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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 30, 2015
TPP Secrets and Roads to Nowhere: 'BradCast' 5/29/15
Obama calls the TPP trade pact the 'most progressive ever'. Many Dems disagree. Who's right? Who knows? It's all a secret. Plus: NWF's Miles Grant on the 'new roads' scam...
HASTERT INDICTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES
Flashback to BRAD BLOG coverage of blackmail, bribery allegations from years past, as former GOP House Speaker charged with paying $3.5m to cover up 'prior misconduct'...
Montana's Fight to Save U.S. Elections: 'BradCast' 5/28/15
MT's Commissioner of Political Practices discusses his disturbing court battle that may rock elections across the country; Nebraska does the right thing again; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly deluges in TX, OK; Deadly heat in India; Heat-driven fires shut down tar sands oil in Canada; Farmers concede in CA drought; PLUS: Obama protects drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 5/21/15 - 5/19/15 - Archives...
On 'White Fragility' and On Smearing Bernie Sanders: 'BradCast' 5/27/15
Journalist Austin Squire on privileged white males' tenous grip on power. Plus: The MSM continues to marginalize Sanders, even after his huge kickoff rally this week...
Roads to Nowhere: Do Voters Really Want New Ones?
Voters keep rejecting increased taxes for new and improved roads. Environmental reporter Miles Grant wonders if there's a reason above and beyond aversion to increased gas taxes...
Oil, Toil, Flooding & Trouble: 'BradCast' 5/26/15
Science Editor Andrew Freedman on deadly TX, OK flooding; Good news out of Ireland; A 'GyroCopter Guy' update; PLUS: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill...
Memorial Day Weekend Toons We'd Love to Forget
Arctic drilling; Texas 'justice'; Hillary Inc.; Iraq 'whoppers' continued and more in PDiddie's latest collection...
Gov. Don Siegelman's Son on Father's Case; 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf': 'BradCast' 5/22/15
GUEST: Joseph Siegelman; Plus: Was al-Qaeda hoping to hack a US election?...
'Bin Laden's Bookshelf' Contained Classic Book on Hacking Computer Elections
Reading material said to have been on the al-Qaeda leader's shelf when he was killed may not be a surprise to BRAD BLOG readers...
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
'Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natgas billions...
Walker and GOP Turn 1st Amndmnt On Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox: 'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and MSM say they fear Sanders could 'pull Hillary to left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP to tragedy in Philly to GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in TX, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History & GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Jeb Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
OUR 600th EPISODE! - Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on KXL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with Obama (for now); Plus: 1st election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; Vanishing NC Voter Registrations: 'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
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...


GUEST: Joseph Siegelman...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2015 3:18pm PT  

We've reported for years about the ease with which foreign entities could hack a computerized US election with little possibility of being discovered. Well, guess what classic book was reportedly found on 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf'? We discuss on today's BradCast!

Then, my guest is the imprisoned Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s son Joseph Siegelman (pictured above with his father and sister Dana just before his father was sent back to federal prison in 2012 to serve out his 6.5 year sentence on "bribery" charges), on the latest disturbing ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning his father's appeal for a new trial and/or reduced sentence in his outrageously politicized prosecution by the Bush Administration.

Joseph, now an attorney, explains what the court's decision this week means; where the case goes from here; whether he thinks the Obama Administration will ever right the wrong; and how you can help to restore justice in this matter.

"This is something that shouldn't happen in America," he told me. "If a sitting governor can be unseated and prosecuted and imprisoned for something that he did not do --- and for something that had not even been considered a crime in this country until he was convicted of it --- what chance do anyone one of us have?"

That and a bit more, including listener mail and some breaking voting news out of MD, on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'Black Box Voting' author Bev Harris tells BRAD BLOG: 'He must have been looking at how fucked up the western world really is'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2015 6:35am PT  

We've long warned about the dangers that electronic voting and tabulation systems pose to our democracy, not just from simple insider attacks and domestic hacking, but also from foreign governments and other, even shadier entities.

