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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, September 26, 2016
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump's Charity Scam; Warren's Wells Fargo Slam; Texas' Photo ID Court Snub: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gas pipeline spill in AL; Court reprieve for Dakota Access construction; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Previous GNRs: 9/15/16 - 9/13/16 - Archives...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: National polls tied; Trump leading in OH; Sanders cautions against third-party voting; Colbert tries to cheer us up...
Leaked Emails Reveal Walker's Illegal 2012 Fundraising, GOPers Faking Dem 'Fraud': 'BradCast' 9/15/16
Attorney Brendan Fischer on smoking guns from quashed criminal probe of WI Guv...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs probing Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods third costliest disaster in U.S. history...
Previous GNRs: 9/13/16 - 9/8/16 - Archives...
Criminal Bribery Complaint Filed Against Trump, Bondi: 'BradCast' 9/14/16
Guest: Noah Bookbinder, of complainant Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)...
Parade of 'Deplorables' (Cuz We're Gonna Need a Bigger Basket): 'BradCast' 9/13/16
String of hate crimes follow GOP 'outrage' over Clinton remarks & MSM ain't helping. Some good news too!...
'Green News Report' 9/13/16
Obama halts ND pipeline; Big Oil's push for pipelines; Judge stops plan to frack on CA public lands; Unfinished nuke plant for sale; PLUS: Aug 2016 hottest ever... again...
Trump Even Lies About 9/11; Big Oil's New Pipeline Trick: 'BradCast' 9/12/16
MSM's dangerous Clinton/Trump 'balance'; Plus: Steve Horn on fossil fuel industry scam to avoid enviro laws...
Courts and Coal Ash Dampen McCrory's Re-Election Chances
It's not for nothing that NC Repubs are working so hard to keep certain people out of the voting booth this Nov...
Sunday Toons of the Questionable Moment
What the hell is going on, and how long will keep going? PDiddie's latest collection of toons attempts to answer some of those unanswerables...
Fed Judge Denies ND Pipeline Halt, Fed Agencies Halt It: 'BradCast' 9/9/16
Also: TX violates court-ordered Photo ID remedy, new studies reveal such laws undermine democracy...
The Soft Bigotry of Trump Expectations: 'BradCast' 9/8/16
How Trump 'won' the 'Commander-in-Chief Forum' and Washington Monthly's Martin Longman on media coverage of actual Trump crimes v. Clinton 'scandals'...
'Green News Report' 9/8/16
Major fracking quake in OK; Violence at Dakota Access protest; Asian typhoons 50% stronger than in 70s; PLUS: Obama in China formally signs landmark climate pact...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
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
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

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...


Politico feature on Princeton computer scientists who cracked U.S. e-voting and tabulation systems offers what could be very good news
Also: TX agrees to restore reasonable ID requirements; Wingnut climate dead-enders...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, amidst a fresh flurry of mainstream media coverage of how simple it is to manipulate election results via electronic voting and tabulation systems, Politico Magazine offers a blockbuster cover story describing it as "child's play" and, as it turns out, also serving as a virtual "Best Of" from the past 15 years of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of e-voting failure and concerns. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Ben Wofford's 8,500+ word feature today on how a group of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts coming out of Princeton University have, in recent years, been able to hack virtually every such system still in use across all 50 states in the U.S., details one story after another that we've either broken or covered in detail, and highlights the brilliant work of a bunch of the scientists and experts who I've interviewed on the blog or radio show or who have otherwise served as sources for much of my reporting over the years both at The BRAD BLOG and other publications.

(Just a very few of those greatest hit hacks from over the years: the Diebold Touch-Screen Virus Hack, the Sequoia Pac-Man Hack, the $26 Radio Shack Hack, the D.C. Internet Voting Hack.)

More importantly (as I detailed earlier today), Wofford's lengthy and well-researched report offers hints that even the computer scientists are finally beginning to concede that the most secure voting and counting system of all may be plain old, hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at each precinct on election night before ballots are moved anywhere. (What I've long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard".)

As Shane Harris reports at The Daily Beast this week in his piece "How Hackers Could Destroy Election Day", there are many ways that electronic voting and tabulation threatens American democracy, including by someone merely claiming that the vote has been hacked, whether it really has been or not. "If you have a system that's been shown to have vulnerabilities, even if someone doesn't attack them, but creates the impression that they might have, in a closely contested elections you've got a problem," explains Johns Hopkins' computer scientist Avi Rubin, one of the first to detail the enormous vulnerabilities in computer tabulator source code (in systems made by Diebold, in that case.)

Also today: After the nation's most conservative federal appeals court recently found Texas Republicans violated the Voting Rights Act with their racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law, the state agrees to a court-ordered remedy that broadly expands ID types that may be used for voting, re-enfranchising at least 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately Dem-leaning Texas voters in the bargain.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with some accountability in Michigan, and to bat down several persistent wingnut climate changes myths (from Donald Trump and WI's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson among others) that just won't die, no matter how much independently verifiable science gets thrown at them...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Or, how Politico summarizes much of BRAD BLOG's 15 years of e-voting coverage in 8,500 smart words....
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 1:15pm PT  

Please read the cover story of Politico Magazine today headlined "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes". Ben Wofford's excellent, comprehensive feature summarizes a great deal of almost 15 years of our work here at The BRAD BLOG. He focuses his piece on the core of computer science and cybersecurity experts initially working out of Princeton University back in 2005 or so, who have, since that time, gone on to publicly hack virtually every electronic voting system and tabulator still in use around the country (and even, looking forward, hacking at least one planned Internet Voting scheme.)

