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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, March 4, 2015
AL's Republican Supreme Court Blocks Marriage Equality
As with all GOP 'governing' of late, if they just wish it enough, it must be true!...
'Green News Report' 3/3/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
A snowball's chance in the US Senate; Record warmth in US West; Big Oil calls for price on carbon; PLUS: In 1983, scientists warned GW would trigger unrest in Middle East. It has...
Previous GNRs: 2/26/15 - 2/24/15 - Archives...
MSM Ignores 'Climate Change' Despite Record Warm West
If it's cold in Manhattan, little else seems to matter, at least judging from coverage of unprecedented warmth in the West...
After the Low-Hanging Fruit of 'Net Neutrality'
With the hard fought victory for an open Internet now largely won, it's time for media reformers to return attention to reclaiming our public airwaves...
'Tea Party' Leader Now Begging for Health Care Funds
Former Sheriff Richard Mack, who hid behind the women on the 'front lines of freedom' at the Bundy Ranch last year, now asking public to pay for his and his wife's health care...
Inhofe's Argument Puts Climate Science on Ice
Sen. Inhofe, Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment Committee, offers a persuasive case that global warming is a hoax. Sen. Whitehouse, somehow, musters a response...
Can the FCC's 'Net Neutrality' Ruling Survive Legal, Congressional Challenges?
While the American public won a huge victory with the FCC's decision, will the ruling hold up to inevitable challenges coming its way?...
'Green News Report' 2/26/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate change and our extreme winter; Geo-engineering is madness, but... (CUE THE CHEMTRAILS!); Shell nixes Canadian tar sands; PLUS: Sucker born every minute...
Previous GNRs: 2/24/15 - 2/19/15 - Archives...
'U.S. Electoral Integrity Worst Among Long-Established Democracies': New Report
Worse than Mexico, better than Barbados: Harvard, Univ. of Sydney study finds U.S. elections ranked 45th among 107 nations...
'Green News Report' 2/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR's 6th Anniversary! VETOED: Obama nixes KXL; EXPOSED: Top denier outed; BUSTED: Feds clip Duke Energy; PLUS: Sorry, deniers, don't blame the sun...
Previous GNRs: 2/19/15 - 2/17/15 - Archives...
Top Climate 'Skeptic' Hid Fossil Fuel Payments
Docs reveal oft-cited Dr. Wei-Hock 'Willie' Soon failed to disclose funding from the Kochs, ExxonMobil, others when publishing 'scientific' papers disputing global warming...
Democrats Call for 'Right-to-Vote' Amendment
DNC adopts resolution calling for explicit individual right to vote to be added to the U.S. Constitution and for 2016 state ballot referendums in support...
Not Very Funny: David Swanson
"You don't have to 'Approve' or 'Disapprove' of Obama in some simplistic overall sense. There is no requirement in life or politics to be as stupid as a pollster's questions"...
When Presidential Selfies Were Hilarious
A sitting U.S. President joking about signing up for health care isn't funny or dignified! But you know what is?...
'Green News Report' 2/19/15
Another day, another oil explosion; 'Anti-petroleum' activists a security threat, says Canada; Jan. 2015 is 2nd hottest on record; PLUS: Obama on 'our best idea'...
Photo ID Restriction Bill Killed in Nebraska
A solid, bipartisan defeat of a polling place Photo ID law the Nebraska's 'non-partisan' legislature is very good news for voters...for a change...
Fox 'News' Exposes 'Biggest Science Scandal Ever Known!'
Except, you'll be shocked to learn, it isn't a scandal at all...and they are absolutely wrong. Again...
'Green News Report' 2/17/15
Another day, another TWO oil train explosions; Schizophrenic weather pounds U.S.; Southwest about to get a lot drier; PLUS: Ohio bans local fracking bans....
House Judiciary Comm. Preps for Possible Impeachment of Wife-Beating Federal Judge
Goodlatte, Conyers appear to be taking job of accountability for Judge Mark Fuller seriously; Request budget for experts, hearings, etc...
Shell Shocked: Big Oil Now Seeks 'Balance'
After decades of fossil fuel industry lies about global warming, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is suddenly desparate to stave off the inevitable...
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...


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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2015 1:19pm PT  

A bit of good voting news, for a change, via Zach Roth at MSNBC today...

Opponents of a voter ID bill in the Nebraska legislature say they've succeeded in killing the measure.

Eleven Republicans joined all 14 Democrats Wednesday in voting to shelve for the year an ID bill that just last month was seen as having a good shot at passing.

"It is victory. It's done," state Sen. Adam Morfeld, who led the opposition, told msnbc moments after coming off the floor. "The bill is dead."

The utter lack of documented voter fraud in the state made the bill a tough sell even with many Republicans. The measure's backers were unable to cite even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law.

While that may be true, that same fact --- the lack of "even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law" --- hasn't stopped Republicans from passing similar restrictions on voting in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, over the last several years (even as many of those restrictions have been found unconstitutional by courts thereafter.)

In 2012, a Photo ID restriction bill in Nebraska was defeated by a fillibuster, when, as AP reported at the time, critics "blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor,
elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot." This time, Roth reports, the bill was killed outright.

"We found out half-way through the filibuster that we actually had a majority of folks that wanted to kill the bill," Morfeld told MSNBC, which reports that "Voting rights advocates had said at least 112,000 Nebraskans, likely significantly more, lack the ID that would have been required" to vote under the proposed restriction.

