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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
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NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
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Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
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Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
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Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
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'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


100,000+ Votes Were Errantly Added by Hart Machines in a Single County in Last Tuesday's Primary via Flawed, Paperless 'eSlate' Touch-Screen System!
Former Hart Employee, Tarrant County TX Election Worker Notified State, Legal Authorities in 2004 About Serious Voting Machine Problems, Procedures...All Warnings and Complaints Ignored
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2006 1:20pm PT  

Continuing in an exclusive BRAD BLOG series of Voting Machine Vendor and Election Fraud whistleblowers, another insider, from yet another voting machine company, has now come forward to reveal a myriad of known problems inside both the company and in several states and counties with whom they do business.

During last Tuesday's Primary Election in the state of Texas, scores of "computer glitches" --- as voting officials and electronic voting machine vendors like to refer to them --- were revealed occurred across the state. Many of those "glitches" occurred on electronic voting equipment manufactured and supplied to various counties in Texas by the Hart InterCivic company.

One such "glitch" occurred in Texas' Tarrant County, which encompasses Fort Worth. That "glitch" resulted in some 100,000 votes being added to the result totals across the county's paperless Hart-Intercivic "eSlate" touch-screen voting system.

Election Officials in Tarrant claim they didn't look into the problems on Election Night as the problem emerged because, as reported by the Star-Telegram last week, "they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment."

The BRAD BLOG can now report, however, that according to a Hart InterCivic company whistleblower --- who also happened to have later worked as an "election programmer" in Tarrant County --- the problems with Hart InterCivic's systems in Tarrant County, Texas and elsewhere are not new at all. Not by a longhorn long shot.

Letters sent by William Singer of Fort Worth, a former Hart InterCivic "technical specialist" and Tarrant County election worker, to state officials back in July of 2004 warned of exactly such problems. The letters, obtained and published here for the first time exclusively by The BRAD BLOG, reveal that serious problems and concerns of possible election system meltdowns were already apparent with the Hart machines in Tarrant County long ago. However, the warning letters were all but ignored by both election officials and even state law enforcement officials.

The "glitch" in last Tuesday's primary, as reported the Star-Telegram, "caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast." After the problem was discovered, they report, "the local turnout [dropped] from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000."

A review of several notarized letters sent by Singer to officials in both Texas and Ohio in 2004 warned of fraudulent activities, buggy software and hardware, dysfunctional testing and development procedures, unsecured working environments and possible criminal behavior by both Hart InterCivic and Election Workers in both states.

Singer --- who eventually resigned from the company and ended up working as an Election Programmer for Tarrant County, where last Tuesday's "glitch" occurred --- wrote of allegations that Hart illegally supplied specially prepared machines for testing to state election officials. Along with doing so, they also withheld a number of known security, programming and hardware flaws during official review and certification of the systems.

TROUBLE IN TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS...

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

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By John Gideon on 3/12/2006 5:30pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The March 6 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2006 6:37pm PT  

From today's St. Petersburg Times...

When Cook tried to vote for himself, the machine defaulted to a vote for Taylor. A precinct worker finally moved Cook to a different booth.

Later in the day, Cook said he had other reports of voting machines malfunctioning in similar ways.

The flipping machines used in the Pinellas County, FL election were paperless touch-screens made by Sequoia Voting Systems --- the same paperless "Edge" touch-screen systems whose purchase and future use in New Mexico was recently banned in the state in light of a lawsuit where many voters complained of the same type of "vote flipping" on the machines during the 2004 Presidential Election.

Those are also the same machines which lost more than 12,000 votes in Bernalillo County, NM in 2002.

On the other hand, this is Florida, after all. So, as Pinellas County, FL Supervisor of Elections communications director, Nancy Whitlock says, there's nothing to worry about:

No one else complained, so it is unlikely the problem affected many, if any, other votes, she said.

We feel much better now. It was just "a glitch."

(Hat tip John Gideon! See today's 'Daily Voting News' from John for much more, including fresh e-voting disasters in Texas and everywhere else!)