We've covered and/or broke the news about many of those landmark exploits, both here and on the radio, going back through 2005 or so. I don't have time to collect all the links here at the moment, but it's very nice to see so many of them rounded up so thoroughly in Wofford's piece.

The 8,500+ word article is far too detailed to adequately summarize, or even quote from in detail here. So please go pour a tall drink or cup of coffee (you may need several, there's a lot there) and go read about the "parabola of havoc and mismanagement that has been the fifteen-year nightmare of state and local officials", as he accurately describes it, following the horrifically misguided and ill-advised move to computerized voting and tabulation systems following the 2000 election. I suspect we've filed almost as many articles on this topic as Wofford has words in today's piece!

But there's one element of his piece I want to ring in on specifically, as I think it represents something a bit more encouraging from the computer scientists who are discussed in the report than I have seen over the years...

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




Guest: Indiana University cybersecurity law expert Scott Shackelford | Also: Why your right to vote matters, 52 years after 'Freedom Summer'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2016 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after great news on voting rights from a bunch of state and federal courts over the past week, and sudden concerns from the the Right, the Left and the corporate media about the possibility of stolen elections, the Dept. of Homeland Security is finally looking into taking action. [Audio link to today's program posted below.]

"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. "There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process."

Years ago, I began reporting on the serious vulnerability of our election system to manipulation (and error) from both foreign and domestic sources. In 2006, for example, after helping supply computer security analysts at Princeton University with a Diebold touch-screen voting system for the first independent tests of such a machine, I reported both at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon that the analysts were able to hack into it, in about 60 seconds time, with a virus that would flip election results and pass itself from machine to machine with virtually no possibility of detection. That followed on an Exclusive series of 2005 reports from a Diebold insider who I called "DIEB-THROAT" at the time, describing how the company's lead programmers admitted that the security on their systems was terrible and that a branch of DHS had already warned, in 2004, about an "undocumented back door" in the systems.

In 2009, by way of just one more example, we reported here on remarks delivered to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) by CIA cybersecurity analyst Steven Stigall, describing how "wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to make bad things happen," before going on to note that the CIA became interested in electronic voting systems years earlier "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

So, it is with some skepticism that I regard Johnson's remarks this week about finally taking action to identify our existing, vulnerable electoral system as "critical infrastructure". Is it too little, too late on the eve of another Presidential election? And is it even possible to protect the type of electronic vote casting and counting systems we currently use in our elections? And what does the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually mean any way?

I'm joined on today's program for some answers by Scott Shackelford, cybersecurity law and business expert from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfter Center, to explain some of this, and to describe some of the ways in which the U.S. might expand existing international agreements to keep domestic elections from being tampered with by foreign powers. Shackelford, writes about the issue this week at the Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed titled "How to make democracy harder to hack."

"It definitely is too late at this point to wake up and get all 9,000 jurisdictions on board for November," he tells me today. "Maybe instead of focusing quite so much on driver's licenses [to prevent fraud] and making sure we have different IDs in some of these states, it would've been great to have put that focus a little bit more on cybersecurity. But that didn't happen."

For what it's worth, my answer, after more than a decade on this beat: No, it's not possible to protect the type of electronic systems we currently use without moving to what I describe as "Democracy's Gold Standard". But Shackelford offers several ways we can, at least, try to improve the situation and mitigate the current dangers, as well as some thoughts on why action has been so long in coming. "Elections do quite a bit to focus minds. It is unfortunate that we lose some of that focus in the aftermath of these elections," he says.

Also today, why the right to vote is so important, whether you like it or use it or not, and why, for me, at least, it's still about rights, not politics, some 52 years to the day after the bodies of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner were found after being murdered in Mississippi for trying to help register African-Americans to vote in 1964.

And, finally, speaking of vulnerable, as deadly, climate-fueled extreme weather continues across the planet, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, up for re-election this year against former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, offers up some of the dumbest, most embarrassing, scientifically disproven and just out-and-out inaccurate arguments against taking action on climate change that he could possibly muster. All of that and more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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MSM, Repubs and Dems finally decide e-voting and tabulation a concern...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2016 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we examine charges made by Donald Trump of a rigged November election, the case made by Bernie Sanders supporters that Hillary Clinton may have won the primary due to election fraud, and the mainstream corporate media finally deciding that, yes, hacked voting and tabulation systems really are a threat to American elections. [Link to audio of today's program follows below.]

It's fun (not really) to see corporate media outlets --- once again on the eve a major election --- suddenly very worried about so much of what we have been reporting (see, literally, thousands of stories at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast) about the vulnerability of the U.S. electoral system. We've been warning of exactly that for more than a decade.

The recent concerns follow the hack of DNC emails, said by Dems to have been carried out by Russian intelligence agencies, months of charges of "election fraud!" from Sanders supporters, and now new charges from Trump and friends that the Presidential Election will be stolen by Dems this November by electronic voting machines or voter fraud (or whatever the hell he and his supporters are now sputtering.)

It might all have been more fun had all of the above noticed these concerns years ago, rather than right after what some believe is a stolen election and right before one that some believe could be stolen. Ya know, back when there would have been time to move to transparent voting and counting systems instead.

Nonetheless, with those real concerns --- from all sides --- of hacked, stolen, manipulated or just plain erroneously reported election results, I note that "concerns" are not proof of fraud. So, today, we examine the various arguments, including some detailed thoughts --- both critical and complimentary --- on a new 100-page draft report [PDF] by Election Justice USA, titled "Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries".

