Anectodal for the moment. But a sign of a larger problem? We're doing our best to keep an eye on this, and related incidents today, as you may suspect.
Posted early this AM by Jim Sheaves at BlueNC [emphasis in the original]...
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Anectodal for the moment. But a sign of a larger problem? We're doing our best to keep an eye on this, and related incidents today, as you may suspect.
Posted early this AM by Jim Sheaves at BlueNC [emphasis in the original]...
The Republican War on Voting continues apace.
In addition to the recent, outrageously bad decision by the Supreme Court to approve Indiana's draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions, sure to keep thousands of legal voters from even being able to cast votes in tomorrow's important Primary Election --- despite the state's inability to offer up a single instance of in-person polling place voter impersonation that's ever occurred during the state's entire history (as we've covered here, here and here, for example) --- another 1.1 million voters have now been purged from the voting rolls altogether, reports Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, as based on the Hoosier State's own data.
Moreover, the state will use unverifiable touch-screen style voting systems across the state. One widely used system, made by MicroVote, will be used despite having been decertified, and two other systems, made by ES&S and Diebold, have been found vulnerable to undetectable vote-flipping viruses by several reputable universities.
According to Harris' report...
Curiouser and curiouser in New Jersey...
See Kim Zetter's WIRED report for the details, where, incidentally, she notes, "no problem shows up for the Republican primary numbers."
...Or did they?...
...Well, go figure.
That skill set should come in very handy down there in, of all places, San Diego, where the far-right Republican Board of Supes, and the far-right Republican Registrar of Voters office, have never met a hackable Diebold electronic voting system they didn't love.
I recall "Strider" (Krvaric) and the "Fairlight" boyz from my own C-64 and BBS "warez" swapping days in the late 80's. Those guys, and the other incredibly competitive pirate crews, could crack anything, anytime, usually within minutes after a new piece of software hit the market (and often, even before it did!).
But no doubt, the air-tight, mission-critical, impenetrable security in Diebold's voting systems would be beyond the reach of d00dz like Strider and friends. And, of course, there's far more to gain by a 17-year-old "Strider" cracking the codes of, say, International Karate Plus and Shoot 'em Up Construction Kit than there ever would be for him, as county GOP chair, to hack an election in San Diego, right? I mean, what would possibly be the upside to that?
Faced with extraordinarily bad press concerning her company's failed voting machines, which a NJ judge has now ordered to be independently examined (decidedly not by the "blonde nymph"-seeking dude Sequoia originally employed for their own "independent examination"), an impending hostile takeover by competitor Hart InterCivic, and her own boss's recent admission that the company doesn't even control the intellectual property rights to its own voting machines, Sequoia Voting Systems VP of Communications & External Affairs (and part owner), Michelle Shafer, has been left fairly desperate to find some "good news" lately with which to try and fool the company's clients.
But Never-Say-Die Shafer doesn't give up the ghost easily. So in a quick, if somewhat sad, bottom-of-the-barrel scraping article posted to her "Ballot Blog" at the Sequoia website this week, she attempted to trumpet the "Keystone State Success" for Sequoia, following last week's PA primary.
"Pennsylvania elections went very well last week," she writes. "We’ve had a chance to check in with our customers in York, Montgomery and Northampton counties, and it looks like it was a successful primary for all of them," blogged Shafer, before going on to quote the "success" of the company's voting systems, as reported by two different PA newspapers.
One selective quote, from one of the papers, sings the praises of Sequoia's AVC Advantage e-voting machines (the same ones which were found to have failed to tabulate votes correctly in NJ's recent Super Tuesday primary), because "Even the older people liked them."
But the same papers Shafer selectively quoted from also offered not-so-wonderful stories about the "success" of the company's machines in Pennsylvania.
Here's what Shafer --- who may as well tattoo a permanent "Kick Me!" sign on her back at this point --- seems to have forgotten to quote, from the very same articles she pointed to, in her blog item about them...
We've never been contacted by the makers of HBO's upcoming Recount film, which promises to be a theatrical re-telling of the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle in Florida. Yet, we'll chalk it up to one helluva/swelluva coincidence, that the preview for the film, as seen below, happens to use The BRAD BLOG's own personal "theme song," Stuck in the Middle With You. Go figure...
HBO's film begins airing May 25, and while we hate to give away the ending, Al Gore won [PDF].
