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By Brad Friedman on 7/5/2005 2:04pm PT  

In an open letter to John Tanner, Chief of the Voting Section of the Dept. of Justice, Bob Fitrakis of the Columbus Free Press responds to the unrequested and blatant whitewash "report" that the DoJ published last week on disenfranchisement (or a lack thereof, as the the DoJ "report" characterized it) in Franklin County, OH.

Fitrakis has been on the ground since Day 1 (and before) in Ohio, and knows whereof he speaks.

The more one looks at the outrageous "report" from the DoJ, the clearer it becomes what a despicable obfuscation that particular piece of propaganda was meant to be. For our money, the DoJ "report" represents perhaps one of the most chilling set of tea-leaves we've seen so far as an indication of just how cooked this DoJ now is, and to what lengths they are prepared to go in order to mislead the American public and media away from the truth.

We're not particularly prone to hyperbole, but we find this small indication of what the DoJ is now made of to be particularly troubling. Anyway, read Fitrakis' rebuttal to get a sense of how outrageous that "report" actually was...

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Unrequested 'Report' Dismisses, Ignores Evidence of Discrimination, Disenfranchisement!
DoJ Report Also Reveals More than 100,000 Voters NEWLY 'Purged' from Rolls in One Ohio County Alone!
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2005 3:57pm PT  

There is almost no other way to put this, but we are simply floored by the report just released by the Department of Justice concerning the Franklin County, OH elections.

If there ever was a report which could be called a whitewash, this would be the very dictionary definition --- with the emphasis on WHITE.

The DoJ four-page report, based on dodgy figures, uninvestigated charges and undocumented information and details, simply concludes that "Franklin County assigned voting machines in a non-discriminatory manner", that "no violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act" was found and they "are thus closing our file."

In truth, a detailed analysis of the flaws in this report, and an unwaivering condemnation of this reprehensible piece of "official documentation" is needed. But as folks are disappearing for the Holiday Weekend, we're afraid any analysis we took the time to compile right now would likely get lost in the holiday news-hole. So, for the moment, we're gonna dump these documents here and leave the detailed analysis and shouts of outrage and condemnation to BRAD BLOG readers. If we can follow up a bit more after the holiday, we will.

Essentially, John Conyers' office requested a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice investigation back in January on a number of very troubling matters related to Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election on behalf of the minority members of the Judiciary Committee. (Letter requesting a Special Prosecutor from the DoJ is here [PDF]. Coverage of it by RAW STORY is here, and BRAD BLOG's own reporting at the time, which led to one of the complaints in the letter to the DoJ, is here.)

Amongst the items for which Conyers' January 14, 2005 had requested an investigation at the time --- according to the response to the report Conyers sent on Wednesday --- were "serious charges concerning Voter Intimidation and Misinformation; Improper Purging and other Misconduct; Caging of New Minority Voters; Misuse of HAVA Funds; Tampering of Voting Machinery and Records; Perjury by a County Board of Election Official; and the Misuse of the Great Seal of the United States on Secretary of State Blackwell's Personal Campaign Materials."

While no "substantive response to the many instances of voting irregularities and civil rights violations in the state of Ohio" about which Conyers' submitted evidence has been forthcoming by the DoJ since that January letter, apparently someone within the DoJ took it upon themselves to conduct --- and as we've said WHITEWASH --- an investigation concerning what happened in just one county in Ohio.

The DoJ's resulting four-page report, conducted by "The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division" and sent to Franklin County officials on Wednesday, is a masterwork of obfuscation, disinformation, misinformation, smoke and mirrors and out and out lies. And remember, it comes directly from your Department of Justice.

As we've said, a more detailed point-by-point analysis of the outrage is called for. But for now, we feel it's important to get the information out as is so folks can see with their own eyes what has "flabbergasted" Conyers' as according to the response he sent in reply to the DoJ yesterday.

There is, however, at least one paragraph which jumped out at us, but that Conyers' reply does not deal with directly (understandably, frankly, since there is so much to be "flabbergasted" about in this DoJ report!). We feel this one is important to point out as we find it particularly disconcerting for what the future may hold in Ohio [emphasis added]:

A major complicating factor in the appropriate allocation of voting machines was the artificially inflated voter registration rolls in the county. The 845,720 registered voters in 2004 actually exceeded the 2000 total voting age population of Franklin County (800,657) by 45,063 persons. This unsettling disparity resulted from the loss, during preparation for computer system changes in anticipation of the year 2000, of voter history data necessary for purging the voter rolls of ineligible voters as required by the National Voter Registration Act. The County chose to start fresh with new voter histories, with the result that there had been no voter purge since 1999. The County resumed regular purging of its voter list only after the 2004 election, and on June 20, 2005 removed approximately 114,000 ineligible individuals from its voter registration list. The 2005 purge brings the voter registration total well below the 2000 voting age population in the county.

