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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 19, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2013 1:22pm PT  

"Maybe"? Ya think?! From Chicago Tribune, on their recent interview with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor about 2000's infamous Bush v. Gore case...

Looking back, O'Connor said, she isn't sure the high court should have taken the case.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"

The case, she said, "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation."

"Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision," she said. "It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."

"Probably"?! Ya think?! The paper goes on to explain that O'Connor's "vote in the 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision effectively gave Republican George W. Bush a victory over his Democratic opponent, then-Vice President Al Gore." That, after the U.S. Supreme Court had stopped the public hand-counting of the votes cast by the people of Florida.

Had O'Connor and friends not stopped the state-wide hand count, they would have found, as a consortium of media and academics did afterwards, that Gore defeated Bush by every conceivable counting standard in the state of Florida.

Contrast O'Connor's thoughtful, if ridiculously-too-late response to the question of the controversial Bush v. Gore, with that of the still-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was seen over the weekend yucking it up with Bill O'Reilly of Fox "News" at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. When asked, in 2007, about the case which allowed five Supreme Court justices to install a U.S. President over the will of the people, he responded that it was "water over the deck", and Americans just need to "get over it."

Four years after Bush v. Gore, in 2004, Democrats vowed not to let that happen again, of course. Their Presidential nominee that time, then Senator John Kerry, promised he would not concede until every vote was counted. Despite massive reports of fraud, particularly in Ohio, and Exit Polls finding he had won in swingstate-after-swingstate, countering the still-unverified electronic results reporting that he had lost in many of those same states, Kerry flip-flopped and conceded the day after the election.

Remarkably, now that an unverified and unverifiable election in Venezuela has recently resulted in the U.S. Government's favored candidate being announced the loser, Kerry, now serving as Sec. of State, is calling for a full hand-count of "paper receipts" in that country because he claims to be concerned about the "confidence of the Venezuelan people in the quality of the vote," as our own Ernie Canning detailed earlier today. Yes, that's what Kerry really said.

Do you suppose he, like O'Connor, may someday realize that "maybe" he made a mistake too?

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/29/2013 6:35am PT  

Over the past decade, The BRAD BLOG, has become one of the nation's largest repositories of articles documenting the folly of e-voting. Thousands of articles at this site, written over the years by multiple journalists, computer experts, scientists, whistle-blowers and election integrity advocates, have pointed to academic and government studies, electoral train wrecks in election-after-election and out-and-out system crashes resulting in long lines, lost votes and denial of both service and democracy on Election Day.

We've even documented instances in which the official results were not merely absurd, but in some cases, virtually impossible --- from the negative 16,022 votes registered for Al Gore by a Volusia County, Florida optical-scan system during the contested 2000 Presidential Election to the thousands of electronic votes which simply disappeared after election night in Monroe County, Arkansas' 2010 state primary, just to mention a couple.

With rare exception, these very real, scientifically-based and independently verifiable concerns about the threat to democracy posed by a lack of transparency in how, if at all, votes are counted within the confines of computer vote tabulators, have, at best, been all but ignored by the mainstream corporate media, or, worse, scoffed at by the likes of "journalists" like Chuck Todd, NBC News' supposed election expert, as little more than "conspiracy garbage." With rare exception (e.g. last year in Palm Beach County, FL where, as a result of a 100% hand-count of paper ballots, several "losing" candidates, as initially determined by the Sequoia optical-scan tabulators, were actually found to be the winners) election-after-election has been decided in this nation without so much as a single ballot having been counted by a human being before results, right or wrong, are announced to the public.

The extent to which the U.S. government has ignored these scientific concerns was encapsulated by the fact that, last Fall, the President of the United States saw fit to cast his early vote on the oft-failed, incredibly-vulnerable, easily-hacked and 100% unverifiable Sequoia AVC Edge Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting system in Chicago --- a system manufactured by the same voting machine company which, according to its former employees, deliberately sabotaged the punch card paper stock that was bound for use in Miami-Dade, Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election. That same tabulation system, relied upon by the President in Chicago, was also the one which declared the wrong "winners" in three different races in the Palm Beach County elections held earlier last year.

