After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
But it wasn't only the GOP superstars named above who attempted to game the system. Some of their gullible followers, who were distracted and conned into buying into the pretend "Democratic voter fraud" panic, decided to take matters into the their own hands by attempting to double-vote, claiming they were simply "testing the system".
Two different such cases in two different states led to voter fraud felony arrests last November. One of the cases, in Nevada, has now been settled with a guilty plea. The other appears to still be pending in New Mexico against a man who claims he thought his job as a Republican precinct challenger was to challenge the system itself...
In the meantime, here's how BBV cuts to the chase --- and the core --- of the real concerns of Internet Voting, as the anti-democratic profiteering vultures descend into the state...
California Assemblyman Phil Ting has proposed AB 19, a bill to require the California Secretary of State to implement an Internet voting pilot project.
They tell us Internet voting is secure. It's not. It's not secure, and can't be made secure, but that's not even the point.
The point is it's not transparent. The whole premise in our Constitution is that we self-govern. To do that, the public must be able to see and authenticate essential processes, like who actually voted and the vote count, and that is not possible with Internet voting.
Internet voting transfers all control to whoever runs the server. (The server is just a computer that sits in a room --- and one Internet voting company, Scytl, has its server physically sitting in Spain.)
Internet voting gives the administrator complete control over the front end (who put the votes into the system) and the back end (the counting of the votes).
Internet voting is trying to come on with a vengeance, and not just in California. It is now imminent. Unless we are vigilant, many of us will be forced to vote online in 2014 and 2016. Lobbyists are at work to persuade your legislators to install Internet voting.
Political support has been secured from officials in several states. The governor of Hawaii has announced he wants Internet voting. Secretaries of State from Connecticut, West Virginia, Washington, and Oregon are already pushing online voting, and soon you'll hear about it near you. Federal bills promise cash to states that "expedite" their voting systems, with vague language as to what that means.
Because Americans are skeptical about Internet voting, politicians and reporters describe it as "smart phone voting" and "iPad voting." They also call it "convenience voting" but what they don't tell us is that, in exchange for convenience, we will lose the ability to self-govern.
To put this into blunt terms: It's not whether Internet Voting is or isn't secure. (It's not, but that's actually beside the point.) It's whether you, or anybody else, can ever know that it's secure. And the hard, cold, scientific fact is that you cannot.
Republican campaign consultant Scott Tranter appeared on a panel Monday hosted by the Pew Center on the States to discuss the long lines and voter ID controversies that plagued the 2012 election. In his comments, Tranter seemed to imply that he believed these issues were helpful to Republicans and should be pursued for that reason.
"A lot of us are campaign officials --- or campaign professionals --- and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that's voter ID, sometimes we think that's longer lines --- whatever it may be," Tranter said with a laugh.
On Election Day this year, their own observers were barred from monitoring the polls in Franklin County, OH, after the county's bipartisan Board of Elections had determined that the group had "forged" and photocopied the signatures of candidates needed to allow the group's poll monitors access to precincts in the county during the Nov. 6 Presidential Election.
That's the same True the Vote who also used a fraudulent photo of an African-American woman holding up a (Photoshopped) sign reading "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" in a well-polished video used to announce their national launch back in 2010. (The real photo, before it was faked, reveals the woman holding up a sign at a Florida protest during that state's Presidential Election debacle in 2000. The sign actually read, ironically enough, "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES".)
It's also the same True the Vote which claimed 501(c)3 non-profit status as a "non-partisan" charity, only to be found to be quite partisan indeed by a Texas court. Their lie about their non-partisan, not-for-profit status resulted in the group --- formed as an off-spring of the Houston-based Tea Party group calling itself King Street Patriots, by the same officers at the exact same address --- having to return a $35,000 charitable grant from a foundation which also backs the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.
So the group knows very well what actual fraud is. The problem, however, is that the Rightwing group enjoys dishonestly scamming their supporters by pretending that all "voter fraud" --- even absentee ballot fraud or voter registration fraud that doesn't even result in a vote --- is evidence that polling place Photo ID restriction laws are needed to combat a scourge of nationwide "voter fraud" being committed on a systemic basis by, of course, Democrats.
In the bargain --- as the successful pattern of Rightwing propaganda has long worked --- pretend "news" outlets such as Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller go on to cite True the Vote's claims as if it was actual "evidence" supporting the dishonest agenda that both groups hope to forward. That's exactly what happened last week when The Daily Caller, in an article related to the battle over polling place Photo ID restriction laws cited a list of supposed "voter fraud convictions in 46 states" at True the Vote's website.