Yes, you read that right. Franklin County's "bi-partisan" Board of Election has just now "purged" 114,000 voters from the rolls! Tee-ing things up nicely, it would seem, for many more thousands of voters to find themselves suddenly ineligible to vote when they show up at the polling place in 2006!

Over one hundred thousand voters scrubbed from the voting rolls in just one Ohio County alone by their presumably "bi-partisan" BoE. That, while we have learned over the past several months how these Ohio BoE's are certainly not "bi-partisan" as Blackwell and their other defenders continue to maintain since a) There are "Democrats" on these boards who are specifically plants, in other words, "Democrats" in name only and b) All BoE members serve at the partisan pleasure of the distinctly partisan Secretary of State and Bush/Cheney Co-Chair, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who has routinely threatened BoE members with dismissal if and when they refuse to follow his personal partisan edicts.

But that's just one of the outrages. We'll let Conyers' handle a few more. Here is his response to the DoJ report first, followed by the complete report itself by John Tanner, the Chief of the DoJ's Voting Section. Prepare to be appalled...

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

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Ready for yet another scandal?
And another major investigation likely not made by either Congress or the Mainstream Corporate Media?
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2005 6:47pm PT  

Feeling scandal fatigue towards what is increasingly being revealed to be an indescribably filthy Republican Party / Bush Administration? Too bad, get ready for a bit more.

In just one of the increasingly too-many items that BRAD BLOG has been unable to find the time to investigate properly and report on of late, is the story of political operatives Sproul & Associates and the enormous amount of money they were paid by the Republican Party before, during and after the 2004 Presidential Election for services-still-unknown.

We had received some of the early tips on this matter based on the tireless digging of John Brakey (he, of the similarly under-reported Arizona Electoral Fraud "Rosetta Stone" investigation) but were unable to find the time to investigate and report on it properly. Thankfully, Mark Crispin Miller was able to find the time and has filed his first report on the matter today.

Miller does a fine job of making sense of a very complex set of numbers, representing millions of dollars paid to the firm of the former head of the Arizona Republican Party and the Arizona Christian Coalition.

Those numbers have since been changed, re-dated, re-apportioned, re-described, re-catagorized, disappeared and otherwise gamed in their filing of same by the RNC to the Federal Elections Commission since the November election, and even within the last few weeks!

Those of you paying close attention may remember former employees of Sproul's firm, Voters Outreach of America, alleging that the firm had shredded thousands of voter registration forms in a number of states prior to the election. Democratic voter registration forms only, mind you. They are reportedly now under criminal investigation in the state of Oregon related to such charges.

In any case, if you're not too exhausted already by the myriad other Criminal Enterprises being revealed daily as Business-as-Usual by George W. Bush and his Republican Party win-at-all-costs Partners-in-Crime, you may want to get a load of this one.

Is there no end to the corruption these guys are capable of?!

At least we can rest easy knowing that Bush didn't get a blowjob in the oval office (that we know of). If that had been the case, we're certain that Congress and the American Corporate Media would finally have found something criminal enough to merit a thorough investigation on behalf of the American People.

Long Live the Bloggers!

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As Bob Fitrakis of the Columbus Free Press Pops Out Momentarily from his Book-Writing Foxhole...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2005 10:21am PT  

The mighty Bob Fitrakis of the Columbus Free Press --- responsible for boatloads of tremendous investigative reporting on the ground from Ohio in Election 2004 and one of the participants in the Moss v. Bush lawsuit seeking to set aside the election results in the Buckeye State --- has been mostly quiet of late while working on an upcoming book on all of the above to be published soon.

Today, however, it looks like he's unleashed quite a bit of what he hasn't been able to report on over the last several weeks while hard at work writing the historical record. His new article on the "rise of the right wing juggernaut in Ohio" sheds fresh light on several key points on the insidious Election Night machinations, and even those to this day, of Ohio's Election Viceroy, Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (also the Co-Chair of Ohio's Committee to Re-Elect Bush/Cheney '04).

