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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'programming note')...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2014 1:17pm PT  

I'm already on the road for the holidays this week, but pulled over long enough for a quick appearance on Thom Hartmann's radio show to update a couple of the late-contested results from the November 4th elections, including Maine's amazing "phantom ballots" mystery and Oregon's GMO labeling Measure 92 "recount"...

(Thanks to Thom for the kind words after I hung up.)

* * *

P.S. Without a proper break over the summer this year, and then continuing non-stop since the elections, I must say I'm not nearly an accomplished enough writer to properly describe how fried I am right about now.

As mentioned, I'm on the road and will continue to be until after the New Year. I need to complete some deadlines for articles elsewhere, knock out a few radio shows, and figure out how The BRAD BLOG can survive as we move forward into our 12th(!) year in January. But between now and then, I'm going to try to force myself to take some down time, at least from blogging, if possible, for a few weeks. We'll see if I'm successful. I'm usually not. (I suspect I may, at the very least, be popping up on Twitter. So be sure to follow both @TheBradBlog and @GreenNewsReport there in the meantime if you're not already.)

So, while there may be a few things rolling here, if things are quieter than usual for a while, all of that would be why...

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Mind-boggling response to BRAD BLOG: 'No correction warranted'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2014 2:19pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.

Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."

The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.

The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".

But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.

When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...

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

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4,600 rejected Vote-by-Mail ballots will remain uncounted in contest decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2014 3:05pm PT  

Proponents of Oregon's Measure 92, a GMO labeling initiative, are conceding defeat in what had become the most expensive ballot campaign in state history. The proponents from RightToKnow.org were unsuccessful in their lawsuit this week arguing that some 4,600 ballots were illegally left uncounted and should be included in the final tally from the razor-thin November 4th contest.

"Oregonians will never know the true outcome of this election," Paige Richardson, Campaign Director for Yes on 92 said, after a judge rejected the group's attempt to block final certification of the automatic statewide "recount" that followed the extraordinarily close computer-tallied results of the contest.

A hand-count of some 1.5 million hand-marked Vote-by-Mail (VBM) paper ballots cast and previously tallied only by optical-scan computers was triggered after the initially certified margin of defeat for the initiative was just 812 votes, or .02 percent, or just 812 votes. State law requires hand counts for elections with an initial margin of less than .5 percent.

Some 13,000 ballots across Oregon --- which holds its elections only by mail-in ballot --- were rejected and never counted due to signatures on the ballot envelopes judged by election officials to not match those on voter registration cards on file. Voters with signature problems on their ballots are sent a letter to notify them, allowing them two weeks to contact officials to confirm that they were the one to have cast the ballot in question.

Additionally, a new state law requires the Sec. of State to publicly release the names of such voters. That allowed proponents to try and contact those voters to urge them to cure their signature problems with county election officials. 8,600 voters responded and ultimately had their ballots included in the tally, while 4,600 did not. Those 4,600 rejected ballots, more than enough to potentially flip the final results of the election, were left uncounted...

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

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Hand-counting vindicated, voter intent served in dramatic twist...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2014 2:32pm PT  

In the tiny seaside town of Long Island, Maine --- and for the national media that followed it --- it was an inscrutable mystery fit for Murder She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher. Except that it wasn't murder at the heart of this mystery, it was a potentially 'stolen' election, which, upon additional investigation, has now been 'unstolen', with the state Senate candidate rightfully elected by the people of Maine's District 25 finally set to take her seat in the state legislature after another dramatic turn of events this week.

We recently detailed the fascinating story of 21 "phantom ballots", all cast for Republican state Senate candidate Cathleen Manchester, which, when reportedly "discovered" during a November 18th recount of the very close Maine Senate race, ended up flipping the results from the slim victory Democratic candidate Catherine Breen thought she had achieved on Election Night to a "win" for her GOP opponent.

The tantalizing mystery in the town of Long Island included 171 ballots tallied by hand there on the night of the November 4th election and the same number of voters confirmed to have voted in the town's official Voter Manifest, either by absentee ballot or at the tiny town's only polling place.

