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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
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'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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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
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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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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...

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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
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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
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CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Kerry Joins Original Senate Bill as Co-Sponsor, Joins with Feingold in Filing New Senate Resolution as Well!
Feingold Says, 'Back-up Paper Ballots Essential to Preventing Disasters', Kerry Calls Situation 'Disgrace, National Scandal, Requiring Emergency Action Now'!
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2006 1:14pm PT  

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) has now filed a U.S. House version of the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation introduced yesterday by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) in the Senate.

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined the Senate legislation as co-sponsors late last evening.

Additionally, Kerry and Feingold both have now co-sponsored and introduced a new "Sense of the Senate Resolution" calling on States around the country to act immediately to put back-up plans in place to have "Emergency Paper Ballots" at the polling places this November to avoid voters being turned away when voting machines fail to work. Thousands, so far this year, have been turned away in one state primary after another due to machine malfunction or unavailability.

The language in the Holt bill filed in the House late last night is identical to the bill filed by Boxer, except that it notes, explicitly, that the "contigency paper ballots" the Federal government will reimburse states for are to be counted as regular ballots --- not as provisional ballots which often go completely uncounted, and must be vetted first to determine a voter's registration status.

Feingold and Kerry issued a press release today (posted in full at the end of this article) calling on Congress to act immediately in the face of what they describe as "a national disgrace," in reference to voters being turned away at the polling place for lack of voting system on which to vote.

Holt's bill, which can be downloaded here [PDF], differs from the Senate bill by stating that jurisdictions who wish to reimbursed by the Federal government for such contingency paper ballots must treat "each such contingency paper ballot cast by a voter as a regular ballot cast in the election and counts it accordingly, and does not treat it as a provisional ballot."

Kerry and Feingold, who are now co-sponsors of the Boxer/Dodd Senate bill filed yesterday, also issued a non-binding "Sense of the Senate" resolution this morning. Pamela Leavy originally reported the news earlier today at Democratic Daily.

In a press release issued earlier along with that resolution today, Feingold said, "We cannot allow the American people to lose faith in the most fundamental aspect of our democratic system ­the right to vote."

He added, "Some of the problems we saw this year, like voters in Maryland being told to come back later because the machines weren’t working, are simply unacceptable. A back-up plan as simple as having emergency paper ballots on hand is essential to preventing election day disasters."

Kerry, who has been criticized for not taking enough action to ensure that votes were counted accurately, or at all, in Ohio after the 2004 Presidential Election, had even stronger words, calling the lack of action by Congress and the White House on these matters, "a disgrace" and a "national scandal".

"It’s a disgrace that a Congress and an Administration which talks about exporting democracy around the world ignores the challenges of our own democracy right here at home," says Kerry in this morning's news release. "We have seen American citizens disenfranchised in our elections for the simple reason that no effective back up system was in place. That’s a national scandal."

Kerry called for "emergency action" and points to the recent meltdown in Maryland's September 12th primary election, which resulted in the Republican Governor there, calling for a similar measure to scrap the machines, and allow all voters in the state to use paper ballots this November.

"[H]ere we are, 42 days away from another election," Kerry said, "and Congress has again dragged its feet even after we mobilized 35,000 citizens to demand a hearing for our Count Every Vote Act, even after what we saw just this month in Montgomery County [Maryland]. We need emergency action now. That is why I am co-sponsoring the Dodd-Boxer legislation to provide emergency paper ballots and that is why Russ Feingold and I are introducing our resolution today demanding election day back-up plans."

"We have a duty to ensure that no citizen will be denied the right to vote in 2006," Kerry concluded.

The BRAD BLOG began the call for Emergency Paper Ballot legislation just over a week ago.

The SoS Project has set up a page where citizens can contact Congress Members to demand they pass this legislation in the few days left before breaking for the Election Recess.

We urge citizens to use this link and contact Congress immediately.

The full text of the Feingold/Kerry press release follows...

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

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Your Friendly Neighborhood BRAD BLOGGER Quoted as Part of Coverage...
[UPDATE: NYTimes Late Edition, Russ Feingold Joins as Co-Sponsor!]
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2006 6:09pm PT  

In an article by Ian Urbina, The New York Times' now has their story up about the Senate's Emergency Paper Ballot legislation as filed earlier today by Senators Boxer and Dodd.