Amongst the several noteworthy new items Fitrakis catches up on today is some inside skinny on the now-infamous Warren County lockdown on Election Night when an apparently phony "Homeland Security Alert" led Board of Elections officials to issue an unprecedented scheme that shut out all press and witnesses from late-night vote counting in the county's election center.

Free Press has received an insider's account of what happened that night. Here's a sample:

With the media and independent election observers "walled off," as the Cincinnati Enquirer described, the employee claims that "some ballot boxes were taken to the holding area" where they were not monitored by election officials. The Warren County employee referred to the person supervising the unauthorized warehouse as a "Republican Party hack."

The employee is concerned that it would have been easy to "stuff" the ballot boxes or that "signatures could have been forged in the unauthorized holding area."

The anonymous employee told the Free Press that testimony would be provided if subpoenaed. A list of questions that remain unanswered in Warren County was also supplied: Which precinct ballot boxes were taken to the unauthorized holding area? Were officials from the Board of Elections present in the holding area? When were the ballots taken from the holding area to the check-in tent that was erected temporarily to count ballots? If Warren County was under a state of emergency, then why weren't any metal detectors engaged? The FBI has denied that there was any homeland security threat on Election Day.

As well, in a section of the article sub-headed as "Whitewash with a black face", Fitrakis connects a few more interesting dots on the phony GOP front-group busy conning America and hoping to derail true Electoral Reform. Fitrakis ties together the "non-partisan" hoaxsters of the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) --- the group we originally exposed several weeks ago exclusively here --- with some of the other folks who testified recently at Rep. Bob Ney's hastily convened U.S. House Administrative Hearings on Electoral problems in OH...

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

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Reports That the Fix is in on Secretly Seated Blue-Ribbon Commission!
Stacked with Partisan Operatives!
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2005 1:57pm PT  

RAW STORY breaks open the Carter/Baker Election Reform Commission hoodwink!

Frontpage headline screamer:

CONTROVERSY SWIRLS AROUND BAKER-CARTER ELECTORAL REFORM PANEL, STACKED WITH GOP VETERANS; CARTER CENTER DENIES ROLE; SECRET SERVICE QUESTIONS; KERRY CAMP: 'DISHONEST'

Full story now here.

From RAW Reporter Larisa Alexandrovna's Exclusive:

  • Deep GOP, partisan and Voting Machine Company entanglement in formation of Commission!
  • Unauthorized use of the Carter Center name by the Commission on all of its literature though Carter Center says they will have no involvement whatsoever with Commission!
  • Commission hold hearings in separate room from audience who may only watch via closed-circuit TV!
  • Background security checks required for audience members by Commission, denied by Secret Service!
  • As well, BRAD BLOG has learned that the Commission has given the reason for separating audience from Commission is due to Secret Service security concerns. However, as of yet, we have been unable to confirm any such Secret Service request that any such directive came from them! (Warren County anyone?)

Velvet Revolution (an organization comprised of nearly 100 real Election Reform and Voting Rights groups and co-founded by BRAD BLOG author, Brad Friedman) issued a press release on March 30th, calling for Baker to immediately step down from this commission.

VR has now launched an action to allow citizens to contact Carter and the rest of the Commission to let them know we've had enough boondoggling of our democracy! Click here to send Email to Carter & the Commission! Say no to Baker & his anti-Reform cronies!

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.
ReddIt this story!



Ranking Minority House Judiciary Comm. Member Calls for True Voting Rights Advocates to Be Included on Commission
ALSO: American Center for Voting Rights GOP Front Group Confirmed as 'Academic Advisor' to Panel!
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2005 11:44am PT  

In a letter sent yesterday by Congressman John Conyers, the ranking minority member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, to former-President Jimmy Carter, Conyers has expressed his "strong opposition" to the "conflicting interest" of having Bush/Cheney loyalist, James A. Baker, III serve as the Co-Chair of a recently seated blue-ribbon commission set to investigate Election 2004!

Carter has been named as Co-Chair, along with Baker, on the secretly convened and recently announced commission to investigate problems in Election 2004 and to make recommendations on changes needed to improve accuracy, confidence, transparency and inclusion in the American Electoral System.

From Conyers' letter to Carter [PDF]...

For many of us, Mr. Baker will be forever remembered for his ultimately successful efforts to shut down the counting of votes in the 2000 Florida election and I am concerned that his involvement in that election may present a conflict with the goals and initiatives of your Commission.

