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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, December 22, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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
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'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...


Repubs file 'Emergency Petition for Rehearing' before full court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2014 7:48am PT  

Yes, Ohio Republicans are still barred from limiting the early voting period and still required to restore the days and hours they had, yet again, tried to cut off. At least they are barred, again, for now.

On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a 50-page ruling [PDF] in which it upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction from three weeks ago that prevented Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted from implementing a Feb. 19, 2014 GOP-engineered statute, and his own further Directive, which would have drastically reduced the number of early voting days and hours and eliminated same-day registration and voting during the first five days of a previously established 35-day period of early voting in the Buckeye State.

Reflecting the fact that he anticipated an adverse ruling, Ohio's Republican Attorney General Michael DeWine filed an Emergency Appeal for a Rehearing [PDF] by the full 6th Circuit, on the very same day the three-judge panel handed down their decision. His appeal presents essentially the same arguments that have now, repeatedly, been rejected by the courts, first in a 2012 case, Obama for America v. Husted, and now, again, in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted...

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

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Restores evening hours, 'Souls to the Polls' Sunday, and 'Golden Week', allowing both registration and same-day voting...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2014 4:31pm PT  

This statement from the ACLU follows today's federal court ruling [PDF] restoring Early Voting hours --- yet again --- in Ohio in advance of the November mid-term elections:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge today ruled that cuts to early voting in Ohio must be restored in time for the November election. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a state law and directives that have dramatically slashed early voting opportunities in Ohio. The ACLU was in court last month to ask the judge to restore the cuts prior to full trial, in time for the midterm election.

"This ruling will safeguard the vote for thousands of Ohioans during the midterm election," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If these cuts had been allowed to remain in place, many voters would have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process this November. This is a huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections."

Today's ruling restores the first week of early voting, often referred to as "Golden Week," in which voters are able to register and cast a ballot on the same day. It also restores evening early voting, as well as multiple Sundays.

The ruling includes a temporary injunction on the Republican-enacted state law and on additional new restrictions on voting hours implemented by its Republican Sec. of State John Husted, finding the regulations are in violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which bars racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

"Ohio keeps trying to cut early voting and the federal courts keep striking the cuts down," writes The Nation's Ari Berman in response to today's ruling.

It's true. This has been going on for years. State Republicans, whether in the form of the legislature or their Republican Sec. of State in Ohio, keep attempting to make it harder to vote, and the federal court keeps ruling those attempts to be in violation of federal law. It has happened over and over again over the past several years.

Berman notes, in regards to today's ruling, that "In 2012, 157,000 Ohioans cast ballots during early voting hours eliminated by the Ohio GOP" and that African-American voters in the state "voted early in person at a rate over twenty times greater than white voters," according to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

The expansion of early voting in Ohio was implemented following the disastrous 2004 elections there when many voters --- largely in minority areas --- were forced to wait for 6 hours or more to cast a vote under restrictions implemented by then partisan Sec. of State and co-chair of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., J. Kenneth Blackwell. The last ballot cast in the Buckeye State that year, when the state's electoral votes would determine the Presidency, was around 2am on Wednesday morning at Kenyon College, where some students had waited on line as much as 10 hours to vote.

The new GOP restrictions cut many of the additional voting opportunities instituted in 2005, which had otherwise led to a fairly smooth election under Democratic Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in 2008, as she described to us during an exclusive interview in 2012.

Early Absentee voting numbers had doubled between 2004 and 2008 after the expansion of voting hours, as a quick glance at the numbers starkly demonstrates...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/16/2014 6:05am PT  

Apparently, swinging and missing on three separate occasions is not enough to get either Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich or its Republican Secretary of State John Husted to walk away from the plate.

After U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus issued an August 2012 preliminary injunction that forced the Buckeye State to restore early voting for the three days preceding the November 2012 Presidential Election, Husted found it necessary to apologize to the court for what appeared to be a contemptuous directive to the state's 88 county Boards of Election that they not establish hours for voting on those days, pending the state's appeal of the preliminary injunction. Strike one!

In early October 2012, a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against Husted, expressly sustaining every aspect of Judge Economus' August 2012 decision. Strike two!

That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily rejected Husted's request for an emergency stay. Strike three!

Undaunted, in Feb. 2014 Gov. Kasich signed into law a new elections bill that failed to correct the previous disparate deadlines for in-person voting, allowing military voters to vote on the last days before the election, but nobody else. Husted then issued a directive that provided for early voting between 8:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, but failed to provide for any voting hours on either Sunday, Nov. 2 or Monday, Nov. 3 --- despite the still-existing law allowing military members to cast their vote those days.

