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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, March 19, 2018
Sunday 'Involuntary Retirement' Toons
The 'swamp' is decidely not being 'drained'. So find the political cartoonists in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
Trump Turns to Torture:
'BradCast' 3/16/18
CIA nom oversaw unlawful waterboarding, destruction of evidence at U.S. secret prison; Also: Trump brags about lying; More good 2018 news for Dems; Rep. Louise Slaughter RIP...
Senate Dems Vote to Gut Dodd-Frank, Other Disasters: 'BradCast' 3/15/18
Guest: Bart Naylor of Public Citizen; Also: New Russia sanctions, FL bridge collapse, TX chemical explosion, MUCH MORE...
'Green News Report' 3/15/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.S. may soon have its first climate science denying Sec. of State; Global water crisis; Black lung returns; LEGO goes greener; PLUS: Ice wall failing, 7 years after Fukushima disaster...
Previous GNRs: 3/13/18 - 3/8/18 - Archives...
Spinning v. Winning: BradCast 3/14/18
Nail-biter (and unverifiable) US House special election results in PA-18; Student gun safety walkouts; ICE busted as spokesman refuses to lie, steps down...
'Green News Report' 3/13/18
Admin finds EPA regs save money; CO Repubs choose oil/gas over public health; Int. Sec. protects public lands in home state; PLUS: 3rd Nor'easter in 10 days...
Battling Barcoded 'Paper Ballots' in GA, L.A., Every-where Else: 'BradCast' 3/12/18
Guest: Jennifer Cohn on deceptive dangers computer-marked 'paper ballots'; Also: Callers on that, Kim/Trump...
New Threat to Democracy: Barcodes, Ballot Marking Devices ('Electronic Pencils')
Unverifiable touchscreen DREs being phased out, replaced with unverifiable touchscreen BMDs...
Sunday Toons: 'Pick a Distraction'
The Trump Administration has a lot of problems. They also have a lot of things they hope will distract you from them, as PDiddie's latest toon collection reveals...
Trump, Kim and 'The Madman with a Gun': 'BradCast' 3/9/18
Also: White House, EPA waivers allow dozens of "ex"-lobbyists to work on issues related to corporate clients...
Trump Admin's New Report Debunks GOP Deregulation Con: 'BradCast' 3/8/18
Guest: Vox' David Roberts; Also: Trump tariffs; Good voter news for WA, CA; Senators query US voting vendors...
'Green News Report' 3/8/18
Oil co's call for carbon tax; Bad news for elephants; Good news for grid and renewables; Appeals court approves youth climate suit; PLUS: Arctic's warmest year ever...
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: Jennifer Cohn on the deceptive dangers of the move to computer-marked 'paper ballots'; Also: Callers ring on that, Kim/Trump, more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The fight for Election Integrity is often one step forward and two steps back. Don't be fooled by what many are deceptively describing as a move to "paper ballots", when those "paper ballots" aren't really what they are being sold as. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: A quick preview of the U.S. House Special Election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District on Tuesday, where voters will, shamefully, once again cast their votes in the crucial race on 100% unverifiable touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.

At the same time, lawmakers in the state of Georgia, which has disastrously used similarly unverifiable DREs for the past 15 years, are moving a deceptively described "paper ballot" bill forward in the legislature. However, what those lawmakers are not making clear (and some may not even understand) is that the bill would fund new computer-marked paper ballot systems, known as Ballot Marking Devices (BMD)s, across the state. Such systems also require voters to use a touch-screen device to vote and, like DREs, also cannot be verified after an election as reflecting the intent of any voter.

Worse still, rather than use the human-readable information printed out by the computers onto the "paper ballot" at the end of the process, BMDs use optical scanners which tally results read from barcodes or QR codes printed on the ballot that are NOT human readable!

And, it's not only Republican-leaning Georgia that is quickly hoping to move to such unverifiable systems. So is the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation, Los Angeles County! Also, counties in Texas and Tennessee are already using them and other states are looking to purchase them as well. Indeed, many supposedly progressive organizations and Democrats are actually recommending them, without understanding the very real dangers of BMDs!

We're joined today by attorney-turned-journalist JENNIFER COHN to discuss her well-researched and documented concerns, as detailed by voting system and computer security experts, regarding the nation's dangerous and disturbing lurch towards what she describes as expensive "electric pencils", otherwise known as BMDs. Cohn explained those concerns in simple, layman's language in a recent post at The BRAD BLOG.

As we discuss on the show: No, "paper ballots" are not enough! We need HAND-MARKED paper ballots that are known to have been verified by the voters, if we are going to even have a chance of restoring publicly verifiable democratic elections in the U.S.

Cohn details both in her article and on today's show, a number of academic studies finding that most voters do not check computer printouts and summaries at the end of the voting process, and of the minority who do, some 60% or more don't even notice when the computer has flipped their vote!

PLEASE tune in for this important conversation, because Americans must begin to understand the dangers presenting by these deceptively described "paper ballots", which are coming to a voting jurisdiction near you!

Then, we open up the phone lines today to callers on that issue, as well as some of my thoughts from last Friday's show regarding the supposed face-to-face meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and even crazier U.S. leader Donald Trump, regarding the North's nuclear weapons program...

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

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As unverifiable touchscreen DREs are phased out of our nation's voting systems, unverifiable touchscreen BMDs ('Son of DREs') are on the way...
By Jennifer Cohn on 3/12/2018 9:45am PT  

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Jennifer Cohn at Medium.]

A Ballot Marking Device ("BMD") is a touchscreen computer that generates a computer-marked paper ballot or printout, which is then tallied on a computerized optical scanner. (Those computer-marked ballots can also, in theory, be counted by hand, but generally are not, as most election officials rely on optical scanners instead.)

BMDs were initially designed for people who are unable to hand-mark paper ballots due to disability, old age, etc. But the state of Georgia and Los Angeles County, California are now at the forefront of an unfortunate new trend, which is to consider buying these expensive hackable "electronic pencils" for use by all voters at the polls, regardless of need.

The Georgia legislature is quickly working to adopt a bill to fund such new systems to replace their similarly 100% unverifiable, 15-year old Diebold touchscreen systems used across the entire state. L.A. County is in the late process of a years-long development program to deploy these systems in time for the 2020 Presidential election.

Should Georgia and Los Angeles proceed on their current course, it would introduce a second unnecessary and insecure computer system in the polling place above and beyond already insecure optical scanners, creating twice as many opportunities for electronic programming errors, paper jams, and hacking. For example, some BMD systems have already had problems with:

  • Vote flipping (when election integrity advocate and journalist Brad Friedman used such a device in Los Angeles in a 2008 election, the device flipped 4 out of 12 of his selections on the computer-marked paper ballot);
  • Inability to display all candidates on one screen (a problem reported by the state of Maryland, which had acquired such systems for all voters, but changed its mind even though the screen problem was eventually fixed); and
  • Vendor breach of certification requirements (as occurred with vendor Election Systems & Software, "ES&S", the nation's largest voting system vendor).

