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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By John Gideon on 7/21/2006 10:48am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Readers of The BRAD BLOG know that the state of Arkansas had a "Train Wreck" in their primary election and that much of the blame was laid at the feet of their voting machine vendor Elections Systems and Software. Now the Associated Press and The Arkansas Democrat Gazette both report that an independent study has been done at the request of the state and the study agrees with what The BRAD BLOG has said all along.

According to the Associated Press article:

InfoSENTRY Services, Inc., a Raleigh, N.C.-based information technology services firm that performed the review, said the firm received below-average ratings from county election officials.

"ES&S was too busy running helter-skelter between Little Rock and Omaha," one county official said in a survey. "The result was a woeful lack of communication with the counties."

Another election official wrote, "This was the most disorganized bunch ever to run an election in Arkansas. They were untruthful in their responses. Their performance left the burden of this election on us and greatly increased the cost."

and they go on to report:

"We also received information that the ES&S project manager in Little Rock was overwhelmed from at least mid-April until relief and replacement resources arrived in early-to-mid May," the report said. "E-mails indicate that the (secretary of state's) office notified ES&S of the resource constraints and severe schedule slippages in mid-April and requested immediate action on this issue."

The report said several county officials questioned whether ES&S would be able to provide the resources necessary for the general election given the delays with providing staff for the primary.

ES&S has the largest slice of the voting machine business in the country. They found it impossible to support a string of state primaries held over a 5 to 6 week time span. How are they ever going to be able to handle a general election where all 50 states vote at the same time?

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Tape of Live Appearance Discussing Election Integrity, Ohio 2004, E-Voting Crime 2006...
By David Edwards on 7/20/2006 7:42pm PT  


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...

NOTE FROM BRAD: I'm still out on the road, will be for a while, and thus unable to check into the net with much frequency! Not getting all of my email either because of it, so my apologies. Thanks Dave for getting this up! More when I am able to check back in from a location with net access and enough time to get caught up-ish.

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Avante International Technology Corporation Files Suit Against Use of Paper Trail Printer, Op Scan Technology by Voting Machine Giants...
By John Gideon on 7/12/2006 12:54pm PT  

In a just issued Media Release SimmonsCooperLLC has announced that their client, Avante International, has decided to sue Diebold, Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), and Sequoia Voting Systems for infringing on their patents for voter verified paper audit trail printer and some optical-scan patents.

The full Media Release follows...

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

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CNN Notices That Wireless Personal Digital Assistants Could Wreak Havoc on Voting Machines...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2006 1:57am PT  

Blogged by Brad from San Diego...

Just in from tonight's Busby/Bilbray Democracy Shindig in Oceanside. A great event with a lively turnout (including our old buddy Jim Lampley in da house.) As promised after last night's LA event, more as soon as I can catch my breath.

Until then, here's last night's Lou Dobbs, which I think was terrific. Be sure to watch it (or read it, transcript below the fold) until the end. Lou is gettin' angrier by the day...

I posted the results of the "Quick Poll" this morning before leaving Los Angeles. In case you missed it, the question was "Do you believe that e-voting machines should be disallowed until their integrity can be assured?" The results... YES: 97%, NO 3%.

Could America finally be coming to its senses?

Too exhausted to comment on this tonight with much detail, so please be my guest and "be the blog" for us here in comments. I will point out, however, that it's nice to see folks finally discussing the threat of Palm Pilots and other PDA's (personal digital assistants, as opposed to Progressive Democrats of America) and their wireless capacity posing a threat to these stupid systems as well. Kitty Pilgrim broaches the topic in this report from Tuesday which covered the release that day of the new NYU Brennan Center report on E-Voting security. We orginally discussed the alarming possibility of a voter with a PDA when we ran an exposé on the wireless Infrared (IrDA) port we photographed on one of the older paperless Diebold touch-screen systems.


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...

The complete text transcript follows...

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

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Plus Lou Dobbs and 97% of his viewers vote to do away with E-Voting, last night's emergency townhall briefly and other quick news applicable to the highly-questionable Busby/Bilbray results...
(The Democracy Train moves down to San Diego/Oceanside tonight! Please be there!)
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2006 11:49am PT  

Must hit the road shortly to take the Democracy Train down to San Diego for tonight's Emergency Townhall on the Busby/Bilbray election results fiasco. If you're anywhere near San Diego or Oceanside please come out tonight! We had a great time last night in Los Angeles!

