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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, November 24, 2014
'Recount' Ahead for Oregon's GMO Labeling Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
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
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Extraordinary Evidence Presented at Presser Today Alleges Diebold Tabulator Was Used to 'Fix' Results of 2006 Ballot Initiative on Orders from County Election Officials
State AG Called on to Preserve and Manually Count Ballots from Controversial Proposition...
By David Safier on 7/9/2008 11:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by David Safier of Blog for Arizona

The Pima County, Arizona, Diebold vote tabulation system was manipulated to "pass" a 2006 ballot initiative when, in fact, the measure was actually voted down, according to a startling new allegation revealed today by the election watchdog group Audit AZ.

The long-running election integrity battles in Pima flared up again this afternoon as an explosive affidavit from a former county official was released at a press conference held by the tenacious local organization. On the heels of several recent Audit AZ court victories, resulting in the unprecedented if long overdue release of mountains of previously "proprietary" Diebold election databases, today's presser was well attended by much of the local media.

The conference was held as news comes that the ballots for the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election are set to be destroyed, according to a letter sent by the Pima County Treasurer to the Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, Vince Rabago. The June 2008 letter, posted at the end of this article, says that Rabago has the right to request that the ballots not be destroyed, which would save them temporarily. Bill Risner, the lawyer for the successful suit to obtain copies of the county's election databases, said at the press conference that the State Attorney General needs to step in and not only demand that the ballots be saved but order that they be counted to see if the total agrees with the "official" numbers that came out of the election department's computer given the extraordinary new allegations.

The potentially explosive new piece of information introduced during the press conference was a sworn affidavit from Zbigniew Osmolski, a former Pima County employee, stating that Bryan Crane, the computer operator at the Pima County Elections Division, told him, during a conversation in a bar, that the RTA Election was "fixed...on the instructions of his bosses."

According to Osmolski's affidavit (posted in full at the end of this article):

During that conversation Bryan Crane told me he "fixed" the RTA, or Regional Transportation Authority election on the instructions of his bosses and he did what he was told to do. Mr. Crane expressed his concern about being indicted and said he would like to talk but couldn't trust anyone.

The affidavit is the latest in a series of red flags concerning the RTA election. Other red flags include: (1) This was a sales tax increase, the type of vote that usually fails, and it looked like it was going down in the days prior to the election; (2) The database on the vote counting computer was erased and replaced a day into the early ballot scanning; (3) Unauthorized vote total summary reports were printed during the counting; (4) A tape of the original ballot layout stored with the Secretary of State --- which could have indicated if the vote was flipped --- was sent back to the County, which lost it; (5) An investigation into the election completed by the Attorney General's office was cursory and inconclusive.

A video of the press conference is now available here...

The Osmolski affidavit and County Treasurer's letter concerning the impending destruction of the ballots from the RTA election follow below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2008 6:35am PT  

Last week we told you about the hard fought victory by the Pima County (Tucson), Arizona, Democrats to finally gain access to the Diebold databases which include the tallies of how folks voted in elections going all the way back to 1998.

The county had argued (on Diebold's behalf, natch) that the database files were both proprietary, and a security risk should they be released. The judge, finally, found that to be nonsense, and ordered the release of the files which the local Election Integrity advocates now hope to comb over for evidence of fraud and/or other malfeasance.

Now that they've got all the info, they're seeking a geek or two who may be able to help build a tool to make it a bit easier to go through the mountains of data they now finally have access to.

AZ's Libertarian Election Integrity champ Jim March, whose been working closely with the Dems, sends us the following "Help Wanted" ad, seeking a programmer to help 'em make sense of "the world's largest private collection of Diebold election data files anywhere." (Note: If someone could kindly Slashdot this item to maximize the number of coder geek eyeballs it gets in front of, it'd be much appreciated!)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2008 1:08pm PT  

Good news for voters across American on Friday, as the judge in the Pima County, AZ, court case has finally agreed that citizens can try and see how citizens voted in elections, even if they are run by Diebold.

Via email from AZ Electon Integrity advocate Jim March...

