper-trails," vote-by-mail, now Internet voting) that Democrats aren't all too willing to leap at before bothering to look.

Of course, where Democrats fail with often the best of intentions, Republicans often aim to "fail" in the first place with such systems. We're still not sure exactly which of those is worse. Either way, there seems to be plenty of failure to go around these days. Luckily, there's nothing important coming up for voters in Pennsylvania anytime soon.

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