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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 29, 2016
AZ Primary Lawsuit Dismissed; 'Disappearing' Votes in DE?: 'BradCast' 4/28/16
Emily Levy on court ruling against Phoenix election complaint; DE State Election Commissioner on 4,000 'lost' Sanders votes...
'Green News Report' 4/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump goes nuclear over climate; CNN fossil fuel ads beat climate stories; VW docs reveal test fraud; Mitsubishi cheated fuel tests; PLUS: US city mandates solar for new buildings...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/16 - 4/26/16 - Archives...
Primary Landslides for Trump and Clinton and What's Next: 'BradCast' 4/27/16
Also: 'Serial child molester' Hastert sentenced; Encouraging green news; And listener calls...
Blowback in NC, Calls for Hand-Counts in NY:
'BradCast' 4/26/16
GOP operative turned gay rights activist Fred Karger on GOP anti-LGBT lawss; Why voters should support hand-count of NY Primary...
'Green News Report' 4/26/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
30 years after Chernobyl, new effort to contain it; Record signing of Paris Agreement; World Bank, IMF call for global price on carbon; PLUS: Solar plane goes halfway round world...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/16 - 4/19/16 - Archives...
Cruz, Kasich Join Forces and Some News That Actually Matters: 'BradCast' 4/25/16
With Salon's Amanda Marcotte on latest GOP 'conspiracy'; Plus: Paris Agreement signed; Mass shooting weekend; Thinking big...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
One unplanned Pulitzer Prize winner and a whole bunch of other worthy toons from the past week, as collected by 'PDiddie'...
'Gyrocopter Guy' Loses Voting Rights for Campaign Finance Protest: 'BradCast' 4/22/16
Guest Doug Hughes will go to jail, has 'no regrets'; Also: Former felons re-enfranchised in VA; NY election official suspended for purge...
Time to Open Our Nomination System to All Voters?: 'BradCast' 4/21/16
With John Opdycke of OpenPrimaries.org; Also: Prince dead at 57; 'Outrage' over Harriet Tubman; Paper ballots finally return to MD...
'Green News Report' 4/21/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Criminal charges in Flint; BP victims protest new drilling leases; Oil facility explosion kills 3 in Mexico; U.S. air pollution; PLUS: World leaders gather to sign Paris Agreement...
Previous GNRs: 4/19/16 - 4/14/16 - Archives...
NY Primary Results, Concerns, Investigations, Callers and More: 'BradCast' 4/20/16
Also: Accountability for Flint and VW, Tubman on the $20, and listener calls on latest state of the Democratic Presidential race...
NY Voting Probs (Real & Fake); MS Prison Industrial Scam: 'BradCast' 4/19/16
Separating fact from hoax in NY mess. Plus: Ryan Grim on 'conservative' budget nightmare down South...
'Green News Report' 4/19/16
Houston deluged w/ record rain; Hillary's plan to get lead out; World Bank warns world must stop new coal plants; PLUS: March 2016 was hottest on record...
Good News on Voting Rights; Concerns About NY Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/16
Ernie Canning w/ Photo ID news in WI, TX; Plus: Ecuador quake; Hillary undermines 'Citizens United' fight...
U.S. Court Orders Fix to WI Photo ID Law
Overdue ruling by 7th Circuit Appeals Court may ease disenfranchisement for voters unable to vote under WI GOP's onerous restrictions...
Sunday Toons of the WTF Moment
We seem to be having quite a few 'WTF moments' in this country of late. 'PDiddie' rounds up a bunch of recent toons that may lead you to ask the same thing...
Brooklyn Brawl: Gloves Off at Clinton, Sanders' NY Debate: 'BradCast' 4/15/16
Peter B. Collins & Jackie Schechner join us to make sense of a raucous yet substantive debate!...
Unrigging the System: 'BradCast' 4/14/16
From money in politics to criminal injustice to voter suppression and beyond, how can the U.S. fix its broken systems of politics, elections and governance?...
'Green News Report' 4/14/16
Largest coal co. declares bankruptcy; Utility CEO foresees end to coal; GAO dings EPA; Sardine fishing banned again in West; PLUS: Ortho ends use of bee-killing pesticide...
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...