UPDATE: An updated version of the NYTimes article, now linked above, has added Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the legislation as well!

The BRAD BLOG broke the story earlier today in a bit more detail, and along with the actual bill filed. We originally called on Congress in article published here a week ago today, to introduce and pass such a bill before their Election Recess coming up at the end of this week.

Urbina offers several additional points worth checking out in his Times coverage. Including this quote from Boxer concerning her reasons for not making the paper ballot initiative mandatory, but rather allowing it to remain optional to states and local jurisdictions [emphasis ours]:

"I think Big Brother dictating something to local jurisdictions is a big mistake, because they will balk at it," she said. "What we’re saying here is that you run your own elections, and we are going to help you run it properly. If local officials don’t take advantage of the option to take precautions, then they’re the ones on the line."

...As well, "Brad Friedman, a liberal blogger" is mentioned in the Times article.

So as the good Senator B, doesn't get the idea we were dissing her bill to the NY Times (We weren't! Not by any means!) in the comments attributed to us in the piece, please us allow a clarification.

The statement they used from us, had originally preceded a full direct quote explaining that Election Directors from states like Florida had expressed concern that they might need a Federal mandate in order to take advantage of the this paper ballot legislation. State election code in Florida, we're told, does not have provisions allowing such elections officials to make paper ballots available, even if they wanted to.

In Florida's touch-screen-only counties, for example, which comprise some 50% of Sunshine State voters, even the Provisional Balloting is done electronically on touch-screen systems! Which means, as Leon County, FL Election Director Ion Sancho explained to us this morning, that without a Federal mandate, it's likely that those officials would not be able to take advantage of this legislation...even if it manages to get through the full Congress in the few days left before Congress breaks for their Election Recess.

UPDATE: Ah, proof, I'm not crazy! In this version of the Times article (how many do they release?!) there is this additional quote from yours truly:

"In the case of many states, such as Florida, there is simply nothing in the state code that allows election directors to provide emergency ballot in the event of machine failure," he said.

See? Phew...

Beyond that, given the short time left here, we're delighted to see this legislation move forward! Delighted to see the Times' coverage. And just delighted in general that someone in Washington D.C. is finally recognizing the dangers to democracy that we're facing in the upcoming mid-term election!

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Calls for 'Contingency Paper Ballots' in States, Counties this November to be Paid for by Feds!
Co-Author of HAVA is Co-Sponsor of New Bill Answering Our Call for a 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT', Makes Paper Ballots Optional to States Rather Than Mandated...But We'll Take it! Sources Say House Bill to Follow Soon!
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2006 12:36pm PT  

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make 'contingency paper ballots' available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems.

The so-called contingency paper ballots are intended to be counted as normal ballots, as opposed to Provisional Ballots which must be vetted first to determine the integrity of the voter's registration. Provisional ballots are frequently counted only several days after Election Day, and often, not at all. The Senate legislation as filed, however, does not spell out the intended difference between "contingency" and "provisional" ballots specifically.

The BRAD BLOG has learned from a source currently working on similar legislation in the House, said to be filed there shortly, that the House version will include such specific language if possible to ensure such contingency ballots are counted as normal ballots on Election Night. Several Capitol Hill sources have confirmed that such legislation is currently in the works. We hope to have more details on the House version later today.

The inclusion of Dodd as a co-sponsor on the Senate legislation is no small coup, as he was one of the original co-sponsors of the HAVA legislation of 2002 which this bill would amend. Until now, he and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of that original legislation have been reluctant to open HAVA to amendment.

The legislation, filed just after 4pm ET this afternoon, would refund state and county voting jurisdictions that offer paper ballots as an option to voters, and requires such jurisdictions post "in a conspicuous manner at the polling place, a notice stating that contingency paper ballots are available at the polling place and that a voter may request to use such a ballot at the voter's discretion."

Election integrity advocacy groups and citizens alike have been rallying members of both the U.S. House and Senate to pass such legislation since The BRAD BLOG initially called for what we had called, the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" last Tuesday. The act we called for would mandate emergency paper ballots at all polling places this November in light of thousands of voters having been sent away without having been able to cast a vote in primary after primary election so far this year when new electronic voting machines either malfunctioned or were otherwise unavailable.

