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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2008 12:22pm PT  


(Hat-tip Mike Finnigan of C&L)

ADDENDUM...
By way of happy coincidence, we had mocked up the above item on Friday night for prep to run later, and then showed up to speak Saturday morning at the independent media conference here in Santa Cruz where a guy who looked very similar to the video above was making a few announcements from the podium. Turns out it was the same guy, Bryan Sacks of Philadelphia, and he was one of the organizers of the conference. Small world. Got to chat with him for a while later in the day, and happily so. He's a good guy. Plus, he thoroughly apologizes for not giving The BRAD BLOG its proper hat-tip in the above video, claiming that he did in the original script, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. We shall endeavor to forgive him and look forward to him otherwise keeping up the good work!

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SoS Refuses to Given Reason for Failing to Secure Ballots in Vault; Counting Room With Ballots Sealed Only by Removable 'Post-It Note' as 'Security Seal'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2008 12:12pm PT  

Blogged by Brad, from on the road...

Behold the "chain of custody" for the ballots in New Hampshire's ongoing Election Contest hand counts. The man seen in the still frame below, on the right, is NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner...


The above video clips were recorded and compiled by election watchdogs Bev Harris (of BlackBoxVoting.org) and Susan Pynchon (of Florida Fair Elections Coalition), both of whom were on the ground in Concord during the initial stages of the requested Democratic and Republican hand counts following the Primary Election in the Granite State. Harris offers more commentary on the video above right here.

Previously, Harris posted a stunning photo essay detailing the embarrassingly poor condition of the ballot boxes themselves --- unsealed, open for anyone to reach their hand in --- as they were picked up from towns around the state and delivered to the counting area at Concord's State Archives building.

The counting continues today for Republican Albert Howard, though New Hampshire SoS Bill Gardner, seen in the above video, has requested a halt in the counting for two days next week. That, after apparently misrepresenting Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich's serious concerns about "significant variances" discovered during counting of just one New Hampshire county so far. Disparities have been discovered as high as 10% for some candidates in some precincts.

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UPDATE: SoS Backs Down, Count Will Procede As Scheduled, According to Reports...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2008 11:28am PT  

By Brad Friedman, from on the road (again)...

A representative of Republican Albert Howard's New Hampshire hand count called this morning to say that, without giving any specific details, the NH SoS office informed them today that "We're gonna have to stop the recount for a couple of days" next week. No reason, other than "legislative business" was given.

A few minutes ago, Howard, who had patiently waited for nearly two weeks while NH SoS Bill Gardner began the counting for the Democratic request, claiming they couldn't count the two different primaries at one time (though it seems they couldn't even count one primary at the same time!), sent us the following note, objecting to the delay in counting. The letter was hand delivered to Gardner moments ago...

January 25, 2008

HAND DELIVERED
Secretary of State
State of New Hampshire
Dept. of State
107 N. Main St. Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301

Re: RECESS

Dear Mr. Gardner:

This letter is being prepared for delivery to you following today’s lunch break.

Earlier today, Assistant Secretary of State David Scanlan asked me for my consent to a recess in the recount, the recess to span Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

This is to inform you that I strenuously object to any suspension of the recount process.

I can think of no more important business for the State than the completion of the recount process.

The nation is in the early stages of the 2008 Presidential electoral process. The performance of the machines used in New Hampshire is of vital importance. The sooner the results are known and available to the People and to other units of government charged with conducting Primaries and General Elections, the better for the nation.

In addition, with the sudden start of the recount process, I and the observers have made costly arrangements for transportation, housing and personal time away from their places of employment that cannot be changed without personal harm.

Before any decision is made to suspend the recount over my objection I am respectfully requesting that you cite your legal authority to suspend the recount over my objections and under the current facts and circumstances; it was bad enough that the recount was not started on the date explicitly required by New Hampshire law.

Very truly yours,

Albert B. Howard

Howard had requested the hand count after noting that results reported by C-SPAN on Election Night allegedly showed him as having many more votes than were finally reported in the official results after the polls closed. He gave a check for $57,600, raised by supporters, to the SoS on January 16th. His hand count finally began yesterday, after Kucinich's stopped when the funds submitted so far had apparently been spent.

