TPMMuckraker has the scoop on the latest now-former U.S. Attorney to resign entirely from the DoJ in the wake of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Bradley Schlozman had reportedly been under investigation by the DoJ's inspector general. Schlozman had been moved into the U.S. Attorney position in Western Missouri before subsequently bringing bogus "voter fraud" indictments in the state just prior to the November 2006 general election.
The MO indictments were in violation of the DoJ's own written rules, which disallowed such cases being brought during an election period. After leaving his post in Kansas City recently, Schlozman had been reassigned at DoJ in the office which oversees all U.S. Attorneys. He was recently called to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was on the receiving end of angry disbelieving questions by Sen. Patrick Leahy (video of the exchange here). After the testimony, a DoJ insider told The BRAD BLOG that he found testimony to be "on the razor's edge of purjury." Schlozman would later send clarification of his testimony to the Senate Committee.
Schlozzie --- along with Hans von Spakovsky, who still awaits Senate confirmation for appointment as head the FEC, after he'd previously been recess-appointed by Bush last year --- have been much criticized by DoJ insiders for helping to gut the Voting Rights section of the department's Civil Rights division.
While dozens of DoJ and White House officials have been forced to quit in the wake of the scandal, the White House and DoJ continue to insist that no illegalities or improprieties were committed.
More information about the following report is available here. Since its airing, election legal watchdog Voter Action has called for a full Congressional investigation into the possibility of commercial fraud by the voting machine companies as based upon some of the startling information revealed in this exposé...
NOTE: As the original Google version of this report has been taken down for some reason, we are making it available here, in three easy to watch segments. Additionally, a complete transcript is now posted here, courtesy of Jerry Berkman.
Part 1 (30:09): Concentrates on voting machine vendor ES&S and their previously undisclosed touch-screen sweatshop factories in Manila...
Part 2 (8:07): Dan Rather interviews electronic voting apologist, machine tester, Michael Shamos...
Part 3 (26:25): The "HOLY COW!" revelations about Florida 2000 and the seven whistleblowers from Sequoia who reveal, for the first time, that "somebody" at Sequoia purposely used lower grade paper and misaligned the chads (for Palm Beach County, FL specifically) on the paper ballots used in that Presidential Election (see additional comments from John Gideon and Brad Friedman on this section below)...
UPDATE By John Gideon: The revelations in Rather's report from the Sequoia punch-card printers, that inferior paper was used in the 2000 election in Palm Beach, are stunning. It was all about corporate greed. Sequoia Voting Systems has a big anvil hanging over their heads and it is hanging by a thread. No wonder Smartmatic only paid $16M for Sequoia which had assets over $40M. The previous owners of Sequoia, De La Rue, wanted out and now Smartmatic wants out but who is going to buy Sequoia now with all of their liabilities?
ADDITIONAL UPDATE FROM BRAD: Holy cow! If you haven't seen this thing, you must. The second half of the program, after the stunning revelations of the ES&S sweatshop in Manila, followed by a mostly useless interview with voting machine apologist Michael Shamos, breaks some enormous news concerning Sequoia's apparent effort to create havoc with Florida's punch-cards in 2000. With seven company whistleblowers, all interviewed on camera, and by name, objecting to the company's use of faulty paper and then misalignment of chads, specifically for Democratic Palm Beach County only, this thing could lead to huge fallout.
The remarkable report --- for which Rather should receive some kind of award --- reopens 2000, as nobody at Sequoia is willing to cop to signing off on the bad paper and misaligned chads business after all seven employees interview had refused to do so. Who gamed that election? At whose orders? And doesn't that open up new questions concerning Clint Curtis' allegations that he was asked by Tom Feeney, prior to the 2000 election, to create software to rig a touch-screen voting system. Up until now, one of the criticism of Curtis' claims has been that "nobody was even thinking about touch-screens prior to the 2000 election. This report, and the fact that Sequoia was using touch-screens as early as 1998 in Riverside County, CA, may blow that wide open.