The short Boxer/Dodd bill does not mandate the use of such ballots, but rather offers federal payment to local jurisdictions that choose to make such 'contingency paper ballots' available at either the voter's request or in the event of machine malfunction.

The bill is now being referred to informally as the "Confidence in Vote Act of 2006". It's a simple bill, three pages long in total, and is posted in full at the bottom this article. The final version of the bill to be filed momentarily (it may have already been) may be downloaded here in PDF format.

The bill introduced today is notable in no small part in that it's co-sponsored by Dodd --- one of the original co-sponsors of HAVA along with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate and Reps. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the House. HAVA was the bill which had set in motion the nationwide implementation of electronic voting systems paid for by the federal government. That bill gave states and counties some $3 billion dollars for voting systems "upgrades" around the country, and has led to a panoply of problems at polls, criticism from computer scientists, security experts and non-partisan election integrity organizations.

Dodd, and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of HAVA, including the now-disgraced lead author Ney (R-OH), have been reluctant up until now to modify the legislation in any way, despite repeated calls from Election Integrity advocates, and a host of bills filed in both the House and Senate which have not been allowed to move forward.

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Boxer and Dodd chose to make the use of "contingency paper ballots" an option to states, rather than a mandate, in hopes that it would make the bill less contentious and easier to pass in the few days left in this legislative session before the election recess.

Both touch-screen DRE's and paper based optical scan systems have spectacularly failed across the country so far this year as well, and contingency plans have been called from both Republicans and Democrats alike to have such contingency plans in place at local jurisdictions should such machines continue to fail this November.

The downside to offering these paper ballots as an option, instead of a mandate, is that some states --- such as Florida --- have provisions in place making it essentially illegal for elections directors to offer such paper ballots at the polling place. For those states, it may well be that only a federal mandate would do the job of ensuring that voters would be able to vote come hell or highwater this November.

The legendary Leon County, FL Election Director Ion Sancho had previously expressed hopes that such a bill would make it "illegal to send a properly registered voter away from the polls without allowing them to cast a vote."

The latest state to have had machine problems in their primary election, resulting in voters being turned away from the polls, or being given Provisional Ballots (which are frequently not counted at all after Election Day) was Maryland. The Republican Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, called for scrapping the state's Diebold paperless touch-screen voting systems after their September 12th primary, calling on the state to impliment Emergency Paper Balloting this November. Incidents similar to the now-infamous "Maryland Meltdown" have been occuring across the country all year in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and many others.

The Boxer/Dodd legislation cites a recent call from former Republican Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and former Democratic Governor Richard Celeste to have such "backup and contingency plans that anticipate a wide range of possible failures in their electronic voting systems" this November.

With just 4, or so, legislative days left in this Congress before they break for their Election Recess, it'll be no easy feat to see the bill passed by both the House and Senate before they leave. But given the stakes, and the bi-partisan call across the country for such a measure, we hope the Congress can act with the speed appropriate for a bill so important to, at least, helping to mitigate the train wreck that our democracy may be headed for this November 7th.

The BRAD BLOG would urge you to contact your Congress Members to demand they support this legislation immediately. You can send a message to your Congress Members here asking them to pass this legislation now!

You may otherwise contact local media to write in support of it, or ask to ask them to cover it, via this link.

UPDATE 6:17pm PT: New York Times coverage now linked here...

UPDATE 11:12pm PT: Late, final edition of the Times now lists Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the legislation as well!

The complete text of the Boxer/Dodd legislation as filed this afternoon, follows in full...

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

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Blog Statement by V.P. Barbara Burt Refers to our 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' Legislation as 'The LEAVE NO VOTER BEHIND Act'
Contact Congress (Who We Hear May be About to Act!) Now!
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2006 3:56pm PT  

Barbara Burt, the Vice-President and Director of Election Reform at the non-partisan Common Cause, has posted a statement this morning on the organization's blog in support of the 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' (Emergency Paper Ballot legislation) that we proposed last week as an emergency measure that Congress could pass in their few legislative days left before the election recess.

The idea is to ensure that registered voters who bother to show up to the polls this November could at least cast their vote --- even if the voting machines are malfunctioning or unavailable, as has been the case in primary after primary election so far this year.

The measure should make it illegal to turn away a properly registered voter without allowing them to cast a vote. Giving them a Provisional Ballot is not an alternative, since those ballots are often not counted at all.