More on all of these as soon as I can catch my breath. The fine lower-cased blogger, skippy the bush kangaroo, was amongst those in attendance last night (as was Joseph Cannon of Cannonfire) and so I'll defer for the moment to skippy's coverage (since I don't have time for any of my own right). Skippy got a coupla small points slighly wrong, but I suspect he'll update since I let him know. As BRAD BLOG readers realize, unlike with AP and NY Times accuracy counts for bloggers.

Lou Dobbs report last night on the Brennan Center's year-in-the-making report on 120 threats to E-Voting Security was fan-damn-tastic. When I can catch my breath, I hope to get it, along with the video, posted in full. And more thoughts on that Brennan Center report. But for now, by way of teaser, Dobbs started it this way: "More evidence tonight that an increasing number of elections in this country can be outright stolen. And no one would ever know. It's incredible."

And, as of this hour, here are the results from his "Quick Poll" on this topic last night (you can still vote yourselves if you want)

Any questions? We're told he'll still be on the same beat tonight (6pm ET, 3pm PT --- you can send thank you notes/comments here to Dobbs for all of his very responsible coverage over the past three weeks and counting!)

Last, but most certainly not least, Washington Post covered the Brennan Center report themselves this morning. They highlighted the very message we've been trying to convey to Francine Busby, the voters in San Diego and across the nation over the last three weeks. The WaPo article begins this way...

A Single Person Could Swing an Election

To determine what it would take to hack a U.S. election, a team of cybersecurity experts turned to a fictional battleground state called Pennasota and a fictional gubernatorial race between Tom Jefferson and Johnny Adams. It's the year 2007, and the state uses electronic voting machines.

Jefferson was forecast to win the race by about 80,000 votes, or 2.3 percent of the vote. Adams's conspirators thought, "How easily can we manipulate the election results?"

The experts thought about all the ways to do it. And they concluded in a report issued yesterday that it would take only one person, with a sophisticated technical knowledge and timely access to the software that runs the voting machines, to change the outcome...

See you tonight in San Diego!

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USA TODAY Reports on Long-Awaited Landmark Analysis from Computer Scientists, Security Experts Released by the Brennan Center...
E-Voting 'Poses a Real Danger to Integrity of National, State and Local Elections' According to Study (No, Really?!)
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2006 11:30am PT  

A long awaited study of electronic voting machine security by computer scientists and security experts has been released this morning by the Brennan Center of Justice at the NYU School of Law.

Given preparations for tonight and tomorrow's "Emergency Townhall" events on the Busby/Bilbray mess (I'll be emceeing and "keynoting"), I've yet to be able to read the long report any more than cursorily, so I'm forced to defer for now to USA Today's coverage of it from this morning...

Analysis finds e-voting machines vulnerable

WASHINGTON — Most of the electronic voting machines widely adopted since the disputed 2000 presidential election "pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state and local elections," a report out Tuesday concludes.

There are more than 120 security threats to the three most commonly purchased electronic voting systems, the study by the Brennan Center for Justice says. For what it calls the most comprehensive review of its kind, the New York City-based non-partisan think tank convened a task force of election officials, computer scientists and security experts to study e-voting vulnerabilities.
...
Among the findings:

• Using corrupt software to switch votes from one candidate to another is the easiest way to attack all three systems. A would-be hacker would have to overcome many hurdles to do this, the report says, but none "is insurmountable."

• The most vulnerable voting machines use wireless components open to attack by "virtually any member of the public with some knowledge and a personal digital assistant." Only New York, Minnesota and California ban wireless components.

• Even electronic systems that use voter-verified paper records are subject to attack unless they are regularly audited.

• Most states have not implemented election procedures or countermeasures to detect software attacks.

Here's the complete Executive Summary [PDF] of the Brennan Report.

UPDATE 6/30/06: The complete Brennan Center for Justice report is now posted here [PDF]. Their press release announcing it is here.

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LA County's System, for example, Was Apparently Approved for Use at the Fed Level by a Former Waitress/Bartender!
By John Gideon on 6/26/2006 7:38am PT  

By John Gideon, Executive Director VotersUnite.Org

There is, for good reason, much concern and a lack of confidence in the process for federal qualification/certification of voting systems. Independent Test Authorities (ITA), who test the systems against federal standards, are not really 'independent' because they are paid to do testing by the vendors who also provide the test parameters. They look where they are told to look and go no further than that.

The next step in the process is review of the ITA test and the voting system by a panel of 'experts' called the Voting Systems Board Technical Committee. This committee is under the auspices of the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED). One might think that this part of the process would be free and clear of any reason for concern. One would be wrong...

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

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By John Gideon on 6/14/2006 9:11am PT  

The map at left shows recent ballot programming flaws across the country. (Click it for details). It is by no means indicative of all flaws. Just the ones we know about. So far.

