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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, April 16, 2014
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free charitable medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of clientele...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
Previous GNRs: 4/8/14 - 4/3/14 - Archives...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Previous GNRs: 4/3/14 - 4/1/14 - Archives...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Federal Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide documentation related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove the discriminatory intent of the new GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
'McCutcheon' Mints Millions for Mass Media
Veteran journalist and media activist Sue Wilson explains how the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a windfall for the MSM. She also has an idea what to do about it...
'Green News Report' 4/3/14
Startling U.N. climate change report; Kochs enviro champs, say Kochs; TX wind power record; PLUS: ExxonMobil says 'F#@K you! We're ExxonMobil!'...
Reproductive Rights & Campaign Finance Law: KFPK 'BradCast'
Katie Klabusich says she's being 'targeted' by Eric Scheidler's anti-choice group. They both join Brad. PLUS: Ian Millhiser on SCOTUS McCutcheon ruling...
SCOTUS 'MCCUTCHEON' RULING TRASHES EVEN MORE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LIMITS
'Free speech' for the super rich wins again at the Roberts Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 4/1/14
It's our special 'April Fox Day' edition of the GNR! Celebrating the anti-scientists and fossil-fueled fools at Fox 'News'!...
FCC Rolls Back Corporate TV Consolidation
Under its new chairman, the federal agency finally takes one small step to fulfill their mandate of assuring the public airwaves are actually used in the public interest...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Conspiracy Theories Well-Researched and Responsible Investigative MSM Report Actually Informs Viewers About Usually-Unreported Yet Very Well-Documented Dangers of Touch-Screen Voting, Horrendous Administrative Oversight Prior to Upcoming Presidential Primary...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2008 3:09pm PT  

It's February 8th, 2008, and it's now official: One member of the broadcast MSM has officially joined the ranks of those "crackpots" and "conspiracy theorists" over at The BRAD BLOG!

Congrats to Pittsburgh's WTAE's Team 4 for their excellent, responsible, and appropriate reportage on the serious concerns facing Pennsylvania's Allegheny County voters in the upcoming election. Their investigative report asks "Is Your Vote Safe With County Voting Machines?" and the clear, well-reported, fair and balanced answer comes back as an unambiguous, no punches-pulled: Absolutely not!

The report's "conspiracy theories," confirmed by video, photographs and on-the-record statements from both public officials and Election Integrity experts, as detailed by Team 4's Jim Parsons on WTAE-TV's evening news yesterday (transcript and video both here), include some of these well-known-to-BRAD-BLOG-readers, if still-stunning and rarely-reported-in-the-MSM, items...

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

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'Unofficial Results' on County Website Shows Turnout Exceeds Registered Voters in Precinct D001
Officials Have No Explanation for Now, Said to Be 'Still Reviewing That Information'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2008 3:23pm PT  

Turnout at Broward County, Florida's precinct D001 was excellent in last Tuesday's primary election, according to the "unofficial results" posted on this county webpage.

With 1,028 ballots cast, and 930 registered voters at the precincts, voters having turned out, the turnout was an impressive 110.54%!

The BRAD BLOG called the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office to find out if there was any explanation for these numbers. We spoke with Patricia McCallister, an assistant to Supervisor Dr. Brenda C. Snipes...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2008 1:29am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Santa Cruz, CA...

This is how bad it's gotten:

Columbia (WLTX)- In hopes of averting another weekend of voting problems, the South Carolina Progessive Network is offering online paper ballots.

It's in response to last weekends Republican primary disaster in Horry and Florence counties. More than 80 percent of the voting machines in Horry County didn't work.

As a result, many voters were told to come back at another time to cast thier votes. The state Election Commission says voters should have been allowed to use any scrap paper to cast thier votes.

SCPN is suggesting that voters go to their website and print out the paper ballot to take with them to the polls Saturday.

To print out your online paper ballot, click on the following link: www.scpronet.com.

Last week, as The BRAD BLOG reported, machines in 100% of the precincts in Horry County, SC couldn't even be made to start working until noon or so in the Republican Primary. Folks were voting on any scrap of paper they could find, reportedly even paper towels. So now, it's print your own.

