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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, November 30, 2015
Leftover Turkey Toons
'PDiddie' warms up the oven to roast a few of the folks who deserve it in his latest collection of Thanksgiving week's best political toons...
The 'F' Word:
'BradCast' 11/27/15
Guest Host Nicole Sandler is joined by Howie Klein of Down with Tyranny and Blue America PAC on the rise of Trump, Grayson's endorsement of Clinton, and how marijuana helped him fight cancer...
Serve & Protect?:
'BradCast' 11/25/15
The Guardian's Steven W. Thrasher joins guest host Nicole Sandler to discuss two different and disturbing attacks on African Americans...
Alan Grayson Explains His Hillary Endorsement: 'BradCast' 11/24/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler's tough interview with the FL Congressman seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate...
'Green News Report' 11/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Carbon tax coming to Alberta tar sands; Obama: Paris conf must proceed; Senate Repubs to monkeywrench int'l agreement; PLUS: FDA okays GMO salmon for humans...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/15 - 11/17/15 - Archives...
Sunday 'This Means War' Toons
PDiddie's must-see collection of the past shameful week's best -- and most dead-on and occassionally horrifying -- toons...
ISIS Wins in US House; Plus: TPP, NAFTA and the Return of KXL?: 'BradCast' 11/19/15
With guest David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times, The Intercept, et al...
'Green News Report' 11/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP's war against climate scientists; October 2015 was hottest on record; Fossil fuel subsidies at $500B/year; UK phases out coal; PLUS: Canada kills another tar sands pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 11/17/15 - 11/12/15 - Archives...
Home of the Brave:
'BradCast' 11/18/15
GOP Governors and Presidential candidates help ISIS dreams come true by turning against refugees from war-torn Syria, as some Americans follow their lead by turning against fellow citizens after the Paris attacks...
How NOT to Respond to the Paris Terror Attacks: 'BradCast' 11/17/15
Anti-war author David Swanson on how we got here, how the media and politicians continue to make it worse, and what we must do instead...
'Green News Report' 11/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate gets short shrift in 2nd Dem Debate; Yes, climate change is a NatSec threat; Intn'l climate talks in Paris after attacks; PLUS: NY's Cuomo vetoes major NatGas project...
Previous GNRs: 11/12/15 - 11/10/15 - Archives...
A Word About Paris; Coverage of CBS' Dem Debate in Iowa: 'BradCast' 11/16/15
Salon's Heather Digby Parton and longtime GOPer Fred Karger on the debate the DNC didn't want you to watch...
Sunday Somewhat Horrible Toons
PDiddie's round-up of a number of smart toons in the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris...
'Very Similar, If Not Identical': DoJ's Big Tobacco Prosecutor on Case Against ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 11/12/15
Attorney Sharon Eubanks on RICO, conspiracy and the big lies of Big Tobacco and Big Oil...
'Green News Report' 11/12/15
2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates talk climate, energy, and the path forward in GOP Debate and Dem Forum...
Decoding and Debunking Fox Biz Channel's GOP Debate: 'BradCast' 11/11/15
Smartest post-debate analysis anywhere! With journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
Impossible Results for OH Pot Measure?: 'BradCast' 11/10/15
Screenshots suggest disappearing 'Yes' votes; OH SoS offers us explanation. PLUS: Calls for KY hand-count...
'Green News Report' 11/10/15
Obama rejects KXL; Big Coal caught lying about climate change; ExxonMobil facing probe; PLUS: 2nd cyclone for Yemen & Sea World responds to critics...
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...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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: 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 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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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: 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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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, 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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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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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)

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. ( --- 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!... ---

Most expensive Senate race in U.S. history - and balance of Senate along with it - may be determined by 100% unverifiable votes...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2014 3:45pm PT  

So far, in the run-up to Tuesday's mid-term election, we've covered 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes reportedly flipping on screen in Texas (D to R), in Illinois (R to D), in Tennessee (NO to YES on anti-choice initiative), in Maryland (R to D) and in Arkansas (unclear which direction the votes were flipping in several different counties.)

Now, votes are reportedly flipping from Democratic to Republican in the "toss up" U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, a crucial contest if Democrats have any chance of hanging on to the majority in that chamber. The "down to the wire" contest is also reportedly turning out to be the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history.

So can supporters of either candidate actually have any confidence at all in results to be reported after the close of polls on Tuesday in the Tar Heel State?...

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

Same voting systems fail year after year in the state; But officials have a terrible plan to deal with it...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2014 7:35am PT  

Via KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas...

The Pulaski County Election Commission has received a dozen reports claiming voting machines are changing people's votes. Three of the 12 reports came from North Little Rock voters who voted at Laman Library.

Bryan Poe, Pulaski County's Director of Elections, said the commission is asking voters to be extra cautious.

"We're not the only ones that have experienced something like this. I've heard reports from Lonoke County, Franklin County, and I have also heard reports from Maryland, Illinois, Tennessee and Texas," Poe said. "They would go to select one candidate and it would select a different candidate for them. That's generally an issue that occurs with the calibration of the machine."

