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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 3, 2015
Into the Holiday With a Bang: 'BradCast' 7/2/15
After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
'Green News Report' 7/2/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska, Northwest on fire; Warming oceans linked to NC shark attacks; China, Brazil commit to emissions cuts; PLUS: Fracking companies can now be sued for earthquakes...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/15 - 6/25/15 - Archives...
Ann Who?
The long-overdue irrelevance of Ann Coulter. The former GOP Superstar (and voter fraud queen) just doesn't matter anymore...
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
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Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on Alan Greenspan during a Congressional hearing. Years later, the Fed Chair admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
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Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons: Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
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'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; RWers freak out about it; India goes solar in big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
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Sure, he's a clown and the latest into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your peril...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
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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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...

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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
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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
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CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
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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
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


State and local officials confirm the public records have been moved to off-site storage, though they remain in the custody of County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 9:26pm PT  

The ballots cast in Waukesha County during the June 5th Gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin appear to be safe from destruction at the hands of one of the nation's most notorious election officials.

For now.

In our exclusive exposé earlier today, we detailed the threat made by the infamous Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to "destroy" the county's ballots from the historic recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as early as noon today, in apparent contravention of state law. The threat to destroy the ballots was made even as they (and the rest of the ballots cast in the election across the state) are still subjects of public records requests by a number of citizen groups attempting to verify the otherwise completely unverified results of the race by examining the ballots by hand for the first time.

Nickolaus had denied the request by the largest group attempting to oversee the results of the election, and informed the requesters (see our previous article for her full responses): "Unless I receive a court order by noon on Monday, August 13, 2012 directing otherwise, I will proceed to retain or destroy the election materials from the June 5, 2012 Recall election according to state statute and GAB guidelines."

Her arbitrary deadline, the citizen auditors charge is in contravention of state public records statutes requiring 60 days after a request has been denied, before action can be taken. The BRAD BLOG has been able to confirm the legal 60 day requirement with several state officials today. Nickolaus' July 17th denial to grant the requesters access to the ballots means that, by law, she is barred from destroying the public records until at least September 15th.

After our story was published this morning, folks in WI seem to have sprung into action, leading the County District Attorney, the Waukesha County Corporation Counsel (who serves as Nickolaus' attorney) and the state's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) to respond with confirmation that the ballots in question will not be destroyed at this time, and were, instead, being moved from the Clerk's office, where they have been since the election, to off-site storage as of this afternoon.

"It would not be proper to destroy such materials at this time," County D.A. Brad Schimel confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, noting that "no records would be destroyed today, nor would they be destroyed until at least 60 days after the denial of the public records request"...

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

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Bi-partisan citizen effort to oversee completely unverified June 5th results 'illegally' blocked by Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 6:35am PT  

[LATE UPDATE:The recall ballots from Waukesha County have been saved from destruction, for now. Full details posted in our follow-up now here...]

One of the most notorious election officials in the nation may be mercifully retiring at the end of this year, but that hasn't stopped her from attempting to block citizens hoping to oversee the accuracy of their own elections in one of the most right-leaning counties in Wisconsin, following one of the most contentious elections of the year and certainly in state history.

Waukesha, WI County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had, at one time, after the repeated controversies around her failed administration of several elections, promised to step aside and allow her deputy to administer the June 5th recall elections, only to reverse course weeks later. Now, clearly back in the saddle, she has notified an Election Integrity group which has organized hand-counts across the state, that she was preparing to "destroy" the paper ballots cast in the election before they can be hand-counted by the group, unless she receives a court order to do otherwise by noon today.

She had previously informed the group that she was denying them access to examine ballots on the basis that she found their request to be "overly burdensome" on her office. In her response she also added her personal opinion, for some reason, that she does not "believe the public records law should be utilized for the purpose of allowing citizens to conduct hand recounts of an election, especially one in which there was such a large quantity of votes cast."

Among reasons for concerns about the June 5th recall election results are recent failures by similar electronic tabulation systems, same-day Exit Poll results reported by all of the news networks indicating a much closer race in the contest between Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as well as discoveries that have been made by the group over the past several weeks during their examination of ballots and poll-tapes in several counties.

So far, according to group's organizer, they have been allowed to examine ballots in 10 other counties across the state, with another 15 counties already scheduled for examination in the coming weeks. In a number of those counties, the group has explained to The BRAD BLOG, hand-counted tallies "have differed, sometimes significantly, from the recorded numbers," tallied on Election Night by the computer tabulation systems.

