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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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...


By John Gideon on 3/19/2009 4:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

More bad news for a voting machine vendor. This time the California Secretary of State’s office has announced that they have settled their lawsuit against ES&S. It was back in 2007 that the state discovered that ES&S had ignored state laws and sold uncertified voting machines to some counties as if they were certified. CA filed a $15 million lawsuit against the company, and now ES&S has agreed to provide $3.2 M to the state’s coffers by way of settling the suit.

Will it make any difference in the long run? Probably not. ES&S will continue their past bad business practices and many of their customers will continue thinking they only have the choice provided by ES&S....

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

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Startling admission made during public hearing in CA to consider decertification of the company's voting and tabulation software...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/17/2009 11:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg, with Brad Friedman

Even the audit log system on current versions of Premier Election Solutions' (formerly Diebold's) electronic voting and tabulating systems --- used in some 34 states across the nation --- fail to record the wholesale deletion of ballots. Even when ballots are deleted on the same day as an election. That's the shocking admission heard today from Justin Bales, Premier's Western Region manager, at a State of California public hearing on the possible decertification of Diebold/Premier's tabulator system, GEMS v. 1.18.19.

An election system's audit logs are meant to record all activity during the system's actual counting of ballots, so that later examiners may determine, with certainty, whether any fraudulent or mistaken activity had occurred during the count. Diebold's software fails to do that, as has recently been discovered by Election Integrity advocates in Humboldt County, CA, and then confirmed by the CA Secretary of State. The flaws, built into the system for more than a decade, are in serious violation of federal voting system certification standards.

The problems may lead to decertification of the company's voting systems, as well as an examination of voting systems made by other companies to determine if they too may have been able to sneak such violations past both federal and state testers...

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

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A draft summary of what I see as the most important, most doable, federal election reform priorities for 2009...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2009 5:49pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

Okay, so I've been asked on several occasions, since the election last year, what I regard as the top priorities for election reform in the U.S. of A. In hopes of keeping it simple, stupid, at least until I hear opinions on these back from you folks, here is a summary list of the most important, and most eminently-doable-at-the-federal-level reforms as I see it.

I welcome your thoughts, recommended changes, additions, etc. For the moment, this is not meant as a comprehensive list of all needed reforms, particularly at the various local levels. But it's meant as a list of the big ones, as I seem them, and the ones for which I believe we could actually find a consensus in this Congress sooner rather than later. Nor is this meant as whitepaper with arguments and details for each item. But hopefully most regular readers of The BRAD BLOG will understand what these reforms entail and why they are necessary, as written in this summarized, simple list.

After hearing from you all, I may post an updated version later and/or set these up on their own page, in order track legislation for each of them as they roll (or don't) through Congress. Here's the list...

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

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New CA SoS report confirms findings of 'Humboldt Transparency Project,' discovers even more egregious failures in widely-used Diebold voting counting system
One of the citizens who designed the software, responsible for the startling discoveries, offers his thoughts...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg of the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released a remarkable 13-page report [PDF] of her office's investigation into how the Diebold/Premier GEMS software silently dropped all votes contained on 197 ballots from the Humboldt County, California, November 2008 general election.

The report shows that this version of GEMS not only deleted a batch of ballots without any request by --- or alert to --- the elections staff, but also failed to note the deletion in the system's audit log. The report also points to other startling deficiencies with Diebold/Premier's software: "Key audit trail logs in GEMS version 1.18.19 do not record important operator interventions such as deletion of decks of ballots, assign inaccurate date and time stamps to events that are recorded, and can be deleted by the operator."

That's right. The Diebold/Premier vote tabulation system in question not only fails to record all events accurately, and sometimes at all, it also allows anyone with access to the system to completely delete audit logs, covering the tracks of any tampering that may have occurred, at any time, on the system.

Any of these flaws, the report concludes, "appears to violate the 1990 Voting System Standards to an extent that would have warranted failure of the GEMS version 1.18.19 system had they been detected and reported by the [federal] Independent Testing Authority [ITA] that tested the system."...