UPDATE 8/28/07: More details on the above update, and this report seals up yet another allegation of the formerly Republican whistleblower Clint Curtis, now here...
Today our friends at VoterAction announced an action alert to ask the United State's Congress to take action to investigate "the increasing influence and control that private companies wage in the way we conduct our elections and to determine whether certain US voting systems companies have committed crimes under federal and state anti-fraud statutes which should be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution".
VoterAction is asking that you sign a petition to congress.
Their statement follows on the heels of evidence revealed in Dan Rather's stunning investigative report on "The Trouble with Touchscreens" (complete video now posted here) and charges that the report "raises serious questions as to whether US voting systems companies have engaged in commercial fraud by knowingly marketing defective products to jurisdictions throughout the country."
If you're within driving, walking, running distance of St. Louis, Missouri, please consider coming out Thursday Night to the Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood (216 East Argonne) for an Election Integrity evening.
I'll be speaking and answering questions and heckles, right here in Thor Hearne Country, after a screening of Dorothy Fadiman's excellent documentary, Stealing America: Vote by Vote (which is being submitted for an Academy Award nomination, btw).
The sponsors of the free event, Missourians for Honest Elections, have also invited to speak both Thor Hearne, chief Bush/Cheney/GOP voter disenfranchiser and founder of the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), as well Paul DiGregorio, former St. Louis County Election Director turned chair of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) who parlayed those jobs into his current position at the ironically named Internet voting company Everyone Counts. Those St. Louisans, and several others currently serving on the county's Board of Elections have all so far declined the invitation to show up, speak, and answer questions.
So I guess I'll have to talk about them instead.
WHEN: Thursday, August 16, 2007. Film at 6:30pm CT, I speak at 7:30pm CT. WHERE: Eliot Unitarian Chapel, 216 E. Argonne, Kirkwood, MO (map) MORE DETAILS:Here and here, along with some kind words from the Fired Up! Missouri folks right here.
Here's an in-studio radio appearance I did yesterday with the great newsman, Don Marsh on KWMU, St. Louis' NPR station. Exit pollster and political scientist Ken Warren also joined us by phone for the 45 minute interview with callers, etc. St. Louis County Election Director, John Diehl was supposed to call in late in the program. He never showed. Go figure.
Were you disenfranchised in some way in a recent election? Did you have trouble casting your vote for some reason? Or do you know someone who had such a problem?
If so, the "Voice of Witness" program would like to hear your story and allow you to tell it to the world, in your own voice, in their latest book in their series of first-person stories. The VOW series "allows those most affected by contemporary social injustice to speak for themselves" in order to "illustrate human rights crises through the voices of the victims." After two books, one on the wrongfully convicted and the other on victims of Hurricane Katrina, the next book in their series will be on voter disenfranchisement.
One of the project's coordinators, Miranda Yaver, tells The BRAD BLOG that they are "focusing on interviewing Latinos, Native Americans, Arab Americans, people who had issues in New Mexico in 2004, and people who had issues in Florida in 2000, although if there are good stories in other areas or elections, I'd certainly be interested in talking with those people as well."
She's asked The BRAD BLOG to help her get out the word about this worthy project, and we're more than happy to help.
If you'd like to tell your story, please be the media and contact Yaver at email@example.com. Or pass this article or that email address on to someone you know who may have such a story to tell, or who might know some folks that do.
As we reported on July 15, Ron Paul's supporters were concerned that Diebold touch-screen voting machines were going to be used in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll. Well, it turns out the concerns about touch-screens were misplaced, as the GOP chose paper-based Diebold optical-scan machines instead. But their fears of Diebold may well have been justified as two of their op-scan systems failed and delayed the reported results.
While GOP candidate Mitt Romney may have walked away with a winning edge in the Iowa Straw Poll, Diebold was true to form as their voting system failed to count ballots correctly. As the Des Moines Register is reporting two of Diebold's optical scanners failed and 1500 paper ballots had to be manually recounted by hand...
Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement of the vote totals. About 1,500 ballots needed to be recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for Republican Party of Iowa.