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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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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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: 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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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: 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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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: 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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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: 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.)

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

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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!... ---




Hand-counting vindicated, voter intent served in dramatic twist...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2014 2:32pm PT  

In the tiny seaside town of Long Island, Maine --- and for the national media that followed it --- it was an inscrutable mystery fit for Murder She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher. Except that it wasn't murder at the heart of this mystery, it was a potentially 'stolen' election, which, upon additional investigation, has now been 'unstolen', with the state Senate candidate rightfully elected by the people of Maine's District 25 finally set to take her seat in the state legislature after another dramatic turn of events this week.

We recently detailed the fascinating story of 21 "phantom ballots", all cast for Republican state Senate candidate Cathleen Manchester, which, when reportedly "discovered" during a November 18th recount of the very close Maine Senate race, ended up flipping the results from the slim victory Democratic candidate Catherine Breen thought she had achieved on Election Night to a "win" for her GOP opponent.

The tantalizing mystery in the town of Long Island included 171 ballots tallied by hand there on the night of the November 4th election and the same number of voters confirmed to have voted in the town's official Voter Manifest, either by absentee ballot or at the tiny town's only polling place.

Like the public hand-count of all the town's ballots at the end of Election Night, Long Island's only polling place was overseen all day by its Town Clerk Brenda Singo (who, over the past week or so, had strangely, yet repeatedly refused to answer what we thought were fairly simple, straightforward queries from The BRAD BLOG about the town's precinct-based Election Night hand-count and the chain of custody process thereafter for its hand-marked paper ballots.)

During the recount of paper ballots in the seven towns comprising Maine's Senate District 25, however, a funny thing happened. 21 "new" ballots showed up in Long Island, all for the Republican Manchester, resulting in her being certified as the "winner" of the recount overseen by the Secretary of State's office and the Democratic Breen's subsequent contest of the recount results falling to the Republican-majority state Senate to be investigated and ultimately decided there.

Before the Special Committee, comprised of four Republicans and three Democrats, could convene, the outcome didn't look good for the Democrats. The GOP majority "provisionally seated" Manchester, despite strenuous objections from state Dems.

The resolution of the mystery on Tuesday, however --- which resulted in one state official declaring "I'd eat my hat if I had one" --- has flipped the final results back to the Democrat once again, cleared the Town Clerk Singo and other election officials of further suspicion and, as we noted in our original report, underscored once again the undeniable fact that hand counting hand-marked paper ballots at the precinct on Election Night is the most reliable and publicly overseeable way of assuring that election results actually reflect the true intent of the voters...

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




Razor-thin margin, failed tabulators, untallied ballots, terrible 'recount' provisions leave Barber-McSally contest unsettled...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2014 3:46pm PT  

Yes, we're still working on Election 2014 around here. As we've told you many times, problems in elections often take days, weeks or even months or years to reveal themselves, even after the mainstream media has long since moved on.

Last week we told you about the "recount" that awaits the GMO labeling ballot initiative in the state of Oregon and the amazing appearance of 21 "new" mystery ballots that flipped the results of a state Senate recount in Maine. And now, a "recount" lies ahead for the one remaining "too close to call" U.S. Congressional election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

The state's first-ever "recount" of a Congressional race will be very different from the one that will be carried out for Oregon's Measure 92 and --- as demonstrated via a federal court ruling issued on Thanksgiving Day that disallowed the tally of some 133 provisional and early ballots before today's state certification of the race --- much more controversial. We can only hope no mystery ballots appear, as occurred in the still-unexplained contest in Maine.

The razor-thin contest in AZ-2 is between incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) and his challenger Martha McSally (R). Out of some 220,000 votes cast in the AZ-2 race --- in Pima and Cochise Counties --- the paper ballot computer tabulators report a margin of "victory" for McSally over Barber of just 161 votes, according to results posted by the Sec. of State.

