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Mainstream media fall for yet another Breitbart hoax...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2012 6:35am PT  

No, the Obama Campaign is not attempting to keep military voters from voting, no matter how much the Romney Campaign and their surrogates in the media and on Fox "News" are willing to shamelessly lie about it for ugly partisan purposes at the expense of electoral democracy.

The whole story appears to have begun as little more than another hoax by the Andrew Breitbart scam artists and, as always, the mainstream corporate media have fallen for it, as if it's a legitimate story. So here's what's actually going on, since the MSM seems incapable of explaining to you.

Following the disastrous, partisan and arguably criminal oversight of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio by then Republican Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (in any other era in our nation's history, people would have gone to jail for what happened there), when a wildly and purposefully disparate distribution of voting machines led to Election Day voting lines of anywhere from 2 to 12 hours, mostly in Democratic-leaning jurisdictions, reforms were enacted to make it easier for all voters to cast their legal vote in the Buckeye State.

After the 2004 debacle, the law was changed in 2005 to allow for any voter to vote by absentee ballot, without an excuse, including by "early in-person absentee voting" at polling places in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters took advantage of this new opportunity to cast their vote, helping to radically increase turnout, including during Early and Absentee voting in subsequent years:

In the 2008 election, in the three days prior to Election Day, some 93,000 voters in the state took advantage of their ability to cast a vote over the weekend just before the Tuesday election. Many of those voters, according to a University of Akron study of Early Voting in Ohio [PDF], were voters who might have trouble voting on Election Day, because they were working that day, or were elderly and unable to wait in long lines. African American churches encouraged voters to head to the early polls after church on the Sunday before the election, during a so-called "Souls to the Polls" effort.

This, Republicans legislators in Ohio determined, had to be stopped. And so they did. Or tried to, by passing HB 194, shortening the period of early voting for all Buckeye State voters, and adding other restrictions to make it more difficult for legal voters to cast their legal vote and have it counted.

The people of Ohio then rose up against HB 194 by turning in almost 100,000 more signatures than the number required to forestall the implementation of the new voting restrictions and to place the law --- which had passed on party lines by the Republican-controlled legislature before being signed by the state's Republican Governor John Kasich --- onto the November 2012 ballot, where the people could decide whether or not they wanted the new restrictions on voting rights.

But a funny thing happened on the way to that November 2012 Referendum. The state Republicans came up with a bit of a work around, at least for active duty military voters (who, we are told, tend to vote Republican, rather than Democratic). And while the Obama Campaign and fellow Democrats are busy trying to ensure that all voters, not just active duty military voters in Ohio get to enjoy Early Voting in those three days before the Election, the Romney Campaign has continued their extraordinary record of simply lying about everything.

That's not a partisan observation. That's just a fact. And for anyone in the media to suggest otherwise, in regard to this story, amounts to little more than journalistic malpractice at very best, and, more accurately, an insidious act of blatantly cynical partisanship disguised as "journalism" at the expense of the very core of our (small "d") democratic system of governance.

Such insidious acts of blatantly cynical partisanship disguised as "journalism" is, of course, what the folks at the late con-man Andrew Breitbart's website do best...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2012 1:33pm PT  

Last night, Rachel Maddow ran an update on the GOP War on Voting. Her report included a number of items we've covered here recently --- such as the protest by former U.S. Marine Tim Thompson who refused to show a Photo ID when trying to vote under TN's new voter suppression law on Tuesday, the Wisconsin court ruling temporarily blocking the state's Photo ID restrictions after finding it likely violates the WI Constitution's "right to vote" clause.

Here's Maddow's full report...


Maddow also covers several stories that we haven't been able to cover at The BRAD BLOG yet. Among them, the new Photo ID restriction law that was passed yesterday in the Pennsylvania Senate and is likely to become law, if not stopped somehow, this November. As Pennsylvania is not one of the "covered jurisdictions" subject to preclearance of new election laws by Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, it would be another excellent candidate, like the one in Wisconsin, for challenge by the DoJ under Section 2 of that act, as our own legal analyst Ernie Canning persuasively argued recently.

Another story in Maddow's otherwise excellent report, however, is the one about the 86-year old WWII Vet in Ohio who was unable to vote on a normal ballot Tuesday, because his Veteran's ID didn't have his address on it. According to the The Plain Dealer's coverage:

“My beef is that I had to pay a driver to take me up there because I don’t walk so well and have to use this cane and now I can’t even vote,” said Paul Carroll, 86, who has lived in Aurora nearly 40 years, running his own business, Carroll Tire, until 1975.

“I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.”

It's a horrible story, but on this one, Maddow appears to have been in slight error in her coverage...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2011 2:58pm PT  

Congrats to all voters of Ohio for successfully pushing back against the GOP's efforts to keep you from voting in next year's Presidential election! It's another win for democracy, and another loss for the Buckeye State's Republican Gov. John Kasich (following on the recent landslide loss of his anti-union bill at the polls last month.)