Like the public hand-count of all the town's ballots at the end of Election Night, Long Island's only polling place was overseen all day by its Town Clerk Brenda Singo (who, over the past week or so, had strangely, yet repeatedly refused to answer what we thought were fairly simple, straightforward queries from The BRAD BLOG about the town's precinct-based Election Night hand-count and the chain of custody process thereafter for its hand-marked paper ballots.)

During the recount of paper ballots in the seven towns comprising Maine's Senate District 25, however, a funny thing happened. 21 "new" ballots showed up in Long Island, all for the Republican Manchester, resulting in her being certified as the "winner" of the recount overseen by the Secretary of State's office and the Democratic Breen's subsequent contest of the recount results falling to the Republican-majority state Senate to be investigated and ultimately decided there.

Before the Special Committee, comprised of four Republicans and three Democrats, could convene, the outcome didn't look good for the Democrats. The GOP majority "provisionally seated" Manchester, despite strenuous objections from state Dems.

The resolution of the mystery on Tuesday, however --- which resulted in one state official declaring "I'd eat my hat if I had one" --- has flipped the final results back to the Democrat once again, cleared the Town Clerk Singo and other election officials of further suspicion and, as we noted in our original report, underscored once again the undeniable fact that hand counting hand-marked paper ballots at the precinct on Election Night is the most reliable and publicly overseeable way of assuring that election results actually reflect the true intent of the voters...

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

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With razor-thin 812 vote margin, proponents charge 4,600 ballots remain illegally uncounted due to 'problems' with signatures
Questions about state procedures underscore shortcomings of Vote-by-Mail balloting...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2014 2:44pm PT  

[Update: An 'emergency lawsuit' has now been filed by proponents. See details at bottom of this article.]

A statewide hand-count of millions of hand-marked paper ballots is currently underway in Oregon, as proponents of a GMO-related ballot initiative hope to overcome the computer-tallied margin of less than one-fifth of one percent, as reported by the state following the November 4th election.

But proponents of the measure are expressing concern about the process of the count, including corporate interference and thousands of votes that have been excluded, due to questions about signatures on mail-in ballots.

We recently detailed how the "Yes on Measure 92" campaign trailed by just over 800 votes (.02%) out of more than 1.5 million cast, in what has become the most expensive ballot measure battle in Oregon state history. $21 million dollars were reportedly spent to defeat the measure by corporate opponents of the "Right to Know" initiative. Monsanto, DuPont, Kraft, Pepsico and other national food companies had worked to block Measure 92's mandate requiring food sold in the state containing genetically modified products be labeled as such. Proponents reportedly spent just $9 million in support of the initiative.

As the statewide "recount" is now underway (we use quotes around the word to denote that, until now, the paper ballots have never actually been counted by human beings, only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated, sometimes wildly-inaccurate computer optical-scanners), proponents are citing a number of concerns about the way the state is carrying out the hand count, including what they describe as attempted illegal interference by Measure 92's corporate opponents, and the exclusion of thousands of ballots which, proponents believe, are being inappropriately left out of the final count.

While the number of ballots excluded from the tally could be more than enough to reverse the results of the contest, according to proponents, the complaints also serve to underscore a number of serious drawbacks to Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail election system, as well as mail-in voting in other states...

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

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State Republicans' attempt to delay next summer's trial described as 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
UPDATE: Court Denies Motion to Delay Trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/5/2014 2:03pm PT  

North Carolina Republicans are now seeking to delay the full federal trial challenging their massive election reform law, which has been described as the worst-in-the-nation and as a "monster" voter suppression law.

The tactic threatens to, once again, undermine any ruling by the court, should it be made too close to the state's 2016 elections. The trial in the case had previously been set, according to a timetable established in federal court in December of 2013, to take place during the July 2015 trial calendar. State Republicans, however, now argue that a separate state court challenge to one section of its massive voter suppression law, scheduled during the same period next summer, will "severely prejudice" their ability to defend themselves in the federal case which follows it.