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Hart InterCivic Paperless Touch-Screen Systems Flat-Out Fails in Tarrant County, TX
Officials Ignored Prob on Election Night, Blame 'Program Snafu' the Next Day
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2006 4:38pm PT  

We hope to have much more on this tomorrow...but for now, this from the Star-Telegram today:

An undetected computer glitch in Tarrant County led to inflated election returns in Tuesday's primaries but did not alter the outcome of any local race, elections and county officials said Wednesday.

The error caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast, dropping the local turnout from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000.
...
Questions about possible problems were raised by election staff late Tuesday night, as it became apparent to some that the county would far exceed the 76,000 votes cast in the 2002 primary elections.

But elections officials did not look into the discrepancies that night because they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment, said Gayle Hamilton, Tarrant County's interim elections administrator.

"We didn't think there was a problem," Hamilton said. "We should have stopped right then.

"But we didn't question it at that time."

The problem stemmed from a programming error by Hart InterCivic, which manufactured the equipment and wrote the software for the local voting system.
...
"The system did what we told it to do," said John Covell, a vice president with Hart. "We told it incorrectly."

See this previous report for scores of additional e-voting problems reported yesterday, just after Texas' first Primary Election since adding loads of new electronic voting machines this year. (Keep an out for today's 'Daily Voting News' to be posted here shortly...where we expect there will be many more such reports.)

(Hat tip to BRAD BLOG perennial "Dredd" for the link!)

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Texas Primary Augurs Upcoming E-Trouble in E-Merica...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2006 7:18pm PT  

Texas held their first round of Primary Elections last night since adding new electronic voting equipment to loads of counties around the state. It was one of the first Primary Elections to occur since the Help America Voting Act (HAVA) kicked in this year.

If today's 'Daily Voting News' by John Gideon is any indication, America is in for one hell of a mess this year. Take a look at just a few of the headlines from just the Texas section of today's DVN...and keep in mind that usually the real problems held in 'E-Lections' don't even begin to surface until some time after Election Day...

  • TX: Galveston County - New voting system, same problems (Hart eSlate and eScan) LINK
  • TX: Jefferson County - Voting woes mar debut of electronic ballots (ES&S iVotronic) LINK
  • TX: Jefferson County - Confusion mars new voting process LINK
  • TX: Robertson County - Robertson County vote tallies delayed (ES&S AutoMark) LINK
  • TX: Tom Green County - Computer problems delay election returns (Hart eScan) LINK
  • TX: Webb County - Cuellar defeats Rodriguez in congressional grudge match (Counting problems � ES&S) LINK
  • TX: Webb and Bexar County - 'Glitches' get blame in Webb (ES&S) LINK
  • We have a feeling it's gonna be a very long year...

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    By John Gideon on 3/5/2006 5:25pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

    The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The February 28 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

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

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    Governor's Open Letter: 'One person, one vote is in jeopardy if we do not act boldly and immediately'
    But How Long Will the Bill Take To Come Into Effect?
    By John Gideon on 3/1/2006 6:40pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon

    "American citizens once took for granted that every vote mattered, but no longer. It is time that we, the elected state officials, work to restore American's confidence in our electoral systems and undertake reform that moves to eliminate skepticism and uncertainty." --- NM Governor Bill Richardson's 3/1/06 Letter "To the State Officials of the 50 United States of America" (Posted in full below)

    Today Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico made a powerful statement to officials in all states (see full letter below) as he announced that tomorrow he would be signing legislation that would require the state of New Mexico to go to a paper ballot based voting system. No longer will the state use Sequoia DRE (touch-screen) voting machines...the machines that reported large numbers of undervotes in previous elections...The same machines that disenfranchised minority voters...The technology Richardson describes as "simply fail[ing] to pass the test of reliability" in his open letter published today.

    The Governor has also announced that the bill's signing ceremony will be webcast. The announcement says:

    We hope you will join the Governor, concerned citizens and legislators as the Governor's signature moves New Mexico forward by ensuring that our democracy continues to flourish. The live webcast will begin Thursday at 11:00am MST (1:00pm Eastern) and can be viewed at:

    www.billrichardson2006.com/reform/paperballots

    Please watch the webcast, take a moment to look at the Governor's proposals, and sign the petition to get your state, and the rest of America, to make every vote count

    This all sounds wonderful, except???opponents of the legislation managed to get the legislation amended so that voting systems "owned or used" as of 1 May 2006 that do not use paper ballots can continue to be used until, among other things, debt on purchases of those machines are paid by the state. Then, the bill that appropriated funds to pay off the debt died in committee. Now the state needs to find the money to pay off the debt.