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The democracy the U.S. helped to create in Germany gets it, while, as usual, the U.S. itself remains largely clueless and/or indifferent to the need for transparency in its own...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2009 10:42am PT  

A finding by the "highest court" in Germany has found electronic voting to be unconstitutional...

Germany's highest court has ruled that the use of electronic voting in the last general election was unconstitutional.
..
September's upcoming elections looks set to see a return to the more traditional pencil and paper countrywide.

Constitutional judge Andreas Vosskuhle said that the judgment did not rule out digital voting for once and for all, but added that the equipment used four years ago did have shortcomings.
...
The use of electronic voting was challenged by a father-and-son team. Political scientist Joachim Wiesner and son, physicist Ulrich Wiesner complained that push button voting was not transparent because the voter could not see what actually happened to his vote inside the computer and was required to place "blind faith" in the technology.

In addition, the two plaintiffs argued that the results were open to manipulation.

It took only four years, since e-voting was first deployed widely in Germany, for the country, and its highest court, to find that secret vote counting was unacceptable in a democracy, while the political-structure, media-structure and judicial-structure in the U.S. still remain largely clueless, or otherwise uninterested in either transparency or democracy.

Congratulations are due to our German EI advocacy brethren (as well as those in Holland who figured it out long before Americans did, as well):

German hacker-cum-data-protection group Chaos Computer Club has been spearheading a campaign with the Dutch foundation Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet (We don't trust voting computers) to stop the further spread of electronic voting because of fears about the risk of electronic errors and the potential for abuse.

In 2008, the Dutch government decertified the use of existing paperless systems and rejected a proposal to develop a new generation of voting computers.

Germany and Holland: Our new shining cities upon a hill.

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By John Gideon on 3/3/2009 4:10pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Yesterday, the California Secretary of State released a letter [PDF] to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and a report of their findings with regards to the problem discovered in early December, in Humboldt Co., with disappearing ballots on the Diebold GEMS v. 1.18.19 voting system.

The letter actually challenges the EAC to take action in “requiring that, for every voting system certified by the EAC, the voting system vendor report any and all flaws and problems with the system to the EAC and to the elections officials in the states where the system is used when such flaws are discovered.” And Secretary Bowen has taken the action herself by sponsoring legislation in California that will do what she has challenged the EAC to do.

The report is amazing in that it reveals why our voting systems are failing. The issues with the GEMS software go much deeper than just the fact that the system may lose votes. The state also found readily apparent violations of the federal voting system standards. These violations seem to have been ignored by federal test labs, by the National Assoc. of State Election Directors (NASED), and their consultants who qualified the voting system for use, and by-passed CA Secretaries of State and their consultants.

The big question is, will the EAC, staffed by people who were involved in the original NASED “rubber-stamp” of GEMS 1.18.19, take any action? Will they post the letter and report it in their “clearinghouse?” We certainly hope so. The present CA Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, and her staff deserve congratulations and appreciation for a job well done so far. It will be interesting to hear what follow-up actions will now be taken on the federal and state levels....

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

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Exclusive: Discredited federal E-voting oversight commission issued an incorrect 2005 'legal advisory' helping to keep NY on a collision course with democracy
But it's not too late to save the last transparent electoral system in the United States...
By Andi Novick on 3/2/2009 3:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Andi T. Novick, Esq.

New York is the last state in the nation to have a non-computerized, transparent voting system. We still use immutable, theft-deterring mechanical lever machines to count our votes. (* - Please seen bottom of this article for a quick explanation of how lever machines work, for those who may not know.)

New Yorkers are fighting to keep their current voting system, notwithstanding that New York's legislature passed a law in 2005 that says we should give up our observable, reliable levers in exchange for unreliable, concealed software-based vote counting machines. Nearly 1,800 New Yorkers have signed a petition, and three counties (Dutchess, Ulster, and Columbia, all PDFs), have passed resolutions to save New York's lever voting system.