President Obama, in an apparent reference to the secrecy of the vote, said "I can't tell you who I voted for." He either didn't realize or didn't care how ironic that statement was given that it is scientifically impossible to ever know if his vote, or anyone else who cast a vote on that same 100% unverifiable e-voting system, was recorded accurately, or at all. It disappeared into the electronic black hole on equipment now ostensibly owned by Dominion Voting Systems, the Canadian corporation which purchased Sequoia in 2010. The Sequoia-manufactured, Dominion-owned e-voting machine Obama used to cast his vote last year was the trade secret Intellectual Property of yet another company: Smartmatic Voting Systems, a Venezuela-based, international e-voting systems manufacturer and supplier which had long ago been tied to the late President Hugo Chávez.

But a funny thing happened after the results of Venezuela's recent Presidential election were announced by the country's National Electoral Council (CNE). According to the electronic central tabulators of the country's 100% unverifiable Smartmatic DRE e-voting systems, Chávez protégé, Nicolas Maduro, had narrowly defeated the U.S.-backed Henrique Capriles.

At that moment --- and only for Venezuela's election, clearly --- both the U.S. government and U.S. mainstream corporate media suddenly became election integrity converts.

They insist on a 100% hand-count of the DRE-produced paper receipts because, as observed by ABC News, the CNE results are based upon "information that is sent electronically from each voting machine to the central vote counting hub," and not "from a manual count of the voting receipts deposited in ballot boxes." That, of course, is almost the exact same way that President Obama's vote in Chicago was tallied, either accurately or not, last year.

When asked by the AP's Matthew Lee whether the U.S. would recognize the Maduro government now that the election had been certified by the CNE, the State Department's Patrick Ventrell said earlier this month: "We're not there yet." His sentiment would be echoed by Secretary of State John Kerry, ironically enough, in an appearance before Congress. Both Ventrell and Kerry claimed to be concerned about the "confidence of the Venezuelan people in the quality of the vote."

Setting aside the fact that there is no way to know whether any computer-printed paper receipt accurately reflects the will of any voter in any election, the event underscores, once again, the striking duplicity of both the U.S. government and the corporate-owned mainstream media on the subject of democracy...

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

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Pay Attention: Nation's largest voting jurisdiction plans to design system for L.A., sell it to other counties in state, country...
[UPDATED w/ additional response from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission]
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2013 7:05am PT  

The good news: When the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation gets its new voting system, perhaps as early as 2015, it will not including Internet Voting, according to Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk of Los Angeles. The bad news: It will very likely include touch-screen computers and, with them, 100% unverifiable voting.

I interviewed Logan last week on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show [full audio interview is at the bottom of this article], and we had a very informative discussion about what voters in Los Angeles may have to look forward to in the coming years, as well as many of you in the rest of the country, since the new system is being designed with an eye towards selling it to other counties in California as well as in the rest of the country.

So this is not just a local L.A. story. It's likely to affect the way that votes are cast and tallied in much of the nation. It's well worth paying attention to, even if, unlike me, you don't live here.

Los Angeles County alone "has more voters than 42 of the 50 states," according to Logan's office. It features nearly 5,000 precincts. Well over 3 million votes were cast in this one county alone during the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election. When Logan took over the job of Registrar after our previous one resigned, suddenly, just months before the 2008 President Election, he had a monster of a job to take over. It's still a monster. And it may soon get even more gargantuan as he attempts to re-work, re-design and, indeed, re-think how voters vote here, and as we move from our current publicly-owned voting system to our next publicly-owned voting system. (L.A. is one of the very few jurisdictions in the nation which owns, maintains and designs its own system. Most similar systems in the rest of the state and nation are proprietary, owned by the private companies which make them, and don't allow even the election officials in those jurisdictions access to their "trade-secret" software and source code.)