As it happens, African-American churches have traditionally used early voting on the Sunday before elections as "Souls to the Polls" day to help get out the vote. In turn, Republicans in Ohio have been working hard to end early voting on the Sunday before election day.

In his original 2012 ruling, Judge Economus held that all Ohio voters had a "constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis." That is why he declared the effort to limit early voting to only active duty military members on the weekend before the election to be an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

This year's latest gambit led to the issuance last week of a Permanent Injunction [PDF] on the Republican scheme, pursuant to which Judge Economus has ordered the recalcitrant Ohio Secretary of State [emphasis added] "to set uniform and suitable in-person early voting hours for all eligible voters for the three days preceding all future elections." Strike four?

Amusingly, rather than attempting to violate the court order this time around, SoS Husted is pretending that all of this is simply what he wanted all along, declaring in a statement (via the "Election Law Blog"), issued after losing again in court last week: "I am pleased that the federal court has affirmed what I have long advocated --- that all voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. Thankfully, uniformity and equality won the day."

Also, up is down, black is white, and John Husted is a great champion of voting rights.

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By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2012 7:36pm PT  

Today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show: My take on what did and didn't go right and wrong during yesterday's 2012 elections --- there was plenty of each --- and what now needs to be done about it all.

Plus, investigative journalist Bob Fitrakis from Ohio's Free Press on OH Sec. of State Jon Husted's secret, uncertified, "experimental" software installed on vote counting systems in 39 counties just days before the 2012 election, and Fitrakis' state and federal lawsuits to try to block it...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to nap for a while. Need it desperately. But lots to do. So, back soon...

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The BRAD BLOG obtains today's filings in Fitrakis v. Husted
UPDATE: Motions for TRO denied in both federal & state court, but state judge would reconsider if subsequent evidence of election tampering emerged...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/5/2012 10:06pm PT  

Earlier today, Brad Friedman reported in detail on the uncertified, "experimental" software patches that Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) had secretly contracted [PDF] with Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) to create and install at the very last minute onto electronic central vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties, encompassing more than 4 million Buckeye State voters.

We noted that Bob Fitrakis, one of the Ohio journalists at the Columbus Free Press who had initially broken the story late last week, was planning to file a legal complaint and temporary restraining order in hopes of blocking the use of the mysterious, untested software on the ES&S central tabulation systems in those counties.

Late tonight, just hours from the official opening of Election Day polls in the Buckeye State tomorrow, we obtained copies of both the complaint [PDF] and the motion for a temporary restraining order [PDF] which have now been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division and where oral argument has been scheduled for tomorrow morning, Election Day, at 9am local time before Judge Gregory L. Frost, a George W. Bush appointee...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 5:35am PT  

[This article has been cross-posted by Salon...]

Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as "uncertified 'experimental' software patches" being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties which service more than 4 million voters Buckeye State voters.

The story included a copy of the contract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted's office and ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the Sec. of State. The contract itself describes the software as "High-level enhancements to ES&S' election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File."

A subsequent story at The Free Press the following day included text said to be from a November 1 memo sent from the OH SoS Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske to a number of state election officials confirming the use of the new, uncertified software on Ohio's tabulator systems. The memo claims that "its function is to aid in the reporting of results" by converting them "into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State's election night reporting system."

On Friday evening, at Huffington Post, journalist Art Levine followed up with a piece that, among other things, advanced the story by breaking the news that Fitrakis and his attorney Cliff Arnebeck were filing a lawsuit for an immediate injunction against Husted and ES&S to "halt the use of secretly installed, unauthorized 'experimental' software in 39 counties' tabulators". Levine also reported that Arnebeck had referred the matter to the Cincinnati FBI for criminal investigation of what the Ohio attorney describes as "a flagrant violation of the law."

[Update: Details and documents from that lawsuit now here...]

"Before you add new software, you need approval of a state board," says Arnebeck. "They are installing an uncertified, suspect software patch that interfaces between the county's vote tabulation equipment and state tabulators." Arnebeck's alarm is understandable.

Since the story initially broke, I've been trying to learn as much as I could about what is actually going on here. During that time, a few in the mainstream media have gotten wind of the story as well, including NBC News and CNN, and have been able to press Husted and other officials in his office into finally responding to the concerns publicly. The Ohio officials have attempted to downplay the concerns, though in doing so, they appear to have given misleading information which, at times, seems to conflict even with the contract itself.