Meanwhile, two of the most popular BMD's --- the ES&S ExpressVote and the Dominion ImageCast --- produce bar-coded (or QR-coded) printouts, which cannot be read by human beings, in lieu of traditional, hand-marked paper ballots.

This is alarming, according to experts --- including some who describe BMDs as "Son of DREs" --- for a number reasons...

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

Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Trump's terrible tariffs; Good news for voters in WA and CA; U.S. Senators query U.S. voting system vendors...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2018 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, so many great cons to debunk, so little time. But we've actually got some good news for voters today as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up today, Trump unleashes his massive and wildly unpopular --- and, yes, job-killing --- new taxes on imported steel and aluminum.

Then, some voting news, most of it good. The state of Washington is the ninth state in the union to adopt automatic voter registration, and a federal court has ruled that California must inform Vote-by-Mail voters before their ballots are tossed out when election officials decide that the signature on the ballot doesn't match the one on the voter's registration form. According to the ACLU's lawsuit, as many as 45,000 voters in the state were disenfranchised, without their knowledge, thanks to California's horrible practice, carried out by the whim of officials who are anything but handwriting experts.

Meanwhile, two Democratic U.S. senators have sent a letter to the nation's top three election vendors, ES&S, Dominion, and Hart Intercivic, asking if they have shared the source code from their computerized voting and tabulation systems with Russia. We discuss what this actually means and doesn't. (For example: No, it's not necessary for Russia or anybody else, including elections officials, to have access or familiarity with proprietary source code from voting and tabulating systems in order to manipulate computer-tallied elections!) We also call out Reuters for continuing to spread the evidence-free claim in their report on this that "voting machines were not directly affected" by meddling during the 2016 election.

Next, we're joined by's environment and politics writer DAVID ROBERTS to discuss a new report [PDF] released by the Trump Administration's own Office of Management and Budget(!) which, as he writes, "demolishes the GOP’s deregulatory claims." In short, it finds that benefits to the public of federal regulations far outstrip their costs in pretty much every imaginable way.

The aggregate costs of major federal regulations (those with an impact of $100 million or more) between 2006 and 2016, according to the annually mandated report released late on a Friday night for some reason, "were somewhere between $59 and $88 billion. And the aggregate benefits were somewhere between $219 and $695 billion," says Roberts. "So, even if you take the highest possible estimate of costs, and the lowest possible estimate of benefits, the benefits are still well over double what the costs were, in the most conservative analysis."

While Donald Trump has attempted to cut hundreds of rules and regulations across federal agencies --- repeatedly boasting about doing away with a record number of "job-killing regulations" and bureaucratic red-tape --- the fact is, as his own OMB (headed up by the far-right, Tea Party, regulation-hating Mick Mulvaney!) detailed in their report, those regulations do not "kill jobs" or cost the government money. In fact, killing those rules costs the government far more, particularly the environmental rules being radically gutted by this Administration.

But, as Roberts argues, the "job-killing" mantra has been so often repeated by Republicans since the days of Ronald Reagan --- and gone largely unchallenged by corporate media --- much of the public now simply accepts those false assertions as reality.

"Just to be clear, we've known this about federal regulations for a long time," Roberts notes. "These things have been subjected to cost-benefit analysis out the wazoo for years and years. Not only by the federal government, but by outside analysts. They all more or less converge on this same answer, which is that the public health and social and employment benefits of these things wildly outweigh the costs, and have for years."

"The reason Republicans hate this is because, when you see it in aggregate like this, it's almost enough to convince you that government can be an agent of good, that it can improve public health and welfare while still maintaining economic growth."

"It's revealing, I think, that this is treated as a revelation," he tells me. "It ought to be commonplace by now. It's the consensus of the experts. We just don't accept it, because Republicans, just through the sheer weight of repetition, have been saying 'job-killing regulations', 'burdensome regulations', etc., etc., for so long, that that's just sort of baked into the cake as one side of the debate, even though there's no support for it. There's no analysis that supports that."

We discuss why that is and who actually benefits from the GOP's great con. (Hint: It isn't the bulk of the folks who voted for Donald Trump!) Robert's also goes on to argue why he believes that Democrats are at least partly to blame for this con having taken such a death grip on the American conscience as self-defeating "conventional wisdom" over the past several decades.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report for yet another demonstration of how the decades-long scam to gut regulations continues to threaten the nation and the world...

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

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Guest: Election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas of Univ. of Kentucky...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2018 6:29pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after a brief New Year holiday break! But it wasn't entirely a break, as Alabama's Secretary of State John Merrill decided to launch a bizarre Twitter exchange with me over the holiday weekend. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The conversation included the state's chief election official repeatedly (and inaccurately) insisting that Alabama's paper ballot computer scanners do not "capture" scanned ballot images that can be retained by the system for review by the public after an election. He is wrong, as I politely noted during the conversation.

In fact, Merrill almost certainly knows he is wrong, since he actually went to the State Supreme Court to block an order by a lower court, issued the day before the December 12th U.S. Senate Special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore, to instruct all county election officials to set their computer scanners to retain all captured ballot images! [We discussed that multi-partisan lawsuit with one of the organizers, John Brakey, before it was filed, and again with one of the plaintiff attorneys, Chris Sautter, after the order was blocked by the state Supreme Court, allowing counties to destroy their captured ballot images.]

Nonetheless, after I questioned Merrill about the inaccurate information he was offering to the public, he decided to block me on Twitter, rather than admit that he had misinformed the public. Here's a PDF that reconstructs as much of the conversation as I could, given that I'm now blocked by him, so can't easily see his Tweets. Moreover, he also deleted a number of his own Tweets after he blocked me, and he repeatedly broke the conversation thread throughout. So, that PDF reconstruction will have to suffice for now to give you an idea of what at least one Twitter user accurately described as a "bonkers" exchange!

It wasn't the first time Merrill would block journalists, election law experts, or even his own constituent voters on social media after someone dared to suggest that he was wrong about AL election procedures. We're joined today by JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, professor of election and constitutional law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. He, too --- like me, and like UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen --- was blocked on Twitter by Alabama's Republican Sec. of State after asking a question, in November, about the state's election code.

"I said, it's not about lying, it's about asking questions of a public official running their elections, and the next thing I knew, I was blocked myself. So, kind of ironically, Merrill blocked me for questioning whether he should be allowed to block others on Twitter who were trying to interact with him about the election," Douglas explains. He wrote about the incident and why it matters at

We discuss all of this bizarre behavior, and whether or not it's a violation of the Constitution when folks like Merrill and, yes, the President of the United States, block citizens from being able to read their social media comments. All of which makes what we do --- as journalists, legal professionals and, yes, voters --- more difficult and even Constitutionally problematic in a number of ways.