In the letter, Conyers also calls upon Carter to include true Voting Rights and Election Reform advocacy groups such as Velvet Revolution on the commission which is currently staffed instead by politicos and Bush/Cheney/RNC cronies.

ALSO: The BRAD BLOG can now confirm that Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II, the National Attorney for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and leader of the recently invented, phony GOP front group calling themselves the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) has been seated on the Academic Advisory board for this commission!

The fix, as we've been warning for some time, is clearly --- and dangerously --- in with this commission!

For more on the Bush/Cheney/RNC-run ACVR and how they are tied directly to the Baker/Carter Commission, please see the BRAD BLOG Special Coverage page on the developing ACVR scam.

UPDATE: The letter from Conyers to Carter is now posted here [PDF]. As well, Conyers has just blogged on the topic, and added even stronger language for his concern of Baker on this commission. From the just posted item at ConyersBlog:

How can an individual who played a critical role in the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Floridians now co-chair a Commission which should have as its mission ensuring that every vote counts?

This is of great concern to me and should be of great concern to every single person who cares about this important issue. Online activists have been taking a close look at this issue. Please keep an eye on it.

...MORE WILL BE COMING ON BRAD BLOG CONCERNING THE BLUE-RIBBON COMMISSION, ITS MAKE-UP, AND THE INSIDIOUS GAMING OF ITS MANDATE...STAY TUNED...

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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Report from 'American Center for Voting Rights' (ACVR) Used as Political Smokescreen to Deflect from Real 2004 Election Irregularities...
Cynical, Deceptive GOP anti-Election Reform Agenda gets Underway as Baker/Carter Commission Convenes...(And apparently ACVR Knew About it Before Anybody Else! Go Figure!)
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2005 2:04pm PT  

It'll be little surprise to BRAD BLOG readers who are by now aware of the phony "non-partisan" "voting rights" group recently created by high-level Bush/Cheney/RNC officials, but the coordinated strategy for smoke-screening what really happened in Election 2004 now seems to be in full swing.

In an Email sent yesterday by the RNC Political Director, Mike DuHaime, members of the huge RNC Email list are pointed to the 31-page hoax report [PDF] created by the three day old Talon News-like, tax-exempt, self-proclaimed, "voting rights" group, American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR).

The ACVR is anything but "non-partisan" and their so-far known ringleaders are actually Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, the National Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and his partner-in-crime Jim Dyke, the RNC's Communications Director. (Click here for our Special Coverage page on the ACVR for more details.)

The ACVR report was presented by the GOP front group to Congress in a U.S. House Adminstrative Committee hearing on the Election Mess in Ohio. The then-three-day old group, masquerading as a "voting rights" organization, was the only such group called as witnesses in the hearings convened by the committee's Chairman, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH).

As well, the creation of the ACVR seems to be smartly-timed with the creation of a supposedly "bi-partisan" blue-ribbon commission convened to study and recommend solutions for Electoral Problems in 2004. The Commission was seated in secret, announced on Thursday at 2pm, and lauded in a Press Release published by ACVR just 24 minutes later!

The commission, as announced, is set to be co-chaired by James A. Baker, III, the mastermind and architect of the 2000 Bush/Cheney strategy to ensure that votes were not counted in the state of Florida. The other co-chair is former-President Jimmy Carter who led a similar commission with respected elder statesman, former-President Gerald Ford after the 2000 Election debacle led by Baker on behalf of the Bush Family.

The RNC email, sent to believers on Tuesday, described the ACVR report as "document[ing] massive amounts of voter intimidation by Democrats and their third-party allies".

Of course, the report doesn't. Neither does it document the thousands of verified instances of real election fraud, irregularities, intimidation, disenfranchisment, miscounted and uncounted votes that occurred in Ohio and elsewhere in the last general election. Many of the real documented reports of evidence of went actually went wrong last November are contained in a 102-page report submitted to Congress after months of investigation by the minority staff of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

But in GOP Land, where black is white, wrong is right and where Republicans seem to have divorced themselves from reality...simply saying something makes it so. The Email and the link to the report is even now being circulated widely on Rightwing blogs and "centrist" newspapers and news services.