As Burt writes in her blog item in support of the initiative:

This is an initiative that would ensure that every precinct stock paper ballots for use in an emergency or, possibly, in case voters demand to vote on paper. It would be ideal to get this passed through Congress before the election, but Congress is leaving Washington at the end of this week. So chances of passage are slim (although they are capable of fast action on ocassion).

She also reports that the legendary Leon County, FL election director, Ion Sancho, "one of the voices of reason in the world of election officials...said that it should be illegal for a polling place to turn away any eligible voters without allowing them the opportunity to vote."

Common Cause joins election watchdog groups such as VotersUnite.org and VelvetRevolution.us in publicly calling for this common sense legislation.

As of this morning, we're hearing a number of hopeful reports about a number of legislators on Capitol Hill who are considering bringing this legislation forward soon. It would be similar to the emergency measure called for by Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich in Maryland recently, after his state's primary election was an utter disaster in the face of voting machines that couldn't be started up until hours after the polls had already opened.

The SoS Project has created a page where you can contact your congress members to urge them to pass this legislation with Terri Schiavo-like speed!

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BRAD BLOG Criticizes Columbia Journalism Review for Being Two Years Late and More Than Two Dollars Short...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2006 6:00am PT  

With a rather mild slap on the wrist, Columbia Journalism Review suggests in its Sep/Oct issue, in an un-bylined editorial, that the national media failed to do their job in reporting on the disasterously irregular 2004 Ohio Presidential Election.

No kidding. Do ya think?!

The CJR piece is published this week, just a touch over a month before our next national election. The decline of democracy has grown exponentially worse across the entire nation, every single day since 2004's Presidential Election (as we have been tirelessly covering on these pages since 3am or so of November 3rd, 2004) and yet CJR has waited until now for it's gentle hand-wringing over the lack of coverage on these matters in the national media.

They go so far as to describe The New York Times as "typically strong on voting controversy" before softly suggesting they haven't done enough to cover these matters. Never mind that it was the Times who, perhaps single-handedly, instructed the nation that nothing at all went wrong in Ohio in 2004 when they characterized the efforts of those of us trying to investigate what happened on Election Day as little more than "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers" on Nov. 21, 2004.

We wrote at the time about that article:

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

The following day we constructively offered them 15 hard news items concerning "irregularities" in the 2004 election that merited their investigation, rather than their condescension. To this date, we're aware of them having investigated none of them.

"Typically strong on voting controversy?" To what decade might CJR be referring?

In the meantime, nothing has been found to suggest that those of us "leftwing blogging conspiracy theorists" were anything but absolutely right in our concern, dilligence, and attention to the matter.

The "paper of record" sets the tone for America and for all of the other media. They failed this country abysmally.

CJR bills themselves as "America's Premier Media Monitor." In other words, their job is to be the watchdog of the watchdogs. And yet, they've taken two years to admonish the national media for having failed to cover the very dissolution of our democracy, in plain sight and before our very eyes, in a tepid little editorial this month.

Consider us the watchdog watchdog watchdog.

NEWS FLASH FOR CJR (feel free to face this criticism two years from now if you wish): While your spanking the national media for failing to do their job on this most crucial topic, you have utterly failed to do yours in the meantime. Glasses houses, much?

Finally, the ironically condescending little CJR editorial (which mentions some of the few outlets who have covered the issue sparsely, while leaving out those who have reported on it every single day since November 2nd, 2004 --- what, me bitter?) concludes thusly:

Guarding the democratic process is part of the journalistic mission, and with another election approaching, now is the time to think about that.

Uh, no. Sorry, guys. The "time to think about that" was years ago. Now, it's pretty much too late to do a damned thing to "guard the democratic process." At least for the 2006 election. You have failed as miserably as those whom you have finally decided to criticize (gently).

See you in September of 2008...when you all decide to give a damn about this issue the next time.

...CONTACT...
dartsandlaurels@cjr.org; Click">letters@cjr.org\">Click here to Email CJR

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UPDATE: Story Hints 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' Being 'Considered on the Federal Level'!
PLUS: Vermont's Sec. of State Makes Jerk of Herself...
By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2006 1:16pm PT  

New York Times set to report elections officials are getting "cold feet" about electronic voting. Gosh, what to 'em so long? (both the elections officials and NYTimes!)