Also today: Despite Merrill's odd behavior before, during and after the election (Merrill supported Roy Moore), Doug Jones was sworn in to the U.S. Senate today after (apparently) defeating Moore to become the state's first Democratic U.S. Senator in some 25 years, narrowing the GOP majority to just 51 to 49. And, King of the Twitter Trolls, Donald Trump threatened nuclear war again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and social media had a huge laugh at Trump's comments about having a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim. But is any of it --- including the threat of war between two nuclear-armed nations --- really all that funny?...

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: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2017 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one last battle over democracy before 2017 comes to a close, and an early look forward to the battles --- and, perhaps, "democracy's revenge" --- that lie ahead in 2018. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In his last minute bid to prevent final certification of the first Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate in more than two decades, Alabama's Republican candidate Roy Moore filed an 80-page lawsuit [PDF] late Wednesday night alleging massive "voter fraud" and other somewhat confusing irregularities are to blame for his December 12 Special Election loss to the Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

A state court judge quickly dismissed Moore's complaint on Thursday morning and Jones was certified shortly thereafter as having defeated him by nearly 22,000 votes out of some 1.3 million cast. Jones will fill the seat vacated by Alabama's former Republican Senator turned Donald Trump's U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions shortly after the new year.

We're joined today by long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING who largely dismisses the allegations detailed in Moore's suit. Though, as we discuss, the GOP may have themselves to blame for making it difficult, if not impossible, for federal candidates in Alabama (and elsewhere) to ensure the accuracy of computer-reported vote tallies, even when they are based, as in AL, on hand-marked paper ballots scanned by computer systems but never verified for accuracy by human beings.

Moore's complaint, Canning adds, is also deficient when it comes to presenting any actual hard evidence of fraud by voters. The controversial Republican cites statistical analyses focusing on high turnout in a number of African-American districts said to contrast with Exit Poll data, and the affidavit of one poll worker who claims she saw more out-of-state IDs than usual used by voters even though that's perfectly lawful under the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction. Beyond that, no hard evidence is offered by the complaint to prove that any illegal votes were cast in the election, much less thousands of them.

Then, we discuss two of Canning's recent articles at The BRAD BLOG, both looking forward towards what he describes as the possibility of "democracy's revenge" in 2018. In one, he details why every single Republican U.S. House member from California could be in jeopardy of losing their seat in the "deep blue" state next year. In the other, he lays out what he describes as "Revolutionary Strategies to End GOP Rule in 2018" across the nation.

The CA attorney and 2016 Senior Adviser to Veterans for Bernie also discusses the need for "political maturity" among both progressive and establishment Democrats alike, in order to effectively take on the GOP following the 2016 election of Trump and his compliant Republicans in Congress who, he argues, have since revealed their true nature of legislating only for the benefit of the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Desi Doyen then joins us for our final Green News Report of 2017, rounding up both the good and horrific news over the past year, including, despite Trump's best efforts, a number of very hopeful signs for the environment as we head into 2018. And, finally, we close with one last punch in the face at the intolerable and seemingly endless 2017, from comedian Lewis Black.

Angie Coiro guest-hosts for us on tomorrow's BradCast, and Desi and I will see you again after the New Year holiday! Until then, my thanks to those of you who have answered our call by stopping by in support of our efforts to try and continue our work --- over your public airwaves --- as long as possible into the new 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: Jeet Heer of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: An all too remarkable reminder that every vote --- every single vote --- matters. Or should, with control of the Virginia's House of Delegates and, potentially, healthcare for hundreds of thousands now at stake amid a remarkable "recount" in the state. Also, now that the massive GOP tax bill has been passed, are Democrats still relying too much on potential findings of the Special Counsel and the possibility of impeachment in 2018? [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Just after our show yesterday, the Commonwealth of Virginia completed a partial-machine, partial-hand "recount" of one of last month's House of Delegates races that, by one single vote, appeared last night to hand the victory to the Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds. One single vote. If Democrats pick up that seat, it would, in turn, end decades of Republican-majority control of the House, with a 50/50 seat split among Ds and Rs. Before the November 7 election, Republicans held a 66-34 seat advantage.

It appeared, as of last night, to be a done deal, with the Dem having been declared the winner after the "recount" by one vote on the state's hand-marked paper ballots and the Republicans having conceded the race. (Virginia finally got rid of all of its 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems this after.) The bi-partisan election official judges signed off on Tuesday's new tally, handing the victory to Simonds over Republican David Yancey who had led by just 10 votes prior to the "recount".

But on Wednesday morning, a GOP election official judge had second thoughts about one ballot which, previously, the judges had unanimously determined to be an overvote --- with a selection in the bubbles for both the Democrat Simonds and for the incumbent Republican Yancey. The Simonds bubble, however, appears to have a slash through it. The rest of the selections on the ballot were for Republicans, though the choice for the Republican candidate for Governor also appears to have a cross through it, with no other candidate selected by the voter in that race. (The full ballot in question can be viewed here [JPG].)

So, after a two hour court hearing on Wednesday, it was decided by a three-judge panel that the race was/is a tie instead, with 11,608 votes for each candidate. That means control of the VA House --- and the increased possibility of health care coverage via Medicaid expansion for nearly half a million Virginians --- will be left up to a random draw to see who wins the seat.

There are, of course, still many questions about this story, which was still breaking as we went to air today. The "losing" candidate after the random draw will also be able to ask for a second "recount". We discuss all of those questions, the ballot, the "recount" methods used in the state, the state's published guidelines [PDF] for counting various types of questionably hand-marked paper ballots in VA, and much more related to this remarkable episode, including whether digitally scanned "Ballot Images" from Election Night may exist to determine whether the cross-out on the ballot in question was there originally or added somehow during the post-Election Night chain of custody. (The city of Newport News, where this election in the 94th District was held, does appear to have the type of computer-scanners that create digital ballot images, though I've yet to hear back from the Registrar if those systems were set to retain the images after scanning them.)

It should also be noted here that Democrats received some 53% of the vote, compared to just 43% for Republicans across the state when the entire House was up for grabs in November. Nonetheless, as things currently stand, Democrats may only achieve a 50/50 split in the House. That should offer an idea of how badly the Republicans have gerrymandered the state.

Also, a separate recount for a separate very close VA House of Delegates race is still pending, though Democrats there are suing for a completely new election, since at least 100 voters were given the wrong ballot in a race currently decided for the Republican incumbent --- before the "recount" --- by just 82 votes.