    UPDATE 3/3/06: Signing ceremony video and petition calling on all states to join NM now here.

    The complete letter from Gov. Richardson of New Mexico follows...

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

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    Republican Jan Brewer's Re-Election Announcement Interrupted by Demonstrators
    Activists Object to Her Recent Decision to Allow Unsecure, Hackable Diebold Voting Machines for Use in Virtually Every Arizona Precinct!
    By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2006 4:38pm PT  

    Perhaps it's a step up from "dissidents" as the AP once called them, but Election Transparency Advocates who turned out today at Arizona's Sec. of State Jan Brewer's speech to announce her re-election bid were labeled "anarchists" and "conspiracy theorists" by the woman who recently approved Diebold's flawed "AccuVote" touch-screen voting machines for use in virtually every precinct in the state.

    During her speech today, according to the Arizona Star, "which boasted of the state getting rid of the last punch card ballots as part of her accomplishments since being elected in 2002 but one that never mentioned the Diebold contract" the Republican official in charge of ensuring free, fair and accurate elections in the state was repeatedly interrupted by advocates for transparent election who objected to the use of Diebold's failed machinery in the state.

    Diebold's election equipment was recently shown to be hackable in a mock election test in Leon County, Florida, where the final results were completely flipped by computer security specialists. Over the summer, 20% of the same AccuVote touch-screen systems that Brewer approved on Friday, were found to have failed during a massive mock election test in California.

    According to the Star, Brewer apparently dismissed the adamant concerns of the very voters she is (theoretically) in charge of serving:

    Brewer, responding to media questions, called the noisy protesters "anarchists" and said they were off base.

    "I don't think there is a problem with the Diebold equipment," she said. Brewer said a committee investigated the bids and the machines passed on the guidelines.

    "I think that there are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there that are trying to blow this completely, totally out of proportion," she said.

    In December of 2004, while members of several political parties had joined in challenging the results of Ohio's disastrously run Presidential Election, the Associated Press referred to those challengers who dared seek transparency in an utterly gamed election as "dissidents" which prompted one dubious American to reportedly ask at the time, "Great! So now we're dissidents?! What's next --- 'insurgents'?!"

    No. Apparently "what's next" is that those who wish transparency and oversight and accountability in American democratic elections are now "anarchists." At least according to Arizona's shameful --- and hopefully out-going --- Secretary of State, Jan Brewer.

    A useful thought for those considering running for the office of Secretary of State around the country: "It's the voters, stupid."

    ...CONTACT...
    AZ SoS Email Contact Page: http://www.azsos.gov/info/contact_us.htm
    AZ SoS Office: 602-542-4285

    Campaign Website: JanBrewer.com
    Campaign Email: info@janbrewer.com
    Campaign Office: 602-439-3425

    UPDATE 1/8/05: Brad was on Air America Phoenix today to discuss, amongst other things, the incident above on the M&M Show. The hosts, Fred and Steve McChesney, were amongst the "anarchists" and "conspiracy" --- and later called "brownshirts"! --- who made poor Jan Brewer's life so difficult. Audio available here.

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    'Non-Partisan' Group Tied to Bill Frists' Attorney, Ohio's Pending Anti-Democracy Legislation & Hordes of Frivilous Lawsuits and Attacks Against Legitimate Voting Rights Advocates...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2005 6:49pm PT  

    It's been a while since the slimy cretins trying to pass themselves off as the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) have reared their ugly, high-level GOP-operative heads. We first uncovered these punks back in March while they were busy attempting to pull off a congressional charade in cahoots with the not-yet-indicted U.S. congressman, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). We haven't heard much out of the ACVR since their August '05 report trying to sell the silly notion that "Democrat operatives were far more involved than Republican in voter intimidation and suppression in 2004" was laughed off the nation's radar (by all but a few of the most pathetic dead-ender wingnut suckers who will believe anything they're told to believe, no matter how laughable.)