Here is a copy of the disingenous and misleading email sent yesterday by the RNC Political Director about the "non-partisan" report created by the RNC Communications Director and Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.'s lead attorney...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2005 1:13pm PT  

So much crime fighting, so little time. I've fallen desperately behind on posting some of the radio appearances I've done of late. (Along with falling behind on everything else...so my continued apologies for unreplied email, unread comments, and un-everything I wish I had more time in each day for! I'm doing my best however, and will keep chasing to get caught where it's possible.) To make up for the unposted radio spots, here's a collection of some freshly minted ones of which you may choose to listen at your liesure...Or not.

  • 3/23/05: 35 Minutes yesterday on Michelangelo Signorile's Sirius OutQ show. Guest-hosted by our good buddy John Aravosis of AMERICAblog! Good fun this one! Covering just about everything! And, on the usually gay-themed show, John calls me a "heterosexist"! Check it out...Streaming RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or MP3 Download.
  • 3/23/05: Just over 23 minutes yesterday on Atlanta, Georgia's "Wednesday World Party" on WFRG. On BRAD BLOGGING, Velvet Revolution and Georgia's new return to Jim Crow voter ID laws. Live and local, baby! Streaming RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or MP3 Download.
  • 3/22/05: 20 minutes from our weekly Tuesday gig with our new buddy, Don Grady of Louisiana Live. Always fun. On the latest BRAD BLOG goings on, Raymond Lemme and more... Streaming RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or MP3 Download.
  • 3/21/05: 30 easy-goin' minutes from a 3/21/05 interview on Guy Rathbun's KCBX show, "An Evening With..." In this case, it was an evening with yours truly. On VR et al. I think it was a nice interview. Enjoyed it very much. Guy is good. The show won't actually air until 3/30/05, but Guy was kind enough to post the recorded interview on his archives today. So kind, in fact, that I'll let him us to the bandwidth for the MP3 of the interview. ;-)
  • 3/21/05: About 15 minutes last Monday on Lila Garrett's Connect the Dots show on KPFK, Pacifica Radio's Los Angeles affiliate. On Velvet Revolution, and Los Angeles registrar Connie McCormack's fight to keep her best friend --- who sells machines for Diebold in Southern California --- in da money. Streaming RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or MP3 Download.
  • ReddIt this story!



    Same Models as Those Which Lost 4,400 Votes in NC!
    Unusually High Rate of 'Undervotes' in both States on Same Machines.
    By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2005 7:11am PT  

    After November 2nd, 2004, there were increasing reports from elections officials, small local papers, and, yes, bloggers who had bothered to studiously examine official election results, The New York Times published several articles labelling such concerns by Americans as "conspiracy theories".

    So we sent them a list of "15 Unanswered Questions" --- all of them based on hard evidence --- that we'd hope they'd investigate and report on to the American people. That was on November 21st, 2004.

    One of those questions concerned a single county in North Carolina which had used the UniLect voting machine and, as we reported on November 4th, 2004, had completely lost a full 4,438 votes. Those lost votes later spawned a Special Election in Cartaret County, NC to re-vote some of the local issues because of it.

    We had asked suggested to The Times that such hard facts were hardly "conspiracy theories" and we had hoped they'd be able to investigate and report on which other states and counties had been using the identical UniLect machines which --- company officials admitted --- had contained memory chips that stored fewer votes than they had told state officials.

    Since UniLect machines were also in use in Ohio, we thought it was a particularly germane point. But apparently The Times didn't agree. They neither investigated, nor reported on the matter to our knowledge.

    And now, months after the election, and days after the inaugural, The Charlotte Observer reports this morning that the same model of UniLect machines used in North Carolina were also in use in Pennsylvania and seem to have lost votes there as well [emphasis added]:

    Local and state officials in Pennsylvania are examining malfunctions and questions with voting machines in three counties --- the same model machine that lost more than 4,400 votes in North Carolina.

    "We continue to be uncertain about these machines," said Michael Coulter, who heads an independent committee examining voting machine mishaps in Mercer County, Pa., where he said machines in 13 precincts erased some voters' choices.

    Mercer County, as well as Beaver and Greene counties, along the Ohio border, use the Unilect Patriot voting machine, an electronic mechanism that does not produce a paper ballot and is the same model that lost 4,438 votes in Carteret County, along the N.C. coast.

    As well as lost and erased votes, there was also an unusually high rate of "undervotes" on the Presidential ballot where those machines were in use [emphasis again added] ...

    All three of the western Pennsylvania counties recorded a high percentage of "undervotes" for president, which is when a voter doesn't vote in that race. Mercer County's undervote was 7.8 percent, four times higher than in 2000, when they used old, lever machines.