Judge Miller's final decision came in this morning on the public records case filed by the Pima Democratic Party.In short:

  • All Diebold database files held in the trust's vault are to be released.These go back to 1998.
  • Database files in future elections are to be made available at the time of the final canvass.The judge appears to be suggesting that CD/DVDs or similar media with this material be prepared by the county for immediate release so that the material can affect challenges within the statutory five-day limit from the day of the canvass.
  • There is nothing in this order regarding the legal bills rung up by [plaintiff's] Attorney Bill Risner. However, given the now-absolute victory in this revised order (attached ed note: download here [PDF]) plus recent changes to AZ law supporting legal fees and costs where a government agency loses a public records suit, it seems very clear Mr. Risner is getting paid :-)

Congratulations! And thank you, EI folks in AZ!!!

Previous BRAD BLOG coverage of the Pima County case here...

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'We the People' Win, as Thor Hearne's MO Voter Suppression Attempt Fails; von Spakovsky Withdraws FEC Nomination; TN to Require Paper Ballots; AZ Agrees to Follow Law, Perform Voter Registration at Public Facilities...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2008 12:23pm PT  

In case you missed it, tremendous news for democracy lovers everywhere late yesterday, as the week ended up being a very good one for the voters, for a change...

  • On the federal level, GOP voter-fraud zealot Hans von Spakovsky (cue evil music), finally withdrew his nomination to the FEC, which had been blocked by Sens. Obama and Feingold. The standoff had kept the FEC from have the required quorum of commissioners needed to do business in a crucial election year. With vS out of the way, perhaps a responsible, pro-voter set of commissioners can now take their place. But we'll see. Rick Hasen has the outlook. Either way, it's another very big victory.
  • In Tennessee, both houses have approved a bill to require a paper ballot for every vote cast! The bill has to go back to conference to work out one last point, but given its extraordinary success in both houses (it passed unanimously this week in the state Senate!) it's likely to be enacted quickly. This is a huge win for the tireless Election Integrity citizen heroes on the ground in TN, and a loss for the pro-machine, pro-invisible/unverifiable ballot crowd there, including Davidson County's Republican Election Commissioner Lynn Greer, who once told me, after I attended a meeting there, that "paper is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on this country." Apparently he was serious. The good news: the responsible folks in the state disagree with him. The bad news: the requirement for paper ballots won't take effect until 2010. But we'll take what we can get!
  • Finally, in Arizona, as Steve Rosenfeld, as one of my guests yesterday while I was guest hosting The Peter B. Collins Show told us, the DoJ has finally settled a lawsuit against the state where Sec. of State Jan Brewer, who once called Election Integrity advocates "anarchists" and "conspiracy theorists" has been doing everything she could, for years, to keep legitimate voters from being able to properly cast their ballots and have them counted accurately. The state has now finally agreed to follow the law (National Voter Registration Act of 1993, known as the NVRA or the "Motor Voter Bill") by performing voter registration services at public assistance facilities such as welfare clinics.

We spoke about most of the breaking good news above last night on the PBC Show (audio archive here), and will try, for the next few hours at least, to enjoy some of the great news, for a change, on several fronts in the continuing Republican War on Voting.

Prices now slashed in The BRAD BLOG's 2008 Election Integrity Fund Drive! Please support our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available starting at just $5!
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You're a Great American, Thor Hearne...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2008 2:56pm PT  

The parade of disenfranchised and/or soon-to-be-disenfranchised elderly, nuns, U.S. veterans (even those disabled in Iraq and Afghanistan), hurricane victims, and other Democratic-leaning voters continues this week, following the recent Supreme Court decision to allow the disenfranchisement of thousands of such (previously) legal voters in Indiana.

While much of the coverage --- such as today's report by Art Levine at HuffPo --- has been intelligent and serious, the New York Times took the lazy way out in a front page story today, lending credence to the discredited GOP "voter fraud" huckster, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, with quotes and reference to his defunct, sham organization, The American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR).

Writing about him and it, as if he were legit, and as if the ACVR were still in operation, the article's author, Ian Urbina --- who has written very good reports in the past --- didn't bother to mention the controversy surrounding Hearne and his group, that they had disappeared themselves under the glare of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, that they had lied on federal tax forms claiming that the group had not "attempted to influence national, state, or local legislation, including any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum" (fraudulent tax form here), that Hearne himself has been behind every step of the systematic and dishonest scheme to get laws of this sort on the books across the country, and finally, Urbina didn't even bother to note that Hearne had been the national general counsel to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and remains the top election lawyer for the Republican National Lawyer's Association.

