His article offers the details of the latest findings, but for the disturbing --- and too-often hilarious --- background on this incredible continuing scandal...
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|More Special Coverages Pages...|
His article offers the details of the latest findings, but for the disturbing --- and too-often hilarious --- background on this incredible continuing scandal...
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...
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.
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...
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 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...
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.
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...
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.
-- Brad Friedman
Sequoia Voting Systems' legal threats against Princeton computer science professors and New Jersey election officials, as we reported in exclusive detail last night, have apparently had their intended effect.
The strong-arm email sent to professors Ed Felten and Andrew Appel was apparently accompanied by a two-page letter to Union County, New Jersey, Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, who originally discovered a tally failure in Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines after the February 5th Super Tuesday election. The same error was subsequently discovered in at least five other counties.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello tells the New Jersey Times that Sequoia's decision to block an independent analysis of its touch-screen voting machines makes no sense if the firm is confident that they work properly.
"I think it's unfortunate that they're not letting an independent investigation take place," Sollami-Covello tells the paper this morning. "They should have no problem with having a third party investigate the product if they are confident in their product."
Another Mercer County, NJ, official sent a letter to the state Attorney General criticizing Sequoia's bizarre explanation for failures discovered in the systems following state's recent Primary Election, characterizing what he describes as the company's "strange, confusing solution." He said the company's explanation for the problem, which succeeded in blaming voters and poll workers as usual, was based on a "bizarre scenario, with no cited evidence or testimony" to back it up.
While NJ's state clerks association had voted unanimously to recommend that the Attorney General commission an independent study of the machines --- the same ones which will be used across the state of Pennsylvania in next month's key Democratic Primary Election --- Union County's plan to move forward with their own study has been nixed due to the legal threats sent from Sequoia's VP of "Compliance/Quality/Certification" Edwin Smith, according to a number of New Jersey papers today.
Amazingly (or perhaps, not so much at this point), Union County's attorneys folded to the pressure from the company, which claimed that Election Officials in NJ --- who spent millions on the voting systems --- are not legally allowed to examine them independently because "the voting machine software is a Sequoia 'trade secret' and cannot be handed over to any third-party."
Fear of a lawsuit from Sequoia, which will also control the state's elections in an upcoming June primary, as well as the November general election, has led to county attorneys backing down from their plans for the time being, unless the state AG jumps in to take action.
In the threatening email from Smith to the Princeton professors sent last Friday, as posted here in full last night, the company executive threatened legal action if a "non-compliant analysis" of their voting systems was carried out. "We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property," Smith warned.
The Star-Ledger reports the latest, almost mind-numbingly incredible, developments in your democracy, now fully and completely in the hands of privatized corporate America, this morning...
It's February 8th, 2008, and it's now official: One member of the broadcast MSM has officially joined the ranks of those "crackpots" and "conspiracy theorists" over at The BRAD BLOG!
Congrats to Pittsburgh's WTAE's Team 4 for their excellent, responsible, and appropriate reportage on the serious concerns facing Pennsylvania's Allegheny County voters in the upcoming election. Their investigative report asks "Is Your Vote Safe With County Voting Machines?" and the clear, well-reported, fair and balanced answer comes back as an unambiguous, no punches-pulled: Absolutely not!
The report's "conspiracy theories," confirmed by video, photographs and on-the-record statements from both public officials and Election Integrity experts, as detailed by Team 4's Jim Parsons on WTAE-TV's evening news yesterday (transcript and video both here), include some of these well-known-to-BRAD-BLOG-readers, if still-stunning and rarely-reported-in-the-MSM, items...
Voter turnout was light in many parts of the country yesterday. Ironically enough, that's the good news.
Alternet ran a preview of voter suppression issues of concern in yesterday's elections across the country. Sure enough, the author, Steve Rosenfeld, wrote in during the early evening to let us know there were problems concerning Photo ID issues popping up in pockets around the country, and that he'd have more soon. Our own Alan Breslauer touched base as well with several reports he'd been getting from around the country.
John Gideon's "Daily Voting News" yesterday pointed to some of those issues that had been reported in the media as of yesterday afternoon around the country. GOP voter suppression, through specious claims of Democratic "voter fraud" and the invented "need," therefore, for disenfranchising photo ID laws and challenges at the polls, is at the top of the Republican strategy for '08. Naturally, it was taken out for a test spin yesterday.
(Speaking of spin, don't miss wingnut Mychal Massie's despicable retread diatribe --- including the mandatory quotes from GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, John Fund, who wrote the book on it, literally --- in the wingnut WorldNetDaily. His tragically misguided piece, headlined "Vote fraud: Democrats' meal ticket" gives you just about all you need to know. Read it once, save yourself a thousand or so near-identical reads between now and November 2008. But we digress...)
