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By Alan Breslauer on 6/25/2007 2:34pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

While BRAD BLOG has extensively covered the "Vote Caging" issue over the past two years, including Brad's post from the road today, the file would not be complete without this video clip of John Conyers (D-MI) questioning Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing last week. For more details on McNulty's testimony as well as an interesting exchange between Conyers and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) at the end of the clip, see Margie Burns's June 21 BRAD BLOG post.

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Asst. Attorney General Alex Acosta Sent Letter to Federal Judge Backing Republican Effort to Challenge Democratic, Minority Voters Just Prior to Presidential Election
Investigation into Illegal RNC Effort Spreads from Florida to the Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2007 9:37am PT  

Blogged quickly by Brad Friedman from Alabama (with a laptop on my knee)...

McClatchy's excellent Greg Gordon reports that the DoJ had written a letter in support of vote caging by Republicans in Ohio in 2004...

Ex-Justice official accused of aiding scheme to scratch minority voters

WASHINGTON - Four days before the 2004 election, the Justice Department’s civil rights chief sent an unusual letter to a federal judge in Ohio who was weighing whether to let Republicans challenge the credentials of 23,000 mostly African-American voters.

The case was triggered by allegations that Republicans had sent a mass mailing to mostly Democratic-leaning minorities and used undeliverable letters to compile a list of voters potentially vulnerable to eligibility challenges.

In his letter to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati, Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta argued that it would "undermine" the enforcement of state and federal election laws if citizens could not challenge voters’ credentials.

Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as "vote-caging" in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President Bush a second term in the White House.
...
But Robert Kengle, former deputy chief of the department’s Voting Rights Section who served under Acosta, said the letter amounted to "cheerleading for the Republican defendants."

"It was doubly outrageous," he said, "because the allegation in the litigation was that these were overwhelmingly African-American voters that were on the challenge list."

Joseph Rich, a former chief of the department's Voting Rights Section, called the Ohio scheme "vote caging."

As BRAD BLOG readers know, we've been reporting --- often far too exclusively --- on the Florida 2004 vote caging scheme by former GOP oppo-researcher turned Karl Rove assistant turned Arkansas US Attorney turned disgraced former US Attorney, Tim Griffin. As we're on the roll, we'll have to refer you to our "Vote Caging" category for our previous detailed coverage. Scroll through the articles on that page for much more background.

But here's a bit more from McClatchy's piece today...

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

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Hearing Clearly Reveals Continuing Lack of Interest in the Vote Caging Issue at DOJ
But McNulty Testimony Throws Little Light on DOJ Hirings and Firings
By Margie Burns on 6/21/2007 7:38pm PT  

Guest blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty returned to testify before Congress one more time today, but without shedding much new light on the much-criticized firings and hirings, alleged to be politically motivated, in the Department of Justice.

The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Judiciary Committee, in another attempt to extract some truth about the DOJ personnel matter, held a hearing with McNulty as the sole witness. Under polite, soft-spoken but excruciatingly poignant questioning by Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI), McNulty did clarify one thing: indeed it does seem that his part of the DOJ has done very little about “caging.”

Caging, as Rep. Cannon (R-UT) helpfully pointed out, “is a term of art in mailhouses” – it refers to the place where letters go when they have no address, all batched up in a separate room.

As Conyers gently reminded the audience, “caging” in the context of elections “is not an issue of the mail at all.” Voter caging, in the context of elections, means blocking voters out – choosing whole lists of voters whose vote will be challenged, chosen by whom and the criteria for challenge enunciated by whom, under this administration, still not fully explained.

Actually, not explained at all. Though it wasn't for Conyers' lack of trying to get information from McNulty about it...

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

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Josh Rushing Explains Republican Operative Jim Wilkinson's Role In All Three Seminal Events
By Alan Breslauer on 6/20/2007 9:26pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Amy Goodman interviews former Marine spokesperson Josh Rushing on Democracy Now about his experiences serving at CENTCOM at the start of the Iraq war. In addition to sending over a Hollywood set designer to build a platform costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, Washington sent political operative Jim Wilkinson, who ran the media operation like a political campaign. According to Rushing, Wilkinson is also "credited with coming up with the line about Gore having invented the Internet," had his hand in the "Brooks Brothers Riot" during the 2000 Florida election recount, and was the guy handing George W. the bullhorn at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2007 10:56am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman on the road...