Then, we're joined today by JEET HEER, Senior Editor at New Republic to discuss the final passage of the GOP's massive tax cuts, largely for the wealthy, how Democrats are responding to them, and whether or not they are over-relying on the possibility of impeachment to take down President Trump as they head into the 2018 mid-term election year. Heer argued as much in a recent article discussing "the Democrats' dangerous obsession with impeachment". It's a highly debatable subject, about which I am of at least two minds, as discussed in detail with Heer on today's show.

Finally, we close with Bernie Sanders' late-night response to the passage of the $1.5 trillion tax bill in the middle of the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in the U.S. Senate, and how the GOP is now planning to come for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to pay for it...

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

Also, guest David M. Rothschild on a new study finding real, not fake, news was the problem in the 2016 Presidential election...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2017 4:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A last minute ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court, without plaintiffs even present, will allow the state to destroy electronic "ballot images" created by the state's digital computer ballot scanners in Tuesday's special election. Also, was it the fake news or the real news that tipped last year's Presidential election? [Audio link to show follows below.]

In Alabama, computer tabulators determine the intent of voters (either correctly or incorrectly), as cast on hand-marked paper ballots from Tuesday's highly contentious U.S. Senate Special Election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. The state Supreme Court, in a late ruling on Monday, issued a stay [PDF] that effectively reversed a lower court order [PDF] on Monday. That order had required all digital scanners in the state to be set to retain all such images created by the system as ballots are scanned through it. The stay now means that only in the exceedingly rare event of a hand "recount" of paper ballots will the public be able to oversee elections results to determine if the computers got it right on Tuesday.

We've been covering this issue for some time. (My original interview last week with election integrity and transparency advocate John Brakey, who helped organize the AL lawsuit is here.) Yesterday, it looked like a win for Brakey and the multi-partisan plaintiffs who filed in court to demand the state's retention of all digital images for inspection by the public, as per federal law requiring all election materials be retained for 22 months. But late on Monday, Secretary of State John Merrill and Alabama's state Election Administrator Ed Packard argued their case [PDF] ex parte (in otherwords, alone, without the plaintiffs there or allowed to respond) and received a favorable ruling from Roy Moore's old colleagues on the court. (Moore was formerly a State Supreme Court Justice, until twice being removed for failing to follow federal court orders.)

I spoke with Brakey and attorney working on the case, Chris Sautter, earlier today, as well as other experts. I've got details on their comments, and from the court documents, on today's show. Essentially, the state argued that state election officials didn't have jurisdiction to order county election officials to turn on the software switch on the scanners to retain all ballot images, and that doing so at the last minute, as the Circuit Court ordered on Monday, would "cause confusion among elections officials and be disruptive to" the election on Tuesday. That, even though the Circuit Court judge found it wouldn't cost the state anything to do so and that failing to turn on the setting that retains the images would lead to irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. Sautter tells me the state did not make the case for last minute confusion during the lower court arguments.

I suspect we'll have much more on that and on other problems reported at the polls today, on tomorrow's BradCast, along with whatever results --- accurate or inaccurate (who knows?) --- that the computers may report by then.

Then, after a flurry of fake news over the weekend during the final run-up to Tuesday's U.S. Senate election in Alabama, we discuss an alarming new study analyzing the effect of both real and fake news during the run-up to last year's Presidential election. Was it so-called fake news and Russian Facebook ads that gave Donald Trump the edge to defeat Hillary Clinton last year? Or, was it a failure by the mainstream corporate media --- the "real news" --- to responsibly cover important issues that the electorate needed before casting their vote? DAVID M. ROTHSCHILD, co-author of the new study published by Columbia Journalism Review, joins us today to discuss their --- at times, remarkable --- findings.

I'd strongly urge you to read their full damning report --- particularly if you are of the mind that fake news and ads said to have come from Russia, turned this election --- because there are too many detailed and troubling findings in it for me to adequately summarize either here or during today's program.

But, to cite just one aspect of my conversation with Rothschild about the report's analysis of 150 front-page articles in the New York Times over the 69 days prior to last year's November election, he tells me: "150 stories. And of that, there were just 10 stories where they actually really touched on a specific policy initiative of either of the candidates, the ideal thing that you would want the 'paper of record' to be supplying to people. The vast majority of stories were miscellaneous campaign stories. Over 50% of them talked about the horse race. Very small percentages, 15% or less, actually talked anything about policy, with even smaller percentages actually talking about the policies themselves. It was all about the horse race, all about the scandals, not about the impact of the election itself on policy, which is ultimately why we have elections and ultimately defines the impact of these elections."

His study notes that in just six days right before the election, "The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election." That said, ironically enough, as Rothschild notes, even the MSM coverage of the purported scandals was terrible, misleading and inaccurate as well! They, and we, never seem to learn.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green New Report, as unprecedented winter wildfires continue to ravage Southern California and as the Trump Administration continues to ravage the environment...

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Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow transgender enlistment, despite Trump's ban; SoCal fire update; A big election integrity court win and deep dive into the mad state of Alabama's U.S. Senate election as voters head to the polls...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we take a deep dive into the insane state of play in the final days before voters finally head to the polls in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election between the Republican, twice-removed-from-the-bench judge Roy Moore and Democratic former US Attorney Doug Jones.

But first, a few quick news items today, including an update on the still-out-of-control Southern California wildfires; The mostly-failed terror bombing by an alleged ISIS sympathizer in the subway near Times Square today; news in the case of three white rightwing "militiamen" on trial for an alleged scheme to bomb a community of Muslim Somali refugees in Kansas. Their motion seeks to get more Trump-supporters from elsewhere in the state on their terror trial jury; New details on the school shooting (by another white guy) in New Mexico last week that took three lives, including that of the shooter. Despite FBI investigators interviewing the man last year after he is said to have left online comments seeking information on weapons to use in a mass shooting, he was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic pistol and high-capacity magazines last month anyway.

