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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Appeals Court Upholds MD's Ban on 'Weapons of War': 'BradCast' 2/22/17
And other encouraging news for a change! Guest: Attorney Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
'Our Worst Fears Realized': 'BradCast' 2/21/17
Trump issues radical new deportation policies, disturbing anti-Semitic crimes are rising, and much more. Guest: Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council...
'Green News Report' 2/21/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
What to expect from the EPA after rushed confirmation of EPA-enemy Scott Pruitt; 3 fossil fuel explosions, 2 weeks; AK natgas pipeline leak; PLUS: New U.S. wind energy record...
Previous GNRs: 2/16/17 - 2/14/17 - Archives...
The Insidiousness Behind Trump's Dangerous Lies: 'BradCast' 2/20/17
False claims of 'terror' in Sweden and false 'voter fraud' in New Hampshire may be funny, but Trump's fake news is deadly serious...
Sunday Toons of the Flaming Hot Cheeto Moment
"This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine," says Trump. But the political cartoonists may see it somewhat differently, as PDiddie's latest collection helps document...
TRUMP DUMP: Much Too Much: 'BradCast' 2/17/17
Guest host Angie Coiro with guests Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy on Scott Pruitt and the 'Belabored' podcast's Sarah Jaffe on Trump and the unions...
Nearly One Million Signatures Calling for Impeachment: 'BradCast' 2/16/17
Guest: Author, activist Norman Solomon on grounds for removing Trump from office; Plus: Trump's insane presser; More on the Logan Act; our 8th Anniversary 'Green News Report'...
'Green News Report' 2/16/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR's 8th ANNIVERSARY!: Trump nixes anti-corruption reg; New spill from Dakota Access co.; Good news for AZ breathers; PLUS: Man-made toxins in deepest ocean...
Previous GNRs: 2/14/17 - 2/9/17 - Archives...
Trump's Chaotic Weapons
of Mass Distraction:
'BradCast' 2/15/17
Guest: D.D. Guttenplan of The Nation; Also: Puzder out; Congress helps mentally disabled buy guns; ICE detains a 'DREAMer'...
It's Not the Crime, It's the Cover-Up: 'BradCast' 2/14/17
Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns. What did the President know and when did he know it?...
'Green News Report' 2/14/17
Oroville Dam highlights climate & US infrastructure probs; Judge rejects tribe's request to halt Dakota Access; PLUS: Extreme heat, fire again in Australia...
'This is Not a Drill': Looming Catastrophe at Nation's Tallest Dam: 'BradCast' 2/13/17
Guest: Eric Wesselman on warning 12 years ago about now-potential disaster at Oroville Dam in Northern Cal...
Sunday Toons of the Fourth Reich Moment
In which 'PDiddie' goose-steps us through some of the best political cartoons of the latest Trump Era week...
Immigrant Deportations Begin, Even as Court Slams 'Muslim Ban': 'BradCast' 2/10/17
Guest: Maria Castro of People United for Justice. Plus: Repubs confirms Price in middle of night; Racists celebrate Sessions as A.G....
'Green News Report' 2/9/17
Dakota Access fight continues, owners reported 69 spills in 2 years; Air pollution and dementia; More American jobs in solar than coal; PLUS: Sweden to go zero emissions...
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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'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...


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...

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




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!... ---




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...

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




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....

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




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!... ---




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...

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




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!... ---




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.




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!... ---




A VotersUnite report on the current situation and how to reclaim elections --- in 2008 and beyond.
By Ellen Theisen on 8/20/2008 8:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org

[Ed Note: Ellen appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight this evening to discuss this report. The video is now posted here.]

As we approach the 2008 general election, the structure of elections in the United States — once reliant on local representatives accountable to the public — has become almost wholly dependent on large corporations, which are not accountable to the public. Most local officials charged with running elections are now unable to administer elections without the equipment, services, and trade-secret software of a small number of corporations (primarily Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Premier Election Systems (formerly Diebold), though a few other corporations have a very small share of the market).

If the vendors withdrew their support for elections now, our election structure would collapse.

However, some states and localities are recognizing the threat that vendor dependency poses to elections. They are using ingenuity and determination to begin reversing the direction.

This week, VotersUnite.Org released a report [PDF] that examines the situation, how we got here, and steps we can take to limit corporate control of our elections in 2008 and reduce it even further in the future.