Plaintiffs argue in response that the move is "another step in Defendants continued attempts to delay the ultimate resolution of this action."

The attempt to re-schedule comes from the same North Carolina Republicans who, this past October, successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court order restoring a number of voter registration and voting provisions that were blocked by the state GOP's law, simply because the court order restoring those voting rights was issued too close to the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

The state's argument at the time was that "Court orders affecting elections...can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

The trial which the state is now attempting to stall is in response to the same federal lawsuit involving legal challenges to the state's Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA"). This site, and many others, described the legislation as the "nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," when state Republicans enacted the extraordinarily wide-reaching restrictions on voting and registration in NC within days of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in the summer of 2013...

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

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GUESTS: Climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann; AZ attorney Bill Risner...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2014 7:04pm PT  

On this week's very busy BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio:

• After a bit of breaking news on yet another failure to indict a white cop who killed a black man (in NYC), it's a quick (if disturbing) update on the continuing election recount mystery in Maine.

• The U.S. House race in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Gabby Giffords old seat) is headed to a "recount", as the state plans to "recount" ballots on the same faulty electronic optical-scan computers that tallied them in the first place. Pima County, AZ election law attorney Bill Risner joins us to discuss his lawsuit [PDF] against the state's plan for the "recount".

Dr. Michael Mann, Penn State University climate scientist and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines responds to the disturbing climate change-related story line on a recent episode of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom on HBO as we separate scary climate fact from even scarier climate fiction. Mann also comments on the seemingly very encouraging news out of Germany this week, suggesting that fossil fuel companies are seeing "the writing on the wall". The good news: The guy who created the infamous "Hockey Stick Graph" is actually the optimistic one, for a change!

• Finally --- as relevant as ever this week --- it's the 50th anniversary of the "Free Speech Movement" kicked off by activist Mario Savio's inspiring speech at the UC Berkeley sit-in in 1964 ("There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus") and the 30th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster at the Union Carbide plant in India in 1984. We commemorate both.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system and much more --- now completing our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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Razor-thin margin, failed tabulators, untallied ballots, terrible 'recount' provisions leave Barber-McSally contest unsettled...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2014 3:46pm PT  

Yes, we're still working on Election 2014 around here. As we've told you many times, problems in elections often take days, weeks or even months or years to reveal themselves, even after the mainstream media has long since moved on.

Last week we told you about the "recount" that awaits the GMO labeling ballot initiative in the state of Oregon and the amazing appearance of 21 "new" mystery ballots that flipped the results of a state Senate recount in Maine. And now, a "recount" lies ahead for the one remaining "too close to call" U.S. Congressional election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

The state's first-ever "recount" of a Congressional race will be very different from the one that will be carried out for Oregon's Measure 92 and --- as demonstrated via a federal court ruling issued on Thanksgiving Day that disallowed the tally of some 133 provisional and early ballots before today's state certification of the race --- much more controversial. We can only hope no mystery ballots appear, as occurred in the still-unexplained contest in Maine.

The razor-thin contest in AZ-2 is between incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) and his challenger Martha McSally (R). Out of some 220,000 votes cast in the AZ-2 race --- in Pima and Cochise Counties --- the paper ballot computer tabulators report a margin of "victory" for McSally over Barber of just 161 votes, according to results posted by the Sec. of State.

The U.S. House seat in Arizona's 2nd District was formerly occupied by Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) until she was critically injured in a 2011 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 during a public event in Tucson. After Giffords' resignation following the shooting, she was replaced in a special election by Barber, one of her top staffers who was also shot twice himself during the massacre. Barber then went on to defeat McSally in the 2012 general election by less than one percent.

Prior to today's certification of this year's rematch, there were a number of oddities and controversies during the tabulation period. Among the problems, the reported Election Night failure of the paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators in Cochise County to read a number of memory cards from the Early Voting period. Those sensitive cards store results of precinct-scanned paper ballots. They had to be flown by helicopter to another county before their contents could be discerned (even though paper ballots existed that could have simply been counted by human beings, rather than relying on electronic tallying systems.)