And then it's onto our deep dive into "deep red" Alabama and the state of the important Moore/Jones U.S. Senate election before Election Day on Tuesday. Among the issues covered on that front today:

  • Election Integrity advocates obtained a big win on Monday morning, when receiving an order [PDF] from a state court requiring state election officials retain digital ballot images created by computer scanners tabulating the paper ballots used across much of the state. (My interview last week with John Brakey, the election integrity advocate who organized the court action, explaining why its necessary, is here.)
    UPDATE 12/12/2017: After a private ex parte motion (meaning, the opposition was not present) later in the day, by the defendants, AL's Sec. of State and State Election Director, the Alabama Supreme Court stayed the earlier Circuit Court ruling and set a hearing on the matter for later this month. That, effectively, means that ballot images will not be preserved after all. More on this remarkable late ruling on today's BradCast...
  • Some last minute news on the anti-gay, anti-Muslim Moore, who has been accused by 9 different women of inappropriate sexual contact with them when they were teenagers (including one who was 14-years old at the time), on his belief that Constitutional Amendments which came after the ten in the Bill of Rights --- including those that ended slavery and gave voting rights to African-Americans and woman --- somehow violated the intentions of the nation's Founders;
  • New polling from Fox "News" claiming to find the Democrat Jones up by 10 points over Moore on the eve of the election, and another new poll from Emerson finding Moore up over Jones by 9 points;
  • How the entire race will come down to turnout, particularly in the African-American community, and whether they are allowed to vote and to have their votes counted as cast, given the state's Photo ID voting restrictions and other practices which Republican state lawmakers have been caught admitting to having designed specifically to suppress black and Latino voting;
  • AL's senior Senator Richard Shelby, a fellow Republican, announces he could not vote for Moore, based on the allegations against him;
  • And, finally, a remarkable focus group led by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for VICE News with so-called "conservative" Alabamians explaining why they plan to vote for Moore despite the allegations by nine different women against him...

Buckle up!...

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Guest: Election integrity advocate John Brakey; Also: Conyers resigns, Farenthold skates, RNC and Trump go all-in for Roy Moore...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If Donald Trump and fellow Republicans have their way, an accused child molester will become the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. But, in advance of next Tuesday's election, election integrity advocates are fighting to assure the possibility of oversight of the state's computerized election results. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first up today, new wildfires exploded across parts of Southern California on Tuesday, in Ventura County and near Los Angeles, mirroring some of record fires that engulfed Northern California win country in October. Those fires killed more than 40 people and destroyed thousands of structures. While no deaths have yet been reported in the new blazes, tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee in the middle of the night and scores of houses have burned with thousands remaining threatened, as dry conditions and record winds are predicted to continue for several days.

Meanwhile, in Congress, allegations of sexual harassment continue to take a toll, as civil rights champion Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the longest serving member in the U.S. House, announced his resignation on Tuesday, following multiple allegations against him. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) says he will repay the $84,000 Congress paid out to settle a 2014 sexual harassment claim against him. Unlike in Conyers' case, no members of Farenthold's own party caucus have publicly called on him to resign.

And, following Donald Trump's full-throated endorsement of Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore on Monday, the Republican National Committee has now restored funding and other resources for Moore, after previously pulling support in response to well-sourced allegations of sexual impropriety with a number of teenage girls, as young as 14, when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Sitting GOP Senators --- like Utah's Orrin Hatch and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- have also walked back their initial condemnations of Moore, particularly as final passage of a massive Republican redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the rich still relies on a thin partisan majority in the U.S. Senate. That, even as new evidence emerges to buttress the allegations against Moore.

Then, in advance of that December 12th U.S. Senate Special Election between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones next Tuesday in Alabama, election integrity advocates are eying concerns about the state's paper ballot computer tabulators.

I'm joined today by longtime election integrity champion JOHN BRAKEY of AUDIT-AZ to discuss his lawsuit and other efforts to force Alabama election officials to turn on digital "ballot imaging" functionality for all ballots on the state's computer ballot scanners, most of which offer the feature. Brakey explains how such images, in lieu of actual human examination of hand-marked paper ballots, can be helpful for public attempts at oversight of results following next week's race, particularly given the historic obstacles citizens have been met with in attempting to verify computer tabulated results.

(See, by way of just one example, my recent interview with Wisconsin's Karen McKim, whose public records request finally allowed, just weeks ago, a multi-partisan group of observers to examine paper ballots from the 2016 President election. That audit of several precincts in Racine County, paid for by the residents themselves, revealed up to 6% of perfectly valid Presidential votes went untallied, thanks to flawed optical scan systems used across the state on Election Night and, in much of the state, even during even during Green Party candidate Jill Stein's attempted "recount". Other wards which tallied by hand instead during that "recount" discovered as many as 30% of valid votes went untallied originally!)

Brakey explains that some 80% of Alabama counties now use newer digital scanners which would allow ballot images to be retained and shared with citizens to examine after the election, to help ensure an accurate count. But, he tells me, relaying his recent conversations with the state's Election Director, "the reality is that it doesn't work unless you turn that feature on." Right now, he says, it is only turned on for write-in votes only. Brakey charges, however, that automatically deleting images that are taken of every ballot as they are tallied by the digital systems, is a violation of federal law. "It's a federal election, and under federal law, you must save everything for 22 months," he says. He is heading to Alabama today and says he will file suit to force the state to retain all such images.

Why not just fight to view the actual paper ballots? Brakey explains: "You cannot get at the original ballots. They will not let you touch them. In order to get to them, you have to prove fraud first. And how are you going to prove fraud if you can't get to the ballots? That's the Catch-22. The ballot images are a tool to get us to the originals."

You can watch the colorful and inspirational Brakey in the film Fatally Flawed, documenting his years-long transpartisan fight in Tucson, Arizona, in hopes of examining the ballots from and verifying results of a controversial 2006 election. And you can donate to help Brakey's fight for Ballot Images in Alabama (and elsewhere) right here.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Trump's unprecedented (and Orwellian) roll back of protected national monument designations by former Presidents, and much more...

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Guest: Karen McKim of Wisconsin Election Integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The three stories we cover at the top of today's show --- another long-range missile launch by North Korea, GOP tax cuts for the wealthy moving forward in Congress, and a Trump-appointed federal judge who just decided in favor of Trump (and seemingly, against the rule of law) in an unprecedented battle for leadership of a federal agency --- all underscore the importance of the rest of today's disturbing program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

An effort just before the Thanksgiving holiday by citizen volunteers at (WIE) finds that inaccurate results were certified in Wisconsin's 2016 Presidential election, which Donald Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes over Hillary Clinton, out of some 3 million ballots cast.

Wisconsin was one of three states, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Green Party candidate Jill Stein had filed for "recounts" and forensic audits of voting systems, after the Clinton Campaign declined to heed the pleas for such an audit by computer scientists and voting systems experts who begged her campaign to do so. Stein's post-election effort was largely stymied by Team Trump and various statutes in each of those states. A statewide tally was allowed to move forward in Wisconsin, however only about half of the state's ballots were hand-counted, as municipalities were allowed to carry out their choice of either manual- or machine-tallied "recounts".

After finding an alarming number of uncounted ballots in Racine County precincts during last year's machine "recount" (see documentary filmmaker Lulu Friesdat's alarming coverage of election officials refusing to hand-tally clearly valid votes there during Stein's attempted "recount") the volunteers at WIE filed, and paid for, a public records request to examine the hand-marked paper ballots in a number of those wards.