The Association of Towns (half of New York's entire population lives in towns) recently passed a resolution to save the levers [PDF], and Nassau, Greene, and other counties are presently considering similar action to retain New York's lever voting system.

Moreover, reliable sources have confirmed for me that neither the Governor nor the Attorney General nor the State Legislature that passed the "Election Reform and Modernization Act" (ERMA) want to replace the levers anymore either (what politician would want to be responsible for choosing to cut essential programs for hungry children or the elderly, just to be able to replace our superior and affordable voting system with budget-breaking computers that are notoriously corruptible and defective?). But the State Legislature has not repealed ERMA and the Attorney General, to date, has supported the State (not the citizens).

So what is driving New York State to stick with a law that so many in New York believe to be such a bad idea? As a New Yorker who has been talking to many election commissioners, legislators and citizens, I was surprised to learn how many people believe the "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA) actually banned lever machines.

I read HAVA. It clearly does not ban levers. I recently discovered what has helped fuel this misinformed opinion in part: it is the discredited position of the discredited U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), as detailed in a newly-unearthed document prepared for the state of Pennsylvania, at their request, in regard to the legality of lever voting machines.

Although the agency is not a court of law, and not even an agency deserving of deference for its opinions --- its allegiance has clearly been shown to be not with either voters or democracy --- the "HAVA-banned-levers" rumor was given the imprimatur of the EAC through this little-noticed document...

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Maddening chain of email, querying the status of the Diebold failure discovered in Humboldt County, CA, illustrates the EAC's continued protection of e-voting vendors, at the expense of the voters
ALSO: CA said likely to decertify the flawed Diebold system, while the EAC fails to take any action at all...
By John Gideon on 2/23/2009 12:13pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"It is through the Constitution that we control the reins of government and insure that it remains the protector of individual, unalienable Rights - i.e., the servant of the People.

"Therefore, it behooves the People to show the Government that the People know what their Rights are and what Government's obligations are, that the People are watching Government as it exercises its delegated powers and that the People are prepared to act if the Government steps outside the boundaries drawn around its power by the Constitution." --- We The People Foundation

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) works for the People. It doesn't work for special interests. It doesn't work for the voting system vendors. The EAC has an obligation, spelled out in its past advisories, public statements and, most importantly, in federal law, to carry out oversight of the voting systems we, the People, use in our federal elections. It does not matter that the EAC commissioners are not elected to their positions. They are still servants of the People.

Not long after being created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, the EAC published, on June 8, 2004, "Chairman Soaries' Remarks about Electronic Voting Security Strategy for the November 2004 Presidential Election." The comments, by then EAC Chairman DeForest "Buster" Soaries included recommendations "to insure election integrity and promote voter confidence in the administration of the 2004 federal election," and stated, in part: "[The] EAC should solicit information about suspicious electronic voting system activity including software programming and should request aggressive investigative and prosecutorial responses from the U.S. Department of Justice Elections Crimes Branch in the Criminal Division."

The above was restated in a July 13, 2004 "Commission Advisory Letter" [PDF].

It's clear that if there is to be any federal body to recommend investigation and/or prosecution to the DoJ, in regards criminal violation of federal law concerning voting systems, it is to be the EAC, the body charged with testing, certifying, and performing as the "national clearinghouse...with respect to the administration of federal elections" (42 U.S.C. § 15322) and the electronic voting systems employed across the country.

And yet, the EAC has continued to utterly fail in those duties, as a particularly maddening chain of inquiries and emails --- back-and-forth and round-and-round --- that we'd sent to the EAC commissioners and their spokesperson over the past three months illustrates all too well. All we were trying to do was get a simple answer to a very simple question...