South Carolina uses DRE (touch-screen) voting systems made by ES&S. It will be literally and physically impossible to verify that a single vote has been recorded accurately on any of them. 100% faith-based voting. So, short of machines breaking down leading to the outrage of people not being unable to vote at all, or a huge undervote rate in some area (as we saw when 18,000 votes "disappeared" on the exact same machines in the 369 vote margin Jennings/Buchanan race in Sarasota's FL-13 Congressional election in '06 on the exact same machines) we'll likely have little to say about the results of today's Democratic Primary in the Palmetto State one way or another. Our guess will be as good (or bad) as theirs. Best of luck to ya, South Carolina.

By way of depressing reminder: This Election Year is just 26 days old.

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EAC Falsely Accused Of Creating Unfunded Mandates...
By John Gideon on 1/25/2008 3:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

The community of Gloucester Mass. has a huge environmental disaster on its hands due to a sewage pipe that is leaking into the bay. The community has $150M in unfunded mandates due to the sewage pipe and all of that on an $80M budget.

Now the community, as well as those across Massachusetts, has been told that they must replace all of their ES&S Optech Eagle III-P precinct based optical scan voting machines. ES&S has told these people that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has mandated that those machines can no longer be used. According to the Gloucester Times Daily ES&S has told its customers in MA that "the firm's software 'will not meet federal standards and can't be modified to meet those standards.'"

In fact, the software may not meet the present federal standards that it would be tested against, if it needed to be tested today. However, the software and the machines have worked fine in the past and can probably continue to work for as long as Massachusetts communities want to use them.

This morning I called the Editor of the Gloucester Daily Times. He was interested to learn that the EAC had made no such mandate and that this seemed to be a sales ploy by the vendor. His interest was not unexpected after he ran an editorial in his paper this morning in which he said:

The voting machines in Gloucester do exactly what they are supposed to do - they count votes accurately.

But that is apparently not good enough for the federal government. The city - along with several dozen other communities in Massachusetts and thousands across the nation - has been informed by the manufacturer that it will have to replace them. In Gloucester, the bill is estimated to be around $80,000.

The mandate, from the dubiously named federal Election Assistance Commission, calls to mind one of the more famous quotes of former President Ronald Reagan: "The most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Then I called the city clerk's office and spoke with the gentleman in charge of voting machines. He said that communities across the state like the III-P's and want to keep them. They cannot afford to buy new machines and they don't understand why they are being forced into that position. He told me that with the III-P's the only failure they ever had was a "read head" that was easy to replace. Newer technology has many more moving parts.

It's amazing that ES&S is clearly misstating the facts and accusing the federal Election Assistance Commission of making mandates that will cost these Massachusetts communities hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2008 12:43pm PT  

As usual, another Democratic candidate is revealing a sour grapes conspiracy theory, claiming that voting machines were the reason for his loss, after alleging that hundreds of ES&S touch-screen systems failed to work on Election Day, turning away an untold number of voters.

Oh, wait, the complainant was a Republican, not a Democrat. And he, John McCain, didn't lose, he won, in South Carolina where, CNN reported yesterday, the touch-screen voting machines in 100% of the precincts in Horry County failed to boot up and weren't available for voters to use until noon.

Go figure. Other than that, everything is going very well, and anybody who says otherwise is unnecessarily crying wolf and causing a dangerous lack of confidence in our electoral system.

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ES&S iVotronic Touch-Screens Fail In 100% of the County's Precincts, Voters Reportedly Being Turned Away Without Being Able to Cast a Vote
Virus-Vulnerable Voting Machines Had Been Sent Home with Pollworkers on 'Sleepovers' Prior to Today's Republican Primary...
By John Gideon on 1/19/2008 9:45am PT  

Guest Blogged By John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

Local media and CNN are reporting that Horry County South Carolina's ES&S touch-screen voting machines are in a near total meltdown.

CNN reports:

Poll workers in Horry County tell CNN voting machines have been down since polls opened Saturday morning throughout the county — the machines are not reading an activation card.

Workers have been giving out paper ballots but at least one precinct has run out of envelopes to seal them in (not a sign of turnout — they had just 23 such ballots on hand). Election workers say that officials have told them they are working precinct by precinct to fix the problem and that a few voting machines may now be running, but some voters have been turned away and asked to check back later.