I've also spoken to computer scientists and election integrity experts, in trying to make sense of all of this, though many of them seem to be scratching their heads as well. My own queries to the Sec. of State's office have gone unanswered, as had Fitrakis' and Bello's before they published their initial story, begging the question as to why, if this software is as benign as Ohio officials are suggesting, they didn't respond immediately to say as much. Furthermore, why did they keep the contract a secret? Why did they wait until just before the election to have this work done? And why did they feel it was appropriate to circumvent both federal and state testing and certification programs for the software in the bargain?

I'd like to have been able to learn much more before running anything on this at all, frankly. But the lack of time between now and Tuesday's election --- in which Ohio's results are universally believed to be key to determining the next President of the United States --- preclude that.

So, based on the information I've been able to glean so far, allow me to try to explain, in as simple terms as I can, what we current know and what we don't, and what the serious concerns are all about.

And, just to pre-respond to those supposed journalists who have shown a proclivity for reading comprehension issues, let me be clear: No, this does not mean I am charging that there is a conspiracy to rig or steal the Ohio election. While there certainly could be, if there is, I don't know about it, nor am I charging there is any such conspiracy at this time. The secretive, seemingly extra-legal way in which SoS Husted's office is going about whatever it is they are trying to do, however, at the very last minute before the election, along with the explanations they've given for it to date, and concerns about similar cases in the past, in both Ohio and elsewhere, are certainly cause for any reasonable skeptic or journalist to be suspect and investigate what could be going on. And so I am...

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Problem no better in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2012 4:13pm PT  

South Florida, this weekend, 2012...

This is just shameful. Embarrassing for the entire nation. Again. How FL Governor Rick Scott and Ken Detzner, both Republicans, sleep at night I cannot imagine. That, even after both of their Republican predecessors, Governors Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush had the decency to extend early voting hours when lines began snaking around the block in previous years (and we've never had much good to say about Jeb Bush's administration of elections!)

Scott cut Early Voting from 14 days in 2008 to just 8 days this year in the Sunshine State because, apparently, there was just too damned much voting and democracy and stuff going on in 2008.

As Scott refuses to budge, despite the hours-long lines to vote --- as much as 6 hours in many places --- Democrats have been forced to go to court to sue for expanded Early Voting hours at the last minute, as Lizette Alvarez details at New York Times. A judge has already granted four additional hours in one county, after Early Voting had to be temporarily stopped there for a number of hours due to a suspicious object, which had to be detonated by the bomb squad, was left at one of the polling place. But, ultimately, the suits will most likely be too little, too late at this point.

This all comes on the heels of Scott severely restricting voter registration drives, attempting to even further restrict Early Voting hours, and falsely attempting to purge legitimate voters over the past year and, as we noted yesterday, even purging active duty military voters from the rolls in the bargain.

Last night, in a special Saturday broadcast, MNSBC's Rachel Maddow detailed this weekend's Florida disgrace...


Be sure to notice the scenes --- documented in photo after photo, at Early Voting polling place after polling place in the video above --- of lines around the block with people trying to do nothing more than simply cast their vote in the Presidential Election in Florida. Imagine how many voters saw those lines and simply decided not to bother, or were too elderly or infirm to be able to stand there for six hours.

Well, at least it's not like Florida is a state with a history of close elections, or one that's expected to be close at all this year. Most importantly, remember: "We are the world's greatest democracy", right?

Oh...and as Ari Berman has been reporting from on the ground, in Ohio, where Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted has similarly attempted to restrict as much Early Voting as possible, the problems at this hour are not much better.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, this weekend, 2012...

Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, 2012...


[via Michael Finnegan, LA Times]

And here are still more breathtaking photos of Early Voting lines in Ohio. I can't express enough my respect for those folks who are able to endure 6-hour lines to vote. Neither can I even imagine how countless-many simply choose not to.

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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ALSO: NY, CT, PA, VA and OH polling sites struggle to get back on line after Superstorm Sandy and in time for Election Day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 11:47pm PT  

[This article cross-posted by Salon...]

Since both before Superstorm Sandy hit, and after, we've been reporting on concerns in states where voters are forced to vote on electronic voting systems on Election Day and, thus, could be kept from being able to cast a vote at all in this Tuesday's Presidential Election should power be unavailable at polling sites.