These are just some of the places where there may be failures in Nov. 2006. How can companies that can't program a couple state's machines for a primary election do 20 to 40 states all at the same time?

Trainwreck ahead. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2006 11:22am PT  

From AP today...

LITTLE ROCK --- There will be no touch-screen voting machines at polling places in eight Arkansas counties for Tuesday's runoff elections, the secretary of state's office says.

Deputy Secretary of State Janet Harris said Thursday that Desha, Garland, Jefferson, Lonoke, Phillips, Pope, Pulaski and Searcy counties had told her office they won't use the electronic voting equipment on Tuesday. The equipment is required under federal law.

Pulaski County Elections Director Susan Inman said that county decided not to use the machines after reviewing the programming code from voting machine vendor Election Systems & Software and discovering errors.

"In its entirety, it was wrong," Inman said.

Congratulations to the State of Arkansas for putting voters and the integrity of their votes over the a horrendously flawed federal statute (HAVA) rammed through Congress by a soon-to-be-indicted criminal.

If it wasn't the disasters that AR has faced so far this year in ES&S's disastrous administration of elections in that state, perhaps it was the morality tale that played out on ES&S equipment in Pottawattamie County, Iowa last Tuesday that pushed them over the edge. Either way, glad to see it. We hope the other 45 states where ES&S runs elections (or, more aptly, ruins elections) will take note.

For a bit more background on the ES&S disasters in Arkansas, see this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: Arkansas Remains an Utter Disaster...
or this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: ARKANSAS PRIMARY A DISGRACE, DISASTER!
or search BRAD BLOG for "Arkansas".
(Hat tip to Doug K.)

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Machine Counts Halted in All Races After Hand Count of Absentee Ballots Finds 128 Vote Margin for Incumbant Instead of 20 Vote Margin for Challenger Reported by Op-Scan System!
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 10:42am PT  

More shortly concerning my reporting on the questionable Busby/Bilbray elections results in the U.S. House special election to fill "Duke" Cunningham's CA 50th congressional seat. In the meantime, this article from yesterday's Daily Nonpareil in Iowa, about Tuesday's Republican primary there, underscores precisely what I was talking about in my report on Busby/Bilbray yesterday.

After optically scanning absentee ballots in a Republican Primary on Tuesday in Pottawattamie County, a popular, long-time incumbent was trailing a first-time college student candidate by 20 votes. Since that seemed odd, the County Auditor decided to count the absentee ballots by hand and indeed found that the incumbent had won the count instead!... By 128 votes instead of having lost it by 20!

Anybody beginning to get this yet? (...thump, thump...is this thing on?...)

In this case, the new optical scan computers being used for the first time were reportedly made by ES&S. (The ones used in Busby's San Diego race were made by Diebold). Here's more details...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2006 10:40pm PT  

How bad is the ES&S meltdown in Arkansas? Really bad...

Of course, we ran a series on things as they were falling apart before, during and after their recent primaries. (See this story for a quick primer). Apparently, things have gotten no better out there.

Then ponder that ES&S has so far failed in about 10 states. These are just the primaries. With low turnout. On separate days. How do you suppose things will go for a general election. With large turnout. When ES&S has to service all 46 of their states at the same time?

This quote, from today's article on the mess they're still in, says it all:

"November is going to be a massive train wreck," [White County Election Commissioner, John] Nunnally wrote.

Now where have we heard that before?

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Complaint Seeks to Stop Use of Electronic Voting Systems Made by Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and Hart InterCivic
Broadest State Filing Against Voting Machines Yet Filed, Follows Similar Suits in California, Arizona, New Mexico
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2006 11:37am PT  

In a complaint said to be the broadest yet filed to halt the rise of the electronic voting machines, a non-partisan group of voters have announced they are filing suit today in Colorado to stop the purchase and use of Direct Recording Electronic ("DRE" or touch-screen) voting machines in the state, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal.

The suit, being filed today in Denver District Court and modeled after similar actions filed previously in California, Arizona and New Mexico, calls for an immediate halt to the use of touch-screen machines made by all four of the major electronic voting machine vendors currentlly doing business in Colorado.

The group, advised and organized by VoterAction.org contends that voting machines made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems, Election Systems and Software Inc. (ES&S) and Hart InterCivic "have a well-documented history of problems with security, reliability, verifiability, and disability access."

According to a press release issued this morning (posted in full below) by the Denver law firm of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP the machines "are easily hacked and compromised, and have a history of operational problems which have disrupted elections across the country."

Defendants named in the suit include Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis and the Boards of county commissioners in 9 different CO counties.