Yesterday, we pointed to Gardner's apparent lie to the media, claiming that Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich was "satisfied at the integrity of the recount" despite a letter from Kucinich to Gardner the day before (posted exclusively by The BRAD BLOG here), clearly revealing Kucinich to be anything but "satisfied," and, in fact, having requested "a complete and accurate recount of all ballots" to be carried out at state expense, given the "significant variances" discovered so far during the counting of just one NH county.

We had left a message with the SoS office seeking comment and/or clarification for Gardner's statement to the media. He has yet to return our call.

UPDATE 1/26/08, 1:35am PT: We've been on the road, and in a media conference all day, so haven't been able to follow up ourselves, but an emailer writes to tell us, "the NH SOS told Albert Howard that there would be NO recess in the counting of ballots next week".

Bev Harris reports in comments (along with additional thoughts on the dynamics of SoS Gardner and Dept. SoS David Scanlan) that she has received a similar report from someone else on the ground in NH, that the count will proceed without hold up. Though the reasons for the initially attempted halt remain a mystery for now.

What's clear is that standing up, and pushing back loudly and publicly by Howard has made a difference. If Democrats did the same, we'd probably not be in this fine mess in the first place...

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Bill Gardner Says 'Kucinich Satisfied With Recount' When Letter from Congressman to SoS Says Otherwise...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2008 1:11pm PT  

On Monday, New Hampshire's Union Leader editorialized as follows...

Whatever the recount's results, [NH Sec. of State Bill] Gardner has opened the process to observers so there can be no question about the integrity of the count. Doubters on both sides should let this settle the issue. If they question Gardner's integrity, then we'll know for sure not to trust anything else they have to say.

While The BRAD BLOG has reported, in some detail, on the incompetence of New Hampshire's Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, his failure to track Diebold memory cards, and many more issues revealed during the course of the Election Contests following the state's recent Primary Election, we've yet to question his integrity.

However, if this report from today's Nashua Telegraph accurately quotes Gardner, then its time to begin questioning him on that score, because now it would appear he is simply out and out lying to the media about the hand count results, and Dennis Kucinich's position on it, at this hour, as stated clearly in a letter sent yesterday to the SoS.

Tucked at the end of the Kevin Landrigan's Telegraph piece today on the latest "recount" news, are the following, virtually inexplicable, comments from Gardner...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2008 12:27pm PT  


Following on our report last Saturday of massive voting machine failures that kept voters from voting for hours in Horry County, SC, Kitty Pilgrim, on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight (video at left), reported yesterday on plans for SC to use the same machines again in this Saturday's Democratic primary.

At the same time, the Governor and Legislature in Colorado are finally beginning to get it, and simply override the incompetent SoS there, who can't seem to say "E-Voting machines that don't work should NOT be used in elections." So the Legislature appears ready to do it for him.

We're also happy to see the good John Bonifaz, of VoterAction.org, making an appearance to call for accountability (let's get our money back!) from the voting machine companies that have knowingly defrauded America.

And a NOTE TO KITTY PILGRIM: Your reporting keeps discussing "paperless voting machines" in reference to Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) machines that have no "paper trail." Adding "paper trails" to such machines is meaningless. They cannot be verified as reflecting the voter intent anymore than on a DRE without "paper trails."

If you stop and look carefully at your own reporting on SC last week, you'll note that the machines would not work at all until noon, as folks were scrambling to vote on scraps of paper, paper towels, etc. Had those DREs had "paper trails," they still would not have worked, and voters still would not have been able to vote on them.

References to "paperless voting machines" imply that machines with "paper trails" are somehow a solution. They are not. Only paper ballots are a solution. This is something that even Rep. Rush Holt's latest "Emergency Bill" doesn't seem to understand, incredibly enough. That bill (referenced in the CNN report above) would give money to jurisdictions to move to paper ballots, but only if they use "paperless" DREs. If they have DREs with "paper trails," however, they would not be eligible for that money under Holt's bill as written, incredibly enough.

Let's be careful what we wish for and/or report on, guys!

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Details 'Significant Percentage Variances,' from 4 to 10%, Discovered So Far During Hand Counts as Paid for by His Campaign
SoS Downplays Mistallies After One County Counted: No Changes 'As Far as Where the Candidates Finished'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 8:12pm PT  

Citing "significant percentage variances in four voting districts in Hillsborough County," Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is requesting that New Hampshire's Secretary of State, William Gardner, "order a complete and accurate recount of all ballots in the New Hamsphire Democratic Presidential Primary election," according to a letter sent this morning, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The letter (posted in full at end of this article) details a number of the discrepancies revealed by the recent post-election hand count in Concord, as paid for by the Democratic Presidential candidate's campaign.