Of course, that's only if one bothers to count all of the ballots actually successfully cast (if not counted) in the state of Florida, as a media and academic consortium did, as seen at the link above, revealing that by every possible chad-counting standard (hanging, pregnant, swinging, etc.) Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush. Period.
That might help to explain why Bush had to go to his friends on the Supreme Court to get them not to allow the ballots to be counted, in one of the most remarkably liberal acts of judicial activism, undercutting states' rights, in the history of this nation.
But we're guessing the film has that other, less accurate ending, implying that Bush actual "won" Florida (which he didn't).
In either case, since the myths of the FL 2000 election are likely to be re-debated afresh with the release of HBO's film, we wanted to a) Offer the link above (showing that Gore received more votes in FL than Bush) and b) Remind you, and the entirety of the corporate mainstream media, which ignored it when the following report first aired, that the chads on those ballots in Florida hung for a reason. As 7 former employees of Sequoia Voting Systems, the company which produced FL's paper ballots in 2000, attest on-camera, they were forced by company superiors to use inferior paper for those ballots, only the ones going to Florida, and were further ordered to misalign the chads on those paper ballots, but only for those going to Dem stronghold Palm Beach County.
That, after decades of producing ballots which never featured a hanging chad.
If you've yet to see it, here's the mind-blowing section of Dan Rather's remarkable HDNet report which aired last summer, but was picked up by absolutely nobody in the CMSM thereafter. If you can't watch the following, the transcript is posted here. But if you've not seen this one yet, please prepare to be amazed, and appalled...
On Election Day in 2006, in Sarasota County's 13th U.S. Congressional district race, some 18,000 votes cast on ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems failed to register a vote for either candidate on the ballot. It was an extraordinarily high undervote rate, which has never been explained, in an election outcome determined by just 369 votes. (BRAD BLOG's long series of reports on FL-13 here.)
Nonetheless, just last year, the county's horrible, and still un-resigned, Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent (one of the country's absolute worst), lied to a bunch of colleagues during a speaking engagement at the Pacific Northwest Election Conference.
"It was only after the results were in and the 18,000 undervotes were revealed that all of a sudden there were all of these folks that started saying well they couldn't touch the machines ... and their vote wasn't registering," she tells her colleagues, as seen in the video above right, as captured by Ginny Ross of the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition.
"But they were all after the fact," Dent informs the crowd, "and there were no phone calls coming into my office. So it's a little bit of an indication that there may have been some politics involved in this."
Documentation from her own office, however (yes, a paper trail!), shows incontestably that the Election Director's comments, as caught on tape, are a complete and utter and unrepentant fabrication...
Sure, Diebold voting systems have been easily hacked again and again. Sure, they use the same hotel mini-bar key for all of them. Sure, they posted the key online so folks could make their own at home. Sure, they leave their poorly written source code on the Internet for folks to download and study it. And, sure, there are many videos (e.g., here and here) to help you through those final steps, in order to successfully hack them yourself.
Still, there's nothing like hands-on practice, in the privacy of your home, to make sure you get everything just right before the big day comes. So, might we suggest this lovely new Diebold/Premier Accuvote OSx voting system, currently available to the highest bidder at eBay?
Hey Election Officials and Voting Machines Companies: How's that whole "security by obscurity" thing going? Might we suggest security by transparency and full citizen oversight instead? Oh, that's right. We have. Many times. But please feel free to continue to ignore us.
(Hat-tip to Melissa Urda, of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, where, btw, almost the exact same Diebold Accuvote systems are currently used in 64 of Illinois' 111 counties, not to mention thousands more around the country. So, run don't walk over to eBay, sez us!)
As the great voting rights advocate, Rush Limbaugh, trumpeted at the beginning of his radio show this morning, today's 6 to 3 Supreme Court ruling allowing new, modern restrictions regarding which citizens may or may not cast votes at American polling places on Election Day, is "a huge, huge, huge move forward to undercut Democrat efforts to commit voter fraud this fall."
Fortunately, instead of coming in June as expected, this decision on an Indiana Photo ID restriction case comes just in time to prevent massive voter fraud at the polls in Indiana's Democratic Primary two weeks from now, when millions of fraudulent Democratic voters were almost certainly plotting to try and show up to vote on electronic voting systems on which it's impossible to prove one way or another whether they did or didn't vote the way the machines will tell us they did. With voting systems like those in use across the Hoosier State, and elsewhere around the country, it's all the more reason to ensure those Democrats can't show up and commit the fraud they were probably planning to engage in on May 6th!