Their report (and others making similar charges in recent months) details what EJUSA believes to be proof and/or evidence of fraud that benefited Hillary Clinton during the primary. In stark summary (much more detail offered on today's show itself!), the group's evidence of voter registration fraud in some locations is disturbing, if not completely unlike what we've seen in previous elections. But, I am somewhat less moved by their evidence of electronic voting and tabulation manipulation, as based largely on analysis of disparities between Exit Polling and reported election results. I try and explain why I am not particularly persuaded by studies of Exit Polls in regard to U.S. elections, and why, frankly, my response to their report would be similar whether they found proof of fraud or proof of zero fraud in the election. In both cases I would say what I have been saying for years: We need publicly hand-counted, hand-marked, paper-ballots in this country in order to have real confidence in results. (That is what I've long described as Democracy's Gold Standard.)

Short of that, with computerized voting and counting systems that are difficult, if not impossible for the public to oversee, confidence in U.S. elections will continue to erode whether fraud or error actually exists in the results or not. That, in and of itself, as I have shouted for years, continues to present a grave threat to America's system of representative democracy.

All of that and the latest Green News Report, on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder (R)...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as voters head to the polls for the big Presidential Primary in Indiana --- where many of them will again cast 100% unverifiable votes on touch-screen voting systems --- a Republican State Senator from Missouri joins us to explain his bill to do away with such systems in the Show-Me State. [Link to audio of the show at bottom of article.]

In April, St. Louis County held a disastrous local primary election in which, for the first time in years, they used only paper ballots at the polling places, since election officials said they did not have enough time, following the state's Presidential Primary in March, to reprogram the County's touch-screen systems. The County has long given voters the option to vote on hand-marked, optically-scanned paper ballots or on unverifiable touch-screen systems, with more and more voters choosing paper, even as local election officials encouraged them to vote on the oft-failed, easily-manipulated touch-screen machines.

The April disaster occurred when the County's co-Election Directors (one Democrat and one Republican, both of whom have gone on record to state they love the touch-screens and regard them as virtually infallible) failed to provide the correct paper ballots to some 60 precincts. There are now multiple ongoing investigations into the disaster from the state level on down. The Democratic Director has now been suspended and the Republican has tendered his resignation.

It's hardly the first time St. Louis County has screwed up their elections, but those human errors can be corrected with competent personnel. What can never be corrected is the fact that, for example, in the state's Presidential Primary in March, the reported margins of victory were so small (just over a thousand votes on each side), and the number of votes cast on unverifiable touch-screens in MO so large, that it is impossible to know if Trump actually beat Cruz on the Republican side and if Clinton actually beat Sanders on the Democratic side. Not a great way to run elections in the once-key swing state of Missouri.

Republican state Senator Bob Onder joins me on today's program to discuss his bill (SB 771) that calls for doing away with the state's touch-screen voting systems all together. Acknowledging the recent paper ballot foul-ups, Onder explains why the touch-screens are still worse: "you can't audit an electron."

"Only with a paper ballot can we have an auditable, verifiable record of a voter's intent as he or she casts a vote and exercises their most sacred privilege in our democratic republic, which is the right to vote," he says, going on to recall another local election in 2014 "in which the margin was very tight" and where "the loser in that election" is "not really sure he lost."

The GOP's Asst. Majority Floor Leader in the State Senate tells me about the various obstacles his legislation is facing, including from the state's Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander who, he says, "is a big fan of electronic voting machines" and "an enemy of paper ballots."

It's a fascinating and encouraging conversation over all...at least until we discuss the MO Republicans' continuing push for disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions in the state, which Onder, unfortunately, supports (though apparently based on fraudulent information provided to him by some notorious GOP "voter fraud" hucksters, as I explain during the program.)

But, hey, we'll take what we can get! And if Republicans are willing to work with the long-time Election Integrity champions at Missourians for Honest Elections on the issue of banning touch-screens, I'll take it! We can try to get Dems on board and fight with Republicans about everything else on another day.

Also on today BradCast: Republican officials in WI and in KS continue their effort to suppress the vote and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' with good news for lions, elephants and children, but not so good for opponents of fracking...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: GOP operative turned gay rights activist Fred Karger
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2016 5:20pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, as voters head to the polls in MD, CT, RI, DE and PA (where there are already reports of problems on the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems), some voters are petitioning NY for a partial hand-count of the paper ballots from last week's troubled Presidential Primary in the state. Meanwhile, blowback continues in NC against the state Republicans' pro-discrimination and anti-voting rights laws. [Audio link for the show is at bottom of article.]

The election season grinds on, with more lawsuits, legal investigations and challenges then I ever recall seeing at this point in the cycle. In New York, where last week's Presidential Primary was plagued with problems such as questionable voter purges, closed polling places and failed optical-scan computer tabulation systems, Election Justice USA, which filed a suit against NY the day before the DNC (and Clinton and Sanders campaigns) did so, is now calling for a partial hand-count of paper ballots across the state.

The group's petition cites those problems and others for the lack of confidence that many voters now have in the results as reported by NY's paper-ballot optical-scan computer tabulators which have failed in the past, as the NY Daily News found in 2012, to count an enormous percentage of ballots in some precincts. Their petition also includes a video clip from an award-winning 2008 documentary film, HOLLER BACK - [not] VOTING IN AN AMERICAN TOWN, in which I appeared discussing the reasons for hand-counting paper ballots, rather than merely trusting in oft-failed, easily hacked computer tabulators. (But its an excellent film anyway!)