In 2009, just by way of one of scores (if not hundreds) of examples, we covered the chilling presentation given by the CIA's cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall to a panel convened by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) during a field hearing in Orlando, FL. Stigalll warned at the time: "You heard the old adage 'follow the money. I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen."

"For several years," Stigall said, according to the transcript [WORD], "I've worked with others in my organization to try and identify foreign threats, emphasis on 'foreign threats,' to important U.S. computer systems. A few years ago it occurred to us that that should include potential foreign threats to the computers upon which our elections in this country are increasingly dependent."

Well, funny thing. Remember that Osama Bin Laden guy? On Thursday, The Hill and others published a list [PDF] of about forty English-language books said to have been found at Bin Laden's compound when he was killed. Among them, amusingly enough, were "9/11 conspiracy theory" books. Another was the New York Times best-seller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by our friend, investigative reporter Greg Palast.

Interesting. But look at what else showed is said to have been found on Osama's bookshelf...

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

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GUEST: Journalist turned media-activist documentarian Sue Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2015 4:08pm PT  

We've been talking about reality here a lot lately, and the difficulty a huge portion of our population has with it.

On today's BradCast: Our nation's untethering from reality, as it affects accountability for Iraq War war crimes and torture, the 2016 race, climate change and much more. We can't fix our problems until we can agree on the facts, but Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker remind us once again that we are nowhere near such agreement. (Even as we must take a side trip through the Bush Family's relationship with Nazi Germany to help understand it all.)

Journalist-turned-media-activist and documentarian Sue Wilson from Media Action Center joins us to discuss the FCC ruling that upends the First Amendment and Walker and his supporter's efforts to make things even worse in a Wisconsin criminal investigation into his 2012 recall election that may have an enormous impact on the entire nation in 2016.

Plus: Minimum wage boosted to $15/hour here in Los Angeles; Another huge oil spill in Santa Barbara; and much more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, 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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The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Republicans have their way, it may get even worse...
By Sue Wilson on 5/19/2015 9:35am PT  

It's been an entire year since the First Amendment suffered a gigantic blow as a result of the 2012 Scott Walker recall campaign in Wisconsin, though it's one that very few Americans above and beyond astute BRAD BLOG readers, even know about. And now, there is another threat to Free Speech, stemming from that same recall of GOP Presidential hopeful Walker looming at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.

Walker's attorneys are now arguing at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court that it is a violation of the First Amendment rights to even investigate whether the Walker campaign broke state law by the controversial candidate personally soliciting funds from non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups so donors to his campaign could remain secret. In a separate gambit, they also tried to make that case to the United States Supreme Court, which early Monday sent the case back to Wisconsin.

And it now appears that Right Wing Radio talkers --- at the core of a very real First Amendment blow suffered one year ago --- are, once again, in the thick of all of it.

This is all related to what Media Action Center (MAC) members discovered during the 2012 recall campaign when talk hosts on Wisconsin radio giants WTMJ and WISN gave hundreds of hours of free airtime for GOP luminaries like Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and Wisconsin GOP Vice Chair Brian Schimming in order to promote and recruit volunteers for Walker during that contentious campaign....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 12:22pm PT  

The polling place Photo ID voting restriction enacted by Republicans in Texas has been repeatedly found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Most recently, late last year, a federal judge found, after a full trial on the merits of the law, that the restrictive statute "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos went on to note in her 147-page ruling [PDF] that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Based on evidence from the state examined at trial, the law could serve to disenfranchise as many as 600,000 already legally registered voters in the state, not to mention more than a million eligible voters in Texas over all.

Naturally, Texas Republicans who currently run the state are appealing that ruling. Not because they have been able to demonstrate any actual "voter fraud" that might have been deterred by their restrictions, but because, with rapidly changing voter demographics in the Lone Star State, keeping legal voters (specifically, those that tend to lean towards Democrats) from being able to cast their otherwise legal vote has become a top priority for the GOP if they hope to keep their stranglehold on political power there in coming decades.