We've noted that voters simply cannot cast a vote at all on such systems when the power is out, and that it's just one more reason why no American should ever be forced to vote on the 100% unverifiable voting systems, incredibly, still in use across most of states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Ohio which were all hit hard by the storm, along with New York, Connecticut and elsewhere.

We've got a bit of good news to report today, for some of the voters whose ability to vote at all has been imperiled by this inexcusable, completely foreseeable failure by public officials who have long ago been warned about this possibility and yet refused to do the sensible thing and move to a verifiable paper ballot system to avoid it.

The news is more encouraging in states like NY and CT, where officials respect voters enough to allow them all to vote on paper ballots, even when natural disasters haven't struck...

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

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DoJ, U.N. observers deployed; Clear Channel takes down offensive billboards; OH's 'un-American' SoS; Photo ID confusion in PA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2012 10:41am PT  

These are now coming in too quickly for us to cover 'em all in detail. But let's see if we can try and help get a few more eyeballs on at least some of the most noteworthy, with more in-depth coverage to come as/if time allows...

DoJ Monitoring Early Voting in TX: "The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor portions of the early voting period for the Nov. 6, 2012, general election in Dallas and Harris Counties, Texas, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

UN Monitoring U.S. Precincts on Election Day: In March, we noted that the NAACP requested U.N. monitors to observe the U.S. election, based on concerns about disenfranchisement by GOP polling place Photo ID restrictions and other voter suppression tactics. Now they're getting them. "The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries."

Oddly, Republican-funded "non-partisan" group "True The Vote", which claims to be monitoring polling places to prevent fraud (but appears to be there to challenge legitimate voters, intimidate them and cause havoc instead), is against the idea. If they wanted to prevent fraud wouldn't they say the more observers the better?

"Voter Fraud" Billboards Coming Down: After they've already been up in minority neighborhoods for two weeks..."Clear Channel Outdoor will remove 30 billboards across the city that drew complaints of racism and intimidation with their message of "Voter fraud is a felony," the company said Saturday night." Clear Channel also says it'll donate "10 other billboards that will have messages to counter the offending ones." They'll read "Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!" See Jamil Smith's take on why the billboards, placed in minority areas, were so disturbing.

OH SoS Says Order to Restore Early Voting "Un-American" - Yes, that's what Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted, vying to become the J. Kenneth Blackwell for 2012, actually said during his keynote speech at an election law symposium at University of Toledo on Friday. Apparently the remarks were not well received by the actual Election Law experts on hand. See our summary of Husted unsuccessful, "Un-American" attempt to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to help him keep legal voters from voting right here.

State Ads Causing Confusion in PA Following Photo ID Ruling: As we predicted when the Republican Commonwealth Court Judge's ruling was issued, confusion is now reigning in PA. The ruling barred the GOP's polling place Photo ID requirement (this November, anyway), but decided that poll workers could ask for it anyway. Moreover, the Judge refused to enjoin the part of the law that allocates millions in tax-payer dollars to "voter education" about the Photo ID law. "That critical detail in Simpson’s opinion — that photo ID is not required in this election — has been lost in much of the $5 million advertising campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of State, voters rights advocates charge. On buses, an ad displays a photo ID with 'SHOW IT' in big block lettering. In smaller type, it says photo ID is not mandatory. Moreover, state officials acknowledge that it was not until Tuesday, a full two weeks after the court opinion, that the last of the pre-decision billboards announcing photo ID as a requirement came down."

"Late Friday, the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization, filed a petition asking [Commonwealth Court Judge Robert] Simpson to order Pennsylvania officials to cease advertising and distributing information about the photo ID requirement."

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Republican Sec. of State Husted finally forced to announce Early Voting hours for final three days before Election Day...
UPDATE: Order denying stay issued by entire Court without dissent
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2012 3:12pm PT  

The old baseball adage that three strikes and you are out applies to Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and his underhanded effort to emulate his predecessor, the infamous J. Kenneth Blackwell (R), by preventing Early Voting for all over the last three days before the November 6, 2012 election.

That effort, to restrict voting in those days to active-duty military voters only, was first rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus (strike one!) whose decision was upheld in all aspects by a three judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal --- strike two!

Now comes an order from the U.S. Supreme Court summarily rejecting Husted's eleventh hour request for a stay of Judge Economus' decision --- strike three!

When Brad Friedman interviewed the former Democratic Ohio Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in mid-August, she explained how Husted's efforts to limit early voting were "clearly aimed at 'Souls to the Polls,'" the very successful effort by African-American churches to encourage their congregations to get out and vote on the Sunday before Election Day. During the 2008 election, nearly 100,000 largely Democratic-leaning voters cast their vote over that weekend.