Three poll workers also tell CNN the county has about 100 precincts and all have been affected. CNN is awaiting a call back from the county's election supervisor.

Further CNN coverage here: "South Carolina primary plagued by bad voting machines"

Malfunctioning voting machines plagued Horry County, which contains the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, according to poll workers. Workers said the machines have been down since polls opened at 7 a.m., and they are not reading activation cards.

Workers were handing out paper ballots, but at least one precinct has run out --- it had only 23 on hand. Poll workers said the county has about 100 precincts, and all of them are affected.

This is happening in a state where election officials were recently asked about their paperless ES&S iVotronic touch-screen (DRE) voting system and the fact that other states have found the machines to be insecure, poorly designed, inaccurate, and not accessible for voters with disabilities. These officials have all said that they anticipated a smooth voting process for both the Republican presidential preference primary on Jan. 19 and the Democratic primary on Jan. 26 in South Carolina....

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

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Some Election Officials Voice Concern That Recent Changes Restricting Use Of Some Voting Machines Jeopardizes Integrity Of Elections
But Secretary Of State Debra Bowen Defends Actions By Calling Voting Machines 'A Major Threat To Democracy'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/16/2008 8:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

According to a NewsHour report, some county election officials in California believe that changes ordered by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, including decertifying some voting machines, may put the integrity of upcoming elections in jeopardy. Seriously. This despite Bowen's explanation for her actions:

Bowen: Our scientist found that every system they looked at could be compromised in ways that made me uncomfortable. They were able to bypass security seals by undoing two screws and opening the whole machine. They were able to change the results without ever having any knowledge of the computer code itself.

Steve Weir, an election official from Contra Costa County, explains why election officials are concerned with Bowen's directives not to use some newly purchased machines:

Weir: You can't keep changing voting systems. You don't make changes to your voting system without really jeopardizing your own security and your own reliability, um, this close to an election.

However, Stanford professor David Dill backs Bowen and proclaims, "It seems that there is almost a national consensus that we have a serious problem". Dan Ashby, of the Election Defense Alliance, agrees that the use of voting machines is a dangerous endeavor:

Ashby:The election department public servants are not capable of running the election without having all kinds of technical help from the voting machine companies. [Which is dangerous because] They have the access and the means, motive and opportunity, if they were inclined, to change the programming in ways that no election official or voting member of the public could possibly perceive such that it would change the outcome of the election in an undetectable untraceable way.

Voting machines pose another, often overlooked, problem beyond the technical problems most often associated with such machines. Mainly, voting machines have led to a vast public distrust of elections. According to Bowen, the lack of trust in voting machines has caused people to "check out and not participate" and is thus, "a major threat to democracy".

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Pushback as Strongarm Voting Machine Company Up to Same Old Tricks in Land of Lincoln...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2008 12:01pm PT  

We missed this one during the busy week last week. But it's important...

Hancock County's clerk said that escalating costs incurred by the county from an election vendor has forced him to call for a federal investigation of the firm.

County Clerk Kerry Asbridge has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Election Systems and Software Co. of Omaha, Neb., which provides election technology to the county.

"Election Systems and Software has consistently engaged in deceptive business practices concerning Hancock County," he said. "It's time for it to stop."

The story details how ES&S, the world's largest voting machined company, is screwing the small county. They've been doing the same thing to counties around the country for years. Good to see someone else now trying to push back against these thugs. We hope to see more along this line soon (how could we not?)

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All Voting Systems by ES&S Completely Decertified; DRE Touch-Screens from Sequoia Banned; Optical-Scan Paper Systems by Hart InterCivic Banned; All Systems by Diebold/Premier Conditionally ALLOWED for Use!
SoS Admits Federal Certification Process, Now Overseen by Former CO SoS on Behalf of EAC, 'Has Been Very Weak to Date'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2007 3:37pm PT  

Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, has announced that a number of Colorado's e-voting machines have failed state certification testings, and will not be allowed for use in the 2008 election cycle. The announcements came at a news conference in Denver which completely just minutes ago.

Describing the state's testing of four major voting machine companies previously certified in the state, Coffman explained to reporters at the presser that there were "over 3000 tests on each vendor['s systems], and over 40,000 pages documenting the tests."