The other major prong of voter disenfranchisment is, of course, the machine issue. Problems in that area, in particular, tend to reveal themselves in the days after elections. Early on election day such problems are frequently downplayed in the media, who tend to turn to Election Officials for information despite the inherent conflict of interest such officials have in hoping to portray their elections as "successful."
In the early hours, then, hints of such breakdowns are reported as little more than computer "glitches" "hiccups" "snafus" and "snags" (though "kinks" makes it debut today, see below) until later on, when the true extent of the voting system failures --- and that's what they are, not "kinks" --- become known.
With that in mind, here are just a few of those e-voting glitches, hiccups, snafus, snags, and yes, kinks, from around the country so far yesterday, as culled from Gideon's DVN last night...
Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...
Three Pennsylvania counties are considering pulling their old lever voting machines out of mothballs for this November's general election. The counties' "Plan B" comes in the wake of a refusal by e-voting machine company Advance Voting Systems (AVS) to pay the bill to federal "Independent Testing Authority" (ITA) lab iBeta Quality Assurance which has, according to NJ's Express-Times, found "thousands of source code irregularities and 24 documentation irregularities with AVS machines."
A problem in AVS's currently certified systems in PA makes them impossible to use as is in the upcoming elections.
iBeta is one of the private testing labs recently given approval by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) to test voting systems at the federal level. The labs, however, are still paid by the voting machine companies themselves.
The EAC's letter [PDF] also indicated that iBeta discovered AVS machines, contrary to the submitted documentation, used a different motherboard than those on the machines submitted for testing.
It's unclear, according to some of the reports from the PA papers, whether lever machines may legally be used in their elections, or if the counties may have to move to....wait for it...paper ballots in this November's municipal elections.
The Express-Times reveals the extraordinary arrogance of the voting machine companies, who, until heat has recently been brought to bear on both the EAC and the companies, had for years received a rubber-stamp for qualification of their systems by federal testers --- no matter how poorly the systems were built. After the EAC notified the company that certification testing was being suspended at iBeta due to lack of payment, "Howard Van Pelt, Advanced Voting Solutions president, maintained the machines are certified, regardless of what the commission says," according to the Express-Times.
Van Pelt, however, is wrong. But he, and the others like him, are used to receiving a free pass from the EAC and other Federal and local authorities for so many years that they may still be under the impression they can do whatever they want, despite what the federal government tells them and despite what the law says.
Yet AVS may not be the only voting machine company we may soon find unwilling --- or unable --- to pay for testing of voting systems, which could subsequently plunge elections in other states and counties into danger of not being carried out at all...
Blogged by Brad...breaking as I must head over to the studio to the Peter B. Collins Show today...
Bad news for the RNC. New emails reveal their "Voter Fraud Strategy Conference Call" just prior to the 2004 Presidential elections, with plans to use Vote Caging lists to challenge voters in swings states from OH to PA to FL to NM. The effort seems to have been spearheaded by Tim Griffin.
Truthout gets the scoop and the collections of emails, as based on a report from PBS's NOW to air tomorrow night. Here's the skinny...
The documents also contain details describing how Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign officials, and at least one individual who worked for White House political adviser Karl Rove, planned to stop minorities residing in Cuyahoga County from voting on election day.
The efforts to purge voters from registration rolls was spearheaded by Tim Griffin, a former Republican National Committee opposition researcher. Griffin recently resigned from his post as interim US attorney for Little Rock Arkansas. His predecessor, Bud Cummins, was forced out to make way for Griffin.
Another set of documents, 43 pages of emails, provided to Truthout by the PBS news program "NOW," contains blueprints for a massive effort undertaken by RNC operatives in 2004, to challenge the eligibility of voters expected to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania.
One email, dated September 30, 2004, and sent to a dozen or so staffers on the Bush-Cheney campaign and the RNC, under the subject line "voter fraud strategy conference call," describes how campaign staffers planned to challenge the veracity of votes in a handful of battleground states in the event of a Democratic victory.
Furthermore, the emails show the Bush-Cheney campaign and RNC staffers compiled voter-challenge lists that targeted probable Democratic voters in at least five states: New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Voting rights lawyers have made allegations of so called "vote caging," against Republicans previously. These emails provide more evidence. One Republican operative involved in the planning wrote "we can do this in NV, FL, PA and NM because we have a list to run against the Absentee Ballot requests, and should."