But Nickolaus, as has been her practice during her controversial tenure, appears to be taking a different tack from many of her fellow County Clerks, by denying access to hand examinations of the ballots and, worse, she is now threatening to destroy them entirely, save for a court order and despite provisions in the state law requiring the retention of those public records for at least 60 days after the denial of the request.

Nickolaus' threat to destroy the paper ballots and other elections records, as sent to the organizers of Hand-Count Votes Now! (HCVN) coalition in a series of emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG, flies in the face of state statutes which apply to public records, according to contentions made in response to Nickolaus by the group and their legal advisers. HCVN has been working for several weeks, as have several other organizations, in their effort to count ballots by hand in each of the Badger State's 72 counties in an unprecedented statewide public records oversight project.

The effort, the groups charge, is necessary, given the lack of verification of Election Night computer tallies on systems which have reported incorrect "winners" in the past, as recently as March of this year, when the nearly-identical systems to those used in Waukesha named a number of losing candidates to be the "winners" in Palm Beach County, FL. In that case, it was only a partial post-election hand-count examination of paper ballots by the local Supervisor of Elections which revealed that the computers had gotten the results entirely wrong, leading to a complete hand-count and the results of several municipal elections being overturned as a result...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2012 2:50pm PT  

Now they're concerned about unsealed ballots bags? Really?! Good! But where were they last year?

On the night of Wisconsin's historic June 5th recall elections, The BRAD BLOG detailed how Scott Walker's "win," as reported by the media that night, was completely unverified by any actual human beings to be accurate in any way, shape, or form. Though voters across the state mostly used verifiable hand-marked paper ballots to vote, we explained, almost none of them are actually checked by anybody afterwards to make sure the oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulator systems used across the state actually tallied the results accurately.

That was particularly important given the very same machines used in the Wisconsin recalls had, in other states in the very recent past, tallied results inaccurately (for example, check out what happened in Palm Beach County, FL, just this past March, when the very same system used to tally ballots in Waukesha County, WI, were discovered, thanks to a post-election hand count spot-check, to have named several losing candidates to be the "winners" in several municipal elections.)

The lack of verification of any of the ballots was even more disturbing given the fact that all reports by the mainstream media at the close of polls on Election Night had declared the Gubernatorial recall race to be a "dead heat," as based on raw Exit Polling data that the MSM are allowed to review throughout the day.

The next morning, after John Lehman, the Democratic challenger in the state Senate's District 21 recall election against incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard, declared premature "victory" with just under an 800-vote margin, we opined that Wanggaard should demand a full hand count of all paper ballots, and that Lehman should agree to one in order to assure the person with the most votes was actually the one declared the winner of the race. After all, majority control of the state Senate was hanging in the balance and, in any case, as in the other recall races that day, voters deserve to know for certain who lost and who won any such election, at least if we are to ever see legitimate Constitutional self-governance in this country.

Well, we've got some good news on the District 21 state Senate race, some bad news, and some extraordinarily hypocritical news to report today in our long-overdue update...

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

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ES&S voting systems fail yet again...
By Brad Friedman on 6/11/2012 1:28pm PT  

Before, during and after last week's historic Wisconsin recall elections, we detailed why there is reason to be concerned about the computer-reported results of the votes cast across the state, even with the majority of those votes having been cast on paper ballots.

In short, the results are, and will remain, 100% unverified unless someone bothers to get a court order.

As we previously reported...

[T]hose ballots ... are tabulated by computer optical-scan systems like the ones in Palm Beach County, FL, which, in March of this year, had named several losing candidates to be the "winners." And like the ones in New York City which, in 2010, managed to toss out thousands of valid votes, including as many as 70% in one South Bronx precinct. And like the ones in Oakland County, Michigan, where officials found the same machines failed to count the same ballots the same way twice in 2008. And like the ones in Leon County, FL, which, in 2005, were hacked to entirely flip the results of a mock election.

In Palm Beach County, FL, the failure was discovered during a state-mandated, post-election spot check of 2% of the paper ballots. In New York City, it took nearly two years before the failures were discovered after the New York Daily News was able to examine the paper ballots via a public records request. In Oakland County, MI, election officials were lucky enough to discover the failure during pre-election testing. And in Leon County, FL, the hacker --- a computer security expert --- revealed the op-scan system flaw he exploited to flip the results of the election in an Emmy-nominated HBO documentary.