From RAW STORY right now...

Electronic voting machines are making many election officials wary, according to an article slated for the front page of Sunday's edition of The New York Times, RAW STORY has learned.

"A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections," reports Ian Urbina.
...
"Paperless touch-screen machines have been the biggest source of consternation, and with about 40 percent of registered voters nationally expected to cast their ballots on these machines in the midterm elections, many local officials fear that the lack of a paper trail will leave no way to verify votes in case of fraud or computer failure," reports the Times.
...
"Less than two months before voters head to the polls, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland this week became the most recent official to raise concerns publicly. Ehrlich, a Republican, said he lacked confidence in the state's new $106 million electronic voting system and suggested a return to paper ballots."
...
"But some election officials and voting experts say they fear that the new technology may have only swapped old problems for newer, more complicated ones. Their concerns became more urgent after widespread problems with the new technology were reported this year in primaries in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and elsewhere."

Nice going waiting until it's pretty much too late to do a damned thing about it. NY Times has, once again, failed the American people. Jerks.

(Though there's still time to demand Congress mandate Emergency Paper Ballots!)

The full NYTimes story is now here.

UPDATE: Now that I've read the full story, it looks like the following graf refers to the buzz we've help generate on Capitol Hill for our proposed LET AMERICA VOTE ACT (Emergency Paper Ballot legislation)...[emphasis added]

In Pennsylvania, a state senator introduced a bill last week that would require every precinct to provide voters with the option to use paper ballots, which would involve printing extra absentee ballots and having them on site. A similar measure is being considered on the federal level.

Also worthy of condemnation is Vermont's Democratic Sec. of State Deborah Markowitz, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) who seems to be continuing the disingenously positive spin of too many state elections officials of late...

Deborah L. Markowitz, the Vermont secretary of state and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said that while there might be some problems in November, she expected them to be limited and isolated.

“The real story of the recent primary races was how few problems there were, considering how new this technology is,” said Ms. Markowitz, a Democrat. “The failures we did see, like in Maryland, Ohio and Missouri, were small and most often from poll workers not being prepared.”

Though we like to encourage folks to be poll workers, we might recommend that those in Vermont simply stay home this year. Your Secretary of State, who is clearly not prepared to do her job, thinks it's all your fault! So why bother? Take the day off!

CORRECTION: We had originally reported Markowitz as being a member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the group given the responsibility of certifying (and so far, rubber stamping on behalf of the voting machine companies) electronic voting machines at the federal level. Markowitz is President of NASS, not NASED. We regret the error.

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By John Gideon on 9/23/2006 11:17am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

On last night's Lou Dobbs Kitty Pilgrim reported on what the media is just awakening to, problems with e-voting machines are nationwide and a threat to our democracy. Some of us have been telling all who would listen that this was the fact for years now. Finally some state's are listening and acting.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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

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Op/Ed: 'If You Thought the Primary Was a Mess, Wait Until November!'
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 3:31pm PT  

We reported last week on the mess in Milwaukee's primary election where a "programming error" is blamed for some 80,000 votes being recorded, when only 45,000 people actually voted. A recount was held to determine what the real vote count was. The city, however, was only concerned with the number of voters, as opposed to whether or not the votes were actually recorded accurately.

An editorial on the whole mess in Wednesday's Shepard-Express concludes this way (with a now-familiar warning):

If you thought there were computer glitches during the light vote in last week's primary, just wait until November with a heavy turnout for the governor's race in Wisconsin and in hard-fought Senate and congressional races across the country.

In November, a third of all precincts in the country will be using brand-new electronic voting systems for the first time.

As we learned in Milwaukee and Waukesha, newly trained poll workers breaking in untested electronic systems will discover so many bugs you'll think the elections are taking place in a tropical flophouse.

Joel McNally co-hosts the "Morning Magazine" show from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays on 1290 WMCS-AM.

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Demand Emergency Paper Ballots at the Polls This November!
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 1:14pm PT  

The good folks over at the Secretary of State Project have endorsed the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" (Emergency Paper Ballots this November) legislation and have created an easy web page where you can fill in your name and address, which will then send Email to Congress Members asking them to immediately propose and pass this important legislation!

If you only fill out one such online letter writing campaign between now and November 7th, please make it this one! Click here right now to send your letter!