Recently, they were allowed to review those ballots and, as they feared, many perfectly valid votes had gone uncounted by the optical-scan systems both during the original Election Night tally and the so-called "recount" in counties that used the same faulty computer scanners for the second count, after they had similarly mistallied ballots on Election Night.

I'm joined on today's show by longtime election integrity advocate and WIE's statewide coordinator KAREN McKIM to discuss the group's findings, revealing that the ballot scanning computers used in some 57 municipalities across the state had failed to tally anywhere from 2% to 6% of the ballots with valid Presidential votes in each of the Racine precincts they were allowed to examine a week or so ago. In other WI cities which chose to count by hand during Stein's "recount", McKim tells me, those same scanners had originally missed anywhere from 9% to 30% of valid Presidential votes! All of that in a state which Donald Trump is said to have won last year by less than 1%.

"They were ignored by the voting system entirely," says McKim, "and that's what made the miscount - or should have made the miscount obvious to the election officials even before they certified. You could look at those election results that the voting machines spit out on their face and you could see that hundreds of votes were just missing. If you compared the total number of ballots cast to the total number of presidential votes counted, you should have known --- they should have known --- that two percent of the voters didn't go to the polls so that they could cast a blank ballot. The miscounts were obvious at the time of the canvas, and the county officials did nothing about it."

Nearly a year after the election, in late September of this year, the state Election Commission finally decertified the 20-year old Optech Eagle computer tabulators, after finding that the systems fail to tally votes at all if the "wrong" type of ink is used to make selections by the voter. The same systems are still used, according to Verified Voting, in other states, such as Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia, and may be used again in Wisconsin next year, as the state decertification allows municipalities to wait until after the November 2018 mid-term elections to replace them.

McKim, however, tells me that those faulty machines don't necessarily explain "the really widely varying error rates from precinct to precinct. ... Why the city of Racine machines were missing more votes than the suburban machines? I don't know. You'd really have to do a forensic investigation to figure that out." But, of course, Stein was not allowed such an investigation in any of the states where she sought them.

If it weren't for Stein's attempted audit, she says, the problems may have gone completely ignored. "The poll workers noticed the missing votes when they closed the polls that night. They noted it on their inspector's reports. The municipal canvas looked at it, and I talked to the Municipal Clerk, and she said, 'I didn't know what we were supposed to do about this, so I certified it and sent it to the County Clerk.' And then the County Clerk looked at those results. She too --- and again, you could not ignore a miscount of that size --- and she just said, 'Well, it's the municipality's job to send me the accurate results. Whatever they send me, it's not my job to correct it.'"

"There is not a county in the state of Wisconsin where the county election officials check accuracy of the vote totals. They all just certify by looking at the computer tape and saying, 'Oh, look who won.'"

McKim, who is a retired quality-assurance manager, says "Every other manager that uses computers, from your grocery store to the bank to the city treasurers, they all know and accept that their computers are going to miscount from time to time. So they have routine procedures in place to check and correct before it's too late. Election administrators are the only computer-dependent managers we allow to get away with not checking the computer output for accuracy. It's insane."

"The county canvass procedures clearly allowed massive miscounts, obvious miscounts, just to go undetected and uncorrected. And that's unacceptable," she added, going on to detail what the group plans to do next, and how computer tabulation systems other than the Optech Eagle, "new or old", should never be trusted for use without citizen oversight.

We also discuss what such oversight should look like, if public Election Night hand-counts are possible in Wisconsin, how citizens elsewhere can carry out similar audits, and much more during today's show...

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Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris of Roosevelt University...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another tumultuous week, another White House firing, another major election system breach and another look at how it all could end. [Audio link follows below.]

White House Chief Strategist --- and once and future head of the far-right fake 'news' outlet Breitbart --- is fired after yet another tumultuous week of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump.

Also today, 11 years after The BRAD BLOG first reported exclusively on a massive breach of personal voting records for some 1.5 million Chicago voters, the private company contracted to run the city's voter registration system did it again. ES&S, the largest electronic voting system vendor in the nation, was discovered to have been storing 1.8 million voter registration records on an unprotected web server this week, exposing citizens to data theft and the city's administrative voting system passwords. All underscoring, yet again, the continuing failures and dangers of having privatized our public electoral system, as we've been trying to highlight for nearly 15 years now.

Then, with the President's approval rating at an historic low and support for his impeachment climbing, concerns about his fitness for office continue to mount in the wake of his equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protest them, following the murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. New articles of impeachment are filed in the U.S. House, more Presidential advisory councils are disbanding, with CEOs and other business leaders (even James Murdoch of Fox "News"!) quickly distancing themselves from Trump, even some top Republicans who previously supported him are now finally suggesting he may be unfit for office.

So, how might this all end? We're joined today by columnist, author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University to discuss that, Bannon, and his new piece at The Week on the Constitutional ambiguities of the 25th Amendment. Can it and should it be invoked to remove Trump from office? And how the hell does it even work?

Faris argues "we cannot take three-and-a-half more years of this nonstop hell without experiencing a collective nervous breakdown," describes the firing of Bannon as "a great victory for The Resistance", and offers his thoughts on whether the latest shake-up at the continuously chaotic White House is ultimately good for the nation. Then, he compares the difficulties of the impeachment process versus those in invoking the never-before-used Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to remove a President who is judged to be unfit for office. Faris also handicaps the odds --- and advantages to both the GOP Congress and Vice-President --- of either option actually being triggered.

Finally, as if things aren't troubling enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, as National Monuments are on the Administration's chopping block, Trump revokes Obama's Executive Order protecting the nation's infrastructure, and the U.S. looks forward to its first total eclipse of the sun in nearly 100 years...

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Guest: Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and Verified Voting | Also: 'The Mooch' is fired, and the health care wars continue...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How hackers in Las Vegas over the weekend confirmed what we've been yelling and screaming about for nearly 15 years. Namely, every single computer voting, tabulation and registration system used in the U.S. is absurdly vulnerable to manipulation that would likely go undetected unless hand-marked paper ballots exist and are actually counted, by hand, by human beings. [Audio link to full show posted below at end of article.]

At the annual hackers convention in Vegas known as DefCon, thirty voting system computers (both voting machines and electronic pollbooks) were made available to attendees to crack at will! And, boy howdy, did they! Every single system was reportedly compromised in some fashion by the end of the weekend --- several of them fell within just minutes of opening DefCon's so-called "Voting Machine Hacking Village".

We're joined today for some of the amazing details on what happened in Vegas (in hopes that it doesn't just stay there!) by DR. DAVID JEFFERSON, a longtime computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors at Jefferson, who has a been a pioneer in the field of voting system security for some 20 years, serving as an advisor to five successive Secretaries of State in California (both Republican and Democratic) also presented at the wildly popular DefCon "Voting Village".