With all of that in mind --- including the existing law having been found in violation of both federal law and the U.S. Constitution --- state Republicans are hoping to make the law even more restrictive, and last week in the state House, the GOP passed another law to make it even more difficult for certain people to vote...

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

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GUESTS: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2015 3:31pm PT  

Today on The BradCast I spoke with Tyson Slocum,the Director of Public Citizen's energy program following the explosion and now oil spill into the Hudson River at the controversial Indian Point nuclear facility just 30 miles north of New York City and the 20 million people in harms way in the metropolitan area. What went wrong at the facility? Why is it still even in operation? And, oh, yeah, should we be worried still about what is happening at Fukushima while we're at it?

Then, I was joined by "DocDawg" of Daily Kos whose startling analysis published late last week, documenting an as-yet unexplained plummet in voter registration forms submitted via public assistance agencies in North Carolina since Gov. Pat McCrory (R) took office, has now lead to the threat of legal action by civil rights groups [PDF] who see a disturbing violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or "Motor Voter Act") of 1993. Someone has some explaining to do in the Tar Heel State where Republicans there have also enacted the most extreme voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era. You gotta check out this disturbing story!

Plus, some breaking news on the jackass George Zimmerman who was reportedly involved in yet another shooting today and a new report finding that the Baltimore City Jail turned away thousands of arrestees since 2012 after they were brought in by police but too injured to be admitted.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, 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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Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system and much more --- now in our TWELFTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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GUEST: Computer security expert Jeremy Epstein of Verified Voting...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2015 4:59pm PT  

Today we covered two stories I've been trying to get to for a while on The BradCast, and they're both related.

The first is the story of the state lottery insider who hacked the system to "win" a $14 million jackpot --- begging the question: if a state run lottery with a multi-million dollar security system can't protect against insider manipulation, how can a local election official do it, particularly with Internet Voting systems that partisans and profiteers continue to push for?

The second also relates to the first. Computer science and security expert Jeremy Epstein of Virginia Verified Voting joins me to discuss the immediate decertification of 1/5 of Virginia's voting systems after a state analysis found what many of us had been warning about for years: the AVS WINVote system is so simple to hack that, Epstein says, if it hadn't already been hacked in the decade its been in use there, "it was only because no one tried."

A must-listen version of The BradCast, if I say so myself. Or you can wait until Halloween if you're looking for something really scary.

We also covered some encouraging economic news out today, and who to "blame" for it; Missouri Republicans overriding the Democratic Governor's veto to cut off public assistance to children and families; and what the NRA wants you to get mom for Mother's Day...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, 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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Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system and much more --- now in our TWELFTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)

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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"...

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2015 6:35am PT  

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

BRAD BLOG reader "Plumb Bob" left this comment recently, following our short piece on concerns about the results of last week's Mayoral race in Chicago:

This alleged rigging of a lottery drawing reported today:
http://arstechnica.com/t...to-score-winning-ticket/

So if one guy can do it with all the security measures (and lottery dollars are government money) and only get caught because he can't figure out how to cash the ticket...

He did this for a measly $14 mil; what's a state wide or national election worth? Either in dollars for the mercenary, or in effort for the true believers?

Explain again how electronic voting is secure? This sure looks like a contrary proof to me.

"Plumb Bob" is, of course, absolutely right.

But there's far more to this story that should be used as a huge takeaway for those partisans and profiteers who continue to push not just for electronic voting, but for Internet Voting, even as a recent Internet Voting scheme in Australia's New South Wales was found to be vulnerable to manipulation and has resulted, as predicted, in an election with some 66,000 votes that many feel may have been tampered with...

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

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City official dismisses reports as 'least effective conspiracy in history'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2015 7:08pm PT  

At In These Times, author and journalist Rick Perlstein covers reports from some Chicago voters claiming that they received paper ballots today that were pre-marked for Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) in his runoff election against the more progressive Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D):

Around 10:30 this morning, Sam Dreessen, a 26-year-old unemployed DePaul University graduate (and former In These Times intern) who's been voting in Chicago since 2006, walked into his polling place at Kozminski Community Academy on 54th and Drexel, a mostly black neighborhood in the city's 5th Ward. He approached the election judge at the table and, like thousands of Chicagoans on this mayoral election day, received a paper ballot and a felt-tip pen. But, he says, one of the two blanks-the one you fill in to vote for Mayor Rahm Emanuel-was already filled in. Dreessen, a volunteer for Emanuel's opponent, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, smelled a rat.