The count was suspended this morning, when "funds ran out," according to the NH SoS website, making way for a Republican hand count challenge by candidate Albert Howard to begin tomorrow, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier today.

"The magnitude of the variances in the four voting locations raise questions about the integrity of the internal vote accounting procedures in use in Hillsborough County," wrote Kucinich. "A reconciliation of the records of votes cast to voters who signed in and received ballots should have detected these problems; why multiple locations with large over-voting discrepancies went undetected in Hillsborough remains unexplained."

Kucinich's references, detailed in the two-page letter, refer to counts in Nashua Ward 5 where there were variances discovered in the counting as high as 4.9%; in Manchester Ward 5 where tallies varied 10.6%; and in New Ipswich, which saw 7.5% differences in the hand count totals from the original count for one candidate. Those districts were all tabulated on Election Day solely by error-prone, hackable Diebold optical-scan voting systems.

As well, the hand counts revealed 100 fewer votes actually existed for Barack Obama, in the town of Wilton, than were actually recorded for him on the night of the election...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 12:43pm PT  

[Article updated at bottom. Additional information from Kucinich now here.]

On the New Hampshire Sec. of State's website this morning, the top of the Election Contest hand-count results page says:

"THE KUCINICH RECOUNT STOPPED THIS MORNING (JAN. 23, 2008) BECAUSE FUNDS RAN OUT."

We've confirmed with Kucinich campaign rep David Bright, who was in Concord this morning, that they have indeed stopped counting as of today, after only a single county, and not even fully at that. We're trying to learn more, and will reserve full comment until we do. Suffice it to say that given the many miscounts being discovered, the horrendous shape of NH's "chain of custody", the refusal of the SoS to allow for the counting/reconciliation of unvoted (blank) ballots, the Diebold memory cards which seem to be missing and/or destroyed since the election (in violation of federal law), it would be disappointing, at best, if Kucinich failed to finish what he so appropriately began.

In the meantime, the halt to the Kucinich count means that the Republican hand count, requested by candidate Albert Howard, will begin tomorrow. If his letter --- containing very thorough and appropriate Public Records Requests, submitted with his original request for a count to the Sec. of State (see his full letter at bottom of this article) --- is any indication, it would seem Howard and his team may be taking on this hand count with the seriousness that it and the voters of NH and America deserve.

Candidate Howard sent us the following missive movements ago...

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

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And Other Recent News from the Election Contests in New Hampshire...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 3:01am PT  

Now that we're finally back at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters in Los Angeles (for a few days at least) and have shaken off our road buzz (for now), gotten through the latest Sibel Edmonds blockbusters (until the next shoe drops) and have overcome last Friday's maddening 24 hour Internet outage, we've got some catching up to do on New Hampshire's continuing mess of a "recount."

Luckily for us, as we've been traveling for the last few days, and pulling off other related miracles, the hand counters in Concord took a break as of last Friday for a long weekend, which includes today's Martin Luther King Day holiday. As we all know, MLK would have hated the idea of anybody actually counting votes on his holiday, so we're glad the folks from the NH SoS office decided to let the ballots sit around and cool off in the darkness for three long days in a vault somewhere (maybe). The counting, which has so far covered just a small portion of all of the ballots, will resume on Tuesday.

So...From the latest hand count numbers, to the latest media coverage, to the latest reports from Election Integrity experts on the ground --- including one amazing photo essay illustrating New Hampshire's "chain of custody" protocol for its ballots, 80% of which have never been counted or examined by a single human being (that we know of) --- let's get caught up a bit.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your Pinto has a full tank of gas...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 12:01am PT  

While getting caught up with New Hampshire, after three days of travel and other related maladies, in preparing for a long catch-up article on the latest there (to be posted late late late tonight), I came across the following, from the latest numbers as posted last Friday night on the NH SoS website results page.

I've translated the numbers from the SoS's ridiculously impossible-to-read page, to something a bit more useful...

NASHUA, WARD 5
Diebold
Result
Hand
Tally
Discrepancy
Total
Votes
%
Error
CLINTON 1,030 959 -71 7.40
EDWARDS 405 377 -28 7.42
OBAMA 673 678 +5 0.73

Beyond the folks above, in Nashua, Ward 5, Richardson lost 3 votes (out of 72, as tallied by Diebold originally) and Biden lost 1 (out of 9). Everyone else, including Kucinich, remained exactly the same after the hand count in that one precinct.

