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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 10, 2015
Caught on Tape: FL GOP's Race-Based Scheme To Dilute Minority Representation
State Rep is heard revealing plot to oust black U.S. Congresswoman with gerrymandering scheme, as a somewhat related landmark U.S. Supreme Court hearing looms...
Speaker Interrupted: 'BradCast' 10/8/15
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) joins guest host Nicole Sandler to discuss stunning turns of events in GOP plan to replace Boehner; Also: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler on U.S. bombing of hospitcal in Afghanistan...
'Green News Report' 10/8/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Sen. Graham wants aid for SC flooding, voted against it for Hurricane Sandy!; Enviros slam TPP; New pesticide rules; Fracking waste; PLUS: Obama creates new sanctuaries...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 10/6/15 - Archives...
Shredding the NRA's 'Good Guy With a Gun' Myth:
'BradCast' 10/7/15
The Nation's Joshua Holland explains why combat vets laugh at the ridiculous lie. Also: GOP Rep. who defunded gun research regrets it; Boehner could stay Speaker; and more!...
Electric BUG-Aloo: How VW Can Save Itself and the World: 'BradCast' 10/6/15
Author Steve LaVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future; ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker; and Jeb's 'death rattle'...
'Green News Report' 10/6/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record rain, flooding in South Carolina -- is this the new normal?; India will cut its carbon emissions; PLUS: EPA announces new ozone rules to cut dangerous air pollution...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 9/29/15 - Archives...
'New Normal': Climate Change and SC's '1000-Year Flood': 'BradCast' 10/5/15
Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann joins us to discuss that and much more. Plus: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Making Sense' Edition
A grim week in the Toons, though 'PDiddie' manages to find a few laughs in his latest curated collection of the week's best...
AL Shuts Down Photo ID Offices; IA Blocks Former Felons: 'BradCast' 10/1/15
With ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein; PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
'Green News Report' 10/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jeb wants more oil and gas in US; Alberta, home of tar sands oil, wants to phase it out; New standards for refineries; PLUS: Tesla unveils world's first all-electric SUV...
Previous GNRs: 9/29/15 - 9/24/15 - Archives...
Hand-Counting Paper Ballots in Columbia County, NY: 'BradCast' 9/29/15
Guests: Both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners of Columbia County! Plus: Rush on Mars; MSNBC snubs Bernie...
'Green News Report' 9/29/15
China to launch cap and trade system; Pope calls for UN climate treaty; Report: World can move to 100% renewables in just 35 years; PLUS: Shell quits the Arctic...
Exxon Knew All Along: 'BradCast' 9/28/15
Neela Banerjee on Exxon's long knowledge of global warming and their efforts to obscure it. Also: Shell quits the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama, Putin at U.N....
Sunday Toons: 'Political Climate Change'
PDiddie's latest curated collection of an explosive week in political toonery...
Bye, Bye, Boehner; Hello (Again), Florida Vote Suppression: 'BradCast' 9/25/15
And many other breaking world affairs at the end of an insanely busy news week...
Sanders' Three-Phase 'Political Revolution'
Ernest Canning on Bernie's battle for the 2016 Dem nomination, what happens if he receives it, and how he'd be able to govern as President of the United States...
The Pope & the Dopes - Francis Goes to Congress: 'BradCast' 9/24/15
Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
'Green News Report' 9/24/15
Pope delivers climate change message in D.C.; 11 House GOPers call for climate action; Big biz pledges to go renewable; PLUS: Hillary finally announces KXL position...
Pope Francis and the GOP! VW and the Voting Scam!: 'BradCast' 9/23/15
Plus a bunch of callers on all of the above (some quite amusing) and much more!...
Walker's Failed Campaign; Fuller's Serial Spousal Abuse: 'BradCast' 9/22/15
Guest: WI native John Nichols of The Nation. PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position Keystone XL!...
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...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

State Rep's admission of plot to oust African-American U.S. Congresswoman comes on eve of landmark Supreme Court hearing...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2015 9:05am PT  

It is rather remarkable what one can learn when the presumed private remarks uttered by Republicans and their oligarchic benefactors are captured on secretly recorded audio and videotapes.