In all cases, it was only a hand examination of the paper ballots that revealed the mistabulations by the op-scanners.

Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, no such post-election hand-examination takes place for any ballots --- at least not without both a recount request and an order from a judge. There are no spot-checks to ensure accuracy, so there is no way to know if the results reported by the computers reflect what the actual voters said in Wisconsin. The reported results are therefore either accurate or they are not. Who knows?

We explained why all of the above means that we cannot know if Republican Scott Walker actually won his gubernatorial recall election anymore than we can know if John Lehman (D) won his challenge against incumbent state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) in the District 21 state Senate recall on the same day. (If Lehman is certified as the winner, the Democrats will take majority control of the state Senate. Wanggaard should demand a hand count of all ballots. To do so, he needs to file for a recount, and then beg a judge to allow that count to be done by hand, rather by the same machines once again, as is the standard under the WI election code.)

For those who think such concerns are overwrought, if the above instance of op-scan machine failure aren't enough for you, take a look at what happened last week in three different counties in Montana, on the very same day of the recall elections in Wisconsin...

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

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By Sue Wilson on 6/8/2012 10:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Whatever questions remain about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election, there is no question that his campaign was built on big money, the likes of which we've never seen in a gubernatorial campaign before. And where did all that money go? Right into thin air - OUR air.

And as owners of the air - our public airwaves, to be precise - there is plenty we can do to combat the corrosive effect of big money on our elections, by holding our partners in broadcasting, local TV and radio stations, accountable to the communities they serve.

Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, is the reason huge amounts of money poured into the Walker camp from third parties like the billionaire Koch Brothers and others, (compared to the relatively paltry sum given to his opponent Mayor Tom Barrett by unions and others.)

As previously noted by The BRAD BLOG:

Focus will turn to the unprecedented amount of dark money raised and spent in the election, with Walker's campaign raising at least $30.5 million (a majority of it coming from out of state) to Barrett's $3.9 million. That, of course, is just the money raised by the two campaigns themselves. It doesn't take into affect the extraordinary amount of money spent by outside groups on behalf of the candidates, largely in support of Walker by a reportedly outsized ratio of 25 to 1.

So the Walker recall gave us the first glimpse at how the infamous Supreme Court ruling will affect campaigns for years to come unless something changes. . There is a large and growing movement now from organizations such as Move to Amend, to amend the Constitution to help put the brakes on the unlimited spending allowed by Citizens United. Such an effort, however, will take years to accomplish, if it ever happens at all.

But what's not being talked about is where most of this unrestricted money goes: about half of all campaign dollars go directly into your local radio and TV stations' wallets --- local broadcast stations which get licensed in the public/private partnership of broadcasting ONLY IF they "serve the public convenience, interest, and necessity."

As to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has also ruled, in Red Lion v. FCC that "it is the right of the viewing and listening public, and not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount."

Nonetheless, until Citizens United is changed or overridden in some fashion, things are only going to get worse --- unless we the people do something about it now with a few, still-unused tools that remain at our disposal...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2012 7:05pm PT  

I was on cable/satellite news channel RT this afternoon discussing concerns about the Wisconsin Recall elections. Here's the hit...

For more details on some of the thoughts I offered above, in regard to questions about yesterdays results, please see my article last night on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's reported win, and my piece this morning on Democratic state Senate challenger John Lehman's declaration of victory --- both before any ballots have actually been examined to assure that the all-secret computer tallies were accurate in any way.

* * *
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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Control of chamber hangs in balance, but all ballots, and current 800-vote margin, completely unverified by human beings...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2012 11:05am PT  

Late last night we detailed just some of the reasons why it's impossible to know, short of actually counting the paper ballots by hand in Wisconsin, if Republican Gov. Scott Walker actually received more votes than his Democratic challenger Mayor Tom Barrett or not.

Without both a recount request and a court order for the ballots to be hand-counted, rather than machine-counted yet again, the state of Wisconsin does not manually examine any of its paper ballots to ensure that the flawed, oft-failed and easily manipulated computer optical-scan systems and central tabulators tallied any of them as per the voters' intent.

Well, the same concerns hold true this morning for Democrat John Lehman in his important recall challenge to incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard in the District 21 state Senate race. His declaration of victory late last night is based on the same completely unverified computer tallies as Walker's was earlier in the evening...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2012 12:50am PT  

"It was a great demonstration of democracy, whether you agree or disagree with the outcome," Huffington Post's political reporter Howard Fineman told Ed Schultz on MSNBC late tonight, while discussing the results of the historic Wisconsin recall elections.