The U.S. House seat in Arizona's 2nd District was formerly occupied by Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) until she was critically injured in a 2011 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 during a public event in Tucson. After Giffords' resignation following the shooting, she was replaced in a special election by Barber, one of her top staffers who was also shot twice himself during the massacre. Barber then went on to defeat McSally in the 2012 general election by less than one percent.

Prior to today's certification of this year's rematch, there were a number of oddities and controversies during the tabulation period. Among the problems, the reported Election Night failure of the paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators in Cochise County to read a number of memory cards from the Early Voting period. Those sensitive cards store results of precinct-scanned paper ballots. They had to be flown by helicopter to another county before their contents could be discerned (even though paper ballots existed that could have simply been counted by human beings, rather than relying on electronic tallying systems.)

In addition to the troubling ruling last week by the U.S. District Court and the flawed electronic tabulation of some early ballots, local election integrity experts are also concerned about the state mandated process for "recounting" the ballots, a process which includes using the same flawed electronic scanners once again to determine if the initial scan was carried out accurately...

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




Emails obtained by BRAD BLOG show County election chief ignored warnings from experts, leading to long lines, voters turned away...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2014 2:27pm PT  

Election officials in St. Louis County, Missouri were repeatedly warned by local Election Integrity advocates that a plan to supply enough paper ballots for only 15% of the electorate at polling places on Election Day there would not be enough, according to emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The emails, sent well before Election Day, expressed concern and doubt about "enough paper ballots at every polling place on November 4th to cover all of the voters who would like to have one," as one of advocates wrote to the Democratic Director of Elections in St. Louis County.

The warnings were ignored, the missives suggest, and, as reported by local media, the result was a widespread shortage of paper ballots on Election Day 2014 at sites throughout the county, including in the embattled city of Ferguson, MO. Throughout the county, the shortage of ballots resulted in long lines and voters who were turned away or forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems which the county has long encouraged voters to use. Some precincts were required to stay open at least an hour after the normal closing time in order to accommodate those who were in line to vote before the close of polls at 7pm local time.

St. Louis Public Radio reported the day after the election that "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."

"The paper shortage," they explained, "was the biggest unexpected problem on Election Day."

But, in truth, it wasn't unexpected at all, at least according to emails we reviewed to and from the county's chief election official, suggesting that the Board of Elections simply ignored the clear warnings they had received from local Election Integrity experts...

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




By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2014 5:06pm PT  

On thousands of "missing" votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. "results", on "True the Vote" clowns, and on much more...all on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night...

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Popular, oft-malfunctioning computer tabulator used in WI, many other states, tallied just 16 votes out of 5,350 cast in Stoughton, WI...
UPDATED: Hand-count finds 4,440 YES votes, 992 NO votes...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2014 9:05am PT  

Though some 5,350 voters are known to have voted in the city of Stoughton in Dane County, Wisconsin on Tuesday, just 16 of those voters were interested in voting in a local ballot referendum calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to help overturn the infamous Citizens United decision --- at least according to the results reported by paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators there.

"A malfunction with the voting machines in Stoughton Tuesday led to an incomplete outcome of the city's referendum on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution, Stoughton clerk Lana Kropf said," according to a terse and somewhat cryptic report in the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday.

The city's ES&S DS200 paper ballot optical-scanners (a computer tabulation system plagued with problems in many states over the years) reported zero votes for the initiative in five of the city's six voting wards, and just 16 votes (7 Yes, 9 No) in the other.

"Never in my years working in clerks' offices have I seen something like this," Kropf told the Journal.

The initiative in question was added to the ballot after citizens gathered enough signatures last July to have it included on the November ballot. According to the wording of the measure, it seeks "to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending." It is similar to referenda passed overwhelmingly in other WI communities.

"Last Tuesday, nearly 5,350 good citizens of Stoughton went to the polls," writes Karen McKim of the progressive Wisconsin Grassroots Network. "If you believe the city's voting machines, exactly 16 of them had an opinion they cared to express on the matter. The rest thought 'Whatevs' and left the referendum blank."

She adds: "Fortunately, no one believes the city's voting machines"...

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




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