It's all easy to find, of course. We've even set up a Special Coverage page at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR so folks like Urbina --- and NPR who similarly quoted Hearne as if he were legit recently --- wouldn't have to look too far.

But darn that "liberal media" again. For the record, we sought comment from Urbina, who we've been a source for in the past, and who has done good work over the years, but he declined to comment on our criticism here.

In the days immediately following the horrible SCOTUS decision, we quickly turned to our old home state of Missouri, where the huckster Hearne has been basing his well-funded voter suppression operation on behalf of the White House and the RNC for years, going back at least as far as the moment we originally outed him in 2005 just after he had created the not "non-partisan," tax-exempt front group, ACVR, and testified just days later at a Congressional hearing, led by Ohio's felonious Rep. Bob Ney. Hearne told of fraud having been committed in Ohio in 2004, but by John Kerry's campaign, after Hearne described himself to legislatures only as a "longtime advocate of voter rights and an attorney experienced in election law."

We called on MO's Sec. of State Robin Carnahan for an exclusive interview, while we were hosting KPFK's "Special Election Year Coverage" last week (audio here), and took the opportunity to inform her, if she didn't already know, that Hearne's group lied on his federal tax form, and has, to this day, illegally failed to discose the source of his group's $1 million in start-up funding.

Our interview with Carnahan took place even as Missouri's Republican legislature was in mid-debate on the House floor about a new state Constitutional Amendment to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote and for a similarly draconian Photo ID requirement as those approved by the SCOTUS for the polling places in the Hoosier State.

Kansas City Star reporter Dave Helling noticed our interview with Carnahan, and wrote a quick item about it, noting her characterization of these anti-voter efforts as "absurd," and alleging that she has not been quite as available to "reporters in the state"...

Appearing yesterday on the radio with well-known voting machine critic and blogger Brad Friedman, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan called the push for photo ID "absurd."

(Carnahan's discussion --- by telephone --- was rare. Her office usually refuses to make her available for questions from reporters in the state.)

...But whether the MO SoS has been available to Helling or not, she has been making quite a bit of noise ever since, concerning what a study by her office has found to be some 240,000 largely Democrati-leaning voters in the Show-Me State who would be disenfranchised by the Republican law as she explained to us on air.

Meanwhile, over in Arizona, a law that has already made it on to the books will similarly be keeping legal Americans from casting their legal votes this year.

Thor Hearne deserves a raise...

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

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I'll Be There, But Come on by Anyway!
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2008 1:44pm PT  

I'm in Phoenix tonight to appear at a Q&A, along with filmmaker David Earnhardt, following a screening of Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections.

The event is sponsored by KPHX 1480 and will be hosted by their own Cynthia Black of ActionPoint. If you're within spitting distance of Scottsdale/Phoenix, come on by and spit on us at 7:15pm @ Harkins Camelview 5 in Scottsdale. More details and advanced tickets right here...

(As ever, we're on our own dime, so if you can help with gas money we'll take it! Here's our latest cool fundraiser premium offers which include a copy of the Uncounted DVD, signed by the filmmaker, for folks who contribute $50 or more!)

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Phoenix on Thursday...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2008 11:40am PT  

I'll be appearing at a Q&A, along with filmmaker David Earnhardt, after a screening of Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections tonight in Tucson, AZ. As an added bonus, I'm told the blogging fools of Drinking Liberally Tucson will also be gathering after all of that to keep the party going.

If you're anywhere in the hood, please come on by, see a great film, and say hello! Screening begins at 7:30pm at the Loft Cinema , 3233 E Speedway Blvd. in Tucson. More details here....

I'll be in Phoenix/Scottsdale on Thursday night for another such screening and Q&A, this one sponsored by KPHX 1480/NovaM and hosted by ActionPoint's lovely Cynthia Black. Details on the Phoenix screening (7:15pm @ Harkins Camelview 5 in Scottsdale) right here...