While, happily, Logan offered me some assurance that we won't be casting votes over the Internet with his new system --- an assurance that should bring some measure of relief to both Election Integrity advocates as well as the consensus of computer science and security experts who are also experts in voting systems --- there is still much cause for concern, as this still-unknown voting system begins to take shape...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2013 5:05am PT  

On Wednesday's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I interviewed Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. He's fresh off his win in federal court where a U.S. Magistrate Judge found earlier this week that the Obama Administration violated federal law by not taking the effects of fracking into account in its environmental assessment before leasing areas of the Monterey Shale Formation in California to oil companies.

We discussed the case and its first-of-its-kind ruling, the impact it may (hopefully) have on similar fracking land leases elsewhere in the state and nation, and what the hell supposedly "liberal" Democrats like Barack Obama and CA Gov. Jerry Brown must be thinking.

I also covered this week's election fraud felony guilty pleas by a staffer for Newt Gingrich's 2012 Presidential campaign, the pending felony charges against a co-defendant and additional arrests that prosecutors say may be coming soon. All a part of Gingrich's failed attempt to qualify for the 2012 GOP Presidential primary in Virginia, and his unbelievable hypocrisy in downplaying fraud in his own campaign that was far worse than anything ACORN ever did (or, actually, didn't do.)

Finally, we had an extended Green News Report segment with Desi Doyen, to discuss, among other things, Rep. Joe Barton's amazing comments today, and the new attempt by Fox "News" to raise George Orwell from the grave by describing environmentalists as "climate deniers"...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

P.S. The BradCast now also airs Saturday at 3pm ET and Sunday at 4pm ET on The Progressive Voices Channel on TuneIn! (And download the great TuneIn app on your smart device if you haven't already!)

P.P.S. Still looking for someone to help with an official logo for The BradCast. We need one! Good with logos? Drop me an email with ideas! See this and this for potential inspiration!

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Co-defendant facing 42 counts; 'Additional arrests' may be coming...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2013 5:15pm PT  

In January of 2012, just as the GOP Primary election cycle for President was getting under way, The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively that the office of the Virginia Attorney General had opened a criminal election fraud investigation into the failed effort by the campaign of Newt Gingrich to appear on the primary ballot in the Commonwealth.

Now, a woman hired by the campaign has "pleaded guilty to felony counts of fraud and perjury," according to a report just out tonight from Charlottesville's NBC affiliate WVIR.

31-year old Jennifer Derrebery reportedly worked for Gingrich's election contractor Stillwater LLC and, according to prosecutors, turned in campaign petitions with some 400 signatures in the failed attempt to collect the 10,000 needed for Gingrich's name to appear on the primary ballot last year. According to WVIR, nearly all of the signatures submitted by Derrebery were fake.

Prosecutors say she turned over stacks of signed and notarized forms to the Virginia Board of Elections containing roughly 400 signatures - nearly all of them fraudulent.

"We don't know what was going on, and we are pursuing charges for the people who did something wrong here in Augusta, on Mr. Gingrich's primary election," said Rupen Shah, assistant commonwealth's attorney.

Shah says there were similar problems in other parts of Virginia, where GOP candidates needed 10,000 valid petitioners to get on the ballot. Gingrich submitted more than that, but a quarter of the names could not be verified.

The report also notes that the "investigation is still active, and may result in additional arrests" and that Derrebery is cooperating with prosecutors and state police. WVIR says the "judge suspended all of her prison time". That is likely in exchange for her cooperation on the case. Her co-defendant, Adam Dustin Ward, faces a total of 42 criminal counts and will face a judge in June.

In late December of 2011, after Gingrich had failed to turn in enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, he was caught on video tape telling a supporter in Iowa that the reason for the failure was due to a campaign worker who created 1,500 fraudulent signatures.

"We turned in 11,100 --- we needed 10,000 --- 1,500 of them were by one guy who, frankly, committed fraud," Gingrich is seen and heard saying in video originally aired by CNN.

Clearly, the effort was by more than just "one guy," as Gingrich asserted at the time.