Fineman's comment is either accurate or it is not. Just as the results reported by the computers across the Badger State are either accurate or not. Who knows? Nobody in WI does, and that's exactly the problem.

The early Exit Poll results had reportedly predicted the race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a virtual tie, leading media to plan for a long night tonight. A second round of Exit Polls results, however, was said to have given Walker a broader lead over Barrett. Even so, we were told, the race based on the Exit Poll data alone was still "too close to call." Those data were either accurate or they were not.

Of course, the raw, unadjusted Exit Polling data are no longer entrusted to us mere mortals. They can be seen only by members of the mainstream media, and we are simply left to trust them to report it all accurately to us or not. And when, after all, have we not been able to rely on the mainstream media to report everything accurately to us?

But never mind the Exit Polls. We've got real polls, real votes, actual ballots now to tell us who won or lost. If only we'd bother to actually count them...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2012 1:00pm PT  

After well over a year of political, if not all out civil war in Wisconsin in the wake of the state's Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the majority-GOP legislature unilaterally stripping many of the state's citizens of their rights to collectively bargain, Walker's fate is finally up for grabs today, along with that of his Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and the political balance of the state Senate via the seats of four Republican state Senators.

A Democratic win in just one of those Senate seats will return the majority in that body to the Democrats, making remarkably extreme actions like those we've seen over the past two years in the Badger State much more difficult to accomplish no matter who wins today's gubernatorial race.

But we'll see what happens today, tonight and, under several foreboding scenarios, over the next several weeks and/or months as the citizens of the state exercise some direct and wonderful democracy today at the ballot box --- or, at least, at the computerized tabulators.

Aside from expectedly heavy turnout being reported across the state (and particularly in Milwaukee), and races that are thought to be exceedingly tight, here are a few morning news items out of Wisconsin which may (or may not) turn out to have much more relevance in the near future, depending on how things go in the next several hours...

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What you can do in Wisconsin and elsewhere...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2012 3:03pm PT  

We're just back in town, with lots of catchup work to do. But with Wisconsin's Recall Elections tomorrow, here are some important actions that folks (of any party!) who care about accurate election results can do to help protect the election results.

Remember, WI mostly votes on paper ballots. Unfortunately, however, most of those paper ballots are tabulated in secret inside of computers systems similar or identical to ones which have failed time again elsewhere, as seen most recently in places like Palm Beach County, FL and New York City. In WI, there is no mandated manual examination of paper ballots after the computer tabulates them in order to make sure they were tabulated accurately. That's a very bad (and dangerous) system.

In Palm Beach, several candidates incorrectly declared to be the "winners" by the Sequoia Voting Systems optical-scan tabulation computers in a March election this year had, in fact, been the losers of their races. The failure was discovered during a manual post-election spot-check of a tiny percentage of the paper ballots. WI does no such post-election spot-check of ballots to test the accuracy of their computer systems. Only a full hand-count of all the paper ballots in the Palm Beach elections revealed the correct winners. The identical tabulation system are used in WI's very Republican-leaning Waukesha County, as well as elsewhere in the state.

In New York City, it took nearly two years, but finally last month, ES&S, the company which manufacturers the paper-ballot optical scanners now used there, admitted that it was a flaw in their scanners which led to thousands of votes going uncounted during the 2010 elections. The company admitted to the system failure after the New York Daily News confirmed an error rate of 70% during the primary election and 54% in the general election in just one precinct in the South Bronx after a public records request and hand-count of the paper ballots. Those same flawed systems, the ES&S model DS200 paper-ballot op-scan system, are used in much of Lincoln, Portage and Wood Counties in WI.

There are many other systems used across the Badger State which have similarly failed in election after election. As always, "Democracy's Gold Standard" is a full public hand-count of ballots by actual human beings on election night, at the precinct, in front of all parties and video cameras, with results posted right there before ballots are moved anywhere. Unfortunately, that is rarely, if ever, done in Wisconsin. So it's up to you to try and help ensure the results on Tuesday are as accurate as possible, at least until those paper ballots are actually hand-counted and confirmed to have been tabulated accurately --- if they ever are.