Four years ago, Brad Friedman revealed the secretly recorded audiotapes from a Koch Brothers Summer Seminar that captured Charles Koch's "mother of all wars" remark and David Koch's introduction in which he described keynote speaker, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as his "kind of guy." This was followed by a bombshell in the form of a secretly recorded video that captured Mitt Romney's "46%" remark that the GOP Presidential nominee erroneously believed would be heard only by a group of well-heeled donors.

Now comes a new, secretly recorded audiotape, published by Politico and, subsequently included as part of an in-depth analysis provided by News One. The audio captures Florida Republican state Rep. Janet Adkins at a meeting with the North Florida GOP, plotting to dilute minority representation at the polls by deliberately redrawing Florida's 5th Congressional District so as to include some 18 prisons, disproportionately populated by African-Americans who are ineligible to vote.

Adkins, who is white, described the scheme as the "perfect storm." She explained that if the district was redrawn in this way it would enable Florida Republicans to oust the 12-term, African-American incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. "You draw [the district] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote," Adkins is heard explaining on the recording, after making sure that all the reporters had left the room. (When interviewed by News One, Brown noted that, in addition to the prison populations, there are approximately 6,000 felons living in the newly proposed district whose voting rights have not been restored by the state.)

The secretly recorded audio arrives at a very propitious moment...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/25/2015 9:22am PT  

The core message that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivered last month when he addressed Party leaders at the Summer Meeting of the Democratic National Committee entailed a lesson in electoral math, according to The Nation's John Nichols.

"Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate or the U.S. House, will not be successful in dozens of governor races across the country," Sanders observed, "unless we generate excitement and momentum to produce a huge voter turnout."

The "electoral math" to which both Sanders and Nichols refer is the math which, they argue, is achievable during the second stage of a Sanders-led, "political revolution". That would be a phase --- once Sanders was able to secure the Democratic Party nomination and prior to the November 2016 election --- in which it would be all but impossible for the corporate-owned media and Democratic Party establishment to conceal or evade Sanders' issue-based message. Even those members of the Democratic Party whose careers have been linked to monetary contributions from what Noam Chomsky describes as "the substantial people" would, at that point, be hard-pressed to stand in the way of the revolution's momentum.

But, for now, Sanders is in the midst of the far more difficult first stage --- one that requires overcoming the corporate-owned media's marginalization of his campaign. It also entails overcoming the exercise in self-protection by the Democratic Party establishment. Long before the first vote has been cast in either a caucus or primary, the Clinton campaign boasted that its backroom deals had already netted one-fifth of the delegates needed to secure the nomination from amongst the unelected super-delegates --- party leaders who do not have to abide by the will of the electorate in their respective states. Simultaneously Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), the DNC chair and former co-chair of the Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign, has sought to blunt Sanders' attempt to eliminate the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their "representatives" occasioned by the manner in which elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population --- with her imposition of severe limits on the number and timing of the Democratic Party Presidential Debates.

Sanders has countered those maneuvers, somewhat, by relying instead upon alternative and social media, drawing huge crowds, growing an army of grass roots volunteers and, most importantly, offering both authenticity and substance in his campaign.

The results, to date, have been encouraging for the Vermont Senator. Just a few months ago, Clinton's leads in New Hampshire and Iowa appeared insurmountable. But now, as New Hampshire Public Radio noted recently, "The latest polls show Sanders leading Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire and by 10 points in Iowa." Some who have examined polling trends, such as historian Eric Zuesse, have gone so far as to boldly predict Sanders will become the next President of the United States.

That's the current battle of phase one of the electoral math. More interesting, however, is the dynamics of what could become the second and third phases of a Sanders-led democratic revolution...