(Gas is expensive these days. So our BRAD BLOG fundraiser continues. Please help support our work, and receive your own collector's edition copy of the Uncounted DVD, signed by filmmaker Earnhardt, as thanks! Just Donate $50 or more online right here! To do it via snail mail, see the address in the blue form on the right side of this page.)

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By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2008 2:39pm PT  

-- by Brad Friedman

The U.S. Attorney Purge scandal still ranks, in my estimation, as the key to unlocking almost every other unprecedented domestic (and perhaps even foreign) criminal abuse of power by the White House. The matter strikes at the very heart of the dirty dealings by all of the President's men and, if it were to ever be fully cracked open, would likely display the totality of the blood and guts of the Administration's highly illegal, fully politicized takeover and wholesale abuse of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Little wonder then that the White House has determined to go to the mattresses when it comes to fighting off both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees' investigations into the matter. They've determined they are better off playing chicken with Congress and risking criminal contempt charges (which they believe they can either refuse to enforce via the DoJ, or otherwise pardon the players whenever necessary) by refusing to turn over requested documents to Congress and ordering the refusal to testify by top officials such as Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten.

In order to guard the castle gates, after consigliere Alberto Gonzales could no longer effectively hold off the investigation, they found a man who would play ball for them in AG Michael Mukasey, betting --- correctly --- that Democrats in congress would fold rather than refuse to confirm a man who was, even during Senate hearings, so obviously in the pocket of the White House crime syndicate.

Two stories breaking today each serve as fresh reminders of how much is at stake, and how much is being hidden by the WH stonewalling of the scandal's full investigation. Each of them --- the indictment today of AZ's Republican Rep. Rick Renzi on charges of extortion, wire fraud, and money laundering, and this Sunday's long-awaited 60 Minutes exposé on the Rove/DoJ/WH gang-bang frame-up of Alabama's now-imprisoned Democratic former Governor Don Seigelman --- merely offer salacious clues as to how bad, how corrupt, and how historically unprecedented (in this country, anyway) the illegal machinations at the heart of this scandal really are.

Please keep in mind that at the center of the entire scandal lies the über scandal involving the very gaming of our electoral system by folks who, evidence shows, were willing to do nearly anything to ensure they retained a death grip on American political power and the control of its entire legal apparatus in the bargain.

And both the Democrats in Congress, and the American Corporate Mainstream Media, to their eternal disgrace, have all stood by and allowed the shameful bloodbath --- featuring real blood --- to take place...

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

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Diebold's GEMS Tabulator Files, Containing Data from '06 Election, Ordered Released to Democratic Party Experts for Scrutiny, Possible Release to Full Public
Decision Seen as Important Victory for Election Integrity Advocates...
By Michael Bryan on 12/18/2007 4:14pm PT  

Pimacountyaz_dieboldGuest Blogged by Michael Bryan, Esq.

Judge Michael Miller, in a carefully reasoned and balanced opinion, today ordered the release of the final Diebold GEMS tabulator database files from the contested 2006 Regional Transport Authority (RTA) election 2006 primary and general elections . The judge denied, without prejudice, full public access to every MDB and GBF database file for the 2006 elections in the possession of Pima County until and unless the plaintiffs can address remaining security concerns which might arise from that larger release.

[CORRECTION: Several correspondents point out correctly that the databases for the 2006 Primary and General elections have been released, but not those of the RTA election, which was a mid-year election. Sources near the case speculate that perhaps the judge believed that the RTA election may have been tampered with and did not want further controversy around the results of that election.]

[UPDATE: For a detailed analysis of the judge's ruling see my post on BlogForArizona.com.]

The BRAD BLOG has been following this case closely because unsecured tabulation systems like GEMS are widely used in American elections and completely open to insider manipulation. For background and detailed commentary about the case see my 12/8/07 wrap-up post on the trial.

The immediate goal of the Democratic party --- to be able to look closer at the final election databases for the 2006 election --- is fully satisfied by the ruling. But the broader goal of being able to look at a time series of backups for discrepancies or discontinuities that could indicate manipulation, as Arizona Election Integrity advocates have feared, is stymied for the moment...