"It was a wild time, I have to tell ya. This hacking village was set up --- really, in just six weeks it came together --- and in that short a time, they managed to gather all these voting machines," he says. It was quite a contrast from the "cloak and dagger" days when folks like us had to obtain voting machines from secret sources to share with independent investigators in order to have any kind of independent analysis of system vulnerabilities.

"That room was just crowded from morning to night," Jefferson says, describing the room at DefCon. "And the amazing thing is that all of those successful hacks, these were by people who, most of them, had never seen a voting machine before, and certainly not the system sitting in front of them, and they had not met each other before. They didn't come with a full set of tools that were tailored toward attacking these machines. They just started with a piece of hardware in front of them and their own laptops and ingenuity, attacking the various systems. And it was amazing how quickly they did it!"

Jefferson tells me, after all of these years, he is now seeing a major difference among the public, as well as election and elected officials (a number of whom were also in attendance), regarding the decades-long concerns by experts about electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems.

"I am seeing a kind of sea change here. For the first time, I am sensing that election officials, and the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI, and the intelligence community, and Congress, and the press, are suddenly, after the 2016 election experience, receptive to our message that these systems are extremely vulnerable and it's a serious national security issue. As you know, in a democracy, the legitimacy of government depends on free and fair and secure elections. And people are beginning to realize that we haven't had those for a long time."

He explains how hacking methods attributed by many to Russians following the 2016 elections "are the same methods that anyone on Earth could use --- insiders, criminal syndicates, nation-states other than Russia, as well, or our own political partisans. The fear, of course, is that these hacking attempts will be totally undetectable. But even if they are detectable, it's difficult often to determine who did it, whether it's an insider, or a domestic partisan, or some foreign organization."

He also confirms what I've been trying to point out since the 2016 election, that despite officials continuously claiming that no voting results were changed by anyone, be it Russia or anybody else, "they cannot know that. They simply can't know. Certainly in those states where there are no paper ballots, such as in Georgia, for example, it's impossible for them to know. And even in states where there are, if they don't go back and either recount the paper ballots, or at least recount a random sample of them, no, they can't know either."

"Election officials have fooled themselves into believing the claims of their [private voting machine] vendors that the systems are secure from all kinds of attack. And it's just never been true," Jefferson argues.

But will the weekend's short order hacks of every voting system presented at DefCon actually help the U.S. to finally move toward systems that are overseeable by the public? And what does that mean, exactly? Is replacing old computer election systems --- many of which still run on no-longer-supported software like Windows 2000 --- with new ones the answer? Are paper ballots, which voting systems experts call for, enough? Particularly given that we saw, after the 2016 election, how it's nearly impossible, even for a Presidential candidate, to see those ballots publicly hand-counted ("Democracy's Gold Standard") in order to confirm results?

"We have to change the way we think about securing elections. Instead of trying to harden the voting systems themselves against all forms of attack --- I think that is going to be a hopeless task for as far into the future as computer scientists can see. Instead of hardening those systems themselves, we need to design systems so that after the election is over we can verify that the results were correct. And then if they're not, we have to be able to change the results accordingly. So the emphasis is on detection and correction, not prevention."

I hash all of that out and much more with my friend Dr. Jefferson today, who also details DefCon's plans to make the "Voting Village" a permanent fixture of its annual convention, which just spectacularly wrapped up its 25th year.

Also on today's show: Trump fires his incoming White House Communications Director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci before he even officially begins in his new role, and the mop-up from last week's health care repeal disaster for Republicans in the Senate continues, as the White House demands the U.S. Senate vote on nothing else until they can vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite a new poll finding Americans want Congress to move on, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vowing to introduce a single-payer healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate...

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And, ironically, Wednesday's mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Comm. on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the reported results from Tuesday's U.S. House Special Elections in Georgia's 6th District and South Carolina's 5th, and whether anybody in America can or should have confidence in those unverified and unverifiable results as reported. [Audio link to complete, rant-filled show follows below.]

In both cases, the Republican candidates are reported to have narrowly defeated the Democratic candidates in very Republican districts. In both cases, the computer tabulated results are based on votes cast on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. In both cases, the results may be absolutely right or completely wrong. In both cases, absolutely nobody knows for certain either way. And, in both cases, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are either lying or don't know what they're talking about.

We do know, according to the state's reported results, that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots. Or, at least we can know that, if anybody ever bothers to check them against the computer tallies. But the rest of the race, run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, will remain 100% faith-based, despite the fact that, as we reported in detail on Monday, the folks who program all of Georgia's voting and voter registrations systems (Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is paid $750,000 a year to do so) left the system passwords online, unprotected, at their website since last August and perhaps much longer and then covered it up. Moreover, the Republican candidate in GA-06, the state's former Sec. of State Handel, also personally covered up security failures at at Kennesaw's Center for Elections during her term as the state's chief election official.

Other than all of that, why worry? Last night and today, Democrats and progressives have been continuing their internecine battles, blaming one another for a candidate who wasn't progressive enough (in GA), even as they blamed each other for a candidate seen as too progressive in many areas just weeks ago, after losing Montana's U.S. House Special Election.

I'd suggest, as I do on today's show (and last night on Twitter), that Democrats might be better served if they fought like hell for actual human oversight of our voting and vote-counting system before reloading their circular firing squad. But that's just me. In both GA and SC yesterday, those unverified results, if you believe them, do show a nearly 20 point swing towards Dems since last November's election. Similarly encouraging results have been seen in all of the special elections this year. That should be a good sign for Dems, even as a "loss" is a loss, no matter how one looks at it, and whether they actually lost or not.

Ironically enough today, in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, top intelligence officials from the FBI and DHS testified in regard to concerns about alleged Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. Neither they, nor the elections officials who also testified today, seemed to know much of anything about the actual vulnerability of U.S. voting systems. Or, if they did, they certainly offered a whole lot of demonstrably inaccurate information about whether voting systems are connected to the Internet (they are), whether our decentralized voting and tabulation systems make it impossible to hack a a Presidential election (it doesn't), and whether actual voting results were manipulated in the 2016 President race (they claimed that they weren't, even while the DHS finally admitted they never actually checked a single machine or counted a single ballot to find out!)

On the other hand, one computer scientist and voting machine expert, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, also testified today and he actually knows what he's talking about, because he's personally hacked just about every voting system in use in the U.S. today, including 10 years ago when he first hacked the exact same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines used in the state of Georgia during Tuesday's Special Election for U.S. House, the most expensive such election in U.S. History. As he explained in his prepared remarks [PDF] today, 10 years ago, he "was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of a DRE [touch-screen] voting machine." It was a Diebold touch-screen machine, the exact same type used in GA yesterday, as obtained from a source of mine and given to his crew at Princeton University at the time.