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Guest: Wichita University's Beth Clarkson, PhD, on her theory and KS Sec. of State's attempt to block her citizen audit of touch-screen systems showing unexplained vote increases for the GOP in large precincts
Also: NM Sec. of State charged with 64 criminal counts...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2015 5:42pm PT  

Whether statistician Beth Clarkson, PhD, head of Wichita University's National Institute for Aviation Research, is ultimately proven correct, today's must-listen, in-depth interview with her on The BradCast should remind us all, once again, why neither election officials nor voting systems are simply to be trusted.

Without the ability to carry out public oversight, democracy vanishes. That's what's happening right now in the state of Kansas, where Sec. of State Kris Kobach is attempting to block Clarkson's legal attempt to audit touch-screen voting system "paper trails" in Sedgwick County (Wichita), the state's most populous county.

Confirming a theory initially reported by two other statisticians in 2012 [PDF], Clarkson has found that computer-reported results from larger precincts in the state, with more than 500 voters, show a "consistent" statistical increase in votes for the Republican candidates in general elections (and even a similar increase for establishment GOP candidates versus 'Tea Party' challengers during Republican primaries). Those results run counter to conventional political wisdom that Democrats perform better in larger, more urban precincts.

The larger the precinct size, she explains on today's program, the higher the percentage of the vote for the GOP candidate. Clarkson finds "that is the case, and that is a relationship that is unexplained and very troubling." Previously, statisticians Francois Choquette and James Johnson found a similarly unexplained relationship while examining reported vote totals in Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Even more disturbing, in hopes of further testing her theory, Clarkson has filed a lawsuit under the state's public records act in hopes of auditing some of the so-called "paper trails" from the state's unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, but Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (a long-time GOP vote suppression champion) is fighting her access to those records in court. Kobach's full response is here [PDF]. The response from the Sedgewick County Election Commissioner Tabatha Lehman is here.

Clarkson tells me she believes the statistical pattern she confirms in KS is evidence of rigged elections.

"There have been a few theories advanced," to explain the statistical pattern. "The one I find most probable is that the voting machines are being manipulated. Their vulnerability seems to me a fairly high-probability explanation for this particular pattern. It fits exactly what you'd expect to see if people are flipping the votes within voting machines."

While I've been skeptical of the general theory for some time, for reasons that I explain during the program, Clarkson makes a compelling case, particularly for the ability of the public to oversee their own elections by examining the voting systems in question. If the public is not allowed to examine the so-called "paper trail" of these god-forsaken machines, what good are they?

"Suspicion isn't proof," Clarkson is careful to note. "The reason I'm suing for the paper records is because an audit can provide proof. Statistics are not going to be convincing to most people over the long term because they don't understand the math, and you don't believe what you don't understand. But an audit is fairly straightforward and the results should be fairly definitive."

She adds that Kobach's attempt to keep her from examining paper logs and tapes makes little sense, particularly when they concern elections which are long enough ago that the results may no longer be officially contested. "Voting is important and we want to keep those records secure so we can be assured of the accuracy of the count. But they're so secure now, nobody gets to see them."

Also today, as if we needed yet another reminder of why neither electronic voting systems nor election officials are simply to be "trusted", on Friday, New Mexico's Republican Sec. of State Dianna Duran --- like Kobach, also a long time "voter fraud" fraudster --- was charged with 64 criminal counts related to embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, violations of the Campaign Practice Act, tampering with public records, conspiracy, and a Governmental Conduct Act violation.

(For longtime BRAD BLOG readers, the new charges against Duran may sound vaguely familiar.)

Download MP3 or listen online to the complete show below...

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While its recent decision upheld a lower court finding that the state's Photo ID law was discriminatory, more than 600,000 lawfully registered voters could be disenfranchised in 2016 anyway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2015 6:35am PT  

The recent decision by a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in Veasey v. Abbott was greeted as "very good news." After all, it marked the first occasion in which a federal appellate court made an express finding that a state-enacted polling place Photo ID law violated the provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The appellate panel affirmed the lower U.S. District Court's finding late last year that a Texas polling place Photo ID law (SB 14), which threatened to disenfranchise 608,470 already legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under the Texas law.