The news is certainly the most important SCOTUS decision pertaining to elections since the triumphant, well-considered, and much-beloved Bush v. Gore decision of 2000. Today's verdict will undoubtedly be heralded and taught at American institutions of learning for decades to come, with the same reverence as that dedicated to landmark Supreme Court decisions like 1857's Dredd Scott v. Sandford ruling, which thankfully found that "people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants --- whether or not they were slaves --- could never be citizens of the United States, and that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories."
The Supremes have done it again! But no such important American political battle like that which was won today is ever fought alone. Due thanks must go to the long-fought efforts of countable simple citizens around our nation, concerned about the integrity of voting. We'd be remiss without noting some of the selfless freedom fighters who helped make today's great news a reality: Courageous, unheralded voices, such as those of "longtime advocate of voter rights" and Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, tireless Republican "voter fraud" information-wareness man John Fund, and Bush-appointed DoJ Civil Rights Division guardians of the ballot box, like Hans von Spakovsky, Bradley Schlozman and its former Voting Section chief, John "Minorities Die First" Tanner.
Thanks to brave men like them, and Mr. Limbaugh, of course, it'll be a new day at the polling place this fall! One in which, if Republicans legislators around the country hurry up and get on the anti-voter fraud ball, they can assure that millions of Democratic-leaning citizens won't be fraudulently mistaken for actual voters when they show up at their polling places this November.
But are restrictions that may keep just blacks and the elderly from casting a ballot enough to ensure the true integrity of our vote? Shouldn't we keep fighting to ensure that legitimate voters like you and me don't have our voices diluted by even more fraudulent groups out there, like gays, communists, and dead people, who every year change the results of election after election through their insidious anti-American efforts, because I say they do?
Read on for a couple of new ideas. Clearly, today's SCOTUS decision is a good start, but it hardly goes far enough to ensure that the right American voices are heard, as our founders intended! 14th Amendment, equal protection, blah, blah, blah, my ass!...
At least one photo I hadn't previously seen, even as Pennsylvania officials were telling the media that all was going well last Tuesday. Even while we documented, in no uncertain terms, that it wasn't.
Trouble with Diebold, purportedly in Allentown...
(Hat-tip to NCVoter's Joyce McCloy, to whom we wish the best of luck in the upcoming North Carolina primary. What could possibly go wrong?)
UPDATE: Several readers have written in to point out the above photo does come from Allentown, PA, but from the 2006 election, as originally reported here. Can't believe I'd never seen that photo before! In any case, happy to put it on the official BRAD BLOG record here, as just one more way these machines can fail on Election Day, leaving the possibility of voters unable to even cast a ballot (much less have it be counted in a way that can be verified as accurate, a notion that is strictly impossible with the type of voting machine seen above, even when it "works" as designed!)
[UPDATED: Please be sure to see the update, containing exclusive, previously unreported news, added at the bottom of this article.]
The BRAD BLOG learned this morning that a New Jersey judge has today given plaintiffs and Princeton University computer scientists the right to examine the state's Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed to record voter totals accurately, in at least six different counties, during the Garden State's recent Super Tuesday primary.
Sequoia had previously both threatened legal action against the professors, despite a unanimous request from a state association of county election clerks, and attempted to quash the court-ordered subpoenas to have the machines impounded and examined independently.
The Courier-Post confirms this afternoon, and publishes the following account of the Judge's decision today...
The order was issued today by Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg in Trenton. She dropped a May trial date on the reliability of the machines but says the trial should start by September.
She has been asked to decide if the state's 10,000 electronic voting machines should be scrapped, as the voting rights advocates contend.
The state of New Jersey says the machines should continue to be used in elections.
The manufacturer of the machines, Sequoia Voting Systems, has resisted efforts to have the machines tested independently.
The BRAD BLOG has covered this (sometimes very amusing) saga in great detail, since it first came to light following the election (and even on Election Day, when machine failure kept the NJ Governor from being able to cast his own vote for 45 minutes).
For those who haven't been able to keep up with it all, a post which quickly recaps the bulk of Sequoia's disgraceful NJ behavior can be read here.
We've also continued to cover (with complete exclusivity, unless someone else in the media cares to join us! Hello?) the saga of beleaguered Sequoia's fight for their very life, as they attempt to fend off a hostile take-over by competitor Hart InterCivic.
IMPORTANT/EXCLUSIVE UPDATE!: AP jumps in with a few more details raising a point which The BRAD BLOG can reveal here for the first time, concerning Sequoia's "intellectual property" rights. Namely, they neither own, nor control them, as admitted recently by the company's own CEO...