Note: The above numbers are from Nashua, Ward 5. As opposed to Manchester, Ward 5, which we pointed out last Thursday, with some consternation, after enormous disparities were revealed by the post-election hand count in that precinct as well.

Much more later. Or, as the democracy-hating editorialists at the Eagle-Tribune wrote today: "[W]e have a partial recount of Democratic ballots underway in New Hampshire even though it is certain that the results will not change an iota....The whole idea that it will is a fallacy that is destructive to Americans' confidence in the democratic process."

UPDATE: As promised, much more now here...

CORRECTION: The original headline for this article referred to the disparities being in Nashua, Ward 4. In fact, they were in Nashua, Ward 5, as the rest of the article had properly reported. We have corrected the headline, and regret the original typo.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2008 4:34pm PT  

Who says Hillary doesn't have what it takes to beat Republicans at their own game next November?

According to Steve Rosenfeld at AlterNet...

Barrack Obama's campaign is calling on the Nevada Democratic Party to investigate whether voters were wrongly turned away at the doors of numerous presidential caucus sites on Saturday. The campaign also is asking its campaign workers to report other unfair electioneering practices from the presidential vote.

In an afternoon press conference, the campaign's State Director David Cohen and Washington-based election attorney Bob Bauer said that an indeterminate number of caucus locations closed their doors at 11:30 AM --- a half hour before the noon starting time --- because manuals provided by Hillary Clinton's campaign incorrectly stated the earlier start time. Once the door to a caucus are closed, no other voters may participate, according to party rules.
...
Earlier in the day, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sent this statement to volunteers:

“We currently have reports of over 200 separate incidents of trouble at caucus sites, including doors being closed up to thirty minutes early, registration forms running out so people were turned away, and ID being requested and checked in a non-uniform fashion. This is in addition to the Clinton campaign’s efforts to confuse voters and call into question the at-large caucus sites which clearly had an affect on turnout at these locations. These kinds of Clinton campaign tactics were part of an entire week’s worth of false, divisive, attacks designed to mislead caucus-goers and discredit the caucus itself."
...
At the Sunday afternoon press conference, the campaign said it had 300 election incident reports.

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One of America's Worst Places to Vote Keeps Getting Worster...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2008 4:08pm PT  

Riverside County, CA --- under the continuingly incompetent direction of Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore, and the extraordinary delinquency of its County Board of Supervisors --- continues its never-ending fight to be named top dog as the Worst Place to Vote in America.

There's a lot of competition out there for that title, but the county performed above and beyond the call of duty over the past several years in that race, and in its quest for disastrousness. Today's news certainly helps the county stay right up near the top of the pack. Waytago, Riverside!...


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By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2008 12:43pm PT  

As usual, another Democratic candidate is revealing a sour grapes conspiracy theory, claiming that voting machines were the reason for his loss, after alleging that hundreds of ES&S touch-screen systems failed to work on Election Day, turning away an untold number of voters.

Oh, wait, the complainant was a Republican, not a Democrat. And he, John McCain, didn't lose, he won, in South Carolina where, CNN reported yesterday, the touch-screen voting machines in 100% of the precincts in Horry County failed to boot up and weren't available for voters to use until noon.

Go figure. Other than that, everything is going very well, and anybody who says otherwise is unnecessarily crying wolf and causing a dangerous lack of confidence in our electoral system.

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Says Movement 'Has Been Destroying The Voting System On Every Conceivable Front'
Adds That Even A 'Cursory Study' Of The 2004 Election 'Makes It Abundantly Clear That The Election Was Stolen'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/18/2008 12:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Election integrity expert and author of Fooled Again, Mark Crispin Miller, made some remarkable comments while speaking to the LA Election Protection Task Force last night. Robert Carillo Cohen, producer of Hacking Democracy, was also a featured speaker at the event.

After covering some preliminary matters, Miller retold the story of his post 2004 election encounter with John Kerry when the Democratic candidate admitted that he believed the presidential election was stolen. This shouldn't surprise anyone since, as Miller states:

And believe me, a cursory study of the evidence makes it abundantly clear that the election was stolen and it wasn't even that close.