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

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
NOW AVAILABLE! Video of the closing argument, exclusive to The BRAD BLOG and BlogForArizona.com
By Michael Bryan on 12/8/2007 3:35pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan, Esq. from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ..

The final day of testimony over the Pima County Democratic Party's public records request featured the remainder of the county's witnesses for the defense, a surprise call on an adverse witness, and pugnacious closing arguments. The matter now rests with Judge Michael Miller, who says he will decide the case within the next two weeks.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post. If you haven't been following along, you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day, the second day, and the third day of trial.

In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is demanding Pima County release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, arguing that they are public records. The GEMS software is highly insecure, allowing anyone with access to the computer it runs on to manipulate the outcome of elections at will and likely cover their tracks. Elections are thus highly succeptable to manipulation by elections insiders, and there is no way to detect or deter them without access to the databases for forensic analysis. Pima County's position is that we should trust them to take care of that risk through internal checks and balances, and that releasing the databases simply creates more security risks by outsiders seeking to hack an election.

The county's expert witnesses were Merle "the Man from Diebold" King, and Dr. John Moffatt, a consultant for Pima County's IT strategy. Summaries of and commentaries on their testimony is available on BlogForArizona.com, along with an detailed chronicle of the entire trial.

Both experts sought to convince the judge of the many security threats posed by release of the GEMS databases, and in my view, failed to sustain that position under the cross examination of the Democrats' attorney Bill Risner. Risner poked holes in all the threat scenarios the experts presented, showing them to be impracticable, absurd, or simply undefined.

Here's Risner's closing argument:


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

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
PLUS EXCLUSIVE COURTROOM VIDEO of the Democratic Party's Attorney Presenting Case During Yesterdays Hearings...
By Michael Bryan on 12/7/2007 1:55am PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan, Esq. from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

The trial is heading into overtime. What was to be the third and final day of the trial ended with the Democratic Party having rested their case at the afternoon break and the County just getting into their witness list. Judge Miller called to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning with a determination to finish the trial.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post, and you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day of trial and the second day of trial.

In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is challenging Pima County to release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, on the presumption that they should be public records. There is a belief that the databases, if obtained by the party, may show fraud or other malfeasance by county election officials. The county maintains that releasing such information will make tampering in future elections easier, even though those same county officials and insiders have all the means and opportunity to manipulate elections.

Today, I have posted a full summary of the testimony of Pima County's head elections programmer Bryan Crane, started Wednesday and concluded Thursday. His testimony was expected to be very important, as it is the appearance of impropriety on his part that prompted the Democrats' inquiry and led to an investigation by Arizona's Attorney General and, ultimately, this lawsuit.

Crane didn't do the county any favors. He undermined his own credibility, developed a great fondness for the expression "I can't recall," and, upon questioning by Judge Miller, revealed that the security threats the County claims are posed by the release of the GEMS database following an election are illusory or highly implausible.

There was brief testimony from the former Chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, Paul Eckerstrom, who explained the decisions that led to the formation of the Election Integrity Committee, whose findings and research led to this point.

Once the Democratic Party rested their case, the county moved for a judgment as a matter of law, which asks the judge to decide the case in their favor on just the plaintiff's testimony. It is largely a pro forma motion, but it provided an opportunity for counsels to frame the case thus far. Democrats' attorney Bill Risner took the opportunity to test a few of the themes that will likely figure in his closing arguments.

That footage of Risner making his case, is about 10 minutes long and is presented at the end of this post, hot off our press pool camera, in a BRAD BLOG exclusive. The judge took only a few minutes to decide that the plaintiffs had presented a sufficient case that the County must proceed with their side of the case.

The County put on their first witness, the elections director of Gila County, Arizona, another jurisdiction using an identical GEMS tabulation system. The choice backfired significantly. Her testimony revealed that she was completely ignorant of any security issues with the Diebold system her county uses, presumably because she relies on the Arizona Secretary of State and the Diebold corporation for security information. Her county contracts out their election preparation to a private company based in Glendale, Arizona, rather than do it in-house like in Pima County. The private company she contracts with just sends them back a prepared database, which the county then uses in their elections, never having checked the contents of the database.

Except for logic and accuracy testing (running a few sample ballots), the integrity of Gila County's elections rests entirely on the honesty of that private contractor.