Following up on a letter sent to the DoJ on Monday by Democratic Senators Kennedy (MA) and Whitehouse (RI) demanding an investigation into the vote caging activities of former RNC/Bush-Cheney '04 operative, former Karl Rove protégé, and now former US Attorney from Arkansas, Tim Griffin, senators from his home state have announced their support of such a probe.

"If a citizen's right to vote is being threatened, I think without a doubt it is a very appropriate thing to investigate," Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) told Stephens News Bureau according to a report today. "There are enough suggestions out there that lend itself to that. Investigators owe it to the American people to find out whether or not (voter suppression) did occur."

Michael Teague, a spokesman for Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor, told Stephens that an investigation is overdue, particularly in light of recent testimony from the DoJ's Monica Goodling. "I think at every turn and every corner at this point, the White House has said one thing and done another," said Teague.

Goodling, the DoJ's now-resigned liaison to the White House, told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during sworn testimony, under immunity from prosecution, that Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty "failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote 'caging' during his work on the President's 2004 campaign."

"This has a voter-fraud element to it...Why are we having to ask (the Justice Department) to look into this? Shouldn't that be something that's pretty routine?" Teague wondered.

Setting aside that this is about election fraud, not "voter-fraud" as Teague characterized it, both Democratic Senators are correct that an investigation should occur immediately.

Griffin denied wrongdoing in a teary speech in Arkansas last week. He maintained his innocence again to Stephens on Tuesday, telling them, "As I have said before, the allegations are malicious and false."

Vote caging is the practice of sending targeted registered mail to minority voters with "do not forward" instructions, in order to use any returned letters to challenge voter registrations as fraudulent or press for such voters to be removed from the rolls. In 1981 and 1986, after having done the same thing, the RNC signed consent decrees that they would not engage in such activities in the future. Apparently, they were just kidding both times.

In 2004, Greg Palast of the BBC reported on caging lists attached to email mis-sent by Griffin prior to the Presidential election. The lists reportedly targeted minority voters in Florida, some serving overseas in Iraq. The pre-election reports were all but ignored by both Congress and the American media until Goodling's testimony several weeks ago. Since then, The BRAD BLOG has run a number of exclusive follow-up reports by Palast, most notably here and then here. Griffin resigned on June 2 in the wake of the allegations revealed during the US Attorney Purge investigations. He had been named interim Arkansas US Attorney after the previous USA, Bud Cummins, had been one of the first to be forced out of his job during the DoJ/White House purge.

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Sens. Kennedy and Whitehouse Send Letter to DoJ Inspector General's Office Seeking Probe into RNC Voter Supression Tactics
Inquiry Into What Justice Officials Knew About Griffin's Vote Caging Activities When He Was Named as US Attorney for Arkansas
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2007 4:28pm PT  

Senators Kennedy and Whitehouse have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding a probe by the DoJ's Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility into "allegations that the Republican National Committee engaged in 'vote caging' during the 2004 elections."

The letter, sent today to Gonzales, also requests an investigation into "whether any Department officials were aware of allegations that Tim Griffin had engaged in caging when he was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and whether appropriate action was taken."

The complete letter and a press release sent along with it are posted in full at the end of this article.

"The Republican Party has a long and ignominious record of caging – much of it focused on the African American community," Kennedy and Whitehouse explain in their letter which gives details of the RNC using voting caging tactics to suppress minority voters in both 1981 and 1986. After both incidents, the GOP had signed consent decrees that they would not engage in the activity in the future.

Nonetheless, email evidence has shown that in 2004, Tim Griffin created and sent caging lists on behalf of the Bush 2004 campaign as originally reported by the BBC to little American media fanfare, prior to the election. Griffin, who became an aide to Karl Rove, was later appointed by the Bush Administration as the US Attorney from Arkansas after they had fired Bud Cummins. Griffin has since resigned from the post in the wake of the scandal.

In recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the now-resigned DoJ liason to the White House, Monica Goodling, admitted that now-resigned Deputy Atty General Paul McNulty was less than forthcoming in his sworn Congressional testimony concerning his knowledge about Griffin's involvement in vote caging during the 2004 campaign.

In her testimony, given under a grant of immunity from prosecution, Goodling said that McNulty "failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote 'caging' during his work on the President's 2004 campaign."

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

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Conyers Closes in on Karl and his Rove-bots...
By Greg Palast on 6/17/2007 7:52pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast

Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry.

He cried. Then he lied.