Husted, who previously backed off an earlier effort to obstruct Judge Economus' initial order, filing an apology to the court in early September, has now issued a directive informing all County Election Boards "to open for early voting from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 3, 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 5," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Contrary to the initial lie spun by the right wing echo chamber and by Mitt Romney himself, this case in no way impacted the right of military voters to cast Early Absentee ballots. To the contrary, it assured that all lawfully registered voters could do so.

This is a very clear victory for democracy.

UPDATE: The order [PDF] reveals that although Husted filed the application for a stay with Justice Kagan, she referred the request "to the Court," which, in turn, denied the stay without any dissents.

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Jon Husted is now, officially, the new J. Kenneth Blackwell
Now UPDATED with details on Husted's application to SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2012 2:41pm PT  

This is really rather astonishing.

After having been told by two federal courts --- a U.S. District Court in late August and then a 3-judge panel on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals just last week --- that the Ohio GOP's attempt to restrict Early Absentee Voting in the final three days before Election Day, for all but active-duty military voters, is an unconstitutional violation of voting rights, disproportionately effecting low-income and minority voters, the state's Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted is, nonetheless, appealing the rulings yet again.

This time, Husted is skipping an appeal to the full 6th Circuit and going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement issued today, Husted describes last week's ruling at the Appellate Court, upholding the lower court's ruling, as "stunning" and an "unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections." (Perhaps Husted was out of the country for Bush v. Gore in late 2000?)

At the core of Husted's complaint is the fact that, by overturning the GOP's restrictions on Early Voting for all but active-duty military, so that all eligible voters can vote during those days, Ohio's 88 county Boards of Election will once again be able to set their own hours for voting over those days. That, argues Husted (disingenuously, for reasons explained in a moment), will lead to a lack of uniformity across the state.

"This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense," Husted says in his statement announcing his plan to appeal today. "The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning."

While Husted's remarks about the possibility of differing hours for Early Voting in differing Ohio counties, strictly speaking, are correct, they are also purposely misleading and, more to the point, entirely disingenuous...And Husted knows it...

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

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Rightwing media, Romney attempt to lie to voters about case is ignored by court. Again...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2012 4:52pm PT  

Via Ryan Reilly at TPM:

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Ohio must make early voting during the three days before the election available to all voters if it's available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court's decision.

"The State's asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment's notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court ruled. "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."

In short, the attempt by Ohio Republicans to keep Democratic-leaning voters, who turned out in droves to support Obama in 2008 on the final weekend before Election Day from voting, has failed yet again.

A 3-judge panel on the 6th Circuit of Appeals has upheld, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning describes it, "every aspect of" the lower court's ruling in August. The ruling comes as yet another stinging defeat for Ohio Republicans and Sec. of State Jon Husted (R) and their attempt to restrict voting rights in the Buckeye State. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is available here [PDF].

This case began as an attempt by the Obama campaign and Democrats to restore voting rights removed by Republicans, for no reason other than to disenfranchise voters. It became widely public, as a blatant lie by the editor of Breitbart.com who lied about Obama attempting to keep military voters from being able to vote. It was then advanced by Fox "News" and even the Romney campaign who repeated the lie, and it all recently culminated in an apology to the court by Ohio's Secretary of State who had attempted to ignore the lower court's ruling which was ultimately upheld today.

Despite all of those embarrassments, and today's latest court victory, there remains a bit of wiggle room for the OH GOP if they still wish to attempt to keep voters --- or, as the Republican Party Chair and Election Board Commissioner of Franklin County (Columbus), OH put it, " the urban --- read African American --- voter-turnout machine" --- from exercising their right to vote during the final three days before the November 6th Presidential Election...

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

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Rollback of existing voting rights presents significant legal issues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/24/2012 6:35am PT  

The veteran's advocacy group, VoteVets.org filed an amicus curiae brief [PDF] last Wednesday in support of U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus' recent order compelling Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) to restore Early Voting for all registered Ohio voters during the three days immediately preceding the Nov. 6, 2012 election.

The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Obama Campaign challenging the Buckeye State Republicans attempt to restrict voting in that period to all but active duty military. The Romney Campaign supported the Republican attempt to restrict the voting rights that had previously been shared by all state residents.