In addition to the troubling ruling last week by the U.S. District Court and the flawed electronic tabulation of some early ballots, local election integrity experts are also concerned about the state mandated process for "recounting" the ballots, a process which includes using the same flawed electronic scanners once again to determine if the initial scan was carried out accurately...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2014 7:10pm PT  

I had hoped to keep this week's Thanksgiving BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio kinda light, cuz, ya know, it's Thanksgiving. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch didn't make that easy.

Nonetheless, we ended up with a very lively show, covering one helluva election fraud mystery in Maine; some good election news in Oregon; and exclusive information on why Ferguson and St. Louis County ran out of paper ballots on Election Day.

Then, speaking of bad news, it's Thanksgiving week and, yes, the news is lousy, so what is there to be thankful for in the wake of this week's terrible news in Ferguson and all the bad news of late before it? Some great callers come to the rescue!

My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seemed before this week's show...

Download MP3 or listen online here...

* * *

UPDATE 12/10/2014: MAINE MYSTERY SOLVED! Full details now here...

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now completing our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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11-vote edge given to GOPer after 21 unexplained ballots - all for her - mysteriously appear in tiny Town of Long Island...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2014 8:21pm PT  

An election fraud mystery has emerged in Maine's tiny Town of Long Island. The strange case has not only changed the previously announced "winner" of the election, but the contested results affect the entire state Senate and are now the subject of an investigation demanded by the Maine Democratic Party.

On Election Night this year, Democrat Catherine Breen reportedly won the race for state Senate by a very slim 32 votes in Maine's Senate District 25, according to the then-unofficial tally. However, during a hand recount of the votes last week, 21 previously unaccounted-for ballots were discovered to be in the locked Long Island ballot box. All of the "new" ballots included votes for Cathleen Manchester, the Republican candidate who had requested the recount.

Those 21 "new" ballots were above and beyond the 171 votes counted by hand on Election Night (which proved to be an otherwise perfect count) and the 171 voters listed as having voted on the "voter manifest" at Long Island's only precinct.

The "new" votes, combined with a few other adjustments to the tallies in the 25th District's six other towns, were enough to reverse the results, giving an 11-vote victory to the Republican candidate after the recount, even as neither party is able to explain the appearance of the "phantom ballots" in Long Island...

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

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Hand-count of paper ballots likely after computer tallies report margin of fewer than 900 votes out of over 1.5 million cast...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2014 2:48pm PT  

The November 4, 2014 elections are not over in several parts of the country. One of those places is Oregon, where progressive candidates and ballot measures were largely successful in bucking the rightward trend of election results produced by much of the rest of the nation. Nonetheless, a GMO-related ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods appeared to have failed on Election Night in the wake of a record amount of campaign cash spent by food manufacturers to defeat it.

The measure, however, now appears headed toward a statewide "recount" as the official computer-reported results have greatly narrowed in the weeks following Election Day, with the race now regarded as "too close to call" by some. The "No" margin decreased to less than 1,500 votes as of late last week, after the Yes on 92 campaign was said to have been "reaching out to 13,000 voters whose ballots had signature problems and weren't counted," according to Oregon's KPTV.

[Note: The BRAD BLOG tends to use quotes around the word "recount", since most ballots in the U.S., even hand-marked paper ballots, are never actually counted by human beings in the first place, with most jurisdictions relying only on easily-manipulated and sometimes wildly inaccurate computer tabulators which tally ballots either correctly or incorrectly. Without an actual hand-count by human beings, its impossible to know either way.]

For the first time this year, the state publicly released the names of voters whose ballots had signature problems. That transparency allowed Measure 92's supporters to attempt to notify those voters to request they contact election officials to work out any discrepancies in order to have their ballots tallied.