The former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives downplayed the incident, by explaining to the woman that the entire affair was "just a mistake," after they had "hired somebody who turned in false signatures."

In late January, an official at the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) described to described to The BRAD BLOG what had happened as "definitely an illegal act." He told us that the matter had been referred by the SBE to the office of VA's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R). The Director of Communications for the office, Brian J. Gottstein, then confirmed to us that an investigation was "underway," though he could not disclose the details at that time...

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

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By Bev Harris on 4/5/2013 2:50pm PT  

What happens if we start with known public corruption cases and work backwards to the intersection with elections?

What you will find is kickbacks and bid-rigging schemes; at least two of these, in New Orleans and in Pennsylvania, connect back to Ciber, the Independent Testing Authority (ITA) that supposedly tested and then signed off on most of the U.S. voting machines currently in use in all fifty states, on behalf of the federal government.

You will learn of a now-admittedly corrupt government technology official who benefited from rigged bids, (courtesy of Ciber) who had placed, as one of his first priorities, setting up his very own Internet Voting system.

And when you look into money-laundering, the mechanism providing the juice for corruption, you'll find out about a strikingly odious situation: a New York City Democrat who bribed New York City Republicans to help him run for Mayor (as a Republican). The case has recently made news as at least 5 high-ranking elected and party officials were rounded up this week as part of a sweeping FBI sting in the Empire State.

"Trust" will never suffice when it comes to conducting elections. There can never be a place where counting votes in secret, or governmental snooping on how we voted, or hidden money behind campaigns, or hiding records on elections, can be accepted by the public, yet that is happening right now. In all fifty states.

Vendors who do business with the government do participate in bid-rigging and kickback schemes, and both politicians and government employees sometimes deprive the public of honest services, as we find in the New Orleans case involving Ciber, the company which signed off on almost every electronic voting system in use across the country today.

Political corruption spreads like cancer. It creates a neural system of one politician beholden to another. The public always needs to retain its right to know, to examine documents, and to see what's going on. Otherwise, who's gonna notice? Who's gonna tell?

I write about it all in great, and sordid, detail today at BlackBoxVoting.org, where, as I note, the moral of the story is this...

Before we go skipping down the road trusting any politician to know what's best for us regarding our own right to see and authenticate elections...

Before we agree to some pie-in-the-sky idea that secret vote counting processes are safe because some company tested them...

Before we accept the idea that some legislators can pass a law telling us we have to cede over our right to know...

We need to understand that when it comes to elections, trust is childlike. It's wishful thinking. It's immature.

It's not how the world works, and we owe it to our children to remember that.

See Black Box Voting for the full story...

* * *

Bev Harris is the founder of BlackBoxVoting.org, a non-partisan elections watchdog organization. Her work and investigations at BBV have been featured by dozens of national media outlets, and she is featured prominently in HBO's 2006 Emmy-nominated documentary Hacking Democracy. Follow her on Twitter: @BlackBoxVoting

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Did conflicts of interest by Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Prosecutor Marsha Garst play a role in dismissal?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2013 6:05am PT  

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

Given the professed concerns about election fraud among Virginia Republicans, it seems somewhat astonishing that the man at the center of the Commonwealth's most notorious fraud scandal last year seems to be getting off the hook after initially being charged with 13 criminal counts including eight felony charges.

Colin Small, a Republican Party Voter Registration Supervisor who secretly tossed filled-out voter registration forms into a dumpster last year, had all of his felony charges dropped by the local Republican Commonwealth Attorney prosecuting the case yesterday.

Small was arrested and charged with 13 counts --- including destruction and disclosure of voter registrations, as well as obstruction of justice --- in Harrisonburg, VA in the run-up to the Presidential election last year, after he was seen by a local shopkeeper throwing away a bag of registration forms behind his store. Small's felony charges were all dropped on Tuesday, according to local Fox-affiliate WHSV.

The case had garnered a great deal of national attention last fall --- almost everywhere but on Fox "News" --- as it emerged at the pinnacle of an embarrassing nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal which plagued the Republican Party in the weeks just prior to the November general election.