Case studies presented in our report give examples of the pervasive control voting system vendors now have over election administration in almost every state, and the consequences some jurisdictions are already experiencing. We discovered that such dependency has allowed vendors to...

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




Federal Commission is Told New Certification Process for E-Voting Systems Is Too Difficult for Vendors, Too Slow to Approve New Systems...
By John Gideon on 7/14/2008 7:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite

As set up by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) receives some advice from a Board of Advisors. The Board is made up of a set number of people representing groups like the National Association of Secretaries of State; National Governors Association; International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers; congressional leaders; and even two members of The Election Center, a vendor-sponsored group that promotes electronic voting. There are no voters groups and no one from the election integrity community on the Board. But then, who cares what the voters think?

The Board of Advisors is advising [PDF, pg 7] the EAC, via resolution, that they need to speed-up the certification process for voting systems. They want the system to be what it was under the old, rubber-stamp system headed by the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED). They want the same system of testing and certification that has resulted in our voting systems failing in many elections and not even being compliant with federal standards.

Incredibly, the Board's recommendation to the EAC goes so far as to admit that a failed "common practice" of the past should, apparently, be re-instituted under the newer certification system. "The common practice since the introduction of electronic voting systems," they wrote, "has been to make hardware and software upgrades based on issues found in the most recent election in sufficient time to improve the voting systems for the next general election."

That is a stunning admission. That that is a system they'd like to return to is even more stunning.

The EAC is holding a public meeting in Phoenix later this month and the Board of Advisors' resolution is to be discussed by the commissioners. I sent the following email to the commissioners and staff of the EAC to voice my concerns about the resolution.

My letter to them follows in full below...

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




By Rady Ananda on 7/3/2008 8:06am PT  

Guest Blogged by Rady Ananda...

"The voting industry sells crap, and that is the problem."
-Douglas A. Kellner, Co-Chair New York State Board of Elections

I received a cache of documents surrounding NY's electoral system. Some of this material indicates justified resistance to computerized systems that fail to perform as intended, despite being certified. Some exposes deliberate info-suppression, preventing election officials from acting in the best interest of the public. One NY attorney extensively researched NY's election law history, showing the wisdom and security of prior law. A University of Virginia professor researched lever voting machines and provides a dire warning about new technology with its paper-based audit trail. This lengthy piece synthesizes the material for those interested in New York's battle to retain election integrity or to implement wholly condemned systems that have failed across the nation.

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




A Concrete Example of Why the Voting System Test Standards are All Form and No Substance...
By John Washburn on 7/2/2008 7:03am PT  

Guest blogged by John Washburn

I have been a long time critic of the federal 2002 Voting System Standards (2002 VSS) and of the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (2005 VVSG). In fact, both sets of standards are virtually worthless. There are two reasons for this. First, the requirements enumerated in the standards are, in and of themselves, much too weak for something as vital as administering an election. Second, both sets of standards have an explicit loophole that allows almost all the requirements — weak as they are — to be ignored. This second objection was first brought to my attention two years ago by Howard Stanislevic.

We now have proof that this loophole is used by the labs in order to “pass” systems that don’t meet the standards. The proof is laid out clearly in the most recent certification test report submitted to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) by SysTest labs (one of the labs accredited by the EAC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology - NIST). SysTest recommended certification for the new voting system by Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold) even though the lab's findings listed 79 specific failures to meet the standards.

As you read this article, keep in mind that the standards actually allow 77 of these 79 failures to be ignored!...

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




Complaint Against Hart InterCivic Withdrawn Following Adverse Ruling Limiting Whistleblower Claims
VIDEO/AUDIO: Brad on This Weekend's 'Ring of Fire' Discussing Latest Case Developments with Attorneys Papantonio and Schultz...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2008 12:35pm PT  

Reported by Brad Friedman, from the road...

The whistleblower lawsuit against voting machine company Hart InterCivic, as filed in federal court on behalf of former employee William Singer, has been withdrawn following a decision by the Supreme Court that makes pursuing the case nearly impossible, according to the law firm who originally filed the complaint.