    But today, our friend Bob Fitrakis at the Free Press in Columbus connects a few more dots in the shameful ACVR/GOP/Ohio story. He offers a few more details on the group's direct connection to other high-level GOP operatives (like Bill Frist's attorney), the horrendous Ohio HB3 "Election Reform" legislation being ram-rodded up the asses of otherwise democracy-loving Ohio citizens by the unapologetically corrupt GOP-controlled snakepit of a legislature in the state, as well as more of the direct connections between them and the frivolous lawsuits and PR attacks made against several of the most active (legitimate) Voter Registration groups in the country.

    We had a quick story ourselves on that last bit about two weeks ago, explaining how virtually all the phony legal attacks made against these groups have now failed --- even if the swiftboating success of the phony PR from it lingers on. Mission accomplished. This is the group whose website --- the one with Fox "News" Channel's Tony Snow on the front page, speaking of dead-ender wingnut suckers --- promises "ACVR will defend the election process through on-going civil litigation" amongst other lies, garbage and scurrilous attempted deceptions on the American electorate. Anyway, before we get too worked up into another rant on the America/democracy-hating ACVR chumbuckets, here's Fitrakis' latest on them and more.

    For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR 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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    Another GOP Operative Facing Up to 7 Years Prison Time, $500,000 Fine
    ALSO: Voter Registration Groups Cleared of Wrong Doing as Accused by Phony GOP 'Voting Rights' Group...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2005 8:10pm PT  

    From AP...

    A federal jury this afternoon returned a mixed verdict against a former national Republican Party official accused of orchestrating an election day phone-jamming plot against New Hampshire Democrats.

    The jury acquitted James Tobin of the most important of three charges --- violating voters' rights --- and convicted him on two counts of telephone harassment.

    Tobin, 45, of Bangor, Maine, was President Bush's New England campaign chairman last year.

    Tobin faces a maximum seven-year prison term and $500,000 in fines when he is sentenced in March.

    Please note that Tobin's crime occured in the 2002 election. He was known to be under investigation for the crime thereafter, but was hired anyway by Bush/Cheney '04 to run their NE campaign until he was indicted and the "honesty and integrity" campaign decided they better get rid of him. People might talk. More background on that particular GOP scandal here. And another update here, including info on the $722,000 that the RNC paid to defend their man, Tobin!

    This is all counter, of course, to the horseshit put forth by the GOP front group calling themselves the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). As you'll recall, they and their other Rightwing operative cronies had released reports, propaganda and all sorts of unsubstantiated claims about Democrats and various non-partisan Voter Registration groups such as ACORN having committed all forms of Voter Registration Fraud (which they tried to suggest was "Voter Fraud" --- which is something quite different).

    You'll be surprised to learn, no doubt, that ACVR and friend were full of shit. It turns out that one year later, the organizations they scurrilously attacked --- in a transparent attempt to smokescreen the real Election Fraud that they were neck deep in perpetrating --- have been vindicated of the various bogus charges, as virtually all of the frivolous lawsuits and investigations the GOP liars made so much noise about have simply collapsed. See this for more [PDF].

    Sorry for both the vulgarities and the terse report on both of these items. Too much to cover for the huge BRAD BLOG "Staff" (that would be me and an occasional helping hand from one or two similarly overworked and patriotic helpers!) that isn't adequately being covered by the "real" media. And that means I'm both way too busy, and way too cranky and just a little too foul-mouthed this evening. Don't fucking like it? Go read the fucking NY Times instead. By next week, they oughta have a great story on Wally O'Dell resigning from Diebold! :-) (There, now I feel better).

    For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR scam and the snake-oil 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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    The Astute E&P Watchdogs Stay Alert While the Mainstream Media They Watch Stay Asleep...
    By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2005 11:38am PT  

    Dave Astor of the excellent and respected Editor & Publisher covers two matters we've discussed here recently.

    Last night he did a quick item on the Ann Coulter/Lydia Cornell outrage. For the record, Coulter still has Lydia's private information posted publicly on her website some 48 hours after it was posted there. She has been asked politely to remove it. She has chosen not to.

    As Cornell pointed out in her response yesterday, that sort of thing helped Bill O'Reilly blow his stack recently when he thought (incorrectly, of course) that a "liberal" group had posted a private email address on their website. Of course, it doesn't take much for the increasingly unstable O'Reilly to blow his stack these days.