This was the same conservative appellate panel whose "emergency" stay of the lower court's injunction on SB 14 last year, in all likelihood, helped to facilitate the illegal disenfranchisement of as many as 600,000 lawfully registered voters during the 2014 mid-term election. That "emergency" stay was subsequently affirmed by a sharply divided Supreme Court, whose right-wing majority elevated the risk of confusion that could arise by an eleventh-hour, court-ordered change in election laws above the risk that hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters could be illegally disenfranchised by reason of the Texas Photo ID law. Both the 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS majority handed down that ruling, although, at that point, neither court was in a position to contest the District Court's finding that SB-14 not only violated Section 2 of the VRA but that the Photo ID statute had been enacted for a discriminatory purpose.

The SCOTUS decision last year, as The BRAD BLOG observed at the time, belied the contention made by the Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 case that gutted the VRA, that their destruction of Section 5 pre-clearance requirements for new election laws in states with a history of discrimination, "in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2." In truth, per last year's decision, racial discrimination in voting will be allowed in those cases where a court order upholding that "ban" is issued too close to an election.

This case provided a classic example of the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5. Prior to Shelby County, Section 5 mandated that Texas prove that its Photo ID statute woulds not have a disparate impact on minority voting rights before the Photo ID law could take effect. In 2012 a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal refused to grant Section 5 pre-clearance to Texas' SB 14 precisely because of its disparate adverse impact upon minorities and the poor. Absent the Supreme Court's troubling decision in Shelby County neither the current, ongoing costly litigation on SB 14, nor the mass 2014 disenfranchisement would have ensued.

The new 5th Circuit panel's decision affirms that SB 14 has the effect of discriminating against racial minorities and the poor. Yet it failed to lift a stay that it imposed on a supposed "emergency" basis. Instead, it vacated the District Court's "discriminatory purpose" finding and remanded the case back to that court for further adjudication....

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Guest: Author/journalist Ari Berman of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2015 4:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we start where we left off on yesterday's show, regarding Thursday's amazingly corrupt and disturbing ruling in favor of Scott Walker and his cronies --- by the amazingly corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court --- and how, if Republicans have their way, that ruling may soon enough become the law of the land for the entire nation.

As our producer Desi Doyen noted on today's show: "This is your early warning system." Ignore at your peril. Then it was on to a couple of quick items and updates, including dumb Confederate flag wavers in Oklahoma and Maine's even dumber Governor Paul LePage.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era", as we initially described it when it was passed by state Republicans back in 2013, is finally now facing trial against the NAACP, the ACLU, the DoJ and other democracy and voting rights advocates.

We are joined by The Nation's author/journalist Ari Berman, who was in the federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC this week as the trial finally got under way. The results of this trial are likely to head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, one way or another, and may well determine the future of voting rights in this country. The new voting restrictions were passed in 2013, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished the provision of the Voting Rights Act that otherwise, says Berman, would have kept this law --- which is "already disenfranchising voters" --- from even taking effect.

"That's such a clear case study to me that the Supreme Court was wrong when it said that the special protections of the Voting Rights act weren't needed." Berman goes on to explain why he believes NC, a state which had made astounding progress in voting rights over the previous decade, has now become the new Selma, Alabama, where the bloody fight for voting rights led directly to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

"In North Carolina, they had seemingly everything," Berman tells me. "They had all these voting reforms --- early voting, same day registration, pre-registration for 16 &17 year olds. And it was all taken away or reduced" when the GOP took over both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction in 2013.

"What Selma in the 1960s and what North Carolina in the 2013-2015 era shows is how far these conservative white Southerners will go to protect political power. There aren't billy clubs. There aren't literacy tests. But they're saying this is how black turnout increased --- North Carolina went from 48th in voter turnout in the late 80s, to 11th in voter turnout in 2012 --- Republicans there basically said we're gonna tamp this turnout down."