You'll be shocked --- SHOCKED! --- to learn that True the Vote's list not only doesn't include "convictions in 46 states", it doesn't even include one single conviction, prosecution or even allegation of the type of "voter fraud" that the polling place Photo ID restriction laws both The Daily Caller and True the Vote are advocating for are supposedly designed to prevent.
In short, both The Daily Caller and True the Vote are using fraudulent claims to push for laws to prevent "voter fraud". We told you you'd be SHOCKED!...
So, yeah, this is pretty much what it's all come to these days in the Republican Party. Imaginary "voter fraud" and imaginary U.N. tyranny...
BONUS: The Daily Show also had his own take on the Republican dysfunction in the U.S. Senate (discussed by Colbert above) which led to the embarrassing failure to ratify the U.N. treaty for worldwide accommodations for the disabled. The treaty was based on our own, very successful federal bill, the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush twenty years ago.
Part 1 of Jon Stewart's two-parter below is worth watching for the killer John Kerry joke alone...
It was bad enough when a majority of Republicans were so disinformed after the 2008 election that they thought ACORN stole the election (almost 10 million votes, apparently) for Barack Obama.
Now that ACORN is no more (since early 2010), the massive disinformation campaign that Republicans have been suckered into believing seems to continue nonetheless. Just under a majority of self-identified GOP voters think the non-existent ACORN stole the election again this year for Obama! Those tricky non-existent bastards, apparently, somehow stuffed the ballot box 5.5 million times and never got caught even once!
49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn't exist anymore.
It should be noted, for any of those duped Republicans who may be reading this, that there is no evidence, none, zero, nada, that any vote has ever been stolen in any election either by ACORN or via one of the bad voter registrations submitted by one of its workers (bad registrations which were almost all discovered by ACORN themselves and turned in, along with the rogue worker who submitted them, to authorities.)
For those stooges who are still unconvinced, because they read something somewhere on the Internet about "voter fraud" in 2012, we dispatched with the most popular "massive voter fraud" myths of 2012 over the weekend right here.
Finally, as if all of that isn't pathetic enough, PPP has more sad news for a party which now seems intent on disappearing itself entirely...
Why isn't the FBI or the Justice Department investigating the "widespread voter fraud" that a number of Rightwingers are claiming enabled Barack Obama to win the 2012 election?
The simplest answer is that there is nothing to investigate --- at least no evidence to suggest as much at this time. Lacking such evidence, such fishing expeditions are a waste of taxpayer money, particularly when the evidence of "fraud" forwarded by Republicans to date is easily dispatched with little more than a Google search and a few clicks of the mouse.
All existing evidence suggests that President Obama soundly defeated Mitt Romney by an electoral vote margin of 332-206, and a popular vote margin of 50.9-47.4 percent. Yet, the myth that "widespread voter fraud" swung the election for Obama continues to persist on Rightwing web sites and blogs. These myths are usually divorced from the facts altogether or grounded in baseless speculation.
Let's take a look at four of the most popular myths currently being trumpeted by the Rightwingers...
There's a reason why most Republican wingnuts don't venture outside of the safe confines of Fox "News" or other venues where they won't have to face actual, reality-based information and questions from outside of their comfortable, fact-free bubble.
My conversation on air Thursday with RW "voter fraud" fraudster, commie-hunter, and fact-challenged Fox fave David Horowitz illustrated that point with crystal clarity once again. The result wasn't pretty. At least for him.
When asked for actual facts to back up his extraordinary claims about "Democratic voter fraud" --- specifically, that caretakers at his brother-in-law's residential care facility "committed fraud" by helping the brother-in-law, and purportedly sixty others at the home, to vote --- Horowitz had nothing.
He was, however, able to call me a "communist wanna be", a "liar" and an "extreme partisan" for having displayed the temerity to ask him for such facts. He was even able to pile on top of all of that by claiming (falsely) that I'd called him all sorts of names and even that I had accused him of committing fraud!
That's why these guys don't leave the Fox Fantasy World bubble.
As I say, it wasn't pretty. But the audio of yesterday's radio "interview", and the background on what happened, all follows below. I think you may enjoy it...
On my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today we covered quite a bit of ground.
From Republican admissions about the most obvious story in the world (that the Florida GOP was attempting to suppress the vote this year), to the debate over filibuster reform in the U.S. Senate, and whether it should be mended, ended, or none of the above, with David Swanson (his vote: end it!), to the latest Green News Report and a remarkable piece of audio tape from a (now former?) Bill O'Reilly fan who saw the new documentary Chasing Ice and is pissed that she's been so misled by O'Reilly and Fox "News" about climate change for so many years...
FL's former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist says the GOP's suggestion "that there's some massive fraud going on" by Florida voters is "laughable".
Rachel Maddow's entire intro and interview with Crist last night is very much worth watching, and so we'll post both at the bottom of this article. But one point in particular during the interview with the Republican-turned-independent needs to be highlighted here.