The prosecutor on the Small case is Republican Marsha Garst. Unlike other Commonwealth Attorneys, observed a local Democratic-leaning political muckraker yesterday, Garst failed to recuse herself from the prosecution despite what would appear to be very clear conflicts of interests in the case.

The newly dropped charges appear in stark contrast to Garst's declarations last year, when told the Washington Post on the Friday before the Tuesday Presidential election that the matter was "a very important investigation to the state, and we intend to prosecute Mr. Small to the fullest extent"...

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

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And the 'truthiness' contained in new state auditor's report on those flawed systems won't help...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2013 6:35am PT  

[UPDATED at bottom of article following GOP primary run-off.]

When Stephen Colbert's older sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), faces her likely opponent, former Gov. Mark Sanford (R), in the May 7th U.S. House special election in South Carolina, it will all take place, once again, on the state's oft-failed, easily-hacked, always 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. [NOTE: Unfortunately, despite today's date, this post is not an April Fools joke.]

The candidate announced as the "winner" of that election, based on those unverifiable voting systems, will either be the one who received the most votes from SC voters in the 1st Congressional District --- or the one who didn't. There will never be any way for anybody to know for sure one way or the other.

For that matter, after Sanford faces off with Curtis Bostic in Tuesday's Republican primary run-off election for the nomination, neither candidate will be able to know for certain whether they've actually won or lost that election either. This is South Carolina "democracy" in 2013 (and in at least one third of the country elsewhere.)

To make matters still worse, the state's Legislative Audit Council (LAC) has just released a new official report on those failed voting systems. Unfortunately, the report includes a enormous flaw which, when I pointed it out to Perry K. Simpson, Director of the LAC on Friday, his response was: "I see your point"...

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

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PLUS: A new clue emerges...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2013 5:14pm PT  

One month ago, The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei unleashed an excellent investigative report on an attempted series of online cyberhacks of absentee ballot requests prior to last August's primary election in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Mazzei's article describes the mysterious attempt by someone to request more than 2,500 absentee ballots for elections in three different Miami-Dade districts using anonymous proxy Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from foreign countries to hide the real identity of the requester. A grand jury looked into the matter [PDF] of the "phantom" requests, but was hamstrung by the fact that they were not told --- the article says it was due to administrative confusion --- that the initial IP addresses used to make the absentee ballot requests were actually not from overseas, but local to Miami-Dade. Had prosecutors had that information, they might have been able to zero in on the culprits, rather than close the investigation late last year without identifying a suspect.

The case has now reportedly been reopened, but the length of time since the initial event may have allowed the trail run cold. Hopefully we will find out soon.

Last week, the story suddenly received a lot of fresh attention after it was picked up by NBC News' Gil Aegerter who describes what happened as the "first known case" of such a cyberattack on a U.S. election.

Setting aside, for now, the point as to whether this is the first such attack --- I've reported quite a bit of evidence of several others over the years (the NBC report links to a number of stories I've broken on these matters, including one of my stories at ComputerWorld in 2007 describing a malicious virus that struck Sarasota's contested 2006 Special Election for the U.S. House where some 18,000 votes ultimately disappeared from the touch-screen voting machines) --- there are a few key points and lessons from this story which I'd like to underscore, despite the fact that the mainstream corporate coverage has been pretty decent here for a change.

Additionally, one of several key remaining mysteries in the story --- a story that I've been trying to make sense over the past several weeks, since learning of it --- may now have an answer, or at least a new and troubling clue...

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

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Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters charges $2,000/hour --- $20 per ballot --- in recent mayoral election 'recount'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2013 7:35am PT  

Early last month, The BRAD BLOG offered an exclusive special report on how a single Registrar of Voters in Fresno County, CA effectively stopped a citizen-organized attempt to confirm the results of last November's Prop 37 initiative dead in its tracks. She was able to stop an attempted post-election hand count of the paper ballots in her county by charging the proponents of the count an outrageous and seemingly arbitrary high price to carry out the count.