It'll take you 30 seconds, and it could be the difference between a mitigated success (where people are actually able to cast their vote!) and a complete disaster at the polls this November 7th! Click it, and then send that link everywhere!

We've got no more than 5 legislative days left before this Congress breaks for the Election Recess. So if 6 or 7 of you can act now, it may make the difference! My original proposal for the LAVA legislation is right here.

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Endorses LET AMERICA VOTE ACT!
Election Integrity Org Says 'It's Unacceptable to Turn Away Legal Voters Because Voting Machines Aren't Working'
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 12:26pm PT  

VotersUnite.org, an election integrity watchdog group led by Executive Director John Gideon (who is also the Information Manager of VoteTrustUSA.org and a frequent Guest Blogging contributor here at The BRAD BLOG) has issued a statement this morning in support of our demand that Congress immediately pass Emergency Paper Ballot legislation.

Our original proposal for the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" is posted here.

The complete news release from VotersUnite has been released to the wires, and is posted online here. The pertinent information from that release follows...

For Immediate Release:

This primary election season has provided evidence that computerized voting systems are not ready for use in our elections. Election melt-downs in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and last week in Maryland prove that emergency steps must be taken for the November election. When poll site voting machines fail there must be a viable option that will allow every legal voter to vote.

"It is unacceptable to turn legal voters away from the polls just because the voting machines are not set-up, not set-up correctly, or not working at all. It is also not alright to use provisional ballots instead of a 'real' ballot that will be counted just the same as an electronic ballot cast on a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine. Emergency paper ballots must be in place in every polling place in the nation that uses DRE or touch-screen voting machines and those ballots must be used in the case of voting systems failure", said John Gideon, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org.

VotersUnite.Org fully supports the implementation of the "Let America Vote Act" as presented at http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502 and calls on Congressional leaders to do all they can to get this legislation through Congress and to the President for signature prior to Congress going on recess.

VotersUnite.Org is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides well-sourced information to those interested in voting machine issues.

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Republican Head of State Calls for Paper Ballots this November!
By John Gideon on 9/22/2006 11:06am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Last night Lou and Kitty tackled the argument in Maryland over whether Linda Lamone should just let Diebold do an investigation of what went wrong last week or whether Gov. Ehrlich should get his way and have the voters vote on paper ballots.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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

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San Mateo Co. California's Warren Slocum Makes The Right Decision For The Right Reason
By John Gideon on 9/22/2006 9:28am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

While we don't shy away from talking about the corrupt, the wrong thinking, the un-caring elections officials in our country we don't often get a chance to recognize those who actually do a good job and show that they really do care. I would guess that 90% of the elections officials fall into the category of the caring but it is that 10% who get talked about. I want to change that a bit and talk about one who has made a good decision.

Warren Slocum is the Chief Elections Director of San Mateo County, California. The county has recently decided that they will use Hart Intercivic eSlate Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines at the polls from now on. That's not a good decision because the eSlates are just as bad as the rest, but it was a decision made and we have to move on.

It has just been reported in the San Mateo Daily Journal that Slocum has decided that there is not enough time for him to be assured that his voters and poll workers can become acclimated to the new voting machines by the general election in November. The polls were supposed to have three to six of the eSlates but now voters will find only one eSlate and paper ballots. Slocum is giving up quick results reporting for integrity and we applaud that.

If only Cuyahoga County, Ohio elections officials had decided on integrity instead of rushing out voting machines that were unfamiliar. If only Maryland elections officials had decided on integrity instead of rushing out an unproven and ripe for failure e-poll book device. And the same "If only..." can be echoed all over the country this primary season.

Thank you Warren Slocum for having integrity and for putting your voters and poll workers first.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 2:21pm PT  

Much happening at the moment. Hopefully details to come later today/tonight.

For the moment, I'll point you to Kathy Gill's coverage at About.com of my proposal for the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" (LAVA), a call for a federal Emergency Paper Ballots mandate at all polling places this November. I originally proposed the idea, asking Congress to pass this measure immediately here. A follow-up, including suggested legislative language for the very simple act was posted here yesterday.

The LAVA legislation seems to be generating quite a bit of buzz right now in certain sectors on Capitol Hill. Hope to have more details for you later. But with just about 5 legislative days left before the pre-election recess, please continue to make noise about it, contact your Congress members and let's save whatever we can this November!