And now it's left to the courts to find out if those rights, once granted, can be taken away by political whim --- and if NC, and other states with a history of racial discrimination in elections, will be forced once again to face preclearance from the federal government before they can enforce any new voting restrictions.

Berman has a lot of insight on all of this. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, will be published next month to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of passage of the VRA. As I note during the show, the book is an exhaustively researched and heart-wrenching documentation of the uniquely American and harrowing tale of the fight to vote in this country --- and the outrageously long and continuing effort to block it. That fight continues, sadly, to this day. Go buy his book!

Finally, Desi joins us again for some listener email and then a stunningly upbeat Green News Report for a change!...

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Guest: Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2015 5:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast...The U.S. Supreme Court announces its decision [PDF] in King v. Burwell, a case that would have gutted the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"). As usual, Justice Scalia, on the losing side once again, displayed his extraordinary hypocrisy in his dissent to a case that was stupid to begin with. I explain on today's show.

Then, the last election challenge of 2014 (as far as we know): Dr. Laura Pressley joins me explains why it's impossible to know whether the results of her runoff election for Austin City Council were accurately tabulated on the 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems used in Travis County, across much of the state of Texas and across much of our country.

"We're not just fighting this for our single city council district race. This is a bigger issue," Pressley explains. "Elections have to be verifiable. Candidates need to have the right to question and ask for validation. This is a tenet of our democracy."

Pressley charges that the unverifiable Hart-Intercivic eSlate voting systems actually violate the Lone Star state's own elections laws, even as they clearly undermine overseeable democracy. Remarkably, she says she is now facing a potential court fine of $100,000 for simply bringing her challenge, following some rather disturbing irregularities on the voting systems during her runoff and a complete inability to recount thousands of in-person electronic ballots despite an exact tie on the Vote-by-Mail paper ballots.

Her case was dismissed in state court, but she is appealing the decision and tells me: "One of the comments [in court] was, we needed to be punished as a candidate for challenging these electronic voting systems and that the sanctions should reflect a punishment to deter other candidates from bringing this forward."

Plus: Fox 'News' discovers that electronic voting systems can be hacked; Texas continues preparation to survive its impending take-over by the U.S. government. All on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Adam Briggle of
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2015 4:53pm PT  

Remember that 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security report about Rightwing Domestic Extremism that Republicans forced the Obama Administration to retract?

We do --- once again --- on today's BradCast, particularly in the bloody wake of this week's domestic terrorist attack at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church. For some reason, Rightwingers don't want to remember that report, much less describe this week's attack at "terrorism". Wonder why. And so does Jon Stewart.

Then, speaking of extremist Republicans, the state of Texas has overruled a voter-approved ban on fracking in the city of Denton and declared such local control illegal. TX Gov. Greg Abbott actually says, with a straight face, that, in fighting for fossil fuel industry profits over people, he's protecting private property rights from the "heavy hand of local regulation." (Yes, he actually said that.)

Adam Briggle of joins us to discuss how Denton hopes to fight the GOP's Big Government attack on democracy, local control and private property rights across the state --- ya know, all that stuff Republicans like to pretend they believe in.

"The industry went to the legislators that they have bought and paid for, and they wrote a new law for them to change the rules," Briggle tells me. "They just bought a new law that changed the standards by which you evaluate the constitutionality of local ordinances."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the Pope's climate encyclical and Donald Trump's global warming denialism...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Some, but not all, attempted GOP cutbacks to Early Voting nixed...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2015 12:35pm PT  

A deal announced today by Ohio's Secretary of State may help avoid some of the legal nightmares that plagued the Buckeye State's 2014 elections. While the legal settlement [PDF] restores some of the early voting access Republicans have been attempted, for years, to impose, it also leaves other rollbacks to voting reforms passed after the state's 2004 Presidential nightmare in place.