I explain all of the above today, as well as why Bernie Sanders supporters are both overstating their current argument of "fraud" in the NY election, even as the lack of transparency in the state's electronic counting system leaves voters with every reason to have uncertainty in the computer-tallied results. (In somewhat related news, also discussed today, hand-counts in DuPage County, IL recently resulted in three different write-in candidates, 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat, being found to have won their races after originally being announced "losers" following last month's primary elections there.)

Also today, before moving on to our interview, a federal judge has upheld NC's massive voter restriction law which mandates Photo ID voting restrictions, bans same-day registration, restricts early voting and registration and much more. I've previously described that law, enacted by state Republicans just days after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, as "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era." Opponents of the law, including the NAACP, ACLU and U.S. Dept. of Justice, have now appealed the District Court's 485-page ruling which argues that "there is little official discrimination" in NC anymore.

That ruling, by a George W. Bush appointed judge, is difficult to square with the state's GOP nominee for Attorney General, who told a crowd at a rally in support of NC's controversial anti-LGBT law yesterday that "we must fight to keep our state straight."

Joining us today to discuss that "deeply unpopular" law and others like it --- as well as massive blowback it has engendered for the state --- is gay rights activist, Fred Karger, a former GOP operative, campaign official for Presidents Reagan and Ford, and the first openly gay Presidential candidate. (His run for the 2012 Republican nomination is the subject of the documentary film FRED.)

On the heels of his successful campaign against CA's Prop 8, the Mormon Church and the National Organization for Marriage, Karger recently described at Huffington Post how boycotts can work against such measures. We discuss that, the continuing disintegration of his formerly Grand Old Party, and his thoughts on the reasons for the sudden spate of discriminatory laws, mostly in the South.

"I think it's because they're sore losers," he tells me. "It's not even been a year since the Supreme Court allowed marriage equality to be the law of the land in all fifty states. So we're seeing tens of thousands of very happy same-sex couples getting married. And there's a backlash because there are a lot of people very unhappy about that." He goes on to explain why GOP politicians, "when they're running for re-election or moving up for another post," see the gay and transgender community as "an easy target".

Finally today, we close today with a fascinating and previously unknown fact about the dearly departed Prince...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Journalist and media activist Sue Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2016 4:42pm PT  

As voters head to the polls in a dozen Super Tuesday states, we cover a number of the problems voters are already reportedly facing on today's BradCast, as well as how Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could actually help save democracy --- and our public airwaves --- by filing some lawsuits! [Link to audio for full show is posted below.]

First up today: The 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline is reporting a number of problems at polling places around the country so far today, particularly in states that were once covered by Section 5 of the (now-gutted) Voting Rights Act. Problem reports as of this afternoon include long lines at some precincts caused by failing electronic poll book systems, state voter registration and polling location databases being offline and confusion over new Photo ID voting restrictions.

Moreover, as expected, there is trouble once again with touch-screen voting systems in a number of states. Democrats in at least one Georgia precinct were given Republican ballots when they went to vote on their 100% unverifiable voting machines and, in Williamson County, TX, north of Austin, voters are reporting unverifiable touch-screen votes flipping from one candidate to another --- from Trump to Rubio (or someone else) in the cases reported so far.

As usual, here is our friendly reminder that many problems with voting systems, and the results they produce, do not come to light until well after Election Day. So, we will continue to keep our eyes on these issues, as ever. (And here are a few tips from 2014 on what to do about such probs should they happen to you today or in the upcoming primaries!)

Then, we're joined by award-winning journalist and media activist Sue Wilson of the Media Action Center to discuss her new article on how Ted Cruz or Donald Trump could actually help save democracy --- and the fight for facts over our public airwaves --- by filing lawsuits against broadcast outlets that air false propaganda ads purchased by third-party SuperPACs.

"In terms of the rules that television and radio stations have to follow, a candidate is, in essence, free to lie to the public as much as they can get away with, as long as it's one of their own ads, as opposed to the ads that are paid for by these murky third parties," Wilson explains. "But, if you're one of these third parties that's running an ad for a candidate, the TV stations are not required to take those ads at all. And if those ads are found to be false, yes, the candidate has standing to sue, and say, 'I'm going to hold you liable for these false ads that you're making a fortune running and you're not fact-checking.'"

She also goes on to explain how the public can take action as well here, since "we, the voters, are the people who really suffer the most from these ads that flatly lie about candidates and their issues," while, ironically, "you, and I, and everyone else, own the publicly-owned airwaves, but somehow don't have standing to sue radio stations and TV stations if they lie to us."

Finally, hooray for Hollywood and boo for coal-loving West Virginia's elected con-artists in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Wichita University's Beth Clarkson on her case and continuing concerns about 'manipulation' of 2014 touch-screen election results
ALSO: Trump wins again in NV, are Dems getting worried yet?...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2016 6:11pm PT  

It's another very busy show on today's BradCast! [Audio link to the complete show is at bottom of this article.]

First up, Trump crushes his competition in the Nevada Caucuses in every single demographic. Are Dems getting concerned yet? If not, they should be, as I explain today.

Speaking of those caucuses: I detail why they are far more transparent than a primary system would be in the state of NV, which still uses the same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that were certified in violation of state and federal law in 2004 by NV's then Sec. of State, now U.S. Senator Dean Heller. (See my exclusive with Michael Richardson in the 2008 book Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, in which we detail how, based on public records obtained during our six-month investigation, Heller blatantly lied to the media and the public about the failed status of the machine's federal testing results, yet certified them for use in the 2004 election anyway.)

As we saw last night, the Nevada GOP, wisely, used hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted at each caucus precinct. And now, Wichita University mathematician Beth Clarkson, PhD, head of the school's National Institute for Aviation Research, is calling for the same thing for Kansas elections, in light of a state court ruling last week barring her from accessing so-called "paper trails" from the state's touch-screen voting systems as used in their 2014 elections.