Two machines caused the problem, said State Auditor David Vaudt. “What likely happened is someone submitted their ballot too quickly after the other,” he said. The ballots from those machines were hand counted, then re-fed into the system to recalculate the vote. A campaign poll-watcher said in one instance, a black box contained 500 paper ballots but the machine’s memory said it had scanned in 498.
At least there were paper ballots that could be hand counted when the machines failed. Had the Republican's used Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines --- as millions of Americans are forced to do each Election Day --- there would have been nothing to go back to when the machines failed.
Either way, there were reportedly 14,203 total ballots cast. So going by the Des Moines Register's reported numbers, more than 10.5% of the ballots had to be recounted. If we go by The Atlantic's reported numbers, nearly 32% of the ballots in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll had to be recounted by hand.
Looks like the Republican National Committee is getting a particularly early start in their attempts to steal next year's election. And from the looks of Paul Kiel's report on the deceptive RNC letter sent to a life-long Democratic voter in the Show Me State, once again Missouri may be ground zero in 2008.
All of which is swell, because we happen to be in Missouri this week, and plan to speak to folks in St. Louis next Thursday at an event sponsored by Missourians for Honest Elections (yes, there still are a few, including MO SoS Robin Carnahan, whose office contacted us to chat a bit yesterday upon seeing we'd be in town). We'll be causing trouble in Thor Hearne Country, firing up the troops, and taking questions, after a showing of Dorothy Fadiman's superb documentary Stealing America: Vote by Vote (which we're told is being submitted for Academy Award nomination).
See Kiel's story for the details on the GOP's latest efforts to game democracy and fool voters, instead of impressing them with actual ideas and policy, as that's what this quick item was meant to be about. But otherwise, if you're in or near St. Louis, please stop by Eliot Church in Kirkwood next Thursday night! More details are available here.
Meanwhile...Back in Florida's 13th Congressional District, where Christine Jennings has already announced plans to run again in 2008 for the seat she almost certainly already won in 2006, but hasn't been allowed to sit in it due to ES&S's touch-screen voting machines standing in the way of democracy...
WASHINGTON --- Federal investigators have found several potential shortcomings in previous state and local reviews of the disputed election results in Sarasota County's November election, keeping them from ruling out the prospect that the touch-screen voting machines were compromised.
That, from Sarasota Herald-Tribune, despite Sarasota County's still-unresigned Supervisor of Elections and democracy-hater-in-chief, Kathy Dent hiding shamelessly behind the skirts of the flawed and misrepresented state-convened "audit" of the voting systems used in her disastrously run election. The federal investigators from the GAO seems to be countering the state's and Dent's assertions that their own review proved that 'there was nothing wrong with the voting systems.'
Our sources say that the GAO reports that "gaps" were found during their investigation. Though --- as with nearly everything involving E-voting --- the investigation into what happened last November is shrouded in secrecy for now. So it remains unclear to the lowly voters as to what those "gaps" are that the GAO has discovered and which may have aborted their preferred choice of representation in the U.S. House...
"The problems we found in the code were far more pervasive, and much more easily exploitable, than I had ever imagined they would be." Matt Blaze 02 August
Today the California Source Code Review Reports were released by Secretary of State Bowen's office. Reports were released on the Diebold, Sequoia, and Hart Intercivic voting systems.
The lead researcher for the Sequoia source code team was Matt Blaze. In his blog, Exhaustive Search, Blaze discusses the results of all of the inspections.
In spite of the short time and other sub-optimal conditions, the project found deeply-rooted security weaknesses in the software of all three voting systems reviewed.
I was especially struck by the utter banality of most of the flaws. Exploitable vulnerabilities arose not so much from esoteric weaknesses that taxed our ingenuity, but rather from the garden-variety design and implementation blunders that plague any system not built with security as a central requirement. There was a pervasive lack of good security engineering across all three systems, and I'm at a loss to explain how any of them survived whatever process certified them as secure in the first place. Our hard work notwithstanding, unearthing exploitable deficiencies was surprisingly --- and disturbingly --- easy.
