Last week we told you aboutThe Simpsons' upcoming episode wherein Homer, attempting to vote for Barack Obama on a touch-screen voting machine, has a few problems in the process. Here's the very funny, were it not so very unfunny, clip from the upcoming show...
So The Simpsons now get it. Why don't Obama and the Dems? And why are they doing little or nothing to ensure that every voter in the nation is able to cast a vote on a hand-marked paper ballot this year?
Tell your favorite candidate(s) that you'll support them if they support you and your vote by pledging not to concede this year until all votes are counted, counted accurately, or challenged in a court of law. (See StandingForVoters.org more info, the pledge, and stuff you can hand to your favorite candidate to demand they stand up for you this time!)
By the our count, at least twelve Ohio counties have split the presidential contest over two columns on their paper ballots for this November's election. This "column split" often confuses voters and results in double voting in the presidential race and an uncounted vote. Today the Brennan Center urged election officials and advocates in Ohio to make sure that voters are aware of the split, and to make sure they vote only once for president.
As a quick glance will show, it's no surprise that many voters cast two votes for president when the contest is listed across two separate columns
A sample of the split ballot follows below, and looks like it could result in a lot of spoiled ballots from overvotes, and folks writing in their choice for President in addition to filling in the bubble on the first column. More details from Larry Norden at the Brennan Center here...
Tonight's CBS Evening News finally covered what may well be the November Surprise that we've been trying to warn about for months here at The BRAD BLOG: Massive voter roll purges being done in secret, with little or no oversight, and often under federal Justice Department cover, in states and counties around the country.
And the Democrats, who likely have the most to lose via such secret purges, are doing little or nothing about it.
The CBS story, posted below (appx 2 mins) starts with an elderly New Jersey voter who was suddenly removed from the voting rolls after thirty years, for apparently no reason whatsoever, before launching into findings from a new non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice study on "Voter Purges".
We've yet to read this Brennan report, but the brief coverage from tonight's Evening News notes 10,000 voters purged in Mississippi, 21,000 in Louisiana and "to top it off, another new study discovered 19 states are ignoring federal law (the National Voter Registration Act), banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election."
Among those 19, are a number of battleground states. The report lists: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Masachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, as places where massive purges have recently taken place.
CBS ends by noting that their New Jersey voter has now been restored to the rolls, but they warn, "come Election Day, don't count on thousands of others being as fortunate"...
CBS' coverage doesn't even note that many states have now contracted the same private companies who did such a crappy job on their voting machines (companies like Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia) to manage, with the same lack of oversight, entire newly computerized state voting rolls. Names will be dropping from rolls this year by error or by evil...
Congrats to David Earnhardt and company on winning "Best Documentary" at last weekend's San Diego Film Festival, for Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections! I'm quite sure the win was due to my appearance at the Q&A following the Saturday night screening down there.
And finally...if you'd like a copy of both great documentaries (I'm in both, but they're really good anyway!), a donation of $75 or more will get 'em both shipped straight to ya! (Snail mail also works for all of the above: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
Congrats and thanks all around! People are getting the message because you are making noise!
[Ed Note: Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case discussed below, will be joining me Wednesday evening to talk about the case, when I sit in to Guest Host The Mike Malloy Show, which I'll be doing Wed-Fri this week, from 9p-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) - BF]
A recent flurry of activity in the long-standing King Lincoln v. OH Sec. of State lawsuit concerning voting rights violations in the state during the 2004 election has resulted in the judge lifting the stay to allow depositions to be taken of key GOP tech-guru Mike Connell, and potentially others, such as Karl Rove.
A subpoena has now been served to Connell, who was recently described by the attorneys working on the case, as a 'high-IQ Forrest Gump...at the scene of every GOP crime.'
Federal District Court Judge Algenon Marbley's brief order [PDF], agreeing to lift the stay, was quietly issued on September 19th. It reads:
On motion of the plaintiffs and agreement of the defendant Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the stay in this matter is lifted for the sole purpose of permitting the plaintiffs to take the deposition of Michael Connell and any other witnesses whose testimony, in the judgment of these parties, may be warranted based upon the deposition of Michael Connell.
The BRAD BLOG had learned about the latest court action, which could soon entangle Rove as well, some time ago, but we were asked by parties involved in the case to embargo the information until such time as they were able to serve Connell with his subpoena...
Kansas City Star is among the first out of the box to review the film, calling it a "Must See!" and declaring that it "plays like a high-tension political thriller."
The terrifying feature-length documentary, shot in high-definition video, details, for the first time, the complete Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises vote-rigging scandal, in all of its, yes, sometimes very gory detail. It also tells a tale of the media, as it details my attempts to tell the story over the last four years, to a corrupt, detached, and too-often frightened corporate media. The BRAD BLOG broke the Curtis story originally in late 2004, and we've been investigating and reporting on it ever since.
The DVD of MSVL is finally available for purchase at VotingLies.com and will also be premiering beginning this weekend on LinkTV, for those of you lucky enough to get the satellite TV channel. See LinkTV's main Murder, Spies page for air dates and times, as well as an extended five-minute preview of the film. Sharaf has been kind enough to offer the DVD --- signed by herself and myself --- available as our newest, and perhaps most appropriate, BRAD BLOG premium ever! An online donation of $50 or more gets you your own copy! (And just in time for Halloween!) Snail mail works as well, if you prefer to send a check to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The support is greatly appreciated and very much needed.