"I am becoming more and more convinced that we need to go with an entirely paper ballot system --- and hand-counted," she tells me, while noting that optical-scan computers may "provide fast results, but you have to verify them --- which we're not doing. I think to have full transparency for all citizens, you need to have a hand-count of paper ballots."

Clarkson notes that while post-election audits or "sampling" of optically-scanned paper ballots could be done, it would not solve the growing problem of the electorate questioning results. "As a statistician, I love sampling. It's faster and it'll get you excellent results, but it can also be manipulated just like any other system. And you can't really manipulate hand-counted paper ballots. It's the transparency issue that's convinced me."

She details the basis for her lawsuit which attempts a recount of a ballot measure from the 2014 election following a statistical analysis of the results which, says she, confirms a theory initially reported by two other statisticians in 2012 [PDF]. According to their study, computer-reported results from larger precincts, with more than 500 voters, reveal a "consistent" statistical increase in votes for the Republican candidates in general elections. That increase in votes runs counter to expectations for more densly populated jurisdictions. (Clarkson explains the theory in more detail during my previous BradCast interview with her from August 2015.)

Last week a state Judge allowed her recount case to move forward, but denied the motion by her new lawyer, former US Attorney Randy Rathbun, to allow her to review the "Real Time Audit Logs" (RTALs, also known as "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails" or VVPATs in other states) from the voting machines used in the 2014 election, thus defeating the entire point of her challenge.

"[My] analysis only shows that there's something there we don't understand. It does not show cause. I think that manipulation of voting machines is the most probable cause, but I could be wrong on that. But the only way to know is to look. And not being allowed to look is, in many ways, a more serious issue." Clarkson has now been blocked from viewing the RTAL's now in both her public records request and recount lawsuit. "It seems to me that either I should be able to look at them under the Open Records Act or I should be able to examine them as part of a recount. You can't have it both ways, but apparently they can."

She goes on to offer her thoughts on why the state, including GOP "voter fraud" fraudster turned Sec. of State Kris Kobach, would be working so hard to block her attempt at oversight of election results; the unprecedented support she has received from the public for her case; and whether last week's state court ruling will now be appealed.

By the way, the very same, oft-failed, unverifiable touch-screens in question --- the ES&S iVotronics --- will be used once again across the state of South Carolina during this weekend's Democratic Presidential Primary. You can follow Clarkson's progress on her case at her ShowMeTheVotes.org website.

Finally, good news for former TX Gov. Rick Perry who is now, apparently, off the hook for both of the felony indictments filed against him last year...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center
PLUS: More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; Happy anniversary, Justice Kennedy!; Happy anniversary, 'Green News Report'!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2016 5:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, hate is on the rise in the U.S., for some reason; More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; And, we mark two important anniversaries. [Audio link for the program follows below.]

First up, on this day in 1988, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was sworn in after the Republican nominee was unanimously approved by a Democratic-majority U.S. Senate...during an Election Year, and with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor calls on Republicans to "get on with it".

Then, another reminder --- before this weekend's Democratic Nevada Caucuses and 100% unverifiable Republican South Carolina Primary --- of electronic election results that remain impossible to explain, including the conservative Texas Supreme Court Justice who reportedly received ZERO votes in one county back in 2006, after winning that same county by huge margins in both 2002 and 2004. (See our 2006 coverage of Steve Smith's eventually aborted election challenge back here. And see how this group of Bernie Sanders supporters is hoping to help oversee the results by filming the caucuses in Nevada.) Oh, and there was also that time in 2000 when Al Gore was credited with receiving NEGATIVE 16,022 votes on a paper ballot optical-scan system in Volusia County, FL.

Next up, we are joined by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to discuss the disturbing rise in domestic hate groups in the U.S., after several years of decline. We talk about both the numbers and reasons --- and what Donald Trump and the Internet have to do with it all --- from Potok's new report on "The Year in Hate and Extremism".

It's a fascinating discussion in which Potok explains how the SPLC defines "hate groups" --- including rightwing extremists as well as black separatists --- which saw an overall 14% spike in their 2015 numbers. Also on the rise were so-called "Patriot" movement groups, though they are not (necessarily) included among the "haters".

"Probably the unique thing that happened in the last year," Potok tells me, "was the just astounding extent to which people like Donald Trump were willing to directly inject really Rightwing extremist poison into the political mainstream. Some of the things Trump has said, we really haven't seen the likes of in many, many decades."

Potok notes that with the GOP frontrunner's outrageous claims about immigrants and Muslims, similar rhetoric from extremist groups now "seems more normal to people. They don't seem quite as far out. After all, if Donald Trump thinks Muslims shouldn't be allowed in this country, what's wrong with joining a group that says Muslims are involved in a conspiracy to destroy the rest of us?"

We also discuss the difference in media coverage and political rhetoric concerning Islamic terrorism versus Rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., as well as how the Black Lives Matter movement and legalization of same-sex marriage over the past year has seemingly terrified many on the Right who feel that "their white privilege is being taken away from them...stok[ing] rage on the part of whites who feel that this is somehow part of their birthright."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our 7th Anniversary Green News Report (our 690th GNR episode!) with both disturbing and encouraging news for the planet. And, if you can help us to continue connecting the climate change dots for yet another seven years, like almost nobody else in the media, we'd greatly appreciate it! Please consider making a DONATION RIGHT HERE and it'll be an even happier anniversary, indeed!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Election integrity watchdog Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2016 5:49pm PT  

Last year ended with a number of voter database breaches --- from the Sanders/Clinton/DNC database kerfuffle to the discovery of the still-mysterious posting of some 191 million voter records online shortly thereafter.