You remember Tim. Karl Rove's right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP's ragin' cagin' man.

Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous 'caging' lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.

Caging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens - including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.

Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas where he moaned that, "public service isn't worth it."

True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are - quelle surprise! - disproportionately Black citizens.)

But today, Griffin can't even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson's staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the 'cagin' man,' suddenly, the 'Law and Order' star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson's badge, even if it is from the props department.

Griffin, instead of saying that public service "isn't worth it," should have said, "Crime doesn't pay." Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 'caging,' when used to target Black voters' rights, is a go-to-prison crime.

By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging - or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, "We aren't done with Mr. Griffin yet..."

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

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Group Was Run by Another Shady Character Involved in Missouri Fee Office Scandal, Connected to Jack Abramoff Groups...
By Howard Beale on 6/15/2007 1:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri

On Wednesday The BRAD BLOG pointed out just one of the reasons he may be trying, as much as he is, to make his American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) past disappear. It seems the group lied about their activities on their federal 990 public tax disclosure forms. But here comes another reason he may be hoping to hide his sordid past.

More so than ever before, the interconnected nature of the national and Missouri-based efforts to advance specious "voter fraud" claims and bend the operation of government entities to specific partisan political advantage is becoming clear. And the centrality of Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II to all of those efforts has never been more obvious than it is after the aggregation of a number of key facts.

State corporate and federal tax filings indicate that Thor Hearne --the undisputed mastermind and ringleader of the now-defunct and "disappeared" ACVR --- was responsible for the creation of a Missouri-based front group that issued public "reports" about topics like voter registration fraud which echoed messages being pushed at the national level by prominent GOP officials and ACVR itself. The Missouri organization, the Center for Ethics and the Free Market, was partially funded with one of the only (if not the only) monetary grants awarded by the ACVR and had its bookkeeping and non-profit filings done by Garrett Lott, a key figure in the Missouri fee office management company scheme overseen by Show-Me State Governor Matt Blunt and run out of Hearne's powerful Missouri law firm, Lathrop & Gage.

­While the ACVR was likely not even a gleam in his eye, back in February 2003, Thor Hearne filed paperwork with Missouri's Secretary of State to create a non-profit corporation called Center for Research of Ethics in Public Policy and the Free Market. Those records indicate that Hearne --addressed at the St. Louis office of his Lathrop & Gage law firm --- is the registered agent for the outfit. That organization, either for purposes of brevity or for throwing researchers off the trail, uses a slightly modified version of that name --- the Center for Ethics and the Free Market-- for its operations.

Among the work done by the Center for Ethics and the Free Market is "research" that tracks very closely with the "voter fraud" and "voter registration fraud" fearmongering that had been undertaken nationally by the American Center for Voting Rights. In June 2004, just months in advance of a presidential-year general election, the Center for Ethics and the Free Market issued a report that purportedly pointed to "concerns" with Missouri voter registration efforts [PDF] undertaken by progressive groups like America Coming Together and Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition. That report included language intended to inflate the potential for "voter fraud" --- language that has become familiar via various national voter suppression efforts...

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

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UPDATE: Compared Vote Caging With 'Caging Animals'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 10:28pm PT  

Tim Griffin, former Karl Rove protege, former interim US Attorney from Arkansas and felonious vote cager, finally answered some charges in a speech yesterday in Arkansas. Apparently, he welled up with tears at various points in his presentation --- "crying as he said he had no plans to return to politics," reported AP --- to the point that the person who forwarded us the articles on the matter, said we should "call him a wahhhhmbulance."

We'd never be so cruel as to say or report any such thing, of course. That, despite the thousands of voters that Griffin sought to keep from exercising their franchise in America in 2004. During a time of war, no less. All to benefit his Republican paymasters.

AP reports that Timmy says that he plans to stay in Little Rock to "open a 'bipartisan' public affairs firm." We're sure he does.

Concerning the vote caging charges --- the ones based on the pre-2004 emails he sent, with the subject line "Re: caging," which included spreadsheet attachments with the names of thousands of minority (read: Democratic-leaning) voters he'd hoped the GOP would challenge at the polls, including folks in the military serving overseas, by the way --- Arkansas Business reports the former US Attorney is in denial:

"Griffin’s remarks about reports that he participated in effort to suppress Democratic votes, using a technique called "caging," came in response to a question at the end of his speech."This is all made up of whole cloth," he said. "I didn’t cage votes."