Now, a very similar story is being reported in regard to an attempt to confirm the results of a mayoral race in another California county where the "losing" candidate is said to have lost by just 53 votes. In that case, rather than an outrageous $4,000 per day to count the paper ballots again, as was the case for Prop 37 in Fresno, the candidate has been charged $2,000 per hour for her attempt to verify that the results of her contest were accurately reported by the computer system.

The much-watched Prop 37 initiative last November, had it passed, would have required Genetically Modified foods to be labeled as such. The measure was opposed by corporations such as Monsanto, DuPont and Hershey with a $44 million propaganda blitz against the landmark initiative in progressive California.

The proposition's loss surprised supporters of the measure, some of whom joined in a post-election effort to hand-count the paper ballots from the contest in a number of counties to ensure the secretly-tallied computer results were accurate. After hand-counting ballots in Orange and Sierra Counties, where no unusual irregularities were discovered, the effort was stymied in Fresno County by outrageously high and seemingly illegal pricing set for the "recount" by the county's recently-appointed Registrar Brandi Orth.

As we detailed, while the County Clerk in Orange had charged the proponents a reasonable $600/day for hand-counting ballots, and the Registrar in Sierra had charged just $500/day, Fresno's Orth had attempted to charge some $4,000/day. And that was in addition to a "start up" fee of $14,000 that proponents and Election Integrity advocates were also told they'd need to cough up in cash before a single ballot could be hand-counted there.

The seemingly arbitrary pricing for confirming the results in Fresno ended up putting the kibosh on the attempted statewide count. As we described in the report, the case echoed a similar attempt by Election Integrity advocates to hand-count paper ballots in a contested Special Election for the U.S. House in San Diego County in 2006. There, the county Registrar had attempted to charge approximately $1.00 per ballot (with some 150,000 cast) to confirm the results. That was in contrast to the .14 per ballot charged by neighboring Orange County for a separate hand-count not long before.

The extraordinary $2,000/hour costs being charged in Stanislaus County, however, put all of that to shame. And it underscores, once again, how the lack of standards for "recount" pricing make laughable the notion that computer-tallied paper ballots are just fine because "they can always be counted later if there are any questions about results later on."

As we learn once again in California, where the "recount" laws are actually amongst the most liberal in the country, the ability for citizens to confirm the results of secretly-tallied computer-results after they are certified is no easy feat. It's often impossible. Making the matter more outrageous, a single county clerk can effectively block the entire process...

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'Are Gerrymandering, roll purges, I.D. laws, registration hurdles, disinformation, early voting cutbacks, unequal resources and caging lists really getting the job done?'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2013 12:39pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2013 12:23pm PT  

What kind of a pathetic, backwards, third-world country would allow this sort of thing to happen?

Just in from BBC [emphasis added]...

Kenya's electoral commission has said that a computer bug is to blame for a large number of rejected votes in the tallying of the presidential election.

Issack Hassan said the computer was multiplying each rejected vote by a factor of eight.

This led to huge disputes and allegations of fraud.

Vote-tallying has been restarted by hand following this and other glitches but Uhuru Kenyatta still has a large lead over Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
...
"For any rejected vote for any candidate, they were being multiplied by eight," said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman.

The number of rejected votes has fallen dramatically from more than 330,000 - 6% - during an initial count, to 58,644.

Ah, yes. An imperfect version of "Democracy's Gold Standard" (publicly hand-counted paper ballots at the precinct --- so, perhaps we'll call what they'll now be using in Kenya the "Silver Standard") to save the day again.

How long before folks realize that's the way that every self-respecting, self-governing democracy ought to be counting ballots in their elections in the first place?

[Hat-tip Bob Patterson.]

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Optical-scan computer woes, runoff date leave Mayor Bloomberg, others, pining for city's old reliable mechanical voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2013 4:16pm PT  

We have yet another potential mess concerning elections in New York City on the new optical-scan computer tabulation systems which recently replaced the mechanical lever machines used by the city for decades.