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BRAD BLOG SOURCES, STORIES COVERED EXTENSIVELY...
EXTENDED EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 12:08pm PT  


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who filed a landmark article last June in Rolling Stone concerning evidence of a stolen 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, is set to rock the country again in tomorrow's Rolling Stone, The BRAD BLOG can now report.

The issue is currently on the stands in some sections of LA and NY, and will be available across the nation tomorrow.

Through interviews with a number of BRAD BLOG insider sources over the past several months, Kennedy, along with co-writer Dick Russell, will expose a plethora of new details concerning the scandalous and outrageous overtaking of our public election system by private companies such Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and others.

The article is titled: "Will The Next Election Be Hacked? - Fresh disasters at the polls --- and new evidence from an industry insider --- prove that electronic voting machines can't be trusted".

Many of the items covered may be familiar to readers here, as a good number of them were originally broken on these very pages over the last year or so. We worked closely with Kennedy and Russell on this story during its development over the past several months.

The article, however, covers several new and sometimes explosive details of Diebold's rollouts in both Georgia and Maryland dating back to 2002, as well as Florida, Ohio and Texas in 2004.

Characterizing the unchecked spread of electronic voting as "insane," Kennedy and Russell conclude, "It is time for Americans to reclaim our democracy from private interests."

Some of the damning details covered in the extensive piece include: the now-infamous and mysterious patch applied to the paperless touch-screen systems in GA just prior to the Chambliss/Cleland election; the presence of Diebold elections division president Bob Urosevich in the tabulation room in MD in 2002; Diebold's interest in downplaying, hiding the significance of several scientific reports in 2004 warning of the vulnerabilities in their machines; Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) involvement with former staffers and Diebold lobbyists in passing the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) through congress; ES&S shenanigans in Texas in 2004; E-Voting anomalies in Ohio and Florida may have given the election to George W. Bush; the Diebold electronic voting machine which kicked off the 2000 Presidential Election debacle...

The article is now posted in full at the RS website. Extended excerpts from the article follow below...

###

...TROUBLE COMING THIS NOVEMBER...

[A]s midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election – and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries. In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for unsupervised “sleepovers” before the vote, leaving the equipment vulnerable to tampering.
...
“Every board of election has staff members with the technological ability to fix an election,” Ion Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. “Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I’d ever find out about it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to throw a presidential election.”

Much more now below...

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

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Democratic Election Administrator Still in Denial!
DIEB-THROAT Says 'We Put Out Junk' in Maryland in 2002
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 12:27am PT  

From Page 1 of Thursday's WaPo:

A week after the primary election was plagued by human error and technical glitches, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) called yesterday for the state to scrap its $106 million electronic voting apparatus and revert to a paper ballot system for the November election.

"When in doubt, go paper, go low-tech," he said.

Ehrlich said that, if necessary, he would call a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to change the law to allow paper ballots.

The Republican Governor's call comes after hearings today to investigate Maryland's primary election meltdown on September 12th.

Ehrlich had called for paper ballots last February. The Democratic MD House supported the initiative in a 137 to 0 vote. The Democratic Senate let the bill die without a vote before ending their session.

As BRAD BLOG readers know well, Maryland was one of Diebold's original showcase states and implemented paperless Diebold touch-screens back in 2002. They've had more experience with them than any other state. Yet they still couldn't manage to get them to work correctly in a sparsely attended primary for a mid-term election.

Democratic Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. is against the idea of using paper ballots. He told WaPo, "We paid millions. These are state-of-the-art machines"

Miller clearly doesn't read The BRAD BLOG.

As DIEB-THROAT, our currently-anonymous Diebold insider source, who had a great deal of personal experience helping to roll out the systems in Maryland in 2002 told us recently: "We put junk out when HAVA [the Help America Vote Act] came out...We had no plans for paper trails, nothing."

According to WaPo, Gene Raynor, Baltimore's election director had the decency to resign. Diebold apologist and Maryland State Board of Elections administrator, Linda Lamone ought to do the same.

But Lamone, ever in denial, said Ehrlich's call for paper ballots was "crazy" and vowed that "her staff would 'work around the clock' to correct the problems that plagued the primary" according to WaPo.

Like you've been "working around the clock" to get it right since 2002, Ms. Lamone? Got anymore lipstick for that pig?

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