In their brief, VoteVets argues that Husted's directive adversely affects the voting rights of Ohio's more than 900,000 veterans, including more than 90,000 disabled veterans, many of whom are incapable of standing in long lines on Election Day.

The brief also alleges that the Republicans' new restrictions on Early Voting, for all but active duty military in the Buckeye State during those three days, could also arbitrarily deprive many active members of the armed forces of their right to cast an early in-person absentee ballot as well. This can occur, says the group, because Husted left the decision whether "to open those three days for in-person voting by [active military] voters...[to] the discretion of the individual county boards of elections."

The point also raises another salient legal issue, not fully considered by many of the Election Law experts who have weighed in on both the specific and broader implications of the Secretary of State's pending, expedited appeal of Judge Economus' recent decision to restore those three days of Early Voting for all...

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

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Republican Jon Husted rescinds Directive after being summoned to personally appear before judge...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2012 2:55pm PT  

Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has apologized to a U.S. District Court judge who ruled against him last week, after the Secretary appeared to have tried to undermine the court's ruling, pending an appeal by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The apology came in a motion today, after Husted was ordered by the judge to personally appear for a hearing next week.

As we reported last Friday, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party, finding that Ohio's restriction on Early Voting in the final three days before the election --- for all but active-duty military --- was a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

In his ruling [PDF], Economus ordered the Secretary of State to restore Early Voting "on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible voters," just as it had been successfully implemented during the 2008 election, as the previous Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, described to us during a recent interview. At the same time, the judge had also instructed the Buckeye State's current Secretary to "direct all Ohio elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on those three days, in keeping with [Husted's] earlier directive that only by doing so can he ensure that Ohio's election process is 'uniform, accessible for all, fair, and secure.'"

In response, rather than issuing a directive with uniform hours for voting in those three days before the November Presidential election, Husted issued a Directive on Tuesday notifying the state's 88 county Boards of Election that they should not establish hours for voting in those days, as the state was filing an appeal in the case.

"Announcing new hours before the court case reaches final resolution will only serve to confuse voters and conflict with the standard of uniformity," Husted wrote in the Directive, adding, "I am confident there will be sufficient time after the conclusion of the appeal process to set uniform hours across the state."

This afternoon, after being summoned to court in response to that Directive, Husted rescinded it and the state filed a motion [PDF] apologizing for what was interpreted as him having attempted to place his own personal stay on Economus' order. "The Secretary apologizes to the federal district court for creating that misimpression and has rescinded [the] Directive," the state writes in the motion, which seeks an official stay on the ruling, pending the Sixth Circuit's expedited appeal...

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

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Finds 'arbitrary' restrictions for all but military voters disproportionately harms low-income and minority voters
Decision continues recent spate of federal voting rights victories...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 1:16pm PT  

The recent spate of federal court victories in favor of voting rights across the nation continued today, as a U.S. District Court judge in Ohio sided with Democrats and the Obama campaign, finding that the removal of in-person Early Voting for all voters on the final three days before Election Day in the Buckeye State was an "arbitrary" decision made by the state's Republican lawmakers and Secretary of State.

The removal of in-person Early Voting in those last three days before the election --- when some 100,000 voters had cast their votes in the state during the 2008 Presidential Election --- for all but active-duty military voters, is likely to "irreparably harm" the voting rights of "low-income and minority voters [who] are disproportionately affected by the elimination of those voting days," according to the ruling by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus [PDF].

The ruling is another major win for Ohio voters, as the judge ruled in favor of the Democratic complaint seeking a temporary injunction on the state's new voting restrictions.

Through a convoluted series of legislative actions by Republican state lawmakers and rulings by Sec. of State John Husted, which we detailed earlier this month, Ohio had restricted Early Voting on the final weekend before the Tuesday election to all but active duty military voters. We also explained in that same article how the Romney campaign --- based on a false assertion initially posited by the Republican propaganda website Breitbart.com and subsequently forwarded loudly by Fox "News" --- argued dishonestly that the Obama campaign was attempting to "undermine" and restrict voting rights of the military, which the GOP nominee described on his Facebook page as an "outrage".

In fact, as the very first paragraph of the Obama complaint [PDF] made quite clear, the Democrats were not attempting to restrict the rights of military voters, but, in reality, suing to "restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day," including for some 900,000 veterans in the state whose rights had similarly been removed by the Ohio Republicans.

Today, the Democrats' argument prevailed in federal court, as Economus found that "Plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis with all Ohio voters, including [active duty military] voters"...

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

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