This time, the problem relates to the upcoming citywide elections in September which, if no candidate wins more than 40% in any of the primary races, a runoff will be required by state law, just two weeks later.

This is now a huge problem for the city, since there is concern that it could be all but impossible to re-prepare and fully re-test the computer optical-scan systems in the short time after the primary and before the runoff elections. It has left some, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as the NYC Board of Elections, seemingly regretting the move away from lever machines and considering bringing them out of mothballs for this year's runoffs.

"The computers just can't be programmed and readied in time for a runoff," ABC7's Dave Evans notes in his video report on Monday (posted below). "The old machines can be."

Further adding to the problems, says State Board of Elections Commissioner Doug Kellner "If there is a very close primary election, it may not be possible to determine the candidates in the runoff election in the time frame available."

Since New York state was the last in the nation to "upgrade" their voting systems from the old lever systems to new proprietary computer optical-scan systems over the last several years, the move has caused nothing but headaches in New York City and across the state...

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

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Another reminder of the dangers of Vote-by-Mail...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2013 2:35pm PT  

We've long argued that Vote-by-Mail elections are a terrible idea for democracy. You can see our quick list of our reasons right here. Nonetheless, in states like Oregon, which use Vote-by-Mail elections across the entire state, the citizens who don't appreciate the dangers of them, love them.

But once again last week, we were reminded of just one of the reasons they shouldn't love them, when a Bend, OR man was convicted of fraud after taking out a Craigslist ad claiming to offer $20 for blank ballots last November. With all registered voters in the state sent such a ballot, there is a lot of money to potentially be made from these types of crimes.

"All you need to do is bring your UNFILLED clean voting ballot and let us fill it out then you sign, then we hand it to the volunteer in the voting booth," the typo-filled ad promised. "Its that simple! Then you get $20. We'll be there all weekend through tuesday."

The perp, Aaron Hirschman, was convicted of a misdemeanor after offering a "full confession", according to the OR Attorney General's spokesperson, Jeff Manning who said that Hirschman "stated in his interview and at trial that he is an Internet 'troll' and that he posted the ad to 'agitate' and cause a stir."

The incident follows on another exploit of VBM ballots last November, when Deanna Swenson, an election official in Clackamas County, was indicted on 6 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts after being found to have allegedly filled in unvoted races in favor of Republican candidates while processing incoming mailed ballots.

Both Hirschman and Swenson got caught. That's good. The bigger question is how many don't get caught in such cases where the incentive for that kind of fraud --- the ability to change a lot of ballots to affect the results of an election, either by insider fraud or vote buying and selling --- is so high.

But, again, those cases highlight just two of the many reasons why VBM remains a terrible idea for democracy in any state.

Republicans like to pretend that there is a massive epidemic of "voter fraud" being carried out at polling places, despite the complete absence of evidence to demonstrate any such epidemic. They do so in order to push for polling place Photo ID restrictions in hopes of disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. Period.

On the other hand, election fraud does exist and "voter fraud" does occur. But, in almost all cases where it's found, it's via some form of mail-in voting, or at the hands of election insiders. Neither of those crimes are deterred by the polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans continue to push for in state after state in hopes of disenfranchising legal voters for electoral gain.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter David Werth.]

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By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2013 9:56pm PT  

On today's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast we covered the State of the Union Address last night, with extended focus on the President's call for election form and his new "Presidential Commission on Election Administration" [PDF], to be questionably co-chaired by Swift Boat GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg. As we noted yesterday, color us dubious about all of that.

My guest in the first half-hour was Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and we also discussed their recent report on "Our Broken Voting Systems And How to Repair It", as well as the upcoming February 27th U.S. Supreme Court hearing in Shelby County v. Holder, challenging the Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act's Section 5 protection of jurisdictions with a history of discrimination at the voting booth.

Suffice to say, she was more optimistic about all of the above than I was.

In most of the second half of the show, we focused on the many environmental issues raised in Obama's State of the Union with the Green News Report's Desi Doyen. I'm not sure who was more (or less) optimistic in that half of the show.

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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