    As well, Astor covered Robert Koehler's latest Tribune Media Services' "Poll Shock" column that we briefly reported on last week. His coverage gathers additional comments from both the Dispatch Public Affairs Editor Darrel Rowland and Koehler on the "staggeringly impossible" results of Ohio's recent Nov. 8th 2005:

    Will the Dispatch look into possible fraud or malfunctions connected with electronic voting technology? "We need solid evidence that there's something untoward," replied Rowland.

    I love that. It's the exact same thing we heard after the '04 Presidential Election: Once someone else finds the "solid evidence" the media will be happy to report on it. Note to Mainstream Media: It's your job to investigate the smoke and find out if there's a fire! Otherwise, what the hell do we need investigative reporters for at all? Oh, yeah. Apparently, we don't. The bloggers will do it for you. (But don't come running to us wondering why it is that your readership is falling over a cliff in the meantime!)

    Koehler's reponse to Rowland in E&P:

    Koehler wrote: "Why, I wonder, in a state that made a national spectacle of itself with widespread irregularities and voter disenfranchisement a year ago, would there be so little interest in investigating whether the 'voting chaos' reported by the Toledo Blade or the 'night of surprises' reported by the Dayton Daily News could have produced tainted results?"

    And Koehler concluded sarcastically that "the spark won't jump in the media mind. You know: Hmm, we have widespread confusion in the voting process, a recent GAO report that cites many glaring insecurities in e-voting, and our own polls indicating big victories that turn into big defeats. Could it be? Nah! What are we thinking? This is the world's greatest democracy."

    Go Bob. And thank you, E&P.

    UPDATE: And speaking of Koehler, this just in from his latest column which will be published tomorrow and available then to read at this location:

    "Our goal . . . is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way."

    Dig up an old lie from one of George Bush's forgotten speeches and the stench is asphyxiating, as though it's coming from the rotting corpse of democracy itself. The words quoted above are from the president's inaugural address in January - the odor intensified by recent news that the president allegedly wanted to bomb the headquarters of al-Jazeera

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    By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2005 4:00pm PT  

    The congressman man who ran sham hearings in House Administration Committee on last year's Ohio Election mess (the ones that exposed the insidious ACVR hucksters), was recently subpeonead by the DoJ where he is said to be under investigation on four different aspects of an ongoing probe, looks to be in big big trouble in the wake of the Michael Scanlon indictment.

    Jesse of Stakeholder has a round-up of today's headlines on the apparently-soon-to-be-indicted U.S. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). Here's what Jesse's found just today at a quick glance:

    "Plea Deal Ties Ney to Second Tribe" [Roll Call]

    "Rep. Bob Ney is poster boy in bribe probe" [AP]

    "Ney's Troubles Are Mounting" [Roll Call]

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    (While Election Results Themselves Continue Un-Investigated)
    By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2005 2:27pm PT  

    The oft-cited pollster Mark Blumenthal, who writes about all matters related to polling and its methodology on his Mystery Pollster blog, has posted the results of his analysis/investigation into what he feels may have gone awry in the Columbus Dispatch polling just prior to the November 8th election in Ohio.

    We've previously reported on the final results of the five initiatives on the ballot in the Buckeye State two weeks ago - four of them part of an Election Reform package --- and the "staggeringly impossible" disparities, as we described them, revealed by those results when compared to the results of the Dispatch's final pre-election polling. To catch anybody up who hasn't seen the numbers, here's one set of them:

    ISSUE 3 (Revise campaign contribution limits)
    PRE-POLLING: 61% Yes, 25% No, 14% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 33% Yes, 66% No

    Blumenthal deserves kudos for his serious and detailed investigation into both the Dispatch survey's "long and remarkable history of success," as he describes it, and where he feels they might have gone so astoundingly wrong this year for the very first time. He points to a few changes in the methodology for the poll; the Dispatch didn't use the precise text of the initiatives in its survey; included an "Undecided" option for the first time; an examination of the data seems to show the poll occurred at a time that the electorate was in the process of changing its opinions on the issues; and finally that many voters found the text of the actual ballot initiatives to be long and confusing leading them to take the safer vote of "No" when they were not clear about what they were actually voting for.