To that end, here's a few things you can do tomorrow in Wisconsin (and one thing you can do even if you're not in Wisconsin), to help cover at least a few of the bases where computer tabulation systems can either be gamed or might simply malfunction to report inaccurate results...

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

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(And can the Supreme Court be far behind?)
By Sue Wilson on 5/29/2012 10:56am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Anyone remember a time when radio seemed friendly and informative, rather than hostile and manipulative?

I do. And I remember when it changed in 1996, after Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act into law, and suddenly, huge corporations like Clear Channel began using our public airwaves --- those scarce radio frequencies which are owned by us ALL --- as a hammer to pummel Clinton and all other Democrats.

I've been working to correct the problem ever since 1998. I've advocated rewriting the Telecommunications Act, made the film Broadcast Blues to educate people about the problem, founded the Media Action Center to get local groups communicating with their local broadcasters, filed petitions to deny stations' licenses, and more.

Nothing worked.

But now, I believe I have found the legal means to put Talk Radio on trial at the FCC --- and perhaps eventually at the Supreme Court --- and, ironically enough, we just may have embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to thank for it...

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

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Some early voters turned away, others to have their ballots 'remade' by poll workers without them on June 5th...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2012 5:03pm PT  

"Last night," Daily Kos blogger "Wisco Wherls" wrote today, "I felt like an atypically politically-motivated little kid on Christmas Eve waiting to receive the only gift I asked for: a chance to reclaim our Wisconsin from tyranny."

Wisco was so excited about the first day of Early Voting in the Badger State's historic recall elections of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators, that he (or she?) "ascended the front steps [of the Middleton City Hall] at 7:40 a.m., five minutes earlier than the building was even scheduled to open," in order to be among the first to cast a vote for Tom Barrett for Governor and Mahlon Mitchell for Lieutenant Governor.

Wisconsin voters were supposed to be able to cast early, in-person "absentee ballots" beginning today, according to state law and a memo sent to the state's Municipal Clerks [PDF] last week by the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election agency. But, alas, Wisco would leave disappointed this morning --- unable to cast what he/she had hoped might even be the first recall vote cast in the entire state --- after being told (inaccurately) that absentee ballots for Early Voting had not yet arrived at the Middleton municipal City Hall.

"I left my phone number and received confirmation that they will supposedly call me as soon as the ballots arrive," Wisco wrote today. "I guess that's what I get for getting my ass out of bed early for once. Nothing like waking up on Christmas morning only to find a lump of fucking coal in your stocking."

The blogger, appropriately enough, described the situation as "unequivocally unacceptable."

But we may have some good news for Wisco Wherls and the rest of Wisconsin's voters. The problem that he/she ran into may have been only an isolated incident, and the result of a miscommunication at the Middleton City Hall, at least according to a statement we received from the G.A.B. late today, after we'd inquired about the reported problem.

Though there remain other concerns with the way Municipal Clerks are handling the delay in the printing and receipt of official absentee ballots, which had not yet arrived at some municipalities around the state in time for the first official day for Early Voting...

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

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Some to be disenfranchised by GOP change to absentee rules...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2012 10:03am PT  

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel...

Absentee ballots that normally would have been sent to voters as early as Tuesday won't get mailed until Friday, according to the head of the state's election agency.

The situation arose because of a conflict between state election law and the state constitution, which lays out a tight time frame between a primary and recall election, said Kevin Kennedy, director of the state Government Accountability Board.

Under one state law, absentee ballots should have been available Tuesday because the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker and four GOP state senators is three weeks away, on June 5. But another law says ballots cannot be made available in a general election until after the period to ask for a recount in the primary passes, and that won't happen for the May 8 primary until Friday, Kennedy said.

Normally, there is a longer period between a primary and general election. But the state constitution requires four weeks between a primary and a recall election. That causes conflicts between the absentee schedule and the election certification schedule, Kennedy said.

As a result, a small number of people who will be out of town June 5 won't be able to vote because they won't be able to get an absentee ballot this week, Kennedy said Tuesday.

"We're dealing with a short time frame," Kennedy said. "Some people are going to get caught."

State law used to allow election clerks to email absentee ballots to voters at the discretion of the clerks. Voters would then fill out the ballots and return them through traditional mail. But last year, Republican lawmakers eliminated the ability of clerks to do that except in limited circumstances.

"It would be wise to go back to allowing municipal clerks to transmit (ballots) electronically. We thought it was shortsighted" for legislators to change that law, Kennedy said.