"This has been an extensive process," he said, after detailing several remarkable findings from each of the systems testing. For example, test results showed that paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart InterCivic "could not accurately count ballots." While Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) systems made by ES&S, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, could be disabled by "denial of service" attacks at the polling place with a device as simple as a magnet.

"If you were to put a magnet in close proximity or inside the port," Coffman said at the press conference today, "that would, in fact, disable that particular voting machines and it would have to be literally reprogrammed...to bring in back into circulation for that election."

While virtually all of the systems tested were found to have major vulnerabilities, a number of them were "conditionally certified" for use as long as new security mitigation requirements are met. Notably, both op-scan systems and DREs made by Diebold (now known as Premier) were given conditional certification for use, despite Diebold systems having been banned in several states previously, including California, Ohio and Florida, due to a long list of critical vulnerabilities.

A summary of the decertified and conditionally certified systems follow (links to more information on each, at the end of this article):

  • All voting systems made by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), both paper-based optical-scan and DREs, were completely decertified. Their op-scan systems tested, according to Coffman, "both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors." Their ubiqutous, and fatally flawed iVotronic DRE system "failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems were conditionally certified, while their DRE systems were completely decertified for use, as they "failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart Intercivic were decertified "because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots"(!), while their DRE voting system was conditionally certified.
  • And finally, both optical-scan and DRE voting systems made by Diebold/Premier were conditionally certified for use in Colorado.

Coffman's announcement comes today, months after the state had hoped to have the results available, due to sluggish participation by the voting machine companies, many of whom delayed supplying required information, such as voting system source code, as requested by the Secretary of State's office.

All of Colorado's electronic voting systems were decertified just prior to the November 2006 election when a state judge ruled, in a lawsuit brought by state voters, that testing and certification procedures for e-voting systems in the Centennial State were inadequate, largely non-existent, and in violation of state law. As the judge's decertification order came just prior to that years' elections, the systems were allowed for use, but decertified immediately thereafter. The state was forced to begin the certification process from scratch thereafter...

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

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Result of State's First Ever Testing of E-Voting Systems Find All Systems 'Vulnerable' to Manipulation and Theft by 'Simple Techniques'
SoS Brunner Recommends Paper Ballots Optically-Scanned at County Headquarters for Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 2:35pm PT  

The results of new, unprecedented testing of e-voting machines in the state of Ohio are in, and the findings mirror the landmark results of a similar test carried out earlier this year in California.

"Ohio's electronic voting systems have 'critical security failures' which could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State," says Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a statement which accompanied the release of the report today on the SoS' website. Brunner, a Democrat, was joined in her press conference (video now here), called today to discuss the results of the testing, by Ohio's Republican House Speaker, Jon Husted.

Brunner is calling for a ban on all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in the state, along with a ban on precinct-based optical-scan paper based systems, charging that the central counting of ballots at the county would eliminate "points of entry creating unnecessary voting system risk."

The State's bi-partisan "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) report finds, as did California's study, as did virtually every other independent test of such systems, that violating the security and manipulating the "federal approved" electronic voting systems, is a breeze.

"To put it in every-day terms," Brunner said, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."

"The results underscore the need for a fundamental change in the structure of Ohio’s election system to ensure ballot and voting system security while still making voting convenient and accessible to all Ohio voters," said Brunner, who has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for failing to act quickly enough concerning the voting systems to be used in next year's crucial election, as well as for failing to seek accountability for the exceedingly well-documented and now-infamous charges of election fraud and voter suppression in the 2004 Presidential election under her predecessor J. Kenneth Blackwell.

While the effort is long overdue in Ohio, actions being taken by Brunner, in light of the test results, are less stringent than those taken by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen after tests in her state. Brunner's recommendations, some of them quite puzzling, are likely to come under some fire in the bargain, from Election Integrity advocates in Ohio and elsewhere...