Blaze then concludes with what may be a hint of decisions to come:
The root problems are architectural. All three reviewed products are, in effect, large-scale distributed systems that have many of their security-critical functions performed by equipment sent out into the field. In particular, the integrity of the vote tallies depends not only on the central computers at the county elections offices, but also on the voting machines (and software) at the polling places, removable media that pass through multiple hands, and complex human processes whose security implications may not be clear to the people who perform them. In other words, the designs of these systems expose generously wide "attack surfaces" to anyone who seeks to compromise them. And the defenses are dangerously fragile --- almost any bug, anywhere, has potential security implications.
This means that strengthening these systems will involve more than repairing a few programming errors. They need to be re-engineered from the ground up. No code review can ever hope to identify every bug, and so we can never be sure that the last one has been fixed. A high assurance of security requires robust designs where we don't need to find every bug, where the security doesn't depend on the quixotic goal of creating perfect software everywhere.
In the short term, election administrators will likely be looking for ways to salvage their equipment with beefed up physical security and procedural controls. That's a natural response, but I wish I could be more optimistic about their chances for success. Without radical changes to the software and architecture, it's not clear that a practical strategy that provides acceptable security even exists. There's just not a lot to work with.
I don't envy the officials who need to run elections next year.
Blogged quickly by Brad Friedman, still on the road, still deep in the heart of Texas...
Currently way off the grid, and not even sure if I can get this item to post from here. So we'll leave the heavy lifting to Jose Lambiet of the Palm Beach Post, who delivers another Ann Coulter Voter Fraud scoop, reporting that she's "not off the hook" just yet.
For the backstory, see our "Coulter Fraud" Special Coverage Page at http://www.BradBlog.com/CoulterFraud. The short version: She committed third-degree voter fraud in Palm Beach County when she lied on her registration. Period. Dead to rights. She also lied on her driver's license down there (another third-degree felony) and knowingly voted at the wrong precinct (first degree misdemeanor). Again, all dead to rights. The link above offers all the proof any attorney with balls bigger than Coulter's would need. And here's her fraudulent Voter Registration form to boot.
When it comes to GOP twig Ann Coulter and her Palm Beach voting snafu, the fat lady has yet to sing.
While most expected the conservative pundit to be off the hook for good when the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office punted a voting fraud probe in April, the Florida Elections Commission now is investigating.
Coulter, a constitutional lawyer, voted in the wrong precinct in a Palm Beach town election in February 2006 after registering at an address that wasn't hers.
The Coulter voting saga is now known as FEC Case No. 07-211. The investigator assigned, Tallahassee's Margie Wade, wouldn't confirm she caught the case; FEC complaints are supposed to be confidential.
Still, Page Two is told Coulter already has been notified she's under investigation.
The rest of Lambiet's story is here at the Post site, but since those stories get archived after a while, and since we think it's a good idea to keep this story in the public eye, the rest of his coverage is also copied below...
We've been largely off the grid for the last 24, and will likely continue to be over the next two or three days. At least. (On the road, with frustratingly spotty net access and several article deadlines looming.) So for now, we're happy to point over to AlterNet's coverage of the story listeners may have heard us cursorily break during a phone call from Ohio's Paddy Schaeffer on the air the Friday before last while we were Guest Hosting the Peter B. Collins Show from Houston.
Here's the lede...
Two-thirds of Ohio counties have destroyed or lost their 2004 presidential ballots and related election records, according to letters from county election officials to the Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.
The lost records violate Ohio law, which states federal election records must be kept for 22 months after Election Day, and a U.S. District Court order issued last September that the 2004 ballots be preserved while the court hears a civil rights lawsuit alleging voter suppression of African-American voters in Columbus.
The destruction of the election records also frustrates efforts by the media and historians to determine the accuracy of Ohio's 2004 vote count, because in county after county the key evidence needed to understand vote count anomalies apparently no longer exists.