The contrast couldn't be more stark from his successor, the reprehensible current Governor Rick Scott, who spent much of this past election year rolling back Crist's improvement to the voting system, in an attempt to keep legal, Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their vote at all, as even other Republican officials in the state are now beginning to admit out loud.
In the following, powerful clip from Maddow's full interview last night, she asks Crist, as the former Republican Governor of Florida, about the ridiculously transparent claims by the GOP that restrictions on voter registration, the right to vote by former felons, and the shortening of early voting is "only about voter fraud" and "voting integrity."
"Is it clear to you that is just bunk?," she asks Crist who replies directly in turn: "It's crystal clear to me. You couldn't be more right, in my humble opinion. And, you know, we can say this about all these road bloacks that are put in the way of people exercising their right to vote, and we saw it in a dramatic fashion this last Election Day in Florida"...
Rachel Maddow's full intro to the interview with Charlie Christ, describing how and why he was purged by the party (likely had something to do with his progressive position on democracy!) and the full 11/27/12 interview with the former Republican FL Governor, both follow below...
As usual, we'll be BradCasting LIVE tonight from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open, at the bottom of this item, a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (tell them you're from "Minnesota" when asked). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.
* * *
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fun show tonight, but you be the judge! Commercial-free audio archives are all now posted below for your listening pleasure (as are the chat room archives). See ya tomorrow night, for our final night in for Malloy this week!...
For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.
While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results, and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and this past weekend's recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.
While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change. Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success. Therefore, we will not contest the certification or challenge the seating of Congressman-elect Murphy.
Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or for that matter, to any individual. It belongs to the people.
I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from the 18th Congressional District. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.
With West's concession, however, there are still a few points to keep in mind moving forward...
It was a crazy weekend --- and that may be an understatement --- in St. Lucie County, Florida, as the fight continued over the questionable, completely unverified-by-humans, and extremely close computer-reported election results between Rep. Allen West (R) and Patrick Murphy (D) in the U.S. House race for Florida's 18th Congressional District.
Two things, if nothing else however, have become clear. 1) The Florida Democrats supporting the unverified computer-tallied results, which reportedly offer a slim margin in Murphy's favor, have become virtually indistinguishable from the Republicans who supported George W. Bush over Al Gore in the state during the 2000 Presidential Election debacle, and for the same, unjustifiable and partisan reasons. 2) Allen West has terrible and incompetent election attorneys.
Here's a recap of all that has happened --- and there has been quite a bit --- over the weekend, since we last covered the race on Friday, just after a St. Lucie Circuit Court judge denied West's motion demanding a retabulation of all eight days of Early Voting ballots in the county and just before the county's Canvassing Board took up the same issue shortly thereafter in what became a seven hour meeting of the board to determine how to proceed.
(And all of that in the wake of a previous partial retally of three out of eight days worth of early votes had resulted in the unexplained disappearance of some 800 votes when the same paper ballots were run through the same machines a second time due to unexplained "issues" with the electronic tabulation systems the first time around. That initial re-tally had resulted in a net gain of some 500 votes by West.)
The insane weekend events included a two-day machine "retabulation" of all Early Voting ballots in St. Lucie (one of three counties, along with Martin and Palm Beach, that make up FL-18); the discovery of more than 300 previously-untallied early ballots in the same county; new computer-reported tallies resulting in pick-ups by both candidates, for an overall gain of nearly 300 votes by the current leader Murphy; and a County Supervisor of Elections who ended up spending the weekend in the hospital...
A Circuit Court Judge in St. Lucie County today denied Florida's Republican Rep. Allen West's motion to order a re-tally of all Early Voting ballots in the county, after a partial re-tally of Early Votes last Sunday resulted in the disappearance of some 800 votes in the FL-18 U.S. House race between West and Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
It the second denial for West, a "Tea Party" favorite, in a Florida court room, where he had previously filed a motion to impound paper ballots and voting systems before all ballots had even yet been run through them.
"In denying West's motion," the paper said, "Vaughn noted the [St. Lucie County] canvassing board is considering the issue at a meeting this afternoon. The judge also said that West has other legal remedies - specifically mentioning a statute that allows a candidate to contest an election within 10 days of the final certification of results. That certification is scheduled for Tuesday."
Murphy's attorney argued in response that there was "no basis for a full recount of early votes and if the canvassing board orders a full recount of them, the Murphy campaign will go to court to try to block it."
"If the canvassing board were to decide that they want to do that without any evidentiary basis to do so, we'll be back before your honor with a motion for injunctive relief against them doing it because under the law the statute that we cited for your honor they have absolutely no right to do it," the Post quotes Murphy attorney Gerald Richman as arguing in court today.