The county then put on Merle King, the director of Georgia's Kennesaw College Center for Election Systems. The Democrats' legal team calls him 'The Man from Diebold.' He is a professional expert witness in voting systems who never saw a Diebold system he didn't love. The county made quite a production of eliciting the information that Mr. King had been paid the handsome sum of $10 to appear. I guess it was meant to illustrate how independent he is, but his expenses are being underwritten by someone: my money is on Diebold. His testimony and more will be available tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy the Democratic Party's champion Bill Risner presenting his motion for judgment, direct from the courtroom yesterday...


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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
PLUS: Deposition footage of chief election programmer, Bryan Crane
By Michael Bryan on 12/5/2007 11:47pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

It was a day packed with testimony Wednesday in Tucson as the plaintiffs' attorney, Bill Risner, continued to crank through his witness list. The day ended with the last witness that will be called by the Democratic Party, Bryan Crane, whom Pima County Attorneys have repeatedly labeled "much maligned," just preparing for a rehabilitating friendly cross-examination by Pima County attorneys. Crane's testimony is pivotal to the case, and will be posted in its entirety tomorrow after cross and re-direct are complete.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial about, please see my introductory post, and if you missed yesterday's action, you may want to take a look at my summary of day one. In general, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party, is challenging Pima County to release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election on the presumption that it should be of public record. There is a belief that the databases, if obtained by the party, may show fraud and other malfeasance by county election officials. The county maintains that releasing such information will make tampering in future elections more feasible, even though those same county officials and insiders, currently have the easiest route to tampering with such elections, since they already have all the access they need to such information.

The witnesses on Wednesday included a slate of employees from the Pima County elections department. The summaries of the testimony of Isabel Araiza, Robert Evans, Chester Crowley, Romi Romero, and Mary Martinson are posted together on BlogForArizona.

These employees' testimony was sought by the plaintiffs to try to establish a pattern of negligent oversight and security procedures at the elections department, including the actions of head programmer, Bryan Crane (deposition video footage of Crane at bottom of this article), taking backups of election data home and illegally printing summaries that included current vote totals in the midst of elections and then sharing that data with persons not part of the election department.

The prime witnesses of the day, however, were Brad Nelson, the director of the elections department, Crane, the "much maligned" head programmer, and the man with responsibility for the entire bureaucracy, Chuck Huckleberry, the County Administrator...

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

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
By Michael Bryan on 12/5/2007 8:19am PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

It was an eventful day in the courtroom in Pima County yesterday, with opening statements and the first two plaintiff's witnesses' testimony. Already, the general shape of the controversy is becoming more clear and many of the media access issues have been favorably resolved. The Election Integrity press pool is providing video to local news and other interested parties on a non-exclusive basis and there is a ground-swell of support and interest in the trial and use of the resultant footage among journalists and documentarians.

Full summaries of the opening statements of the plaintiff's attorney Bill Risner and Pima County Deputy County Attorney Christopher Straub are available on BlogForArizona.com and they lay out the positions of the litigants.

See our initial backgrounder/intro to this trial, as posted yesterday, right here.

The position of the Democratic Party, argued in the courtroom yesterday, is that the statutory role of the political parties in Arizona, and in America historically, has been to oversee and participate deeply in our elections. The elections belong to the people, not the government. The database the party seeks access to on behalf of all political parties is the only computer record of the election that can provide the information needed to ensure that elections insiders cannot, and have not, manipulated the election. Absent a clear statement by the legislature, the parties should not be denied access to this crucial information to carry out their traditional role of ensuring the public's political rights. Certainly no tortured interpretation of outdated language regarding computer technology from a statute written in the 1980s should be allowed to deny the people access to their election data, only a clear and unambiguous expression from the legislature should be able to do that.

The position of Pima County, however, is that the database requested must remain confidential.

They argue that providing the database to the political parties would violate the standards promulgated by the Arizona Secretary of State because the files contain procedural information and code that is used to program elections machines, and could reveal information that might compromise future elections. The county agrees that the Diebold GEMS software used to tabulate votes has serious security flaws, but that is all the more reason to not allow the information in the database into the public domain...