But those concerns may pale in comparison to the fact that the nation is about to begin voting in Presidential primaries and caucuses using electronic voting systems and tabulators that have failed time and again, that remain vulnerable to both malfunction and malfeasance, and that are often impossible for the public to oversee in any meaningful way.

On today's BradCast: Welcome to Presidential Election 2016! Good luck! (We're gonna need it.)

Joining us to discuss the voter database breaches as well as concerns about election integrity and oversight in early caucus and primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and beyond is Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org.

Harris, the election integrity watchdog featured in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, has been investigating and writing about those voter database breaches lately, including a new one that has just been discovered concerning tens of millions of additional voter records.

While voter registration databases actually contain public information, she explains, there are restrictions on their use, and they are not supposed to simply be posted publicly for download. "This stuff is not secure. It'll probably never be secure," she warns. "One of the things I did was really research how many of the breaches have occurred over time, and it's a shocking number. You can't secure this stuff." As we discuss on today's program, that point is something to keep in mind when you hear advocates of Internet Voting systems (the next nightmare that some hope to force upon American democracy) claim otherwise.

We then step through the differing voting processes used in each of the early voting states, with Harris explaining that completely unverified and/or unverifiable e-voting and tabulation systems --- most of them hacked many times in the past --- will once again be in use in every state in the union. Yes, even where hand-marked paper ballots are used, almost all of those ballots are tabulated by unverified computer systems.

"I'm not at war with a machine," she explains. "I'm at war with no transparency. We have to be able to have some way to see and authenticate that count, before the ballots travel anywhere."

Harris tells me: "The key here is not that there will never be a mistake, or never be fraud. The key is that the public has a right to accountability. If you can catch it, and do something about it --- if you're vigilant enough and doing a patriotic duty of vigilance --- then that's the whole point. When you start saying, 'No, you can never see, you can never account for it,' then you have a problem."

We discuss how it was, in fact, public oversight of hand-counted paper ballots at GOP caucus sites in Iowa in 2012 which resulted in the correct results actually becoming known weeks later, long after the Republican Party misreported them on the night of the caucuses.

Transparency, however, is not quite as easy in other early voting states like New Hampshire (remember the unbelievably unverified mess there in 2008, when Hillary Clinton's victory defied even Exit Polls taken on the day of the Primary?) and, especially, South Carolina (remember the unknown Alvin Greene's 100% unverifiable and inexplicable victory in their 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary?)

"There's not just one magic wand you can wave, but there are things to at least force some accountability into it," Harris tells me, describing some of the ways election integrity advocates can try to force the issue a bit. Among her suggestions: "You can go [to the polling place at closing time] and snap a picture of what those [computer tabulated] results are with your cell phone and compare it with, at least, what they report" later on.

We cover a lot of ground in the conversation and I suspect we'll be discussing this issue with her, and others, a lot more as the election year moves forward. But today's show is a good place to begin.

Finally, speaking of warnings we keep trying to give you, Desi Doyen joins us for the very first Green News Report of the new year as El Niño --- turbo-charged by climate change --- ravaged the globe over the holidays and beyond...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Pima County (Tucson), AZ election integrity champ John Brakey...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2015 6:09pm PT  

Election Day is tomorrow in several states and many more local jurisdictions, but on today's BradCast, we've already got our first "irregularity".

My guest today is John Brakey, a longtime Election Integrity advocate from Pima County (Tucson), AZ. Last week, he caught an election official --- on video tape --- breaking the security seal on the county's new, central vote tabulator after party observers had left county election headquarters following pre-election "Logic & Accuracy" testing of the system.

"I looked at my screen,and I go: 'What is that guy doing? What's he doing over there? He's just opened the box up. Where's the Democratic observer?! Where's the Republican observer?!'," Brakey tells me about the incident on today's program.

He goes on to explain what happened, how he caught the guy, what the county did about it, and how you may wish to be concerned about the possibility for similar corruption with similar electronic systems in your home town.

Thanks to Brakey, the incident led to new L&A tests the next day, though the explanation for the entire affair from Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson (the original "Election Official Gone Wild", as seen in this 2006 video tape), remains questionable --- particularly since Nelson was in the room at the same time his subordinate was seen breaking into the system. We sought comment from Nelson, but he has yet to respond to our request.

For the record, Brakey is one of the stars of J.T. Waldron's riveting 2009 documentary film, Fatally Flawed: The Pursuit of Justice in a Suspicious Election which tells the remarkable --- and, at times, uplifting --- story of the years-long fight by Brakey and a transpartisan coalition of others in Tucson to obtain a recount of ballots from a questionable $2 billion 2006 bond initiative election in Pima County.

Also today: Obama "Bans the Box" that had required job applicants to reveal a criminal record before they've even had an interview on federal employment applications; The GOP's 2016 Presidential candidate/cry babies meet over the weekend to make new demands for networks holding GOP Presidential debates; Another candidate drops out of the 2016 Presidential contest; And, some quick tips (here are some more) on how to try and help protect your vote, and everybody else's, during tomorrow's elections around the country!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUESTS: Fracking expert and Mahoning County, OH voter Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer; Columbia County, NY Election Commish Virginia Martin...
PLUS: A few words on the continuing GOP 'Benghazi Investigation' circus...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, first a rant about the nonsense that is the Benghazi "investigation", and then on to a real investigation concerning an anti-fracking initiative on the ballot in Mahoning County, OH, questions about the results reported by the county's electronic tabulators, and an election official or two who are caught on tape going kinda nuts when asked about it.