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

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Hundreds of Lost Ballots, Illegal Voting System, and the Boondoggle Behind Billions of Federal Dollars Spent on Voting Machines That Don't Work All Illustrated by Simple Citizen Oversight, Free Open-Source Voting System in One California County...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2008 3:28pm PT  

By John Gideon and Brad Friedman

"Some people have called those who have long decried our nation's move toward voting machines nuts or just sore losers," reads the editorial from yesterday's Eureka Times-Standard.

"They were loud, and they were strident in proclaiming that they didn't trust election technologies as much as they trust the ability of actual human beings to count votes," the paper continues in response to the citizen's "Transparency Project" in Humboldt County, CA which, as The BRAD BLOG reported last week, discovered some 200 ballots that the county's Diebold optical-scan system had deleted from the initially certified count. Humboldt registrar Carolyn Crnich --- who deserves much credit for working with local election integrity advocates to allow them to create a more transparent, open-source optical-scan system as a check on the buggy Diebold hardware and software --- was forced to to re-certify the November 4th election with new results after the findings.

"The recent discovery, thanks to the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project, of a discrepancy in election results due to flawed software reveals that these activists were right to make noise, and right to complain about a company that has been less than responsible in dealing with the problem."

Thanks for noticing, Times-Standard. Now will the rest of the country notice? Specifically, will the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, responsible for testing and certifying these machines at the federal level, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, responsible for enforcing federal laws --- which again seem to have been violated by Diebold (whose election division now calls themselves Premier) --- notice and take action?

Interviews with and responses from CA officials from Crnich to Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office indicate a serious problem, yet again, with Diebold's handling of the software failure which the company has known about for four years, even as they allowed election officials to continue using the same system in several states.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of Diebold's original terse, emailed notice of the software failure, sent to Crnich's predecessor in 2004, but never sent to CA's new Sec. of State, despite her "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all e-voting systems in the state which she undertook after taking office in 2007. (The Diebold email notice is posted below, in full.)

At the same time, local software programmer Mitch Trachtenberg, who developed the simple, transparent, open-source optical-scan software, using off-the-shelf hardware for the citizen's project --- including the ability to post all scanned ballots onto the web for citizen review --- may have inadvertently revealed the scam perpetuated by the nation's electronic voting machine vendor's who were allocated some $3.9 billion federal tax dollars for their efforts at creating proprietary systems, which don't even work as promised...or as required by federal law...

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By John Gideon on 11/1/2008 4:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

3 days until Election Day.

Just a comment to those who want to dismiss ‘vote-flipping’ as voter error. All kinds of people go to the polls to vote. They are highly educated and high-school dropouts. Rich and poor. They have long fingernails and nails bitten to the quick. They have thin fingers and wide fingers. They are going to softly touch the screen or touch it hard. Vendors and election officials tend to blame vote-flipping on the voters. They touched the screen too hard; drug their finger; had long fingernails; or their fingers touched too large an area. So, is it the voters fault? NO! It is the vendors who designed, built and sold these machines that don’t work for all voters and it is the election officials who bought those machines.

A large majority of the ‘vote-flipping’ has been on older ES&S iVotronic DREs; those machines that were featured on last year’s Dan Rather Reports. The cheaply built, poorly tested touch screens that were used as components on those systems should have been scrapped long ago. It’s not the voters fault and this constant pointing of fingers is wrong. The vendors need to remember that when they point a finger at the voters they have three fingers pointing back at the real culprit, themselves; and it makes no difference what those fingers look like, they are the fingers of blame....

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Karen Long, Adams County Clerk Takes Action After Voter Sees Vote Flip Repeatedly to Republican Candidate in State With Long History of E-Voting Failures
Watchdog Group Issues Press Release Calling for No 'Recalibration', Immediate Removal, Impounding of Such Machines...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2008 11:33am PT  

A county clerk in Colorado has finally done the right thing for the voters by removing a touch-screen voting machine from service, and quarantining it, after it was discovered to be flipping votes from one candidate to another. The failed machine in this case was a Diebold Accu-Vote, a frequent flipper.

As reported by the Colorado Independent (Hat-tip VoterAction.org)...