As of Monday afternoon, numbers posted on the Oregon Sec. of State's results page show the margin having narrowed even further, with just 809 "No" votes outpacing "Yes" votes, out of more than 1.5 million ballots cast across the state. Finalized results are due from all counties by 5pm today...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2014 1:39pm PT  

It's investigative Election Integrity muckraking in East Coast/West Coast stereo!

My thanks to Thom for inviting me for this week's longer-than-usual panel conversation on his Big Picture TV show, and to Palast for being the inimitably indefatigable Greg Palast!

Lively discussion includes everything from the secret GOP Crosscheck program to Greg's assertion that it cost Democrats several key U.S. Senate races to the U.S. now ranked 26th in electoral integrity among world democracies (last among Western nations) to the Republicans' long hard fight to return to Jim Crowism in TX and beyond...

[Thanks to Palast's office for stitching both segments together in one easy-to-watch clip! I've replaced the original embed with that version above.]

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now completing our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2014 12:56pm PT  

For what it's worth, just a quick note in response to some of the folks who either disagreed with or were otherwise disgruntled by my observation over the weekend explaining why I believe that "Not Voting IS a Vote", following the 36% voter turnout during the midterm elections.

Though I said I thought it was a "dumb vote", I also noted that "it was a landslide". The central part of my argument, in response to politicians and pundits who blame the American people (rather than themselves) for the fact that 64% of the registered electorate didn't turn out, was this:

Americans did vote. They voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole by not voting. You may not like that point, it may even make you angry, but it needs to be said. Neither party earned the vote of the majority of the American people.

Some seem a bit irritated with me for pointing that out. But on Monday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was on The Colbert Report (full interview posted below), making a pretty impressive play for a Presidential run in 2016.

During the conversation, Colbert asked him for a response to the "Red Tide" results of the 2014 elections and whether it signaled bad news for Democrats as a rejection of "liberal philosophy". Here was Sanders' concise answer:

What I think really happened is about 64% of the American people rejected the two-party system. They rejected Washington as it now functions. They rejected a political system and a Congress which spends more time representing the wealthy and the powerful than ordinary Americans.

Hmm. Sounds familiar.

(Don't hate the playa; hate the game.)

* * *

Colbert's complete 11/17/2014 interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders follows below...

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

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Emails obtained by BRAD BLOG show County election chief ignored warnings from experts, leading to long lines, voters turned away...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2014 2:27pm PT  

Election officials in St. Louis County, Missouri were repeatedly warned by local Election Integrity advocates that a plan to supply enough paper ballots for only 15% of the electorate at polling places on Election Day there would not be enough, according to emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The emails, sent well before Election Day, expressed concern and doubt about "enough paper ballots at every polling place on November 4th to cover all of the voters who would like to have one," as one of advocates wrote to the Democratic Director of Elections in St. Louis County.

The warnings were ignored, the missives suggest, and, as reported by local media, the result was a widespread shortage of paper ballots on Election Day 2014 at sites throughout the county, including in the embattled city of Ferguson, MO. Throughout the county, the shortage of ballots resulted in long lines and voters who were turned away or forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems which the county has long encouraged voters to use. Some precincts were required to stay open at least an hour after the normal closing time in order to accommodate those who were in line to vote before the close of polls at 7pm local time.

St. Louis Public Radio reported the day after the election that "unexpected demand for paper ballots caused a shortage at about 95 polling places throughout the county Tuesday. That's more than 20 percent of the county's 444 balloting sites."

"The paper shortage," they explained, "was the biggest unexpected problem on Election Day."

But, in truth, it wasn't unexpected at all, at least according to emails we reviewed to and from the county's chief election official, suggesting that the Board of Elections simply ignored the clear warnings they had received from local Election Integrity experts...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2014 8:19pm PT  

Bill Maher offered a very reasonable response to the ridiculously lazy argument that there's "no difference" between the two major parties or in who wins elections or that "voting doesn't matter." Part of his argument, however, includes a bit of tantrum thrown against those who don't vote at all...

I'd like to counter that latter part of his argument (his tantrum against those who didn't vote) with this point:

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