LinkTV narrates their own 60-second preview of MSVL below...
For those who aren't familiar with the remarkable Curtis/Feeney story of the Florida software programmer who says he was asked by a powerful Republican to create vote-rigging software, where have you been? See this summary version for the quick details.
For those who are familiar with the story, you will learn details in MSVL you never knew, along with new interviews on the case from Gore Vidal, reporter Bob Fitrakis, computer security expert Harri Hursti, whistleblower Steve Heller, Curtis co-worker Mavis Georgalis, and many more!
While the Curtis story has been told, often beautifully, in a number of other documentaries, such as Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections and Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote, this is the first to go all the way into all of the frightening details underscoring this case, including the mysterious death of Florida's Inspector General Raymond Lemme while investigating the allegations, and the bizarre case of the convicted Chinese spy, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, who worked at the firm with Curtis.
A few quotes from some of the early reviews:
"Must see!...Plays like a high-tension political thriller...Amazingly elaborate and detailed...Want to get hoppin' mad? This'll do it...Let's hear it for paper ballots." - Bob Butler, Kansas City Star
The film is also screening at a number of upcoming film-festivals around the country, including the New Jersey Film Festival this weekend. See the MSVL website for dates & times.
Four years later, I'm happy to still be here to see the release of the film, quite frankly. There were some pretty scary days back there. It's regrettable that nobody's yet gone to jail, but maybe we're getting closer. For many of you who found this blog because of the Curtis story back in 2004, thank you for all of the support throughout the years! I hope you'll get the film, enjoy it, and continue to spread the word.
As you'll note by the increase in items in John Gideon's Daily Voting News, coverage of election concerns is again reaching a fevered pitch. When it comes to election machines, most of those reports come far too late to effect any real change (other than perhaps to help encourage election officials to ensure there will be plenty of paper ballots on hand, to make sure they tell voters and poll workers about them, and then to finally count those damned ballots!)
It's clear, however, that while most election officials likely do their job honestly, there are a great number of them around the country who have little interest in voters --- certain voters --- being allowed to excercise their franchise at all.
While there is little time to do much about the machines, as they prepare to melt down, there is still time do something on the front-end voter suppression issues. Yet sadly, despite a few spotty efforts around the country, it seems those parties that do have an interest in voters actually voting (such as Obama and the DNC) have little clue about what they are facing. At least from what I've been able to learn about coordinated plans --- or lack thereof --- to combat the Republican assault on voting.
And, all the while, as Democrats dither, the well-coordinated Republican War on Democracy continues apace around the country, with new and disturbing reports coming out almost by the hour, revealing the national extent of the GOP's anti-democracy campaign.
The effort, by a number of election officials in so-called "swing states" around the country, meant to keep Democratic-leaning voters, such as students and minorities, from casting votes this year, is remarkable and growing. It is, of course, also appalling...
From a USA Today article, noting that The Simpsons will now be tied with Gunsmoke's record of 20 seasons on television...
Even though production begins nearly a year before broadcast, some upcoming shows are timely...In a segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIX" (Nov. 2), the annual Halloween trilogy, Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama, but the machine keeps casting ballots before attacking him.
UPDATE 10/2/08: The very funny (were it not so unfunny) clip of Homer trying to vote on Election Day 2008 is now posted here...
The Democratic candidate for Secretary of State in Washington state has released what he says will be the first of a series of campaign spots, satirizing the well-known "Mac v. PC" commercials, to highlight the differences between touch-screen voting machines and paper ballots.
Jason Osgood, a long-time election integrity advocate and opponent of unverifiable electronic voting systems, is running against the incumbent Republican Sec. of State, Sam Reed. Osgood joins several other citizen advocates across the country --- inlcuding Susan Rose Pynchon in Volusia County, FL, and Ellen Harriet Brodsky in Broward County, FL --- who have stepped up and decided to run this year against incumbent election officials who, they allege, have not been as responsive or transparent, in regard to voter concerns and citizen oversight, as they should be.
The 60-second spot released today by the Osgood campaign is seen below (text transcript is posted at the end of this article). It features two men standing in front of a white background, one who identifies himself as "Paper Ballot" and the other, dressed in a slick white leisure suit with sunglasses and headset, who declares, "I'm a high-tech, touch-screen votin' machine!" It quickly becomes apparent, as the spot begins, as "Voting Machine" searches through his pockets, that he's lost something --- "a few thousand votes is all"...
The comical ad, Osgood tells The BRAD BLOG, is to be the first of several in a series, highlighting the differences between electronic voting systems and paper ballots. "These videos are funny," wrote Osgood in an email this morning. "Each spot highlights just one problem with the voting machines. This is a very effective way to explain a complicated issue."
Osgood believes the ads may also help the issue of election integrity nationally, as they serve to simplify the concerns that advocates, as well as computer scientists and security experts, have been trying to share with the public.