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

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Company's Flawed 'Inkavote Plus' System May be Used in Nation's Largest County During February 2008 Primary When Republican Measure to Divide State's Electoral Vote Could be on the Ballot
SoS to Hold Public Hearing on Future of Voting System Monday in Sacramento...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2007 2:04pm PT  

by Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

Now that ES&S has finally submitted their previously withheld source code and documentation to California Sec. of State Debra Bowen, new members of her "Top-to-Bottom Review" team have been able to look at the ES&S Inkavote Plus system used across the entirety of Los Angeles County. And whaddaya know, the system is easily susceptible to fraud, hacking and manipulation.

The full report from the new testers --- not the original members of the TTBR team at University of California, but testers sub-contracted by the ubiquitous private e-vote consulting firm of Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group (FCMG) [Ed Note: See additional thoughts/concerns from John Gideon on FCMG in comments here] --- is now posted at the SoS TTBR page [PDF]. The LA Daily News summarizes the findings this way in today's paper...

SACRAMENTO - Consultants for Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Friday they found several flaws in Los Angeles County's voting system that could leave it vulnerable to fraud or electronic hacking.

The report found that seals on boxes used to carry the system hardware could be opened and resealed without detection, making the machinery susceptible to tampering.

Plus, some password-protected systems could be hacked with certain programs, and some encrypted files containing sensitive data could be decrypted.

The study was performed as part of Bowen's "top-to-bottom" review of statewide voting systems. Los Angeles County's InkaVote Plus system is the last to be studied, because vendor Election Systems & Software failed to provide information to Bowen's consulting team on time earlier this year.

In August, Bowen decertified the InkaVote system for use in the February presidential primary because of the missing information.

A public hearing will be held on Monday in Sacramento so that the SoS may receive public input on how she should proceed, and whether the ES&S Inkavote Plus system should be recertified in advance of February's Presidential Primary.

Of particular note is the possibility that the hackable system may be used to vote on a Republican-sponsored ballot initiative to divide California's 2008 electoral vote by Congressional District which could be on the Primary Election ballot next February. Such an unprecedented measure, if passed in the Golden State, could well hand the November General Election nationally, to the Republican party given the large number of electors that would be thrown to the GOP if the current winner-take-all system of choosing electors in California --- the same one used by almost all other states --- is changed for proportional representation.

Reports of potentially fraudulent signature gathering, in order to see the measure added to February's ballot, have already surfaced.

Los Angeles County itself, a reliably Democratic-leaning county over all, carries an enormous number of votes for the state. It's the largest such county in the nation, larger even than two-thirds of the states in the country. Tampering with the vote tabulation in that one county alone, could easily change enough votes to see the Electoral College initiative passed successfully across the state.

Last week, Bowen announced a $15 million lawsuit against ES&S for the illegal deployment of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems across the state. The next day, San Francisco announced its own separate suit against the company, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, charging fraud, false claims and breach of contract.

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County Registrar Asks for Permission to Use Same Uncertified ES&S Touch-Screen Machines Again, Despite Cost and State's $15 Million Lawsuit Against Distributor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2007 9:44pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis, MO...

Things are really expensive in Marin County, California. For example, the cost to the county, so far, for each vote cast on their brand-new AutoMARK touch-screen voting machines has been $45,588.23.

Yes, that's more than $45,000 per vote for each of the 17 votes cast on the county's 130 machines over the last two countywide elections since they began using them.

And apparently, the county's elected Registrar of Voters, Michael Smith, really wants to continue using those machines, even though ES&S, the company which distributes them, is now being sued by the State of California for deploying uncertified AutoMARK machines in counties across the state, in violation of state law.

Nonetheless, Smith is asking CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen if he can continue using the uncertified machines in the upcoming Presidential Primary election next February, despite all of that, according to the Marin Independent Journal, who reports today:

Marin was one of five California counties that bought the machines. The county spent $775,000 to buy 130 machines. They were used by 17 voters in the two countywide elections during which they were used.

True, the cost per vote on the AutoMARK in Marin will theoretically come down with each successive election in which they are used (depending on what ES&S charges the county to program them each time, plus the excessive costs of warranties). In a decade or two, at this rate, if the same machines are still in use, each vote cast would come at a bargain basement price of just a few thousand dollars a piece.

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

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Damages and Penalties to 'World's Largest' Voting Systems Provider 'Could Reach into Millions of Dollars'
New Case Follows Yesterday's $15 Million Suit Against ES&S by CA SoS Bowen...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2007 2:10pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis, MO...