MSNBC's Zach Roth explains the agreement between Ohio's Republican Sec. of State and the ACLU, which had sued on behalf of the Ohio NAACP and League of Women Voters last year to block new GOP cuts to polling place access:

The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year's cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day.

Both sides hailed the new agreement --- hopefully ending a years-long, roller-coaster legal battle --- as a victory for voters, though Roth added on Twitter that the deal, overall, seemed to be more of a victory for the GOP than for voting rights advocates. Elections expert Daniel Smith is a bit more optimistic about it today, noting that it's "a much bigger deal to have extended hours" and Sunday "Souls to the Polls" voting restored, even as the ACLU, for its part, concedes the settlement is "far from perfect"...

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The abcde's of how NOT to hardcode passwords for 'secure' elections...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2015 6:05am PT  

Virginia has decided to learn what much of the country already knows. The 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems they have long been using in their public elections are also 100% hackable.

After ignoring the warnings and using them anyway for more than a decade --- and three Presidential elections --- a recent incident on Election Day in 2014 led the Commonwealth to finally do what they should have and could have done long ago: test the machines to find out how vulnerable they actually are.

Well, they finally did so and --- boy howdy! --- did they discover what the rest of us have been warning about for years.

There is a reason, after all, that Virginia was the last state in the union to continue using the WINVote system made by the ironically named Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS). And there is a reason why, after finally bothering to test them, Virginia has now immediately decertified one-fifth of the voting systems used across the state, even though it will leave some jurisdictions scrambling for new ways to hold their primary elections scheduled for early June.

We've been noting problems with the WINVote system almost as long as The BRAD BLOG has been in existence. One example is our short report from 2007, when we discussed problems with the AVS systems before the company eventually went out of business entirely and after the WINVote system had been decertified by Pennsylvania when the company refused to pay the federal testing lab examining a newer version of the system for federal certification. Before those tests were discontinued at the time, we reported, the lab had "found 1,946 source code anomalies, 25 serious documentation problems, and an unauthorized change of motherboards."

As we wrote in 2007, "Elections officials want to ignore those problems." The elections officials in Virginia were precisely among those we were talking about.

But, no more. Once VA officials finally decided to do their own long-overdue security analysis of the systems, "Security deficiencies were identified in multiple areas, including physical controls, network access, operating system controls, data protection, and the voting tally process," according to the 6-page report [PDF] released by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) this week.

"The combination of critical vulnerabilities in these areas, along with the ability to remotely modify votes discretely, is considered to present a significant risk. This heightened level of risk has led VITA security staff to conclude that [a] malicious third party could be able to alter votes on these devices," they wrote, adding tersely: "These machines should not remain in service."

The details of the Commonwealth's findings (now that they've looked for them) are so mind-blowingly startling that some Virginia localities who are losing their voting systems are now perfectly happy with the idea that they may have to --- gasp! --- hand count paper ballots in their upcoming elections...

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

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Advocacy groups argue court should restore 'advisory measure' for a new Constitutional amendment to 2016 ballot...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/13/2015 7:05am PT  

Last year, the California State Supreme Court improperly nixed a ballot initiative meant to encourage state Legislators to support an amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision, according to a court brief recently filed by several state advocacy groups.

In the summer of 2014, the California state Legislature enacted SB 1272, a ballot initiative (Prop 49), asking California voters to advise whether the state's elected representatives should pursue passage of an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn Citizens United. The advisory measure, had it been allowed on the general election ballot last year, had sought to establish that corporations are not people and that the rights enshrined in our nation's founding documents apply only to living, breathing human beings.

The effort to permit voters to weigh-in on the subject was cut short when the CA Supreme Court promptly ordered then Secretary of State Debra Bowen to remove Prop 49 from the November ballot pending full briefing and argument with respect to a legal challenge filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ("HJTA") --- an anti-tax organization founded by Republican Howard Jarvis.