"The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election," said Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney representing the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, which filed voter suppression suit. "We're in the process of addressing where to go from here with the Ohio Attorney General's office."
Read Steve Rosenfeld's excellent report in full for much more detail and reminders of the raft of apparently fraudulent cases which these missing ballots may have helped to explain one way or another. Such as the "10,000 voters from several Bible belt counties who voted for Bush and voted in favor of gay marriage, if the results are true," along with the "dozen rural counties, [where] virtually unknown Democrats at the bottom of the ballot received more votes than Kerry."
As well, we're given a few jarring reminders of where else these missing ballots might otherwise have filled in so many still-unexplained gaps (all, of course, completely ignored by the corporate mainstream media for years)...
Last night --- nearly three years after it was first reported by the BBC --- PBS's NOW finally exposed the Republican Party conspiracy to steal the 2004 Presidential Election. Whaddayaknow?
The 15 minute segment concentrates on "Voter Caging" and features appearances by Greg Palast and former US attorney David Iglesias. Readers will recall that Palast, who originally broke this story in 2004, has written BRAD BLOG exclusives on voter caging and on Tim Griffin, who was one of the leaders of the illegal scheme.
For even more on the NOW story, voter caging, and the Republican conspiracy to steal the 2004 election, listen to the replay of Brad guest hosting on the Peter B. Collins Show yesterday. Brad speaks to Palast in the first hour and interviews Bryan Myers, who produced the NOW segment, in the second hour.
Bad news for the RNC. New emails reveal their "Voter Fraud Strategy Conference Call" just prior to the 2004 Presidential elections, with plans to use Vote Caging lists to challenge voters in swings states from OH to PA to FL to NM. The effort seems to have been spearheaded by Tim Griffin.
Previously undisclosed documents detail how Republican operatives, with the knowledge of several White House officials, engaged in an illegal, racially-motivated effort to suppress tens of thousands of votes during the 2004 presidential campaign in a state where George W. Bush was trailing his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry.
The documents also contain details describing how Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign officials, and at least one individual who worked for White House political adviser Karl Rove, planned to stop minorities residing in Cuyahoga County from voting on election day.
The efforts to purge voters from registration rolls was spearheaded by Tim Griffin, a former Republican National Committee opposition researcher. Griffin recently resigned from his post as interim US attorney for Little Rock Arkansas. His predecessor, Bud Cummins, was forced out to make way for Griffin.
Another set of documents, 43 pages of emails, provided to Truthout by the PBS news program "NOW," contains blueprints for a massive effort undertaken by RNC operatives in 2004, to challenge the eligibility of voters expected to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania.
One email, dated September 30, 2004, and sent to a dozen or so staffers on the Bush-Cheney campaign and the RNC, under the subject line "voter fraud strategy conference call," describes how campaign staffers planned to challenge the veracity of votes in a handful of battleground states in the event of a Democratic victory.
Furthermore, the emails show the Bush-Cheney campaign and RNC staffers compiled voter-challenge lists that targeted probable Democratic voters in at least five states: New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Voting rights lawyers have made allegations of so called "vote caging," against Republicans previously. These emails provide more evidence. One Republican operative involved in the planning wrote "we can do this in NV, FL, PA and NM because we have a list to run against the Absentee Ballot requests, and should."
Truthout has a bevy of emails that I haven't been able to review, but we'll have the producer of tomorrow's NOW story on the Peter B. Collins Show tomorrow (which I'm still Guest Hosting through the end of the week) to discuss this story.
And yes, Bush/Cheney '04 Inc's national general counsel, who would later go on to create the phony "grassroots" GOP front-group, American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), was right there in the thick of it all...
Jon Stewart covers the latest ridiculous testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on yesterday's Daily Show. More importantly, Stewart highlights what appears to be an admission by the AG of improper firings of US attorneys:
Alberto Gonzales: I'm not aware, sitting here today, of any other US attorney who was asked to leave...Except, there were some instances where people were asked to leave, quite frankly, because there was legitimate cause.