To talk about our latest example of "Election Officials Behaving Badly", I'm joined on today's show by Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, the voter who asked a simple question at a recent Mahoning County, Ohio Board of Elections meeting, before the officials accused him of accusing them of a crime in response!

And, since the Mahoning County election officials --- the ones caught on tape responding so outrageously to Beiersdorfer's reasonable request for a hand-count --- failed to reply to our multiple requests to join us on the show, we are joined instead by Virginia Martin of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections to comment on all of this. (Our invitation remains open to Mahoning County election officials David Betras (D) and Mark Munroe (R) if they'd like to respond to today's program.)

Beiersdorfer is a geology professor, fracking expert and supporter of the ProtectYoungstown.org anti-fracking initiative. As you'll here, at the meeting of the Elections Board, he politely asked for a hand-count of paper ballots regarding the ballot initiative, after a post-election poll appeared to offer contradictory results to those reported by the unverified computer optical-scan tabulation systems used in the county. (An electronic tabulation system, I'll note, which has failed in election after election elsewhere.) In response, Betras freaks out and charges that Beiersdorfer has accused him of "rigging an election".

"You just basically accused this board of elections of election fraud!," Betras, a Democratic, snaps in outraged response, as caught on tape. "I find it highly offensive you’d accuse me of a crime!" His fellow election commissioner, Munroe, a Republican, takes similar offense.

All of that, simply because a voter wished to oversee the results of an election to confirm that computer-reported results were accurate --- in a town with a history of election problems and where some of the same election officials reportedly spent some $30,000 of tax-payer money in a failed effort to keep the initiative off the ballot in the first place (before being overruled by the state Supreme Court.)

"I certainly wasn't accusing anyone of a crime," Beiersdorfer tells me today (and as the tape confirms). "I just pointed out the discrepancy and I asked for a public, open, transparent hand-count of the ballots. I was a little bit surprised at how he reacted to that --- and basically attacked me."

Unfortunately, it's not an isolated case. We've seen similar responses from election officials elsewhere. Martin, the Democratic co-chair of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections --- one of the few counties in the nation to publicly hand-count every paper ballot before certifying any election (my recent interview with Martin and her Republican co-chair on that specific topic is here) --- explains on today's show: "We election officials often find ourselves in the crosshairs. There's always somebody in the public who's not happy about something that's transpired at the Board of Elections. There's a winner and there's a loser, so we often are in a position of having to defend ourselves. I can understand why they would be very sensitive."

But, she adds, that type of concern simply doesn't come up in her county, given that the public is invited to oversee the hand-count of paper ballots for every election. As an election official, she insists on hand-counts, she says, because: "I wasn't comfortable with trusting what the computer said, because I know computers can make mistakes. I know that computers can be programmed incorrectly --- inadvertently. I also know they can be manipulated, they can be tampered with. I personally can't know how a computer counts anything, because I don't get to see that. So how am I going to know that the result is correct?"

I think it's a fascinating show today --- as this is a problem that occurs more and more, as election officials and electronic voting and tabulation systems make it far more difficult for the citizenry to oversee their own elections --- but you'll be the judge. Give it a listen below!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

[You can watch the complete, exclusive Mahoning County, OH video from which we played audio clips today, here. And the full video of Pima County, AZ Election Supervisor Brad Nelson caught on tape similarly freaking out back 2007, which we played a bit of as well today, can be seen here.]

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Guest: Lawrence Norden, co-author of Brennan Center's disturbing study
PLUS: Walker drops out, Fiorina moves up...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2015 5:39pm PT  

We've got a lot to cover on today's BradCast (in addition to welcoming about our newest affiliate partner, WLRI 93FM in Lancaster, PA!)

First, some Presidential politics, including the late breaking news of Republican superstar and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plummeting to the bottom of the 2016 GOP race for President and then promptly dropping out. At the same time, failed businesswoman and successful fantasist Carly Fiorina has surged in to 2nd place nationallly, even as Fox "News", of all outlets, challenges her on her pretend memories of a deceptively edited Planned Parenthood smear video.

Then, Volkswagen admits that their cars were built to hoax emissions testing by only kicking in pollution controls when the cars' computers sensed that they were undergoing emissions tests!

That, sadly enough, is meant to take us to our main story today, the new report from Brennan Center for Justice warning that "America's Voting Systems are at Risk" [PDF]. My guest is Lawrence Norden, co-author of the new report with Christopher Famighetti, explaining how the electronic voting systems in at least 43 states are more than a decade old and could fail entirely at any moment.

"The biggest finding is that, in the vast majority of the country, machines are at or rapidly approaching the ends of their life spans, and that, right now anyway, in most places, there aren't plans or budgets to replace them," Norden explains. "With older machines also comes just a difficulty in finding replacement parts. They're often running on very old software which creates security vulnerabilities --- so there are a lot of reasons that we need to start taking this more seriously."

Those failing machines, he goes on to tell me, resulted in some 500-700,000 votes being lost in last year's election alone, thanks to long lines that occur when these machines fail to work at all on Election Day. There is also a racial disparity to go along with those numbers, as Norden details, because "wealthier counties are in a position to replace their equipment that is aging, and those that don't have those resources are not."

While the report is expansive, well-researched and, justifiably, received a decent amount of attention from mainstream media sources upon its release last week, I share my concern with Norden that, while the study covers so much of what we've known for years (and have reported, virtually non-stop, for more than a decade both here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast), the study's recommendations to replace old electronic systems with new electronic systems that will have many of the same problems is quite troubling. Nowhere in the report are overseeable, fully transparent hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballot systems discussed, despite such systems being regarded by many as Democracy's Gold Standard.