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

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The Pima County Democratic Party sues Pima county for public records access to election databases
PLUS FLASHBACK VIDEO: Pima's Election Director, Brad Nelson, Gone Wild on Video Tape...
By Michael Bryan on 12/4/2007 8:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Bryan

I am Michael Bryan, an attorney and blogger whose home is Tucson, Arizona. Starting today and continuing through Thursday, at BlogForArizona.com (my blog) and The BRAD BLOG, I will be covering the trial of Pima County Democratic Party v. Pima County. The proceedings will be live-blogged at BlogForArizona every day, with a daily summary posted each evening of the trial here at The BRAD BLOG.

The trial concerns the Pima County Democratic Party's demand for access to public records. Specifically, they seek access to database files that contain the raw tabulator vote data from a past local bond election. They seek to establish the public's right to inspect and analyze those records to search for any irregularities or manipulation by elections department insiders. Ideally, the Democrats want the judge to declare that all such files must be given to all political parties in Pima County in all future elections, so that public scrutiny can help ensure that the vote is honestly counted.

Why the concern that public officials, whose job it is to count the vote, may be instead manipulating the vote? Because the software Pima County (and many, many other jurisdictions around the country) is using to tabulate the vote is "fundamentally flawed" as to security according to an independent audit [PDF] commissioned by the Arizona Attorney General.

The "fundamentally flawed" software is made by Diebold and is called Global Election Management Software, or GEMS. Election integrity activists and researchers have long known that vote totals can be easily manipulated by insiders with access to the computers on which GEMS runs. The software is so fundamentally insecure that vote data can be changed by simply using the common database software Microsoft Access --- and the fraud can potentially be completely untraceable. With security conditions like that, it becomes imperative that the public have oversight of that data, just as the public has (or should have) oversight over the rest of the elections process.

For more background information about the software and the issues behind the trial, please see my post, Pima County Election Integrity Blues, or my introduction to the trial, both on BlogForArizona.com.

You may also wish to see Steve Rosenfeld's excellent report yesterday at Alternet, offering more specific details on what is at stake here.

If you would like to just listen to a discussion of the issues in the trial, please take a few minutes to listen to my recent interview with Action Point host Cynthia Black on Phoenix' Air America station...


For additional context here, I'll point you to a video (at right) of one of the men at the center of this controversy, Pima County's Election Director Brad Nelson. BRAD BLOG readers may remember this remarkable video referred to as "Election Director Gone Wild" as Nelson breaks into a tirade after being questioned by Pima County Election Integrity activist, John Brakey, about the Diebold DRE voting systems that Nelson was preparing, back then, in February of 2006, to bring into the county.

Please check my blog, BlogForArizona.com, for regular updates on the trial as it unfolds, and here at The BRAD BLOG for updates at the end of the days proceedings today through Thursday. Please use the comments on either blog to ask questions or make suggestions, we'll have someone monitoring the comments during the trial and will do our best to respond.

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Election Results of Early Voting Found Printed Prior to Election Day
NATIONWIDE EFFORT? - Identical Situation Recently Discovered in Pima County, AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 7:19pm PT  

Another criminal investigation has begun in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where two elections officials were found to have rigged the 2004 Presidential Election recount.

A special prosecutor has now been appointed to look into the early printing of absentee ballot and early voting election results prior to Election Day in 2006. As well, the investigators will be looking into a network cable which was left plugged into a tabulator computer overnight, allowing for unauthorized access all night long.

Fox 8's I-Team has a good video report.

As well, The BRAD BLOG has learned that Ohio's new Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, will be personally delivering termination notices to the county's four Board of Elections members tomorrow. On Monday, Brunner demanded the resignation of the entire board in Ohio's most Democratic-leaning county. The head of that election board, Bob Bennett, is also the chair of the Ohio Republican Party. He has vowed to fight Brunner in court, which, we're told by sources, she welcomes.

It should be noted that the illegal printing of election results prior to Election Day was recently discovered as well by Election Integrity advocate John Brakey, down in Pima County (Tucson), Arizona. That discovery has led to a lawsuit currently in hot progress down there.

Was a nationalized effort in place to print out election results prior to elections, to allow for the last-minute pinpointed targeting of Get Out the Vote efforts? We'll stay tuned...

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