An electronic voting machine in Adams County repeatedly failed to accept a vote for a Democratic state Senate candidate — instead registering the vote for her Republican opponent — at an early voting site last week and has been removed from service, the Aurora Sentinel reports Wednesday. Adams County Clerk and Recorder Karen Long told the newspaper the error doesn’t reflect wider problems in the county’s voting systems, but the candidate said the incident could lead to a lawsuit.

“I always just trusted the machines, and it opened my eyes,” said state Rep. Mary Hodge. “The way it works now, I’m told … is that those votes throw it to Mr. Hadfield that we’ll probably have a lawsuit and a court decision. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Hodge, the Democratic nominee, faces Republican Robert John Hadfield in the race to represent state Senate District 25.
...
“I have quarantined the machine,” Long told the newspaper. “It’s removed and it’s sealed up and it’s in a bag.” She said she is awaiting instructions from the secretary of state’s office.

Long is to be lauded for being the first election official in the country so far during the general election (that we're aware of) to have taken the correct action in such a vote-flipping case. And now that Hodge's eyes are "opened" we hope that both she and her Republican opponent, Hadfield will stand up for their voters by signing the StandingForVoters.org "no concessions" pledge immediately!

Late last night VelvetRevolution.us (a non-partisan, non-profit election watchdog co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) issued a press release calling on election officials to not recalibrate systems mid-election, but rather remove and impound them, and offer voters paper ballots as needed instead. The complete press release is posted at the end of this article.

Colorado has a troubling history with electronic voting, even as the Secretary of State found all of the state's machines to be faulty and easily hackable in late 2007, but has capitulated to pressure from election officials to allow them to be used by voters again this year anyway...

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

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Holly Lowder Had Taken Up Residence With Contractor Who Provided Registration Roll Software to the State
Neither the Sec. of State, nor the Husband of the Election Chief Knew About the Relationship, Even as Other Such Relationships Have Been Encouraged by Federal Legislation...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2008 1:04pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

Last night we offered the quick skinny on the abrupt resignation of Colorado's state Election Director, Holly Lowder, just 60 days out from what promises to be one of the largest and most important --- and potentially closest --- elections in the state's history.

We summarized some of the dizzying background on the exceptionally embarrassing and dysfunctional state of certification, decertification and recertification of e-voting systems in the Centennial State over the last two years, under current Sec. of State, Republican Mike Coffman (who is overseeing his own election for the U.S. House this November), and in previous years under two former Republican SoS' (one of whom was promoted by George W. Bush to do the same lousy job of e-vote testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission).

We also suggested, based on information from sources in the states, that the old euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting vendors" may well become more than just a euphemism when the full explanation for Lowder's sudden departure became known.

And today, as we'd hinted last night, some of that information has now become known...

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No Official Explanation Yet for Holly Lowder's Sudden and Unexpected Departure, Just 60 Days Prior to Presidential Election in a Very Important 'Swing State'
...But We Have a Few Well-Informed Guesses...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2008 10:31pm PT  

From Rocky Mountain News today...

The director of elections at the secretary of state's office resigned suddenly Thursday.

The departure of Holly Lowder, former Alamosa County clerk, comes two months before what is expected to be one of the biggest elections in recent Colorado history. Lowder's work centered on the implementation of the new statewide voter registration system, said Richard Coolidge, spokesman for the agency.

Lowder could not be reached for comment.
...
Coolidge would not give details on why Lowder stepped down. He said Thursday was her last day.
...
Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle said Lowder was more involved with the voter database early on but had become less involved in recent months.

AP reports that county officials were notified of Lowder's departure via email on Thursday, from the SoS office, which noted only that she had "retired and wanted to 'pursue other opportunities.'"

Sources in CO tell us there will be more coming, likely tomorrow, on this. We're also told that there may be a salacious aspect here that might just make the well-worn euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting machine vendors," um, somewhat more than just a euphemism. (Talk about your voting machine "sleepovers"!)