But Roth also notes that the key to killing the bill outright was likely found in the non-partisan nature of the state's unicameral legislature which "isn't organized by party, though individual members have party affiliations. That makes it easier for lawmakers to vote their consciences."

"It's much less partisan in our body, and people are able to be more independent," Morfeld told MSNBC. "People aren't punished for not following the party lines on certain issues, because our leadership is non-partisan."

Also, it seems, thanks to the body's unique structure, the voters of the state will not be punished either, by purposely discriminatory partisan voting restrictions --- at least not this year.

* * *
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Statute's vague language concerns some election watchdogs...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2015 11:26am PT  

When California state Sen. Lou Correa (D) authored SB 29 last year, allowing Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballots to be accepted and counted even if they arrive at county election headquarters up to three days after Election Day, some state Election Integrity advocates were concerned.

Somewhat vague language in part of the bill might allow for a case where, in the event of a very close margin announced on Election Night, unvoted absentee ballots could be quickly filled out after the fact and delivered to election officials inside the new three day post-election window.

If a race was close enough, late arriving ballots --- either legitimately voted on or before Election Day, or, depending on how local election officials choose to interpret the statute, illegitimately voted and delivered after Election Day --- could actually reverse the results of such a contest.

Little could Correa have known, however, as he was successfully moving his bill through the California state legislature last year, to take effect in January 2015, that the very first election of the year --- and the very first to be decided by a small enough margin that it could be directly affected by late ballots now allowed under SB 29 --- would be...Lou Correa's...

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

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GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster Catherine Engelbrecht warns of 'trickle down tyranny', 'civil unrest' at Senate AG confirmation hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2015 6:03am PT  

"I am not a victim," Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the Rightwing voter suppression group calling themselves "True the Vote" told members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning. It was an odd turn of phrase given all that came before it in her testimony, both written and oral, at the confirmation hearings for U.S. Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch.

"I'm here today because I was targeted by the government for daring to speak out," the non-victim informed the Senators and those watching via C-Span at the very top of her remarks, much of which followed her written testimony [PDF] submitted in advance, and much of which did not. She is, she explained, just "one of thousands of Americans who have become living examples of a kind of trickle down tyranny that is actively endorsed by the current Administration and rigorously enforced by the Department of Justice."

"Over the years it has become clear to me that they don't just want True the Vote shut down, they want me broken," Engelbrecht wrote dramatically, but, for some reason, didn't say during her spoken testimony [video posted at the end of this article].

But, remember, she is "not a victim" at all. She is, on the other hand, the head of a wingnut Tea Party grifter organization which has, as we described in detail earlier this week, stepped on one rake after another since its ignominious appearance on the "voting rights" scene in 2010 when, in their introductory video, the group included a Photoshopped photo of an African-American woman holding a sign at a protest reading: "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" Another faked sign behind her head read "I'M WITH STUPID." (In actuality, as the original photos from a protest during the Presidential election theft in Florida in 2000 show, the woman's sign read: "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES." The sign behind her had read "Gore/Lieberman 2000.")

During her testimony, Engelbrecht, after years of faking voter fraud statistics to try and help the GOP case for polling place Photo ID restrictions, even had the temerity to describe her organization as "a national non-profit initiative to protect voters' rights and promote election integrity."

Faking the truth seems to come easy to Engelbrecht and her group, as they've spent years attempting to intimidate voters at the polls under the guise of protecting against pretend Democratic "voter fraud". At the Senate hearing on Thursday, however, it was often what she didn't say during her oral testimony, as contrasted with her written testimony submitted beforehand, that may have been most revealing.

For some reason, for example, she --- or, perhaps a staffer on the new Republican-majority Senate committee --- must have thought it better not to discuss "pigment of skin" in polite company at the confirmation hearings for the first African-American woman to be nominated as the nation's chief law enforcement official. That part didn't make it into to Engelbrecht's spoken outrage...

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

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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.

Enjoy!...

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. (KMOV.com) --- 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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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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

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Or, 'The British Version of Me'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2014 12:47pm PT  

This guy, Tom Scott of Computerphile, is right on the money in every respect, when it comes to electronic voting --- be it via touch-screen computers, paper ballot optical-scan systems or, God forbid, Internet Voting. If I was British, and younger, and better looking, and smarter, this would be me...

After almost 11 years at this, it's great to see that at least a few folks are finally getting it. While many understand some of the problems of e-voting, too many still think those probs can be solved with "paper trails" or "open source systems" or Vote-by-Mail or, somehow, even Internet Voting (via phone, tablet or elsewhere). Scott clearly understands, and smartly explains in the short video above, why the problems of electronic voting and tabulating cannot be solved by any of those methods, no matter how much many otherwise well-intentioned folks may wish they could be.

Scott starts off by citing the extraordinary failure of Gov. Chris Christie's emergency Internet Voting scheme, hurriedly (and disastrously) implemented in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Beyond that, he goes on to make a number of spot-on points, though all of them are predicated on one key notion that, while it may still be true in Great Britain, is becoming more and more of a distant memory in the U.S. every day: An election where everyone in the public is allowed to observe the removal of hand-marked paper ballots from the ballot box, and watch them being counted right then and there, is the most secure and "trustworthy" election possible --- at least based on hundreds of years of vote counting in democracies...

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

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(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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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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