Early on election night last Tuesday, with just 18.07% of the unofficial returns from the Pennsylvania Primary in, astute BRAD BLOG reader Matt Sircely (who was aware enough to save off the HTML page locally!) noticed the following oddity on the official Dept. of State website results page...
Note the three different sets of bars and percentages representing Obama's tally. The problem did not occur for any other candidate [Update: looks like it did, see updates at bottom of article for more info], as seen on the full web page, which was noticed early in the evening, and saved locally by the alert reader. Whatever the problem, it was eventually corrected by officials.
Today, Sircely called the PA Dept. of State to try and get an explanation of what caused the problem seen above (audio from call is posted at the end of this article)...
Problem reports from polling places in PA, including voting machine malfunctions and long lines, began coming in early this morning. That could be an ominous sign, given that on most Election Days, the real extent of problems, at least with voting systems, isn't fully revealed until later, and often in the days after the election. See our report yesterday detailing concerns about e-voting equipment (though not from officials, who weren't concerned at all) and whether there would be enough machines to go around (presuming they work at all) across Pennsylvania.
Election Prob Hotlines...Machine probs: 1-866-MY-VOTE-1, Machine & other probs: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, Fraud tips: 1-888-VOTE-TIP
4/23, 2:40am ET: "Smooth Sailing" say the media...even if their very own reporting revealed otherwise...
This will likely be the last of our "Problem Report Wire" dispatches added to this item. We'll pick up the rest of the PA mess, and there is a lot of it, in subsequent blog items.
The long list of reports that you can peruse below, from the past 24 hours, mostly culled directly from the corporate media itself, belie the claims made all day yesterday by many public officials and even the media themselves, that all went well at the polls in the Keystone State.
Countless voters were unable to cast a vote yesterday in PA. The overwhelming majority of those who succeeded in doing so, will never be able to determine whether or not their vote was counted accurately, or even at all, given that some 85% of those votes were cast on machines in which it is literally impossible for anyone, ever, to verify that a single vote was recorded accurately as per the voter's intent. We explained all of that here Monday night, prior to the election, in our article "The Pennsylvania Primary: Democracy of the Gods".
As we mentioned then, if any election official in PA (or anywhere else), or any voting machine company employee, or even any citizen, has proof otherwise, The BRAD BLOG would be happy to see it, and share it with everyone. But that proof will never come, because it does not exist, to the eternal shame of those who would allow such voting systems to be used in American democracy.
The headline of the first story in our final posted collection below, may say it all. The headline indicates "Mostly smooth sailing at polls," yet we suspect the voters referenced, who will never know if their vote was counted at all, and those who can never know if their vote was counted accurately (that would be all of them who voted on an e-voting machine!) may feel otherwise.
NOTE FROM JOHN GIDEON OF VOTERSUNITEORG: Since when is it NOT necessary to count every vote? This tells me that it may not be necessary, in the county's mind, to count the provisional ballots.
Election officials in Cheltenham's 4-1 ward reported problems with both electronic voting machines assigned to that polling place shortly after the polls opened at 7 a.m. There were approximately 200 people in line at the time.
A replacement machine, which had to be programmed, was not delivered until after 11 a.m.
Poll workers offered emergency ballots to those initial would-be voters who could not wait for a functioning voting machine or could not return to vote. However, those at the polls said the offer of emergency ballots came too late for many who were angry and stormed out, claiming they had to get to work or go out of town. Only some 60 to 70 emergency ballots were filled out.
Griffith said that is a violation of the law.
It is. Read the full story for the reasoning of the election officials, but as time allows, we will try to look into this story a bit deeper for more details.
The following video comes fresh from our buddy Jake Soboroff of Why Tuesday? He was at last night's Democratic debate and tried to get some answers from some of the local Democratic public officials on hand --- including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and PA Governor Ed Rendell --- to see if they had any concerns about the e-voting machines to be used in next week's crucial PA Primary.
Kudos to Jake for asking, just one of the so-many questions (if, arguably, one of the most important) that the Corporate Media, such as ABC News, couldn't even be bothered to dream of, apparently.
Despite the fact that, next week, wholly unverifiable, 100% faith-based e-voting systems will be in use across much of the Keystone State --- including, perhaps most notably, Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screens in Montgomery and Northhampton counties, even though very same systems failed so spectacularly in neighboring NJ on Super Tuesday (see this recent BRAD BLOG story for the quick skinny on what happened, and continues to be going on with the NJ/Sequoia failed touch-screen imbroglio) --- the election officials interviewed by Soboroff, in the following quick video recorded just last night, remain utterly and completely clueless.