Truthout has a bevy of emails that I haven't been able to review, but we'll have the producer of tomorrow's NOW story on the Peter B. Collins Show tomorrow (which I'm still Guest Hosting through the end of the week) to discuss this story.
And yes, Bush/Cheney '04 Inc's national general counsel, who would later go on to create the phony "grassroots" GOP front-group, American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), was right there in the thick of it all...
Michael P. Buffer at The Citizens Voice is reporting that Luzerne County, PA, elections director Leonard Piazza is furious at voting machine company ES&S for their attempt to charge some $300,000 for an extended warranty on their voting machines.
Decrying "the mix of deception this company promulgates" and the "unsavory business practices that vendors, such as ES&S, seemingly have a deep commitment to employing," Piazza penned a letter to state officials recently with his concerns.
We have now booked Piazza as a guest to discuss the issue on this evening's Peter B. Collins show, which we have been Guest Hosting. We also hope to be posting his letter in full here, and will update this item with it after we receive it. (NOTE: See update now at end of this article for full letter, and link to the archive of the radio interview with Piazza.)
For now, here's the lede today from Citizens Voice:
The county last year spent $2.4 million in federal money to buy 750 touch-screen voting machines from Election Systems & Software, and a one-year warranty has expired on roughly half of the machines and will expire on the rest this year.
“In addition to not being able to meet the financial burden that ES&S is asking us to meet, we cannot individually deal with such a large, multi-national corporation and the mix of deception this company promulgates,” Piazza wrote in a July 19 letter to Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth Thomas J. Weaver and Harry A. VanSickle, commissioner of the state bureau of commissions, elections and legislation.
Piazza asked the state to help ensure “that voting-system vendors doing business here do not have the opportunity to threaten the democratic process with such unsavory business practices that vendors, such as ES&S, seemingly have a deep commitment to employing.”
UPDATE: The two-page 7/19/07 letter from Piazza to state officials, complaining about ES&S and asking for help ends, "As I’ve come to learn from other jurisdictions, once the confidence is lost, it is virtually un-retrievable—and that would suggest that the democratic process itself has been broken." It is now posted in full here [PDF].
My on-air interview with Piazza --- which was both informative, and at times a bit contentious --- from today's Peter B. Collins radio show is now archived online here (in Hour 3).
A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.
Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.
Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:
The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:
If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.
The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).
The New York Times' Ian Urbina (this time with Christopher Drew) continues to stay on point with his Electoral Failures coverage at the Grey Lady. Unlike Urbina's last report, this time he wasn't undermined by the Times headline writers. (Does anyone with a hard copy of the paper know what page this was reported on, btw?)
To his additional credit, he didn't use the word "glitch" even once. Thank you, Ian. Here are a few highlights from his piece in today's paper...
Tens of thousands of voters, scattered across more than 25 states, encountered serious problems at the polls, including failures in sophisticated new voting machines and confusion over new identification rules, according to interviews with election experts and officials.
Wow. Who could have predicted that?!
And there's more...Of course, the "experts" (word used very cautiously!) are beginning to notice that things on Nov. 7th were worse than they had originally understood. "Voting problems may actually have been wider than initially estimated, with many malfunctions simply overlooked," reports the Times.
So how bad were they? How about 60,000 missing votes in Florida, bad. 20,000 voters who couldn't vote in Colorado, bad. Or in Arkansas, where "election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000," bad.
And then there's the erstwhile election "expert" Doug Chapin of Electionline.org whose "expert" opinion ensures his presence in just about any mainstream media coverage of these matters. Mr. Chapin continues, on schedule, working all sides of the street in Urbina's piece. It's a tricky juggling act for this "expert" --- mustn't offend the Voting Machine Companies or the Elections Officials who pay his bills, or even, to a lesser extent, the Election Integrity advocates who might just call him a phony if he's not careful --- but, as John Gideon pointed out in yesterday's DVN, even Chapin's having a difficult time avoiding the obvious:
And the award for "Understatment of the Year" goes to...
UPDATE 9:01pm PT: Reader Adele writes to tell us that Urbina's article was on "page 30 of 36 pages in the National section" of today's paper.
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum concedes to Senator elect Bob Casey.
UPDATE FROM BRAD 11/8/06 7:56pm: Please note, his concession came only after he succeeded in getting the PA Republican Party to send a letter to Secretary of the Commonwealth demanding that voting machines in 27 counties be impounded after reports that Republican votes were flipping to Democratic on touch-screen machines. Ya don't hear that very often. We support the impounding of those machines...though we received late-night reports that Santorum and the GOP had withdrawn their request. More soon...
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