"San Francisco's experience with ES&S raises extremely troubling questions, not simply about the integrity of this company's technology, but about the integrity of this company itself," San Francisco's City Attorney Dennis Herrera said today in announcing his new lawsuit against Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S).

"There can be no more important duty in a representative democracy than to conduct elections, and it is a travesty to see that duty so flagrantly undermined by the fraudulent conduct of an election systems vendor," he added.

Well, no kidding! To quote from It's a Wonderful Life, "'Bout time one of you lunkheads said it!"

The suit filed today against ES&S, the "world's largest", comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement that California Secretary of State Debra Bowen was filing her own suit, to the tune of some $15 million, against the company for their illegal and undeclared use of uncertified touch-screen voting systems in several counties across the state, as well as their having lied about it to the state.

The Fog City Journal's coverage of the SF lawsuit begins this way...

City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit against the City's voting systems vendor today, charging Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software, Inc. with a panoply of wrongdoing that includes fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and multiple violations of California's Elections Code, False Claims Act and Unfair Competition Law. In a 23-page civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Herrera detailed a months-long pattern of misrepresentations and voting system problems by ES&S that caused California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to impose stringent conditions on the City's use of the company's voting machines to conduct its municipal election earlier this month. Because of those restrictions, San Francisco election officials were forced to tabulate ballots centrally; to remake thousands of ballots by hand; and to borrow equipment from another county.

We've been calling for some time for states and counties to hold the voting machine companies accountable for their horrendous, out and out fraudulent business practices. Looks like the floodgates may finally be starting to open.

So who's next? Make no mistake, there will be more. Perhaps many. Stay tuned...

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Voting Machine Company Allegedly Violated Law by Deploying Uncertified Touch-Screen Machines in Several CA Counties and Lying About It in Public Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2007 4:01pm PT  

Blogged by Brad (quickly) from the road...

California Sec. of State Debra Bowen has announced a $15 million lawsuit against voting machine company ES&S for their use of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems in the state.

The BRAD BLOG initially reported on the likelihood of such a suit, in some detail, after Bowen's initial announcement of ES&S's violations of state law last August.

“ES&S ignored the law over and over and over again, and it got caught,” said Bowen in a press release just issued this evening. “California law is very clear on this issue. I am not going to stand on the sidelines and watch a voting system vendor come into this state, ignore the laws, and make millions of dollars from California’s taxpayers in the process.”

According to the release, ES&S seems to have simply lied about their use of the uncertified voting systems in the state of California. "The Secretary of State’s office held a public hearing on the matter on October 15, 2007. At that hearing, ES&S asserted the Secretary of State was notified about changes to the AutoMARK. However, ES&S provided no evidence before, during, or after the hearing to substantiate its claim."

Such deceptive practices are not uncommon for ES&S, as well as the other major e-voting machine companies. Diebold's touch-screen voting systems were decertified in the state in 2004, after it had been found that they had similarly deployed uncertified hardware and sofware, in violation of state law, in a number of counties in the state.

The complete press release from CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office follows below...

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

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Federal Oversight Agency Continues Refusal to Notify Election Administrators About Known Failures in E-Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2007 11:57am PT  

By Brad Friedman from Richfield, Utah...

If there's a more ineffective federal agency than the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), we're unaware of it.

The EAC was created in 2002 by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), in large part to oversee federal certification and maintenance of e-voting systems for the entire country. One of their key mandates was to be a "clearinghouse" for information concerning such systems. Though they have been twice reprimanded by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) for their failure to set up such a clearinghouse of information concerning known problems with voting systems, another news report over the weekend confirms that they are more determined than ever to avoid any such responsibility.

Incredible comments given by EAC spokesperson Jeannie Layson and EAC Chairwoman Donnetta Davidson to the Daytona Beach News-Journal underscore the agency's hellbent efforts to avoid any and all responsibility for alerting election officials to known failures of electronic voting systems made by private corporations such as Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, and others.

The BRAD BLOG has chronicled the short, but storied, history of the EAC's failures, compromised nature, and unwillingness to do their job over the years, but the latest comments --- and subsequent lack of action --- as reported yesterday by M.C. Moewe in the News-Journal are nothing short of astonishing...

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

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