"I just said to one of them, the one who gave me the ballot, 'This has already been filled out. I want one that's blank.' And he acted surprised. He said, 'I don't know how that happened.' And he even said there had been other ballots with similar problems.' He gave me one that was blank, and I told him more than once that they should look at all the ballots, the ones that hadn't been handed out yet, to see if this happened."

Dreessen says he was too shocked to even take a picture. "And I thought, 'I don't know, this must be happening to other people.' It just seemed to be so crude."

Perlstein details a few other similar reported incidents of pre-marked ballots from around the city in the election which the local CBS affiliate is now calling for Emanuel. The Chicago Board of Elections website currently shows Emanuel leading Garcia 56% to 44% with over 79% of precincts reporting at this moment.

The website DNAInfo, however, dismisses the reports as "Facebook rumors", bluntly describing them as "false", based largely on a response from a Board of Elections official...

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

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GUESTS: Estee Chandler; Ernest Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2015 2:35pm PT  

Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of JewishVoiceForPeace.org and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'Major security hole' could allow attacker to read, change votes...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2015 6:05am PT  

Another new Internet Voting system, another major vulnerability to massive election fraud discovered along with it. This time in Australia, as reported by ABC:

A "major security hole" that could allow an attacker to read or change someone's vote has been discovered in the New South Wales online iVote platform, security experts say.

The iVote system allows people to lodge their votes for Saturday's state election online, instead of visiting a physical polling station.

It aims to make voting easier for the disabled or for people who live long distances from polling booths.

However computer security researchers said they found a critical issue and alerted the NSW Electoral Commission on Friday afternoon.

The commission said the problem was fixed over the weekend and it expected 200,000 people would use the system in the lead up to the election.

Well. If the people who run it said it was fixed, why worry? (Just because they also said it was secure in the first place? Silly you.)

"Just because they've patched this particular bug that they've been specifically notified of does not mean that they've fixed the fundamental questions around the security and verifiability of the system," said University of Melbourne's Vanessa Teague, who discovered the security vulnerability. "If anything the existence of this one particular bug serves to bolster the argument that these kinds of bugs are probably inevitable in these kinds of systems"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2015 12:51pm PT  

I am prepping for today's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast, so don't have time to offer much detail at the moment. But, as so many have been dropping me email asking for my thoughts on yesterday's election in Israel --- and, specifically, the disparity between the reported final results and the earlier Exit Polling numbers --- I just wanted to say, I've been poking around to see what, if anything, I can make sense of.

I never like to go off half-cocked on issues like this, so, as usual, I won't have anything here unless it's hard and independently verifiable.

For the short term then, please see Josh Marshall's take on the Exit Poll/Final Results disparity here. (That's not an endorsement, just a link to one person's take. One person who, though he has some history of being not-skeptical-enough about polling numbers and election results, has been following this election and its polls very closely for some weeks. Moreover, he had at least some limited access to data from the Exit Polls in Israel as they were coming in yesterday. So his insight is useful.)

Also, for those asking about about Israel's voting system --- specifically, how they cast and count votes and whether they use an e-voting system --- my understanding is that all voters are still using the country's hand-counted paper ballot system, though some plans are in the works to move to an electronic system in the near future.

To my knowledge, however, yesterday's election used Israel's paper ballot system --- in which a paper card representing one of the parties on the ballot is selected by the voter, enclosed in an envelope, placed in a cardboard box, and then counted by hand at central headquarters after polls close --- rather than the e-voting system referenced in the news article above from December of 2014.

If anyone has information to the contrary, or additional details you feel I should look at, please feel free to note them in comments below or send to me direct via email here.

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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...

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

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