The suit had been sealed for nearly two years as the Dept. of Justice asked for extension after extension during their decision on whether or not to join the case. Earlier this year, they ultimately decided not to join the case, as we reported last March, leaving the firm of Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Echsner & Proctor, P.A to proceed on their own. The DoJ declines to join some 76% of such cases.

In the interim, while waiting for the DoJ, the case of Rockwell Intl Corp. v. U.S. [PDF] came before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the findings in that decision, as attorney Mike Papantonio told The BRAD BLOG, has "made it next to impossible to proceed with any and all federal whistleblower (qui tam) cases."

The decision found that Rockwell was required to pay millions of dollars under the federal False Claims Act to the federal government, but that the relator of the case --- the insider who blew the whistle --- was not entitled to any of that money, nor even for the millions of dollars accrued in legal costs since the amended complaint, filed with the Justice Dept., included information about which the relator did not have direct inside knowledge.

The SCOTUS finding, as expressed for the majority by Justice Antonin Scalia, may well hamstring future whistleblower cases in federal courts, according to legal experts.

"I used to think qui tam was the way to go," Papantonio told me as his firm was weighing their decision on how to proceed after the case was finally unsealed, "but now I just don't know anymore."

Papantonio's Florida law firm has used the qui tam laws successfully in the past, and has taken on giants such as the Tobacco Industry. After he and his radio partner Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had learned about Singer's case from The BRAD BLOG --- we originally reported Singer's extraordinary saga back in early 2006 --- they decided to launch the federal fraud suit on his behalf later that year.

(I was interviewed about the withdrawal of the federal case by Mike Papantonio for this weekend's Ring of Fire radio program, which he co-hosts with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.. A video version of the interview is also posted on their GoLeft.TV site. Both versions are now posted in full at the end of this article.)

Though the attorneys working on the case have gone out of their way to express their faith in both Singer and his remarkable complaint --- detailing more than 40 federal fraud allegations, and accusing Hart of doctoring voting machines, covering up system failures, including the loss and miscounting of votes, and other malfeasance, in order to attain contracts and payment under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 --- the chance that millions of dollars spent pursuing the case might be unrecoverable at the end of the process, even if successful, in light of the Rockwell decision, forced them to withdraw the complaint from federal court...

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




After Failures Discovered During Testing of New E-Voting Systems Made by Sequoia, Election Officials Actually Listen, Respond to Citizen Concerns...
By Ellen Theisen on 5/27/2008 2:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, VotersUnite.org

The actions and attitudes of election officials all too often seem like Alice's experiences down the rabbit hole. So, it's nice occasionally to report on positive developments by public officials who actually listen to the concerns of citizens, rather than simply ignoring serious defects discovered in our voting systems. I'm happy to report such a story today. For a change.

On May 6, Patty Murphy, Voting Systems Support, Secretary of State’s Office, notified my VotersUnite.org colleague and fellow Washington state resident John Gideon and me that two new voting systems were to be tested for state certification here on May 13 through May 16, and that the Review Board would hold a hearing on May 23. The Board’s job is to thoroughly review certification applications and make recommendations to the Secretary of State. The two systems were:

  • An ES&S AutoMark/optical scanner system, tested against federal standards and qualified by NASED.
  • A new, untested touch-screen/optical scanner system made by Sequoia Voting Systems

John and I were concerned about the Sequoia system. Pierce County, WA, voters recently voted to use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a system where voters may specify their preferences in particular races on the ballot as "first choice," "second choice," or "third choice." However, no state-certified system had the software needed to tabulate RCV ballots. So Sequoia developed their software specifically for Pierce County. They had applied for “emergency” provisional certification from the state, which would allow them to bypass state requirements for independent testing to the federal standards.

Tabulating RCV ballots is much more complicated than tabulating traditional ballots. With RCV, after voters mark their first, second, and third choices for certain offices, the tabulation is done in a series of “rounds.” The candidate with the fewest “first choice” votes after each round is eliminated; then in the next round the second choice on those ballots is counted as if it were the first choice. Rounds continue until one candidate has the majority of the votes. For a fuller explanation, see the Pierce County website.

John and I had planned to go to the testing on May 14, but at the last minute the testing for that day was called off so officials could investigate a problem that had shown up the previous day.

As we found out later, officials had found the Sequoia system had tallied votes wrong.

Later in the day, the SoS office's Murphy emailed us to let us know what happened...

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




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