"We're steeped in the arcana of computers and election administration," Osgood, who is himself a software engineer, told us. "When we talk to others [about these issues], we quickly lose them. Which is a shame, because counting votes should be simple! To be effective, we need to tailor our message to reach the broadest audience. We need to engage every voter in the fight to reclaim our democracy and restore integrity to our elections," he said...
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)
Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.
You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."
That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."
But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.
The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.
A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.
Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.
In or near Los Angeles tonight (Tuesday)? Please come on by the Fairfax Cinemas (7907 Beverly Blvd.) at 7:30pm for a special screening of Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections. I'll be speaking at a Q&A afterwards, along with filmmaker David Earnhardt, "Diebold Document Whistleblower" Steve Heller (who is both featured in the film and now also an occassional BRAD BLOG guest blogger!), Mimi "Dharma & Greg" Kennedy of PDA, and all of it hosted by the good Jerry Quickley of KPFK/Pacifica.
Oh, and psst...say the super-secret password "NO DIEBOLD!" at the box office tonight, and get $3 off your ticket! But don't tell anyone! We'd like to keep that as much of a secret as Diebold's own passwords for all of their voting systems ("1111").
If you can't make it tonight (for some crazy reason), and if you've yet to see Uncounted (for some crazy reason), and you haven't helped support The BRAD BLOG lately (for some crazy reason), special editions of the DVD, as signed by the filmmaker, are still available for online donations of $50 or more. Snail mail works as well, to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
We'd love the support, and you'll love the film. And we'd all love to see you tonight if you happen to be in the hood.
P.S. The film is also screening at the San Diego Film Festival this Thursday and Saturday at 5pm. I'll be heading down for a Q&A following the Saturday showing there, so I expect to see everybody in person by the end of this week! Thank you.
Working on a number of deadlines today, so pardon the light posting for the moment. In the meantime, the blizzard of anti-democracy GOP voter-caging/suppression reports continue to come in from around the country.
While we will, no doubt, have more on all of the latest soon, I wanted to quickly point out the brand new Voter Suppression Wiki that was set up late last week, by Baratunde Thurston, to track some of the stuff now rolling in at an alarming pace (with vastly inadequate Obama/Dem response, as far as I can tell.)
Thurston introduced the new participatory Wiki in a HuffPo article late last week. He included, along with it, a quick introductory video that pulls just together just some of the reports piling in from just the day or two before he finally decided such a site was very much needed. That short video alone is worth a quick view, as it offers a pretty astounding collection of just a few of the most appalling incidents rolling in the news late last week, courtesy of the well-organized GOP troops marshaling the latest full-frontal assualt (surge!) in the coordinated Republican War on Democracy. Here the short video...
Please help support our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool collector's edition premiums now available starting at just $5! to help The BRAD BLOG keep up the fight for election integrity in your democracy!
The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, is calling on the John McCain campaign to "immediately halt Republican vote suppression efforts," as seen recently in Michigan --- where a county GOP chair announced his intention to use home foreclosure lists to challenge voter eligibility at the polls on Election Day --- and elsewhere.
Conyers has announced hearings on these issues, and is calling on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to launch an immediate "full scale investigation" into these matters. He has sent letters both to McCain [PDF] and to Mukasey [PDF] (the latter signed by 23 members of Congress) to that effect, as well as issuing the following statement today...
Tribune Media Services' Bob Koehler was one of the first voices, from within the corporate mainstream media, to speak about the bastardization of our current electoral system. He did so, beginning way back in the darkest days of 2005, when writing and/or saying such things aloud got folks fired, spiked, and otherwise Dixie Chicked for daring to speak such truths in a country which once claimed to believe in "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press."
From Ohio's 2004 abberation of democracy, to voting systems that don't work, to those who would do anything to win, such as keep voters from voting however they can, Koehler has continued to bang the drum, no matter the heat he has taken in return.
This week he continues to beat that drum, and offers us a few kind words in the bargain, yet again. Here's a few key grafs from his latest, headlined "Goo Goo Government"...
TALLAHASSEE — A new pitch for John McCain's presidential campaign aimed at older Democratic voters is causing complaints by Democrats and concern by elections officials.
The piece, paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain, tells voters it is seeking to double-check their "unconfirmed" party affiliations while asking for money. A letter signed by McCain tells the Democrats: "We have you registered as a Republican."
"I was a little bit shocked and a little bit surprised," said recipient Bill Smith, 81, of Tampa, who calls himself a lifelong Democrat and has been registered at his current address since 2000.
The RNC declined to discuss the mailer, which Democrats said has landed in five counties: Duval, Hillsborough, Collier, Miami-Dade and Escambia.
The article goes on to note that FL's Republican SoS Kurt Browning believes the mailing is "confusing" and "unfortunate", but does not note whether or not he plans to do anything about it. We're not holding our breath. Neither are we holding it for Democrats down there to do much about it either.
The mailings sent to registered Democrats appear to be classic "caging" letters, marked as "Do Not Forward", so that they will then be returned to the GOP if there is any problem with delivery. Those returned letters will likely then be used as a basis to challenge the legitimacy of those particular voters on Election Day....