"What we found was disturbing," he testified (even as the Senators had no clue that he was referencing the same systems used yesterday in Georgia), "we could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software --- vote-stealing code --- that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome." I broke that story originally at Salon and at The BRAD BLOG in 2006, but Georgia is shamefully still forcing voters to use the exact same hackable, unverifiable machines.

In his remarks shared on today's show, Halderman also testifies to the fact that machines thought not to be attached to the Internet actually are vulnerable to malware from the Internet, and that our decentralized and disparate system of computerized voting machines and tabulators provides no real safeguards against malicious hackers, whether they are from Russia or France or Cleveland or Atlanta.

Finally today, we close with a few listener calls on all of the above and Desi Doyen with our latest, sweltering, Green News Report...

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

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Guest: Attorney Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center on Arkansas' extraordinary planned killing spree
Also: More electoral concerns for GA's U.S. House special election; Britain's PM announces snap elections; and Turkey's President declares victory as international observers protest...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Voting and killing. Voting and killing. The world sure seems to be doing a lot of each these days, especially the U.S. (particularly when it comes to the killing part, anyway.) [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up today, an obnoxiously arrogant (and hypocritical) comment about the U.S. and North Korea by Vice President Mike Pence. Then, voters head to the polls today in Georgia's 6th Congressional District for a U.S. House special election in which the Democratic candidate has been polling far ahead of a split Republican field. But Jon Ossoff will have to win more than 50% of the reported vote to avoid a one-on-one run-off election with the top Republican vote-getter, in a very Republican district, as still more concerns arise about the reliability of reported results from the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. Among the concerns (in addition to the unverifiable results): a "massive data breach" last month at the facility which programs both the voting machines and the state's electronic pollbook systems and, over the weekend, the theft of a number of those e-pollbooks from a poll workers car. (Widely mis-reported as a theft of "voting machines", but still concerning nonetheless. We discuss why.)

Also today, Britain's Prime Minister makes a surprise announcement calling for snap elections to be held in June, in advance of final Brexit negotiations and, also over the weekend, a Turkish referendum to grant sweeping powers to the nation's President appears to have narrowly passed. But the opposition and international election observers (if not Donald Trump) are crying foul. That apparent "victory" has resulted in the Turkish President calling for restoration of the death penalty, which, the European Union warns, would prevent Turkey from finally joining the beleaguered EU.

None of that, however, has prevented the state of Arkansas from attempting to move ahead with an unprecedented eight executions over the next 10 days, as the state's supply of one of the controversial drugs --- of dubious effectiveness and purchased under false pretenses by the state --- used for lethal injections there, is set to expire on May 1.

Longtime capital punishment litigator Robert Dunham, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, joins us to explain Governor Asa Hutchinson's extraordinary planned killing spree and the blizzard of protests, legal measures and court rulings at both the state and federal level, which have already resulted in a last minute U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday night, and stays on the state's killing of the first two men set to die in the first of four nights of scheduled double-executions over this week and next.

"This is completely unprecedented. No state in the modern history of the U.S. death penalty has ever attempted to carry out this many executions in a short period of time," Dunham explains, describing the "artificial 'Kill By' date" set by the Governor. "This is something we have never seen before. And [Arkansas is] trying to use a very, very controversial and inappropriate drug in circumstances in which the execution schedule only makes things worse."

We discuss the "psychological trauma for the prison personnel" tasked with carrying out the killings, the pharmaceutical companies trying to keep their medicines from being used to kill prisoners "against their corporate mission, which is to save lives, and not take lives"; questions about the innocence, guilt, legal representation and mental acuity of some of those set to be killed; and the multiple state and federal cases furiously moving through the courts over all of this, including the "irony" of the state of Arkansas' "states rights" Governor and Attorney General challenging a ruling on state law by their own state Supreme Court at the U.S. Supreme court.

Finally today, in hopes of cheering us all up a bit, it appears that folks in Texas have finally gotten something right about politics --- and Donald Trump will not like it one bit...

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

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Guest: Marcy Wheeler on U.S. intel agencies' 'secret' allegations about foreign interference in the Presidential race, as 'recount' ends in WI, is denied by courts again in MI, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2016 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, what we know and don't about newly reported charges that the CIA is said to believe Russian state-actors interfered in the U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, even as attempts to verify the actual Presidential election results, and concerns that they were hacked or otherwise in error, are blocked by Republicans in Michigan and Pennsylvania and come to an official close in Wisconsin. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Over the weekend, Washington Post and New York Times each reported on unnamed sources alleging a "secret" "consensus" of U.S. intelligence agencies charging Russia tried to interfere with the Presidential election in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. National security journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of offers a measure of skepticism about the explosive reports on those allegations, which she suggests could echo what proved to be blatantly misrepresented and cherry-picked intel by the George W. Bush Administration in their run-up to the Iraq War.

We discuss what we know and don't know concerning the newly reported charges, which parties have an interested in forwarding them and why they are arising in this form now, and how those concerns can possibly square with seemingly contradictory resistance --- by both Republicans and Democrats alike --- to human verification of the stunning and poll-defying 2016 Presidential election results reported in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Speaking of which, late on Friday, a 3-2 split vote at the MI state Supreme Court denied a hearing of Green Party candidate Jill Stein's appeal of a 3-Republican judge decision that aborted the state's disastrous paper ballot hand-count last week. And today, a federal court in PA denied [PDF] Stein's lawsuit seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots and a forensic analysis of the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting and computer tabulation systems used across most of the state. Also today, the state of Wisconsin completed its partial statewide hand-count and certified Donald Trump as the winner of that state's electoral vote. (Final tallies are not yet available from the Wisconsin Election Commission, but as of earlier today Reuters reported "Trump with a increase of 628 votes, Clinton with an increase of 653 votes and Stein with an increase of 68 votes". Those are net increases, without reflecting the total number of originally-mistallied votes, nor explaining that most of the state's largest counties simply ran the hand-marked paper ballots back through the optical-scan computers again to derive their "recount" totals.)

All of that amidst a repeated, coordinated, well-funded and familiar efforts by Republicans and Team Trump to block any and all verification of Presidential election results in all three states. "Cronyism, bureaucratic obstruction, and legal maneuvering have run roughshod over the democratic process," Stein said following Friday's Supreme Court decision in MI after tens of thousands of votes were deemed "unrecountable" due to the state's arcane "recount" laws while the attempted count was still underway last week. "A recount should not be this difficult or controversial. If you take out money from a bank, the teller counts it twice --- and the second time, they count it in front of your eyes. It should be well understood that something as important as a presidential election requires a basic level of quality assurance and verification."

We have all of the latest details on today's BradCast...

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

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