The Journal-Sentinel goes on to report that the Republican who amended the law claimed the change was needed "because some municipalities emailed out ballots while others did not, and she thought all communities should handle it the same way." And her even weaker reasoning was that "what voters returned by traditional mail had to be transferred by clerks onto ballots, which she said could be time-consuming for staff on election day."

While this development doesn't seem, in and of itself, to be an issue nefariously targeted at undermining the Scott Walker recall election specifically (as it had appeared in some of the more vague reportage I'd seen elsewhere this morning), it's certainly troubling for those folks leaving town this week who will not receive ballots in time to vote, and who will have no recourse to receive them while overseas. Those folks are most likely disenfranchised, whether that was the plan or not, thanks to the short-sighted amendment to state law written by state Sen. Mary Lazich, Republican of New Berlin.

I'll be surprised, however, if we don't see more very specific dirty tricks in the days ahead, meant to undermine the recall elections specifically, akin to the coordinated hoaxes we saw during the group of WI state Senate recall elections that took place last Summer. During those, for example, deceptive absentee ballot request mailers were sent out by the Koch Brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity and a number of other Rightwing groups.

The mailers, which offered incorrect dates and deadlines, and instructed voters to send back the forms to the PO Box of a "Right to Life" group in Wisconsin, were sent out not only by the Kochs' AFP, but almost identical misleading mailers were sent out by a mysterious "group" calling itself "United Sportsmen of Wisconsin". As The BRAD BLOG subsequently reported, to the surprise of almost nobody, the front man for that purported WI gun organization, John W. Connors, turns out to have been a longtime AFP affiliate and National Director, with a history of running deceptive campaigns.

Watch for these same insidious democracy haters and their ugly dirty tricks tactics to appear very soon now in advance of the historic June 5th recall elections of Walker, his Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators whose seats --- along with the political balance of the state Senate --- are all now up for grabs.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2012 8:00pm PT  

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker has insisted, publicly and consistently, since the incredibly contentious introduction and eventual passage of his "Budget Repair" legislation early last year, that the need to remove collective-bargaining rights from public sector union workers was necessary only for balancing his state's alleged budgetary woes. It had absolutely nothing to do with breaking the unions, he said time and again, only with balancing the budget.

He maintained as much, even long after the public unions in question had agreed, as they did almost immediately, to concessions in pensions and benefits that would have closed the budget gap Walker pretended to be concerned about.

Opponents, in turn, had long charged that Walker's divisive legislation --- in the birthplace of public sector unions, nonetheless --- was about breaking the back of the unions on behalf of his corporate benefactors.

On Thursday night, video-taped evidence was made public supporting his opponents' contentions that the "Budget Repair" bill was about little more than breaking the unions. In the video, the Governor is seen, just before introducing the legislation in January of last year, speaking with local billionaire Diane Hendricks --- who eventually gave more money to Walker than any politician has ever received from one person in the state.

He is seen discussing his plan to "divide and conquer" public employee unions as part of his budget bill, in response to her direct questions about whether Wisconsin would ever be "completely red" and become a so-called "Right to Work" state. He went on to discuss his admiration for Indiana's Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels who, he said, was able to do away with unions "through executive order."

Walker laments that he is forced to do it legislatively in the Badger State, "So I need lawmakers to vote on it. But the key is by tying it to the budget," he says.

The conversation is seen in a new film by documentary filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein whose film, As Goes Janesville, is set to be released later this year on HBO. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's opponent in next month's recall election, has already used part of the bombshell video in the following campaign ad...

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

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Need-to-know info, one week before WI's historic recall primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2012 5:10pm PT  

There have been a few pieces of noteworthy news out of Wisconsin over the last few days in advance of their recall election primaries on May 8th (one week from Tuesday) and the recall general elections on June 5th. Some is largely positive for fans of democracy, but some of it, however, is both puzzling and a bit disturbing.

In the upcoming contests, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, his Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the seats of four Republican state Senators will all face a referendum by the citizenry at the ballot box. The historic elections come more than a year after the GOP took over all branches of state government during the 2010 wave election before proceeding to release the Kraken spark a popular uprising through the tyranny of Big Government removal of a number of citizen rights --- such as collective-bargaining and voting --- along with the heavy-handed implementation of a number of other extreme Rightwing policies.

Here's are several of those late developments --- not concerning the horse races, but concerning the actual track conditions for those races...

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

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