[See update for more details on the above, now at bottom of article!]

Aside from the noteworthiness of Lowder's sudden exit, as pointed out in the article, in regard to the importance of Colorado in this year's elections --- the state's 9 electoral votes are thought to be very much up for grabs this year, despite going to Bush in the previous two elections --- BRAD BLOG readers will remember a bit of the background here concerning the utterly dysfunctional state of e-voting in the Centennial State under their current SoS, Mike Coffman...

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

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UPDATED WITH VIDEO: CNN's Lou Dobbs Covers Stunning Admission...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2008 5:17pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Boulder, CO...

If you didn't happen to pay close enough attention to Ellen Theisen's guest blog on Friday, now that I'm back on the grid (after a few blissful days in the mountains with family friends on the way to Denver here), let me re-iterate the main points of her article quite directly: Diebold has admitted that their tabulator software, known as GEMS, and used all across the country, in at least 34 states, does not count votes correctly.

In fact, it actually loses votes, by not counting them at all, yet gives the system administrator no indication that the votes were not counted. Instead, it tells them that all votes have been counted correctly. This bug has been in Diebold's software --- where it remains to this day-- for years. Diebold has only admitted it now that it's been found by someone else (a number of counties in Ohio, of all places) and with the 2008 Presidential election less than 80 days away. Washington Post's coverage here.

Coinciding with that startling admission, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)'s Gracia Hillman, one of the two Democratic-recommended appointees, has gone on public record stating that the federal certification testing process is too stringent.

While all of that was made clear in Ellen's blog item, I found both of the above points so remarkable that I wanted to underscore them now that I've finally made it to Denver (or at least Boulder, for the moment), since I was simply stunned to read it myself after getting back on the grid.

Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

UPDATE: CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight covered the stunning admission by Diebold on their show Friday. Here it is (thanks to Alan Breslauer, as usual!) ...


UPDATE 8:43pm PT: McClatchy's Greg Gordon picks up the ball, and advances it a bit, noting the failure in oversight by the feds which allowed for the failure, as we've been trying to get across here for years. He begins this way...

Warning on voting machines reveals oversight failure

WASHINGTON — Disclosure of an election computer glitch that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of voting equipment sold nationwide since 2003.

Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions [Diebold] last week alerted at least 1,750 jurisdictions across the country that special precautions are needed to address the problem in tabulation software affecting all 19 of its models dating back a decade.

ReddIt this story!



Democratic Appointee Wants Fewer Safe Guards, Even as Diebold Admits Their Tabulator Software --- Used All Across the Country --- Loses Votes...
By Ellen Theisen on 8/22/2008 8:00am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org

Many jurisdictions are realizing their voting systems are horribly flawed and they want to get them fixed before November. But the new systems currently under test by the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) have so many defects that the manufacturers have to keep repairing them before testing can continue. Consequently the EAC has not certified anything yet.

Kudos to the EAC for this!

But Gracia Hillman, one of the EAC Commissioners, recommends a way around this “roadblock” for the jurisdictions using systems that are no good. She suggests a contingency plan that would allow the jurisdictions to use new and different systems that are no good, but at least they would comply with their state laws. Her ideas:

1) Emergency Certification of Voting System Modifications;

2) Waiver of EAC Certification;

Unbelievable.

The systems are so bad they can’t meet the federal standards, so to get around this “roadblock,” Commissioner Hillman proposes to bypass the testing process.

She wants the EAC to bless new, defective systems for the vendors to sell to replace the old, defective systems that are currently in use.

But that’s what NASED (National Association of State Election Directors) did when it oversaw the voting system testing process, and the decade-long, widespread use of Premier/Diebold’s vote-losing software is one of the results.

After ten years of use in election after election, all across the country, Premier/Diebold’s vote-dropping software flaw has finally come to light — thanks to Butler County, Ohio’s Elections Director Betty L. McGary and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner...

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

ReddIt this story!



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