As described on the Court's docket sheet, the state Supremes removed Prop 49 from last year's ballot based on a 1984 CA Supreme Court decision, American Federation of Labor v. Eu ("Eu"), which established "that substantial harm can occur if an invalid measure is permitted to remain on the ballot."

In Eu, the CA Supremes struck down a ballot initiative that sought "to compel California's elected representatives, on penalty of loss of salary, to apply to Congress to convene a constitutional convention for the…purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget." (Emphasis added).

But, according to the amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief, recently filed by Free Speech for People (FSP) and other advocacy groups, the Court's earlier decision in Eu does not support last year's decision to remove the Overturn Citizens United initiative from the 2014 ballot. The brief explains that the state Legislature does, indeed, have the constitutional authority to seek advisory instructions from the Golden State's electorate via the ballot.

FSP not only defends the legality of the Prop 49 initiative, as measured against both the U.S. and California Constitutions, but presents both historical and legal arguments that, if successful, could define the very essence of our (small "r") republican form of government (aka, representative democracy) --- a form of government that is guaranteed in every state by Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution...

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

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Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2015 2:03pm PT  

As we find ourselves smack dab on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, there are some key decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

The decision that emerges from the Supreme Court's March 20, 2015 Conference in the Wisconsin polling place photo ID case, Frank v. Walker, could well be dispositive in that regard. It also may be the last chance to avoid the legal chaos that plagued the 2014 elections, during which similar voting restrictions, in state-after-state, were implemented, struck down, restored, or, with respect to Wisconsin, blocked again. Where, last year, the Court's eleventh hour decisions preserved the right to vote in Wisconsin, that same Supreme Court, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term, eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas and North Carolina. The failure of the Supreme Court to take up the issue now could produce an even darker cloud of doubt over the integrity and legitimacy of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The immediate issue now before the Court is not whether SCOTUS agrees with a U.S. District Court judge and half the judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal that WI's law (aka Act 23) is both unconstitutional and violative of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As those judge found, Act 23, if implemented in the Badger State, could disenfranchise more than 300,000 lawfully registered Wisconsin voters.

Rather, the immediate issue at the March 20 Conference is whether the Supremes will grant an ACLU petition for a writ of certiorari (aka "cert petition") and schedule oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Republican-enacted law. Or whether, as urged by the attorneys representing WI's Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Court will defer its decision until similar legal challenges to strict photo ID laws in other states, such as North Carolina and Texas, wind their way through the trial and appellate courts.

In other words, do they hear the Wisconsin case now, as urged by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates? Or do they wait to combine the matter with several other challenges to substantively identical voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in other states, as urged by one of the men who stands to benefit from delaying such a decision as long as possible?

That decision whether to hear the case now, rather than later, may well have a huge impact on who will serve as the next President of the United States...

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

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New Harvard, Univ. of Sydney survey finds elections in U.S. rank just below Mexico, just above Barbados...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2015 6:35am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.

Last year we reported: "A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with 'Moderate' election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries."

Well, bad news --- of a sort. This year's new Electoral Integrity Project report [PDF] is now out. It takes into account the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S. and more elections in a number of additional countries. It appears the U.S. has fallen a few pegs from it's 26th place ranking in last year's report [emphasis in the original]...

[C]ontests in the United States scored the worst performance among any long-established democracy. Hence the 2012 Presidential elections was ranked 42nd worldwide, while the 2014 mid-term Congressional races was ranked 45th, similar to Colombia and Bulgaria. One reason is that experts expressed growing concern over US electoral laws and processes of voter registration, both areas of heated partisan debate.

To make matters worse, the survey fails to examine the effects of vote-casting and counting technology on the integrity of elections. But, while the new report highlights what appears to be a huge drop in U.S. election integrity since last year's study, with our most recent national elections now ranked just worse than Mexico's and slightly better than those in Barbados, it's not all as bad as the plummeting ranking would seem to suggest...