It's also "generally an issue" that occurs in Arkansas...on voting systems made by ES&S...year after year after year, as The BRAD BLOG has reported, continuously, over the past decade and as we quickly summarize below.

Are this year's votes flipping from R to D in Arkansas? From D to R? The story doesn't say, and, frankly, we're delighted about that. Because it doesn't matter!

Over the past decade or more, reports of touch-screen votes flipping from D to R have been far more common across the country, but it can go the other way as well (and/or to and from third parties). The point is that even when these god-forsaken 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems work as designed, there is still no way to know that any vote ever cast on one of them during an election for any candidate or initiative on the ballot was ever recorded as per any voter's intent!

As to the Pulaski County Election Commission's reported "plan" for dealing with this problem as they move forward between now and Election Day, it's a disaster in the making...

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

By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2014 12:31pm PT  

It occurred to me on the way over to the studio on Monday, when I was worried I might be running late, that if I didn't make it, Thom could just re-run the almost identical conversations we've had about virtually the same damn thing from back in 2012 or back in 2010 or back in 2008 or back in 2006, etc...

For much more on the above, please see these stories from Friday:

"E-Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois: More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)"
"Touch-Screen Votes Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on Abortion Amendment to State Constitution in TN"

...and whatever other similar stories we may have to run between now and Election Day next Tuesday.

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D.C. reels after reported upset victory by Dave Brat over the GOP House Majority Leader in Virginia's 7th Congressional District
But can the oft-failed, easily-manipulated e-voting results be trusted?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2014 11:26pm PT  

The political world exploded tonight with the stunning reported defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to little-known "Tea Party" candidate Dave Brat.

Cantor's loss was so unexpected that Democrats didn't even bother to nominate anyone to run in Virginia's 7th Congressional District until last night, reportedly during a conference call, when they decided to put up a professor named Jack Trammell (from the same Randolph-Macon College where Brat works) as their nominee, just before today's deadline.

"A conservative challenger is expected to fall far short of defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in Tuesday's congressional primary," wrote Rachel Weiner in Virginia's local paper known as the Washington Post just this morning. "The question in this race is how large Cantor's margin of victory will be."

So, there's more than enough speculative analysis complete guess work out there for you elsewhere about what all of this portends, from the same political pundits and geniuses and well-sourced insiders who had no clue that Cantor was about to become famous as the first sitting House Majority Leader to lose in a primary race since either 1899 or...forever, depending on who you listen to.

But, pretty much just as soon as it appeared that Cantor was about to be announced the "loser" in a blowout of an election late today, questions started coming in to us, via Twitter and elsewhere, with concerns about the integrity of the reported results and if there could have been any chicanery behind them...

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

So why was the 'Tea Party' trio locked inside Hinds County election HQ at 2am on night of incredibly close race with Cochran?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2014 6:02am PT  

You may have already heard at least some of the bizarre story about three "Tea Party" supporters of Mississippi's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who found themselves locked inside the Hinds County Courthouse around 2am on primary election night last Tuesday. McDaniel himself is now locked in a run-off for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against six-term Senator Thad Cochran, after the nail-biter on Tuesday which left the two men reportedly about 1,400 votes apart out of more than 300,000 cast.

Ultimately, neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, so they'll face each other again in a run-off for the GOP nomination on June 24. But the incident that left the three McDaniel supporters calling for help to let them out of the courthouse in the middle of the night after the last election official had locked the door and left almost three hours earlier is more than curious. It has many wondering what the hell the three were doing at the location where ballots are tallied and vote tabulators stored, in one of the last counties to come in with their results on the squeaker of an election night.

The details of the story, and why the three --- one a top campaign official for McDaniel (and a former Presidential campaign staffer for Newt Gingrich) --- were there at all, remain murky. On Wednesday, the Hinds County Sheriff's office said that there were "conflicting stories from the three of them." But by Thursday evening, despite what a Sheriff's spokesman described as a "fabrication" from the President of the Central Mississippi Tea Party who contacted a fellow Hinds County Republican executive committee member to seek his help in getting out of the courthouse, the county decided that she and the two men caught in the courthouse caper along with her broke no laws.

"Based on our findings and subsequent conclusion," the County Sheriff's office announced in a statement, "there is no reason to believe that the three individuals engaged in any criminal activity nor do we believe any laws were broken."

But with one of the original headlines about the story focused on the fact that the three had been locked in the empty courthouse "with ballots on Election Night," there remain a number of questions about what actually happened, despite initial reportage indicating that "ballots had been secured prior to the intrusion" and a subsequent report noting that "some precinct information wasn't sealed."

So, The BRAD BLOG contacted the Hinds County Election Commissioners to get more information on the exact type of voting system used there, which aspects of it might have been vulnerable to the three McDaniel supporters alone inside the courthouse, and what type of information was left unsealed there on election night.

We received detail answers to our questions from one of the five Hinds County Election Commissioners --- the one who would, perhaps, have the most reason to be suspicious of the trio of McDaniel supporters...

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

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