    In North Carolina, state lawmakers are scrutinizing why more than 10 percent of Burke County voters were recorded as not making a choice in the presidential race, an "undervote" rate that is four to five times as high as nearly all the other counties in the state. Burke and Carteret are the only N.C. counties that use Unilect machines.
    ...
    [M]achines in 13 of Mercer's 100 precincts would let a voter select candidates in the races on several pages of the ballot and highlight the choice, but when the voter reached the sixth page the highlighting disappeared and all the candidates were unselected. The voter's choices had vanished.

    "The voter's choices had vanished."

    And we remind you again, The New York Times didn't find it necessary to look into which counties in Ohio used these same machines, if there were any lost votes or an unusually high rate of "undervotes" on them, presumably because such notions were simply the "conspiracy theories" of "leftist bloggers" as they had described them at the time.

    That despite just 60,000 or so of 5.5 million in a single state (Ohio) which would have completely flipped a United States Presidential Election.

    Repeating: Election officials and the voting machine manufacturer admit that 4,438 votes were entirely lost in just one North Carolina county where UniLect machines were used.

    Repeating: UniLect machines were also in use in Ohio.

    We will continue to press both the Mainstream Media, the States and the Voting Machine Companies to better serve the American Public whom they are failing to adequately serve at this time. But just in case you wonder why --- on January 23rd, 2005 --- this information is finally being reported by The Observer at all, it is because of inquiries in Pennsylvania that were demanded by the voters who spoke up, made noise, and created a petition to force their elected officials into taking action:

    Their inquiry was prompted not by Election Day glitches, but by a petition sent by voters in Beaver County who suggested the machines were susceptible to fraud and tampering.

    Your voice does matter. When you speak up.

    We've set up VelvetRevolution.us to help you do that. Please visit and sign-up (it's free!), so you can speak up, make noise and take part in some upcoming actions that will be announced there in the coming weeks.

    Count on no one but yourselves to make a difference.

    ReddIt this story!



    Letter just sent to Republican Majority Chairman!
    By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2005 1:31pm PT  

    Nine Democratic House Judiciary Committee members (Conyers, Nadler, Scott, Lofgren, Jackson Lee, Meehan, Waters, Wexler, Schiff) have just requested that the committee "hold hearings and investigate the vital issue of protecting our citizens right to vote".

    The text of their letter (without footnotes) to the Republican chair of the committee is as follows...

    January 19, 2004

    The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner
    Chairman
    Committee on the Judiciary
    2138 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Mr. Chairman:

    We write to you at the very outset of the 109th Congress, to request that our committee hold hearings and investigate the vital issue of protecting our citizens right to vote. The right to vote is the very foundation of our Democracy and is at the core of our Committee's jurisdiction, and we can think of no more important or urgent issue before us than protecting our democratic rights. While the election is settled, however, our job as legislators on the Judiciary Committee to make sure that the constitutional right to vote is protected is just beginning.

    In congressional forums many of us participated in Washington D.C. and Columbus, Ohio, we learned of significant voter irregularities in Ohio. These irregularities are included in a 100 page report Mr. Conyers issued, and include the following:

    � The misallocation of voting machines led to lines of ten hours or more that disenfranchised scores if not hundreds of thousands of predominantly minority and Democratic voters. In Franklin County, 27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush, while six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry.

    � The Ohio Republican Party's decision to engage in preelection �caging� tactics, selectively targeting 35,000 predominantly minority voters for intimidation had a negative impact on voter turnout. The Third Circuit found these activities to be illegal and in direct violation of consent decrees barring the targeting minority voters for poll challenges.

    � The Ohio Republican Party's decision to utilize thousands of partisan challengers concentrated in minority and Democratic areas disenfranchised numerous legal voters, who were not only intimidated, but became discouraged by the long lines in the adverse weather. Shockingly, these disruptions were publicly predicted by Republican officials: Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, admitted the challenges �can't help but create chaos, longer lines and frustration.�

    � Numerous instances of intimidation and misinformation occurred across the state of Ohio that would appear to violate the Voting Rights Act. For example, the NAACP stated that it received over 200 calls regarding incidents of suspected voter intimidation or unusual election related activities, particularly actions taken by challengers who intimidated poll workers and voters. Other specific incidents involved a caller who reported that someone was going door-to-door telling people they were not registered to vote. A voter in Franklin County received information in the mail identified as being from the state that said he would have to vote by provisional ballot because he had moved; in fact, the voter had not moved and had lived at the address for 10-15 years. One polling place worker was reportedly only asking African American voters for their address.