No "evidentiary basis"? Really? A partial selection of ballots --- just the last three days of eight days of Early Voting --- are re-tallied by the same machines that tallied them originally, but give a completely different result the second time they are tallied and that isn't "evidentiary basis" for re-tallying all of the votes? If that isn't a basis for a full public hand-count of all ballots, I'm not sure what is. Unfortunately, without a court order, thanks to the state's Republican legislature following the 2000 Presidential Election debacle in that state, it's illegal to hand-count paper ballots once they've been tallied by an electronic machine.
[Update: See bottom of story for update on what happened at the canvassing board on Friday, and much more!]
I was on Thom Hartmann's TV show, The Big Picture, last night to discuss the FL-18 U.S. House mess where West currently trails Murphy by a very slim margin, according to oft-failed, easily-manipulated, paper ballot optical-scan computers made by three different private companies in the three different counties that make up Florida's newly redistricted 18th Congressional District.
As we've covered in detail here at The BRAD BLOG, a margin of some 2,400 votes out of some 330,000 votes tallied as of last Friday was dwindled down to just under 2,000 votes as of last Sunday when St. Lucie County --- one of the three, along with Martin and Palm Beach Counties, that make up FL-18 --- carried out a partial re-tally of Early Voting ballots due, they say, to an unexplained "issue" on the Diebold optical-scan systems used to tally those ballots in the county.
Nonetheless, at this time, West is still some 250 votes shy of a mandated state "recount" which is triggered when the margin is .5% or less. Currently, the margin is just eight one-hundredths of a percentage point shy of that mark, at .58%, with West having filed his court for an expanded re-tally of all Early Voting ballots in St. Lucie earlier this week. While his court motion had called for a full re-tally of all Early Votes in St. Lucie, the motion failed to request a re-tally of either Election Day votes, absentee ballots or any of the ballots in FL-18's other two counties, for unexplained reasons (the West campaign has not replied to our queries on that) as we also discussed on Hartmann's show...
West did file an amended complaint this morning before the hearing, seeking a re-tally of absentee ballots in St. Lucie as well, after the campaign claimed they had found "significant problems" with the records for some of those votes, charging that the number of absentee ballots in some precincts exceeds the number of voters listed as casting absentee ballots there...
A court hearing has been set for Friday in St. Lucie County, Florida, to hear arguments by Republican Rep. Allen West, who is now seeking a recount of all Early Voting ballots cast in the county.
Over the weekend, some 800 votes simply appear to have vanished from the tally in Florida's 18th District razor-thin U.S. House race between West and his Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy (D), after an unexplained partial re-tally of ballots cast during the last three days of Florida's eight days of Early Voting in the county, one of three that make up the new FL-18.
With very good reason, West is demanding that all Early Voting ballots be re-tallied in St. Lucie, on the heels of the unexplained "issues" with memory cards in the Diebold electronic optical-scan tabulators that county officials cited vaguely as the reason for Sunday's partial re-tally.
Where the extreme and extremely controversial West and his supporters have claimed the election is being "stolen" on behalf of Murphy --- a claim for which we are aware of no actual evidence --- The BRAD BLOG has now twice reported in great detail (first here and then here) on the oft-failed, easily-manipulated electronic systems, made by three different companies, in each of the three different counties (St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach) that now constitute FL-18.
Why West has failed to demand a full hand-count of all ballots, in all three counties, as opposed to just the Early Voting ballots in St. Lucie, is a question that West's campaign has yet to resolve for us. Our queries to the campaign, to date, have gone unanswered.
Whether a hand-count, versus another machine count by the same faulty machines, is even allowable in Florida, remains to be seen, since the state's Republican-majority legislature, following the 2000 Presidential Election debacle in the state, insanely mandated that paper ballots, once tallied by a computer, could not be examined by hand.
A mandatory "recount" (a re-tally by the same machines) is required in Florida when the margin between the two top candidates is 0.5% or less. The margin in FL-18 is now just 249 votes shy of that threshold.
Given that 800 votes seem to have simply disappeared without explanation --- Murphy lost 667 and West lost 132 votes during Sunday's partial re-tally, decreasing Murphy's lead over West by 535 votes in a race where just 1,907 votes (out of some 330,000 votes cast), or 0.58%, now separate the two --- and given that the different tally occurred while re-scanning the very same ballots on the very same machines, it's almost beyond comprehension that both parties, at this point, aren't calling for a full, public hand-count of all paper ballots in all three counties in hopes of determining who really won and who really lost the race.
At this point, who knows if the machines were right the first time they tallied the same ballots, or the second time they tallied the same ballots, or, for that matter, either of the times they tallied the same ballots? Anybody else without a partisan dog in this hunt, other than us, beginning to see the problem here?...