Today, Secretary of State John Husted (R), officially certified that opponents of HB194 --- the anti-voting bill that would have shortened early voting hours and imposed other big government restrictions on the exercise of the franchise in Ohio --- were successful in their effort to place the law on the ballot for a voter referendum in 2012. Thus, the act, passed by the GOP legislature and signed by Kasich earlier this year, is officially suspended for now.

As we noted in September, after opponents of the bill had turned in more than 300,000 for certification to the Sec. of State, ThinkProgress' Tonya Somander summarized the bill's restrictions on voting this way:

Doing his part in the GOP’s voter suppression campaign, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping elections reform bill into law on July 1. Along with allowing poll workers to refuse telling voters where they can vote, the new law shortens the state’s early voting period, bans in-person early voting on Sundays, and prohibits boards of election from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. These regressive restrictions mean that four in 10 voters in Columbus, Ohio alone will have to find a new the time, place, or way to cast their ballots. In fact, according to the Columbus Dispatch, the ballots that nearly a quarter million Columbus voters cast in 2008 would be banned under the new law

According to Fair Elections Ohio's announcement of the official signature certifications this afternoon, opponents of the voter suppression law gathered "307,358 valid signatures, over 75,000 more than were needed."

"The voters are sending a message to the Ohio politicians and legislatures across the country, says FEO's Greg Moore, "voting rights restrictions will not be tolerated by the people."

The group's press release, issued this afternoon, follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2011 5:26pm PT  

Now THIS is what democracy looks like. Some really great news via Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress...

Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping bill intended to make it harder to vote in his states’ elections. Kasich’s anti-voter law drastically cuts back on early voting and erects new barriers for absentee and even for election day voters. Today, however, opponents of Kasich’s war on voting will submit over 300,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office — well over the 231,000 signatures necessary to suspend the law until it can be challenged in a referendum in November of 2012. If enough of the signatures are deemed valid, the practical effect of this petition will be that Kasich’s law will not be in effect during the 2012 presidential elections when Republicans hoped the law would weaken President Obama’s efforts to turn out early voters who support his reelection.

Ohio's new law would have overturned many of the improvements instituted in the Buckeye State by former Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner (D) after she took over from the corrupt J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) and his abhorrent, um, administration of the 2004 Presidential election there.

ThinkProgress' Tanya Somanader summarizes some of the new law's appalling restrictions on voting like this...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2011 11:11am PT  

I'd like to take the opportunity, before we get closer to the 2012 election cycle and things change for the worse in the Buckeye State (and as I prepare to step off the grid, and into the mountains for the bulk of the week), to laud Ohio's new Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted for his willingness to stand up for voters by bucking his party and standing against the polling place Photo ID restrictions the GOP is working to implement in his state.

Husted made his opposition plain in a statement late last month, after attempting to work with the General Assembly in order to craft an acceptable election reform bill [emphasis added]:

“I want to be perfectly clear, when I began working with the General Assembly to improve Ohio’s elections system it was never my intent to reject valid votes. I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters' ballots from counting."

As The BRAD BLOG has had to explain far too many times over the years --- as based on empirical academic studies and even hard data from George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice --- legislation implimented in order to restrict access to the polling place as based, ostensibly, on assertions of the incredibly rare crime of voter impersonation at the polls, is meant to do nothing more than suppress voters --- specifically, minority, urban, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) ones.

Some 18% of the country's legal electorate in this country do not possess the type of IDs required by these laws, and are likely to be disenfranchised or forced to pay a poll tax in order to exercise their legal right to vote, even though polling place impersonation is almost as rare as unicorns and leprechauns.

To that end, while I suspect we may end up taking various issue with Husted's positions or rulings in the future on related matters as the 2012 Presidential election looms in the always contentious state of Ohio, we'd just like to go on record for the moment here, to congratulate him for his intellectually honest stand on behalf of the voters of his state on this particular issue.

Thank you, sir.

P.S. Here's a slightly --- but only slightly --- more cynical take on the above.

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Anonymous Blogger Offers Evidence-Free Claim That 'Left-Wing Activist' Academics and SoS Brunner 'Cooked Up' Report Results Showing All Buckeye State E-Voting Systems Vulnerable to Failure, Fraud, Easy Tampering...
By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2007 2:21pm PT  

The anti-democracy faction of Ohio's GOP party launched an extraordinary assault on the state's elected Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, following the release (BRAD BLOG's full coverage here) of her landmark, independent study of e-voting systems on Friday.

Shamelessly (an inaccurately) writing on the Ohio Republican Party's blogsite, an unnamed writer posted the following opening to a critique of the $1.9 million bi-partisan study [strikethrough included in the original]:

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner found some left-wing activists academics to issue an expensive taxpayer-funded "study" criticizing Ohio's election system.

"Left-wing activists"? Incredible. And wrong. And slimy enough on its own --- never mind the rest of the blog item, which gets even worse, as posted by an unnamed election terrorist from the Ohio GOP --- to merit an immediate apology and retraction by the Ohio Republican party, along with the outing and firing of whoever the official was who wrote it...

--- 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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