    � In Franklin County, a worker at the Holiday Inn observed a team of 25 people who called themselves the �Texas Strike Force� using payphones to make intimidating calls to likely voters, targeting people recently in the prison system. The �Texas Strike Force� members hotel accommodations were apparently paid for by the Ohio Republican Party, whose headquarters is across the street. The hotel worker heard one caller threaten a likely voter with being reported to the FBI and returning to jail if he voted. Another hotel worker called the police, who came but did nothing. There were also reports of phone calls incorrectly informing voters that their polling place had changed.

    � The Cleveland Plain Dealer found that several Lake County residents received an official-looking letter on Board of Elections letterhead informing them that their polling place had changed or that they were not properly registered to vote. A fake voter bulletin from Franklin County Board of Elections was posted at polling locations, and fliers were distributed in the inner city, telling Republicans to vote on Tuesday and Democrats to vote on Wednesday due to unexpected heavy voter registration.

    � In Cleveland, the Washington Post reported that unknown volunteers began showing up at voters' doors illegally offering to collect and deliver complete absentee ballots to the election office. The Election Protection Coalition testified that in Franklin County, voters received fliers informing them that they could cast a ballot on November 3. Also, in Franklin County there were reports that about a dozen voters were contacted by someone claiming to be from the county board of elections, telling them their voting location was changed, and �door-hangers� telling African-American voters to go to the wrong precinct were distributed.

    In our view, this course of events is not consistent with the right to vote as we understand it. The fact that many of these instances appear to be focused particularly on minority voters is all the more disheartening, and triggers even more clearly our jurisdiction involving civil rights.

    We look forward to full and open hearings concerning these instances of disenfranchisement in Ohio and around the Nation. We very much would like to work with you and your staff to insure that allegations of improprieties by both Democrats and Republicans are looked into and considered.

    ReddIt this story!



    ...And other weekend points of note...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2004 4:06pm PT  

    As you've likely imagined, I'm currently working on a number of items related to the Curtis/Feeney/Yang affair. Some small items I'll pop here shortly this evening, some larger fairly breathtaking items will be coming tomorrow or Monday. As well, I'm trying to get the original BradBlog.com moved over to a new server that can better handle the traffic so we can resume reporting back at home sweet home in the not too distant future.

    Because of all of that, I have been unable to give the proper attention to the affairs on the ground relating to the recount in Ohio.

    There have been some notable, and some disturbing developments over the last day or so however, and to that end, I associate myself with the good Mr. Joseph Cannon's coverage of some of those troubling events seeping out of the Buckeye State...

    Another lockdown in Ohio. The Ohio recount effort quickly ran into an obstacle, and his name is Ken Blackwell. From the Ohio Election Fraud site:

    On Friday December 10 two certified volunteers for the Ohio Recount team assigned to Greene County were in process recording voting information from minority precincts in Greene County, and were stopped mid-count by a surprise order from Secretary of State Blackwell's office. The Director Board of Elections stated that "all voter records for the state of Ohio were "locked-down," and now they are not considered public records."

    A voter record is not public? How can a recount take place without access to the data?

    A poll book, apparently, was physically yanked out of the hands of a recount volunteer.

    Ohio Revised Code Title XXXV Elections, Sec. 3503.26 that requires all election records to be made available for public inspection and copying. ORC Sec. 3599.161 makes it a crime for any employee of the Board of Elections to knowingly prevent or prohibit any person from inspecting the public records filed in the office of the Board of Elections. Finally, ORC Sec. 3599.42 clearly states: "A violation of any provision of Title XXXV (35) of the Revised Code constitutes a prima facie case of election fraud within the purview of such Title."

    Blackwell's outrageous attempt to impede a legal recount not only makes him a candidate for what used to be called "the big house," he has also created further grounds for a revote. The law is there; only the political will to enforce it remains missing.

    Alas, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro seems to be a Republican ideologue; don't expect anything from an elephant except elephant crap. Perhaps we will get better results from the lawsuit Democrats filed against Blackwell.

    It gets worse: A recount volunteer named Katrina Sumner told a writer at Democratic Underground that the Board of Elections offices were kept unlocked during last night's "lockdown." Someone must have made his way into the place, because in the morning she found that a light was on that had not been on the night before.