Which ultimately leads Miller to conclude that Kerry is in denial:

Because if you really do accept what happened, you realize that it is a catastrophe, it's an emergency. And it's something that a guy like John Kerry or Al Gore is simply not built to deal with, right? Because if you come to terms with what went down, you realize that it is an attack on American democracy. Business as usual can't simply continue. We gotta do something. We gotta hit the barricades.

But resistance to the idea that American democracy is under attack goes far beyond Kerry and Gore. Miller believes the way to break through this resistance is to:

keep publicizing, to keep spreading the word, to keep making clear that it is not just this little thing here or that little thing there, we're talking about a fringe movement that has taken over the Republican party that has been dismantling democracy, that has been destroying the voting system on every conceivable front, not just the machines. They are even messing with the census. They are preventing another census from being taken because if you have census data you can track this stuff more easily.

Finally, Miller concludes by going over a 12-step approach to reforming our elections.


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Scores of Votes Mistallied for Every Major Democratic Candidate
UPDATE: NH Union Leader Says Disparities Discovered in Hand Count Due to Veep Votes Added to Prez Totals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 6:26pm PT  

As mentioned last night in this disturbing article, the early results of the hand counts of one Diebold precinct in Dennis Kucinich's election contest in New Hampshire are now being posted, as they come in, at this New Hampshire SoS page.

As mentioned earlier today, NH SoS Bill Gardner told WMUR in NH that "We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same...Some went up by a vote or two." He didn't, of course, note that a lot of the vote counts (most of them) were off by 5 or more.

And now, the rest of the numbers from the rest of the Manchester wards are coming on. And get a load of Ward 5:

Diebold
Result
Hand
Count
CLINTON 683 619
EDWARDS 255 217
OBAMA 404 365

All of the other candidates seem to have lost votes as well. No clue who received them instead, and must run out to tonight's Oakland screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. But I thought you'd want to know.

WMUR might want to know too. Since their only source seems to be whatever Gardner tells them. They can be contacted here.

There are more fresh numbers there, but we haven't yet had time to review 'em. Other than that, everything is fine with your election system. Or, as WMUR "reported" at 6pm ET today: "The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems."

UPDATE: The New Hampshire Union Leader reports this as the reason for the huge disparities discovered via the hand count:

The widest variations so far were in Manchester's Ward 5. Vote counters there mistakenly transposed write-in votes for vice president as votes for presidential candidate. As a result, all major candidates lost votes. Kucinich lost three in the ward and has a total of 20 votes there. Hillary Clinton lost 64 with a new total of 619; John Edwards lost 38 and has 217 votes; Barack Obama lost 39 and has 365, and Bill Richardson lost seven, leaving him 39.

We've been on the road, and thus, unable to confirm that explanation one way or another, or even add this update from yesterday's paper until now. But we're happy to share it with you nonetheless (even as some dKos fans in comments, have suggested our lack of pointing it out as some sort of "conspiracy theory". Get over yourself, kids. And stand up for democracy while you're at it!)

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary.
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By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 4:55pm PT  

Also meanwhile...Out there in MSM world, where reality creates its own definition, WMUR is reporting that all is fine in New Hampshire:

CONCORD, N.H. --- The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems.

Well, they're sort of correct. "Voting" problems aren't the concern. As we frequently point out, the voters are still doing fine. Leave them alone. The election problems, and the horrible administration thereof, are another matter entirely. And on that front, loads of problems have been "found." But only if you bother to look at them, of course.

Given WMUR's following quote from NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner, which is demonstrably wrong in 3 seconds time if you bother to look at the SoS's very own web page for hand count results, it's not a surprise that WMUR thinks everything is just rosy:

"We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same," Gardner said. "Some went up by a vote or two."

That is what we in the business of actual reporting would call: a lie. Check the numbers for yourself. Yeah, it's technical true that "a lot of the votes were exactly the same," as Gardner says, in the same way that a lot of the troops who go to Iraq don't get killed.

But many more vote counts were not at all the same, ranging anywhere from 5 to 8 votes off in regular cases, across almost all candidates.

And before you say that's no big deal, we'll remind you that in 2004, had just 6 votes per precinct been registered in Ohio for John Kerry instead of George W. Bush, we'd have a different person sitting in the White House right now.

Other than that, and the fact that Gardner has no idea where the memory cards are for his Diebold machines, and all other matter of horrible election oversight, yeah, everything's just fine in New Hampshire.

...CONTACT...
WMUR Newsroom contact page

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