Some evidence for the "made up of whole cloth" charges, including some of Griffin's email, is available in this earlier BRAD BLOG exclusive from Greg Palast, who tells us he may have some more comments for us tomorrow on all of this. (UPDATE: Palast's comments on "Tears of a Clone" now here...)

The audio of Griffin's full speech (bring kleenex) is below...

UPDATE: 6/15/07 ThinkProgress quotes more from Griffin's speech in which he refers to the "Internet stuff" about vote caging, and "made jokes comparing caging to tending zoo animals" [emphasis TP's]:

Obviously, I’ve seen the Internet stuff about caging. First of all, the allegations that are on the Internet and have spread through the tabloids are completely and absolutely false, number one. And ridiculous. Caging, as you may know, I had it looked up, is a direct-mail term for basically organizing returned mail. … And I’ll just say that it’s so untrue. … This is all made up and faux pas. I didn’t cage votes, I didn’t cage mail, I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper.

UPDATE: 6/26/07 Video of part of Griffin's speech is now available at BRAD BLOG.

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The Republican Who Most Likely Lost the Race, Held on Touch-Screen DRE Voting Systems, Continues to Serve in Congress as the Democrat Who Won Doesn't...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 6:08pm PT  

Sarasota's Herald-Tribune highlights why it's imperative to get election results right on Election Night...

Probe of District 13 race is slowing

Democrat Christine Jennings was pinning her hopes of winning the 13th District congressional seat on the Democratic majority in Congress.

But a month after essentially abandoning her legal challenge in a Florida court, Jennings is finding her gamble to rely on Congress could take far longer than her supporters had hoped.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is set to tell Congress on Thursday that it needs until September just to determine what other audits, investigations, and court proceedings have already turned up. Then, the GAO would go before Congress again to determine how much additional time, if any, it needs to produce a formal report for Congress with its own research, said Nancy Kingsbury, a spokeswoman for the GAO.

That would hardly conclude the investigation. The report would need to be vetted by a task force and then voted on by a full committee in Congress before it could then go before the full U.S. House, which has final say over the dispute.

That would all have to happen in the eight weeks between Labor Day and the targeted adjournment on Oct. 27 for the rest of the year.

The Congressional challenge is due to problems with touch-screen DRE voting systems in the district which resulted in 18,000 lost votes, in a race certified as having been "won" by the Republican Vern Buchanan over the Democrat Christine Jennings by a 369 vote margin. Even the machine vendor (ES&S)'s own expert in court admitted that Jennings would have most likely won were it not for problems with their touch-screen DRE voting machines during the race.

A recent study of DRE voting systems found that two-thirds of voters didn't bother to check their review screens at the end of the voting process on such systems, and that even if they check them, they do not notice votes that have been flipped by the system. The study concludes that paper trail records, printed out after the review screen on DREs, would similarly not be noticed or checked for accuracy. Those findings confirm earlier results from an MIT/Caltech study which looked at similar issues.

The embarrassments caused by the District 13 race in Florida helped lead the Republican-controlled House and Senate in Florida to finally legislate a ban on DRE touch-screen voting machines altogether.

Supporters of Rush Holt's HR811 Election Reform bill in the U.S. House, however, have said that it's impossible to get a similar ban in the Democratically-controlled House and Senate, so they've refused to add such a ban to their sweeping bill. Those who have made the claim that a DRE ban could never win passage in the Democratically-controlled House and Senate have yet to offer any evidence for that claim, or even offer a single name of a supporter of the bill who would vote against it if it included such a ban.

The bill currently has 216 co-sponsors, although ComputerWorld today confirmed our report from earlier this week that Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) plans to withdraw his co-sponsorship of the bill.

The FL-13 election, meanwhile, was held back in November of 2006. The earliest timetable detailed in the Herald-Trib article, quoted above, would result in a decision on the matter by October of 2007. The Republican Vern Buchanan, who most likely lost the race by nearly everyone's (but his and Sean Hannity's) estimation, continues to vote with the GOP caucus in the House while the Democratic candidate, whom Sarasota voters had tried to send to the U.S. House, bides her time in Florida.

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Refers to GOP Operative, Mark 'Thor' Hearne, by Name as Source of 'Information'
Hearne and His Disinfo Operatives Need to be Subpeonaed Immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 8:05am PT  


This is exactly why Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and his "voter fraud" scamming buddies need to be called in, under oath --- with subpoenas if necessary --- before a Congressional committee. And pronto. The garbage they've been circulating for years is still taken "as gospel" by the Bush Dead Enders.