I also share my concerns with Norden about the report's timing, coming out right now when it is largely too late to replace voting systems --- at least with new electronic systems --- before voting begins in the 2016 cycle.

Norden, who I've had lively debates with in the past on related issues, says the Center's report is "not favoring any kind of technology," even if it is clear that they are calling for computer technology over more transparent and overseeable hand-counted systems. "I'm not crazy about the idea of having people just vote on paper without some kind of notification of potential errors," he argues, "notification that their vote won't be read."

He also argues, in making his case that computers are "more accurate" than hand-counts, that "a lot of vote-by-mail is not counted", mostly due to voter error.

Beyond that, I'll let you give the conversation a listen and you can decide for yourself what to make of the new report and its recommendations. I'll be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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Guest: Wichita University's Beth Clarkson, PhD, on her theory and KS Sec. of State's attempt to block her citizen audit of touch-screen systems showing unexplained vote increases for the GOP in large precincts
Also: NM Sec. of State charged with 64 criminal counts...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2015 5:42pm PT  

Whether statistician Beth Clarkson, PhD, head of Wichita University's National Institute for Aviation Research, is ultimately proven correct, today's must-listen, in-depth interview with her on The BradCast should remind us all, once again, why neither election officials nor voting systems are simply to be trusted.

Without the ability to carry out public oversight, democracy vanishes. That's what's happening right now in the state of Kansas, where Sec. of State Kris Kobach is attempting to block Clarkson's legal attempt to audit touch-screen voting system "paper trails" in Sedgwick County (Wichita), the state's most populous county.

Confirming a theory initially reported by two other statisticians in 2012 [PDF], Clarkson has found that computer-reported results from larger precincts in the state, with more than 500 voters, show a "consistent" statistical increase in votes for the Republican candidates in general elections (and even a similar increase for establishment GOP candidates versus 'Tea Party' challengers during Republican primaries). Those results run counter to conventional political wisdom that Democrats perform better in larger, more urban precincts.

The larger the precinct size, she explains on today's program, the higher the percentage of the vote for the GOP candidate. Clarkson finds "that is the case, and that is a relationship that is unexplained and very troubling." Previously, statisticians Francois Choquette and James Johnson found a similarly unexplained relationship while examining reported vote totals in Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Even more disturbing, in hopes of further testing her theory, Clarkson has filed a lawsuit under the state's public records act in hopes of auditing some of the so-called "paper trails" from the state's unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, but Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (a long-time GOP vote suppression champion) is fighting her access to those records in court. Kobach's full response is here [PDF]. The response from the Sedgewick County Election Commissioner Tabatha Lehman is here.

Clarkson tells me she believes the statistical pattern she confirms in KS is evidence of rigged elections.

"There have been a few theories advanced," to explain the statistical pattern. "The one I find most probable is that the voting machines are being manipulated. Their vulnerability seems to me a fairly high-probability explanation for this particular pattern. It fits exactly what you'd expect to see if people are flipping the votes within voting machines."

While I've been skeptical of the general theory for some time, for reasons that I explain during the program, Clarkson makes a compelling case, particularly for the ability of the public to oversee their own elections by examining the voting systems in question. If the public is not allowed to examine the so-called "paper trail" of these god-forsaken machines, what good are they?

"Suspicion isn't proof," Clarkson is careful to note. "The reason I'm suing for the paper records is because an audit can provide proof. Statistics are not going to be convincing to most people over the long term because they don't understand the math, and you don't believe what you don't understand. But an audit is fairly straightforward and the results should be fairly definitive."

She adds that Kobach's attempt to keep her from examining paper logs and tapes makes little sense, particularly when they concern elections which are long enough ago that the results may no longer be officially contested. "Voting is important and we want to keep those records secure so we can be assured of the accuracy of the count. But they're so secure now, nobody gets to see them."

Also today, as if we needed yet another reminder of why neither electronic voting systems nor election officials are simply to be "trusted", on Friday, New Mexico's Republican Sec. of State Dianna Duran --- like Kobach, also a long time "voter fraud" fraudster --- was charged with 64 criminal counts related to embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, violations of the Campaign Practice Act, tampering with public records, conspiracy, and a Governmental Conduct Act violation.

(For longtime BRAD BLOG readers, the new charges against Duran may sound vaguely familiar.)

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Removal of Rita Days follows our exclusive report on warnings sent before the election about likelihood of paper ballot shortages...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2015 12:03am PT  

St. Louis County Director of Elections Rita Days, a former Democratic state Senator who we reported on last November, was unanimously removed from office by the County Board of Elections Commissioners on Tuesday night, according to a late report from KMOV...

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) --- After coming under scrutiny for problems during last year's elections, the St. Louis County Director of Elections is being forced out of her position.

Rita Days was unanimously voted out of the position by the Board of Elections Commission.

Days came under criticism last November when thousands of voters had to wait longer than expected because polling stations ran out of paper ballots.

There is not yet word on who will replace Days.

In the weeks following the November 2014 election, The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively on emails sent to Days by local Election Integrity advocates in advance of the election, advising that her plan for deploying paper ballots would likely fall short of demand on Election Day. It did. As St. Louis Public Radio reported on the day after the election, "unexpected demand for paper ballots caused a shortage at about 95 polling places throughout the county Tuesday. That's more than 20 percent of the county's 444 balloting sites."

But, as we detailed in our own report, the demand was not "unexpected", as Days had been warned, well in advance, about the likelihood of paper ballots running out...

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




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