    Where he doesn't deserve credit is in his approach which presumes from the start that there must be something wrong with the polling itself --- but not the Election Results --- to explain the unprecedented disparity between the polling and the final results of the actual election.

    As a pollster himself, he surely knows that it's quite simple to construct a poll in such a way that one can get back results which match just about any pre-determined outcome an unscrupulous pollster may hope for. Similarly, as with Blumenthal's earlier efforts to examine the disparity of Exit Poll Results vs. Final Election Results in last November's Presidential Election, his approach presumes from the get-go that the polling, not the results, are incorrect...and now we just need to figure out why.

    Fair enough, in general. No doubt the articles we've written about the Ohio '05 election results, as well as the one from Fitrakis and Wasserman at Free Press, tend to presume that the election results are suspect, more so than the polling or its methodology.

    The difference, however, is that while we welcome the search for reasons why the Dispatch's historically accurate poll might suddenly have failed for the first time in such an unprecedented matter, we have as much or more reason to be skeptical of Ohio's Electoral System which has been documented as full of unquestionable corruption and all-sorts of top-to-bottom malfeasance. Particularly over the last year or so since the Presidential Election.

    In other words: Sure, we can, and should, go looking for reasons why the Dispatch poll might have failed so mightily for the first time in its history, as others (including Blumenthal) did with the Exit Polls from November '04 which also --- just a coincidence, we know --- failed so hugely for the first time in their history. We can likely find anomalies to somewhat explain what might justify a pre-determined conclusion that Election Results are right and Pre-Election Polling must be wrong. But why would Blumenthal, or anybody else, have reason to believe that scientifically run polls with methodologies developed and honed over decades, run by pollsters with (theoretically) no dog in the hunt, should be less reliable than an Electoral System being run on newly developed, newly introduced technology employing secret software that nobody inspects for validity or integrity? All of which is run on machines which have a tremendous and documented known failure rate and are run by partisan officials with not just a stake in the outcome, but whose very livelihoods (in the case of the recent Ohio initiatives, as well as last November's election) are at stake in the final results. ...

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

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    More on Ohio's Staggeringly Impossible '05 Results
    The Corporate Media Continues to Not Care, But a Rightwing Blogger Finally Does...
    By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2005 12:16pm PT  

    The Corporate Mainstream Media may not give a damn about our democracy. Neither might the bulk of our politicians on both the Left and Right side of the aisle. But clearly the citizens do, and even one rightwing blogger who has recently seen at least some of the light...

    The response to our article on the "staggeringly impossible" results of last week's election in Ohio on several Election Reform initiatives which would have struck deep into the heart of far-right Republican Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has been notable to say the least.

    We felt the report was notable enough that we decided to cross-post it both at BRAD BLOG and at HuffPo, where --- though it was never added to the front page as a "featured blog" --- it has already received an extraordinary 93 comments as of this posting.

    To give you an idea of what that story documented, here are the numbers from just one of the four Election Reform initiatives which all ended up failing by numbers which defy reasonable explanation when compared to the historically accurate Columbus Dispatch poll, completed and published just days before the Election in the Buckeye state:

    ISSUE 3 (Revise campaign contribution limits)
    PRE-POLLING: 61% Yes, 25% No, 14% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 33% Yes, 66% No

    The results on that issue alone was so far askew that it was enough to give the usually dubious Mark Blumenthal of Mystery Pollster pause enough to comment, "These results had MP seriously wondering whether the pollsters or election officials had mistakenly transposed 'yes' and 'no' in their tables."

    See the original post for a comparison of Polling vs Final Results for all of the initatives, but suffice to say while the one above was the most inexplicably out-of-whack, the others, with the exception of Issue 1 --- which was the only one supported by Ohio's Republican Governor and on which the Dispatch poll was virtually right on the money on "Yes" voters --- all of the initiative Final Results bring the entire election machinery in Ohio once again under deservedly fresh scrutiny.

    (We'll remind you that Ohio's results in the '04 Presidential Election squeeker, where just 6 votes for Kerry instead of Bush at each precinct would have changed the entire result for the nation. And also that the results from that election remain completely suspect, largely uncounted, and never recounted according to state law even while several elections officials have either been indicted or remain under investigation for their role in gaming that fiasco...the one in the state which gave Bush enough electoral votes to claim the Presidency).