Here's one of them. Peter Kirsanow, appointed by Bush in 2001 to the US Commission on Civil Rights. Laura McGann has more details on this clown. But at left is the video of this clown's Senate testimony from last Thursday --- even after all of this stuff has been completely discredited --- repeating the same garbage, known well enough for him to repeat it a mile-a-minute, in a hearing concerning intimidation at the polls.

And yes, you read that right. This guy is on the US Commission on Civil Rights. The entire system has been compromised. It's time to haul in the ACVR bunch and get them on the record, to find out exactly "whodunnit." For example, the ACVR had nearly a million dollars to operate their "non-partisan" tax-exempt outfit in order to generate propaganda for chumps like Kirsanow to puke up in official hearings. That was the plan --- even while they lied about it on their tax forms --- and it's still working like a charm.

Before he became a "non-partisan" "voting rights" advocate, Hearne was the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, Inc. He was recognized --- by name --- by Karl Rove when he spoke at a Republic National Lawyers Association event in April of 2006, thanking them for their "work on clean elections" in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

So where did Thor get his million dollars for his now shut down and discredited organization? We still don't know, because nobody has ever asked them under oath.

Anybody in the House or Senate Judiciary Committees paying attention here and feel like finding out?

...CONTACT...
House Judiciary Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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If Voters Don't Notice Incorrect Votes on The Review Screen in Front of Their Face, Why Would They Notice it on a So-Called 'Paper Trail' Printed Afterward?
By John Gideon on 6/13/2007 9:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A new study supports the contentions of Election Integrity advocates who oppose Rush Holt's election reform bill on the basis that it allows for the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems. Supporters of the bill claim that the bills mandate to require so-called "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printers on such DRE systems mitigate the concerns about the machines notorious inaccuracy and proven tamperability. The new study strongly indicates otherwise.

In her recently released doctoral thesis, “The Usability of Electronic Voting Machines and How Votes Can Be Changed Without Detection” [PDF], Rice University researcher and Doctoral candidate Sarah P. Everett reveals that review screens, presented to voters at the end of the voting process on DRE voting machines, fail to be effective.

Of 66 participants from the general Houston population, with a median age of 45 and an even distribution of educational levels only 32% of the voters noticed that malicious changes had been made to their review screens during mock election testing.

A further test was accomplished with 101 participants, with an even gender split (51 males, 50 females), a median age of 40, with most having either some college education or holding a degree. Of those, only 37% of the participants noticed that vote flipping had occurred on their review screens during mock election testing.

Also shocking is that of those 101 participants 6% walked away from the voting machine without pushing the button to cast their ballot. Instead, they just left the voting process at the final review screen. Thus, had this been a real election, a full 6% of the voters would not have had their ballots counted at all.

So when only about one-third of the voters actually review their ballot on the ballot review screen and notice problems why would anyone think that adding a "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail" printer to a DRE will solve any problem? Rather than adding useless and expensive printers; why not just get rid of these machines all together?

In fact, Ms. Everett states, when it comes the use of DRE voting systems [emphasis added]...

[A]s the situation currently stands, voters cannot be depended upon to check the validity of their vote. Many security experts and election reform groups are calling for VVPATs to be required on all DREs and as of the 2006 elections, nearly half of the states mandated that their DREs have paper trails (electionline.org, 2006). However, these studies show that solutions to DRE security problems that require voter verification of their ballots may not solve vote-flipping problems. Users are not even checking their ballots on the review screen that is presented directly in front of them.
...
The findings here suggest that it is highly unlikely that voters will detect changes to their ballots on the VVPAT that prints out on a roll of paper next to the machine if they are not even noticing them on a screen presented directly in front of them.

===

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call you members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2007 6:11pm PT  

Voter Fraud zealot Bradley Schlozman takes his do-over concerning testimony he gave last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning his assertion (made 10 times in all), that it was Craig Donsanto of the Election Crimes division at the DoJ's Public Integrity unit who gave him the go ahead to bring voter fraud charges in Missouri days before last November's election. The indictments were in strict violation of the DoJ's written policies --- written by Donsanto, in fact --- that bar such indictments at times that they may have an impact on an election.

Says Schlozzie, in his freshly-filed and obviously-forced about face: "I want to be clear that, while I relied on the consultation with, and suggestions of, the Election Crimes Branch in bringing the indictments when I did, I take full responsibility for the decision to move forward with the prosecutions related to ACORN while I was the interim U.S. Attorney."