"The Secretary of State's Office has failed to issue rules setting minimum standards for security of these systems. The election rules permit the DRE manufacturers to simply tell the State that their machines are secure," said Wheller Trigg Kennedy attorney Paul Hultin in the release. "Worse, the Secretary is not following the law. No certification reports required by law have been prepared even though these systems have been certified for months and counties are preparing to use these dubious systems in the upcoming election," he says.

"Some of the security risks with these machines are so high that it is unconscionable that their manufacturers, who have known of the problems for years, have not taken the necessary steps to correct them," says Univesity of Iowa computer science Professor Dr. Doug Jones, who is one of several experts who will be offering testimony in the case.

"The Help America Vote Act is being turned on its head, weakening the integrity of our elections in the rush to purchase untrustworthy DRE computerized voting systems," said Lowell Finley, Co-counsel for the Colorado voter plaintiffs, election law expert, and Co-director of Voter Action, according to the release. "The sanctity of our elections is too important to turn over to private corporations which operate without accountability. There are better and more secure options available, such as optical scan-paper balloting."

The complete filing is now online here [PDF]...

We're busy covering the Robert Kennedy article on Election 2004 in Rolling Stone today (we'll have extended excerpts on BRAD BLOG shortly), so we'll leave you with the complete press release below for more details on this developing case...

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

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Ad Removed in Wake of BRAD BLOG Report Earlier this Week...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2006 3:19pm PT  

We reported earlier this week about an ad placed on the Internet by Kelly Services seeking temporary workers for the upcoming California primary elections in San Francisco.

The ad sought workers to "assist in dropping off election voting machines and picking these machines up when voting is complete." (See our full story and the complete text here.)

That ad has now been removed from Monster.com. We'll try and offer some updates if we can gather any additional information about the removal of the ad.

As we noted in our original story on Tuesday, the ad was notable given CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's recent approval of Diebold voting machines shortly after it was revealed, and then confirmed by his own independent analysis [PDF], that those machines were vulnerable to hackers. After the revelations, McPherson implemented what he described as increased physical security procedures to protect such machines from tampering --- procedures which would seem to be out the window by allowing $11.99/hour temporary workers hired from the Internet to shuttle California's electronic voting machines, unsupervised, before and after the election.

Apparently the systems in question in San Francisco are reportedly made by Diebold's "rival" company ES&S. Unlike Diebold's systems, ES&S's have never faced the rigorous independent "hack testing" that systems made by Diebold have undergone. Given our lack of knowledge, therefore, about the security in ES&S electronic voting systems and whether or not they are any more or less prone to hacking than Diebold's systems, it would seem that allowing unknown individuals to have unsupervisored access to those machines is equally as irresponsible as McPherson's own less-than-safe security measures as recently prescribed for Diebold systems.

We will, of course, keep you updated with new developements as we are able to acquire them.

A sample from the original screen shot of the Internet ad posted by Kelly Services on Monster.com. Click the graphic below for the complete story...

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Voting Machine Company Fails State, Voters. Again. Even the State GOP Agrees!
As the State Sec. of State and Other Officials Ignore the Facts and Cover their Asses for the Future...
By John Gideon on 5/24/2006 7:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, with Brad Friedman

Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) has finally shown us why they should not be in the elections business. The disgraceful primary election in Arkansas yesterday is a prime example. It was, and continues to be, an utter disaster today. The day after.

Brad and I both have been overwhelmed all day with the number of reports coming in on the complete failures by ES&S in the state yesterday. So much so, that it's difficult to even know where to begin. Thus, tonight's late report --- with general details and enough links to set you on your way to inform yourself about what the hell is going on here.

In our best (if fruitless) attempt at brevity, however...

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

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Another Election Day, Another Failure by America's Largest Voting Machine Company...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2006 11:54pm PT  

Another Primary Election Day. Another E-Voting Mess. This time in Arkansas.

Mind you, this comes on the heels of earlier announcements that several major counties in Arkansas would be forced to use paper ballots instead of electronic machines after ES&S failed to deliver ballots and programming on time for the start of elections (something like the 10th state in which this has happened with ES&S so far this year, as regular BRAD BLOG readers know. But shhh...don't tell anyone!)

On Monday, the day before the election, at least one county election director in Arkansas pleaded with voters to choose paper on Election Day. "Grab a paper ballot, vote it and put it in the ballot box. It will go smoother," Benton County's election coordinator told voters on Monday.

Well, now it looks like ES&S has failed even further (we're shocked, shocked!) as tabulators in some counties failed to work at all, so ballots can't be counted until tomorrow at the earliest. And now the AR Secretary of State wants some answers about all of it.

From AP tonight...

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

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