    The original report we filed, discussed an article by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of the Free Press in Columbus where they've been detailing an extraordinary amount of the election chicanery and "irregularities" under the iron-fisted rule of Blackwell, the Ohio elections arbiter and Bush/Cheney '04 Co-Chair in a state which is currently a snakepit of Republican machinery and out-and-out corruption.

    Amongst the comments at both BRAD BLOG and HuffPo where the blog item was posted, a few, as expected, have knee-jerked that it must have been the Columbus Dispatch polling that was wrong, rather than the Final Results reported by the State which added brand-spankin' new, and wholly unaccountable, unrecountable, untransparent, and undemocratic Electronic Voting Machines for the first time in this election to 44 of its 88 counties. Machines which use secret software on which voters are asked to trust --- but not verify --- that their votes will be recorded accurately...or at all.

    In addition to those 44 counties (41 of them using the same machines by Diebold, Inc. that the Republican Sec. of State in California recently decertified for their 20% failure rate), several other counties already use Electronic Voting Machines, and nearly all of them use electronic tabulating machines of one brand or another to count those votes.

    We spoke yesterday to Fitrakis about the Dispatch poll's "historic accuracy" (which he described as "legendary" in our phone call) and about the various wingnuts who predictably presume the polling, instead of the election results, were wrong...

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

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    Tax-Exempt 'American Center for Voting Rights' Continues Their Scam on America!
    By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2005 12:41pm PT  

    {Blogged by Brad on the road...}

    Last week, The BRAD BLOG reported that one of the co-founders of the self-described "non-partisan" group calling themselves the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), was "boning up on his non-partisan creds" by being employed by the White House to sell George W. Bush's Harriet Miers nomination to the American press and public.

    This week, the great "non-partisan" voting rights champion, Jim Dyke, has been promoted according to a report from TIME magazine filed last week. His new job will be to "take up the slack" for Steve Schmidt, "counselor to Vice President Cheney and one of the White House's most aggressive strategists."

    Schmidt is suddenly heading to Iraq for the next month, where he will, according to a report today by RAW STORY, be unavailable to take any questions regarding the mounting charges that sources within Cheney's office may have been at the heart of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

    Dyke will undoubtedly remain as "non-partisan" in his new job with Dick Cheney, as he was in his previous position as press spokesperson for ACVR.

    Dyke was RNC Communications Director for years, before becoming "non-partisan" enough to join with the "non-partisan" Mark F. "Thor" Hearne (National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.) to found the new tax-exempt, "non-partisan" "Voting Rights" organization.

    As BRAD BLOG reported some months ago, the Internet domain registration for ACVR claims to be located somewhere in Dallas, TX, despite Hearne's residence in St. Louis, Missouri, and Dyke's in South Carolina (when he's not working out of the White House). At the time of initial investigation, Dyke reported to us that the Dallas TX address given for ACVR was that of the company who created their website. He had forgotten the name of the company, despite the website having been created just days before our interview with him.

    Why precisely, Dallas, TX, is given as the location of ACVR remains somewhat of a mystery. Along with who funds this shadowy organization of cynical democracy-haters. Our earlier report on their location, at least, was able to unearth a photograph of ACVR's main office, which is undoubtedly populated by very very tiny "non-partisan" Republicans:

    Amongst ACVR's "non-partisan" work has been testifying before a U.S. House Administrative hearing, led by Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) on Election Irregularities in Ohio during the November '04 Presidential Election. At that hearing, held three business days after ACVR appeared for the first time on the Internet, Hearne testified to being a "long time voting rights advocate." He apparently forgot to mention his ties to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.

    ACVR was the only "voting rights" group called to testify at those hearings. As well, they sat on the Advisory Panel, and helped form the ill-fated Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission. Recently, the ACVR released a "non-partisan" report entitled: "Democrat operatives far more involved in voter intimidation and suppression in 2004 than Republicans."

    You can read that report, along with their other "non-partisan", tax-payer subsidized news and activities at their website. It's the one with Fox News' Tony Snow currently smiling on the front page.

    For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR 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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