To which Sen. Leahy --- who pressed Schlozman hard on this precise point in a memorably heated exchange during the hearing (see angry video at left)-- says: "It is deeply troubling that after weeks of preparation Mr. Schlozman appears to have misled the Committee and the public about his decision to file an election eve lawsuit in direct conflict with longstanding Justice Department policy."

Also related...Hans von Spakovsky, Schlozman's GOP "voter fraud" partner at DoJ, comes before the Senate tomorrow for a hearing concerning his appointment as chair of the FEC. He had been previously recess-appointed to the position by Bush, but his Get Out of Jail Free Card is now up, and tomorrow he'll finally face questions on his role in gutting the Voting Rights Act at the DoJ against the advice of the decades-long experience of civil rights attorneys in the Voting Unit there. Five of those former DoJ staffers have written a letter to Congress urging them to reject von Spakovsky's nomination.

Paul Kiel at TPM Muck has many more details on both the Schlozman do-over and von Spakovsky's DoJ chicanery in advance of tomorrow's hearing.

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While Aggressively Enforcing Minor Provision of Law to Rework Voter Rolls, Purge 'Ineligible' and 'Dead' Voters
400 'Dead' Voters in Michigan Alone Complained About Being Kicked off the Rolls...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2007 6:21pm PT  

McClatchy's Greg Gordon today:

Representatives of three liberal-leaning groups came to the Justice Department in 2004, armed with evidence that hundreds of public-assistance agencies had illegally failed to offer voter registration to their mostly poor and minority clients.Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, which imposed the requirement, in 1993. But after these agencies registered 2.6 million people to vote in 1995-1996, the total registered plunged to about 1 million in 2003-2004.

Michael Slater, the Oregon-based deputy director of the national registration group Project Vote, said officials of the Justice Department's civil rights division showed little interest in enforcing that part of the law.
...
He said the groups' representatives told the Justice Department officials: "Look, we have physical hard evidence that states aren't doing this. They're taking their eye off the ball. We want to see some enforcement."

Slater said [Bush-appointee to the DoJ Civil Rights division, Hans] von Spakovsky listened quietly and then made comments to the effect of "hmmm" and "that's interesting," but took no action.

Emails from Von Spakovsky recently revealed that he was also busy strong-arming and attempting "deals" with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on a number of issues concerning disenfranchising Photo ID poll restrictions around that same time. For his efforts in all of the above, of course, von Spakovsky would later be recess-appointed by Bush to chair the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). We yelled about that appointment back in January of 2006 when nobody was listening.

A sampling of the extraordinary disparity in numbers of voter registrations taken by government agencies under the Clinton DoJ v. Bush DoJ...

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

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(Imagine What We Could Have Done if the GOP Gave US the Million Dollars That Thor Had?!)
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2007 3:12pm PT  

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter/columnist Jo Mannies follows up on her report from yesterday on the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) "voter fraud" scamster Thor Hearne, the high-level GOP muckety-muck, below-the-radar "grass roots" propagandist, Bush/Cheney '04 national general counsel, and top-order Democratic vote suppressor.

You'll recall that yesterday's report from Mannies had paraphrased Hearne's comment to the effect of his "most vocal critics also are Web-based liberal blog sites." As it turns out, Hearne had actually mentioned The BRAD BLOG by name in her interview with him, according to what Mannies told us yesterday when she called seeking comment. As she hadn't been able to reach me the day before, she didn't want to mention us in that piece specifically until she was able to get comment in response.

For whatever reason, Mannies is the only member of the media right now to whom Hearne seems willing to talk since his operation was forced underground in the glare of the U.S. Attorney Purge spotlight. Hearne has refused comment to all manner of MSM-types seeking interviews --- even begging off, along with his other ACVR partners in crime, from an NPR piece yesterday which covered Hearne and his scam. (Their report kindly included a brief clip from an interview with us, pointing out that we broke the story on these cretins two years ago and have been keeping up the drumbeat ever since.)

Mannies told us yesterday that "Thor says he's in the spotlight because some of the blogs, particularly yours, which he mentioned by name, have put him there." So much for the old Republican saw about taking personal responsibility for oneself. But whatever. While she was unable to find the direct quote from her interview with him for her follow-up piece today, she did manage to name a few names in it --- ours.

Here's that entire follow-up from today's Post-Dispatch...

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

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