    A janitor? Maybe. Even so, we can't rest easily knowing that anyone could have walked in and tampered with the evidence.

    Check back for more soon...

    [Originally published at BRAD BLOG TOO while The BRAD BLOG server was down.
    Comments left by readers on the original article can be read at the above link.]
    ReddIt this story!



    (Though I do believe none was intended.)
    By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2004 11:35pm PT  

    "We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse."
    -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, 11/24/04. In regards to Ukraine's recent election and the announced U.S. rejection of the results. From The Washington Post.

    Welcome to CrazyWorld.

    ReddIt this story!



    By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2004 1:37pm PT  

    Predictably, the promised "Did E-Voting Work?" coverage from CNN's Judy Woodruff didn't add much to what we've already covered here. The only notable issue is that she discussed the GAO investigation reported in the previous item here and other concerns about E-Voting, as well as giving a mention to the up-coming Ohio Recount and the quarrels about thereof. Reporting on those items at all on CNN is a step up at least! So we'll take that as a luke-warmish good sign. (CNN's report on the GAO Investigation is now online. Woodruff's report on video is here.)

    In the meantime, real reporter Erica Solvig of the Cincinnati Enquirer slightly advances the Mysterious Goings-On in Warren County where you'll recall, unlike any other county in all of Ohio, all media were locked out from witnessing the vote tallying on Election Night. Warren County was amongst the last to report their results and one of the top Bush counties in Ohio. The reason given by Election Officials for the lockout was due to "terror warnings" they were said to have received from FBI/Homeland Security officials. It turns out the FBI has denied giving any such warnings to anybody in Ohio.

    In today's Enquirer Solvig reports that the lockout was planned in advance:

    County Commissioner Pat South has said the decision to lock the doors election night was made during an Oct. 28 closed-door meeting (the Thursday before Election Day). But in e-mailed memos dated Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 - released Monday after an Enquirer public records request - other county officials were already detailing the security measures, down to the wording of signs that would be posted on the locked doors.

    Not sure what we learn from that, other than the plan to lock-out reports was made in advance and Election Officials have been inaccurate about even that. Still no word on why it was all done at all, but hopefully Solvang will keep digging!

    ReddIt this story!



    By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004 10:52pm PT  

    As if to say "Fuck off, Americans! We're busy with more important things!", The New York Times is running a smarmy little piece in tomorrow's Week in Review under the headline: "Still Unhappy About the Election? Here's a Place You Can Vent."

    It's a piece about some of the email that's been sent to the "National Association of State Election Directors" --- whoever the hell they are --- complaining about the way the election was run and the way votes were counted, mistabulated, or whatever.

    The New York Times has been bravely leading the way in ignoring the story of America's failure to hold an honest, clean and transparent election. Even though they've had time to dismiss the whole affair as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers."

    Their criticism and sniffing dismissal of those of us who give a damn about getting this story right and told to the American people accurately is ironic coming from the "newspaper of record" which spent a year helping us get into a war by becoming the unquestioning lapdog of the Bush Adminstration's rhetoric and inaccurate propaganda. They had to issue an apology for their crappy reporting. And they've got the gall to criticize "bloggers" for covering this story?!

    Still Unhappy About the NYTimes Disgraceful Coverage of This Story? Here's a Place You Can Vent!

    UPDATE: I've decided to help The NY Times do their job. Please see these 15 Unanswered Questions about the Election Results that they may wish to investigate. Apparently they need a cheat sheet to get started!

    ReddIt this story!



    POST-SHOW UPDATE
    By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2004 1:50pm PT  

    Well, that was fun. Just finished up the interview on the Pacifica Network's LA/Santa Barbara affilliate KPFK with host Jerry Quickley about blogging the whole story of the Election 2004/Voting Irregularity, Fraud, Mistabulation mess.

    A fairly wide ranging conversation about how the blogs have played a key part in the story, the nap the mainstream media is largely taking, and how important it is that bloggers (aka CITIZENS!) are willing to examine what the corporate media, by and large, is apparently afraid to touch until the actual smoking gun shows up in their lap for them.

    Quickley, by the way, is a madman. He also rocks. I look forward to doing it again soon.

    I was able to nab the live stream from KPFK's site, so listen if ya like. About 17 minutes in your choice of 3 deliciously flavored formats:

    God save Public Radio.

    ReddIt this story!



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