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GUEST: Attorney John S. Moot | AND: Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2015 6:45pm PT  

If you were looking for a fresh reminder as to why Vote-by-Mail is a terrible idea, why provisional ballots are not the same as actually casting a vote, and why there needs to be more accountability for and oversight of election officials, today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio should fit the bill.

In short, we cover the election contest now pending in the race for City Council (Seat 1) in the San Diego County city of Chula Vista, CA. The certified results from the November 2014 election show a 2-vote margin between the John McCann (R) and Steve Padilla (D) in a race with some 37,000 ballots cast. McCann has been certified as the "winner".

Trouble is, according to the lawsuit [PDF], at least 15 mail-in and provisional ballots were rejected, even though the signatures on them matched the signatures from the voters' registrations on file. That, argues attorney John S. Moot (my guest this week, and a former Chula Vista City Council Member himself), is in violation of the law.

The other trouble is, those ballots were rejected by San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu, who was the infamous Election Director of Cuyahoga County, Ohio's most populist (and most Democratic) county during the 2004 Presidential election, when two of his immediate subordinates were indicted and found guilty of rigging the Presidential "recount" in Cuyahoga. Yes, if you didn't know or don't remember, there was a partial "recount" of that election, across the entire Buckeye State, as requested by the Green and Libertarian Parties. And, yes, it was found to have been rigged in a court of law.

Vu, who was protected at the time by the Republicans who ran the Cuyahoga Election Board, was never charged and was happily hired not long thereafter by San Diego County, where elections have been little more than a joke for many years, even before Vu got there.

For the full story on this, listen to this week's show and Moot's commentary on the suit he's filed on behalf of his client, a long-time poll worker and voter from Chula Vista.

ALSO on this week's program: Accountability, finally, for an election official elsewhere (in St. Louis County, MO), and the fake "voter fraud" activist set to testify at AG-nominee Loretta Lynch's very real U.S. Senate nomination proceedings. Plus, as usual, much more, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.


Download MP3 here or listen online below...

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Removal of Rita Days follows our exclusive report on warnings sent before the election about likelihood of paper ballot shortages...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2015 12:03am PT  

St. Louis County Director of Elections Rita Days, a former Democratic state Senator who we reported on last November, was unanimously removed from office by the County Board of Elections Commissioners on Tuesday night, according to a late report from KMOV...

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. ( --- After coming under scrutiny for problems during last year's elections, the St. Louis County Director of Elections is being forced out of her position.

Rita Days was unanimously voted out of the position by the Board of Elections Commission.

Days came under criticism last November when thousands of voters had to wait longer than expected because polling stations ran out of paper ballots.

There is not yet word on who will replace Days.

In the weeks following the November 2014 election, The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively on emails sent to Days by local Election Integrity advocates in advance of the election, advising that her plan for deploying paper ballots would likely fall short of demand on Election Day. It did. As St. Louis Public Radio reported on the day after the election, "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."

But, as we detailed in our own report, the demand was not "unexpected", as Days had been warned, well in advance, about the likelihood of paper ballots running out...

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

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The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning on his father's torture during WWII and on accountability for the same war crimes by the U.S. today...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2015 9:33pm PT  

We were back live today for the first BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio since the holidays.

First up, a few incomplete words on the breaking news of today's horrific terror attacks at the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris.

Then, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning joined us to discuss his own father's detention and torture (including water-boarding) under the Japanese Kempetai at the notorious Shanghai Bridge House during WWII. After the war, his father, James Robert Canning, testified against his captors [PDF] at the Hong Kong War Crimes Trials, where some members of the Japanese Imperial Army received life sentences --- and, some, the death penalty --- for many of the same crimes against humanity carried out by the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks [PDF], as Ernie wrote about here recently.

Then, we cover what we hope might be the last report of the 2014 election, the (good news on several accounts) solution to the great Maine Ballot Mystery!

Finally, as ever, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report to quickly cover all that happened in the green news world while we were off for holiday break at the end of the warmest year for the planet in recorded history...

Download MP3 here or listen online below...

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