It's simply amazing...
And folks wonder why the job of restoring Election Integrity in this country is so frickin' hard?!
The above video --- including Nutter's comments that there have been "no problems" with the machines, since, after all, they got him elected, and Rendell's admission that he "knows nothing about them", but that they are "all HAVA approved machines" --- underscores how unbelievably difficult this fight is, and how clueless the very folks needed to help make a change actually are, in this entire fine mess.
Suggestion to Soboroff for next vid: Ask any elected official or election official in PA, or anywhere else, if they can prove that even a single vote --- as cast on any touch-screen machine during any actual election --- has ever been recorded and counted accurately as the voter intended. Just evidence of a single such vote will do. They will not be able to do so. None of them.
UPDATE 4/19/08: The good election integrity champions of VotePA touched base with us concerning our above suggestion to Soboroff to point out that there is one way possible to prove that a touch-screen/DRE counted a vote accurately, as per voter intent, during an actual election. An unusual write-in candidate could be cast, and then checked after the election to see if it was recorded accurately. Therefore, we'll slightly modify our currently suggested challenge above, to any election official, asking for proof of any non-write-in vote having been recorded accurately as per voter intent, as ever cast on a DRE/touch-screen voting machine during an actual election. We've made that challenge for quite a while (minus the "non-write-in" part), and we've yet to receive an iota of proof from any election official, even from those who will tell you that their DRE/touch-screens record votes "accurately".
Truth is, they have nothing to prove their case. Not even a single (non-write-in) vote ever cast. Yet they still claim them to be "accurate" without any such scientific evidence of same. Go figure.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune's column today on the awful Sarasota, FL, Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent --- and the criminal complaint against her outrageous, unlawful Election Day, in-precinct campaigning against a 2006 ballot initiative to ban touch-screen voting machines in the county (the initiative passed, despite her best efforts, and carefully placed brochures on voter sign-in tables!) --- is so good that I don't want to quote from it.
I want you to read it.
As the Herald-Trib describes, as revealed in Dent's interview conducted by the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, concerning her inappropriate (and illegal) placement of pro-touch-screen brochures in polling places, Dent admits she was aware of a voter's complaint about it, but ignored it "because she had assumed it was from 'one of the activists' that had been criticizing her and her machines."
The FDLE report on the matter, including their interview with the apparently-pathological Ms. Dent, as referenced in the column as "good reading", may be downloaded here [PDF, 16mb].
Dent, of course, is the woman who also presided over the FL-13 U.S. Congressional election that same year, when 18,000 votes disappeared in her county only, and only on her precious, now-banned, ES&S Ivotronic touch-screen machines, as the Republican Vern Buchanan reportedly edged out Democrat Christine Jennings by just 369 votes.
If the linked column doesn't give you enough of an idea of what a horrible, anti-democracy villain Dent really is, perhaps the following lovely, 30-second phone message --- left on the voice mail of Tallahassee' Election Supervisor (and democracy hero), Ion Sancho, moments after he appeared on a Fort Myers radio show, heard in Sarasota, in which he was asked about, and praised, the Sarasota citizen ballot initiative to do away with the touch-screens --- will give you some idea:
Sancho adds that Dent was also scheduled to appear on the same program, but begged off, likely after she'd heard that he would also be a guest. Though when he got off the air and checked his cell phone messages, he found she'd called immediately after the program. So she was apparently available to listen to it, at least, even if she didn't have the courage to come on and defend her views.
We hope to have more soon on Dent and this case --- for which she's (incredibly) been exonorated by the FDLE --- in the not-too-distant future.
CORRECTION/UPDATE: We originally characterized the phone call from Dent to Sancho, posted above, as being in regard to the FL-13 election fiasco. In fact, Dent's call to Sancho was made prior to the '06 Election, in reference to his radio interview comments on the Election Reform initiative, as now explained above. We touched base with Sancho just now, and he had some additional thoughts about Dent and her inappropriate campaign to defeat the initiative in question. Said Sancho: "This woman knowingly campaigned against an initiative on the ballot. If she wanted to do that, at a minimum, she should have formed a political action committee to do so. Supervisors of Elections don't give up their right to free speech, but they have to follow the law, particularly if they wish to influence anything on the ballot."
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