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'A Terrible Idea': E-Voting, E-Counting, 'Open Source' and Internet Voting
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By David Edwards on 5/8/2006 7:03am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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We posted this video from ABC's This Week at Crooks and Liars yesterday. If you are a fan of DNC Chairman Howard Dean then you'll enjoy this video. For those that get physically sick at the sight of DeLay, you might want to skip the first 5 minutes.

Outgoing, indicted and disgraced Republican Rep. Tom DeLay spews the same hate-filled attacks on Democrats that we've heard for several years now. DeLay still manages to brandish the freshest Republican talking points.

Most notable was DeLay's attack on John Conyers' concerns that President Bush may have committed impeachable offenses. The Republicans believe that they can motivate their party to get out to the polls in November to save their favorite President from certain doom if the Democrats take control.

Howard Dean largely ignores DeLay's bluster. Chairman Dean has really improved the focus and delivery of his message. Dean doesn't dodge the tough questions. He delivers clear answers, straight talk and real hope the the American people. Having DeLay and Dean on the same segment really exposes the great disparity in the quality of their character.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2006 11:24pm PT  

From WaPo...

"This administration may be over," Lance Tarrance, a chief architect of the Republicans' 1960s and '70s Southern strategy, told a gathering of journalists and political wonks last week. "By and large, if you want to be tough about it, the relevancy of this administration on policy may be over."
...
Tarrance said it would be extremely difficult for any president to bounce back this late in his administration and reassert influence on Capitol Hill when his approval rating barely exceeds his party's base support and half of all adults surveyed said they "strongly disapprove" of his performance. An overwhelming 73 percent of independents disapprove of Bush's performance, and two-thirds of those "strongly disapprove."
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5 Counties in Show Me State Say Show Us How the Hell to Vote Starting Monday, ES&S!
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 7:54pm PT  

As Diebold implodes on the latest news that all of their touch-screen voting machines contain a perhaps-uncorrectable flaw being described as a "major national security threat," the largest of the country's Electronic Voting Machine Companies, ES&S continue to meltdown all across the nation.

On the heels of similar failures in Indiana, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, Arkansas and elsewhere, Missouri now joins the crowd as the latest state to report failures by ES&S to deliver ballots, machines and software programming in time for elections this year.

Five counties in Missouri have announced they are going to "Plan B" (creating their own paper ballots, or returning to their old lever systems) in preparation for early voting which is to begin Monday in the Show Me state.

Problems are being reported in Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy Counties. Here's a sample of refrains that are starting to sound incredibly familiar:

"I'm just sick," longtime [Carroll County] Election Commission Chairman Levi Phillips said Tuesday. He said Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., had not only failed to send the programmed parts for the touch-screen machines but it also failed to break down paper ballots so results could be reported by precinct. It also didn't put the candidates in the order drawn from a hat in a couple of races, he said.

"We're in hell with that," he said. "That wasn't a step forward. That's a step back."

The Election Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to order paper ballots for early voting.
...
Searcy County plans to drag its old lever voting machines out for early voting and they will be used on Election Day May 23 if the fancy new touch-screen computer voting machines aren't ready.
...
"Searcy County is very upset and let down with ES&S," Smith said this morning. He said he and four retired school teachers who "burned their own gas" took the new touch screen voting machines all around the county training poll workers and demonstrating for voters and "now they say you've got to do something else." He noted that the lever machine invented in the 1800s was proving more reliable than the state-of-the-art computer machines.

Dear Washington D.C. and the National Mainstream Media: Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

(Thanks to BRAD BLOG reader Mark M. for the tip from my home state!)

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Voting Systems in Question Were Used Last Week in Ohio Primary, Soon in Pennsylvania, So 'Serious' Few Details Are Being Released
All Diebold Touch-Screen Machines, In All States, Said to be Affected by 'Horrifying' Vulnerability, Systems 'Sequestered' in PA
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 1:24pm PT  

We've now been able to gather a great deal of additional information concerning details about the story we first posted yesterday on the official Pennsylvania state warning issued about the new "security vulnerability" discovered in all Diebold touch-screen electronic voting machines.

That warning, which has now brought a lock-down on all Diebold systems in PA, where early absentee (non-machine) voting is about to begin prior to their upcoming May 16th primary election, was reported by the Morning Call yesterday. The warning says the serious security vulnerability could allow ''unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system."

Public details about the warning are still sketchy as those in the know have acknowledged that the problem is so serious, they are hoping to keep the info under wraps until mitigation steps can be taken to safeguard systems.

The BRAD BLOG has been told on the record, however, by one person involved in the matter, that the vulnerability is a "major national security risk."

We've been speaking to many sources today, and we've been able to get several first hand comments on the problem from top officials and analysts directly involved in both state and federal certification of the Diebold systems, as well as from those involved in the initial discovery of the problem.

What's clear is that Morning Call's reporting that it was Diebold who found the "glitch" are flat wrong. The discovery of the "glitch" (which is anything but) emanated from the examination of Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) machines recently in Emery County, UT.

A source has told The BRAD BLOG that Diebold was "cornered" into admitting to the problem, a far cry from them having "found" it, as the Morning Call characterized it.

What's also clear is that neither Diebold themselves, nor federal officials at the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) have been notifying states about the serious problem which apparently affects all Diebold AccuVote touch-screen systems, including both their newer TSx models, and the older TS and TS6 models.

The Diebold TSx models, with the security vulnerability still intact, were apparently used in the primary election last Tuesday in Ohio.

A document at Diebold's website describes [PDF] the TSx models as featuring "Industry Leading Security."

In Utah's Emery County, state officials are attempting to force Bruce Funk, the 23-year elected County Clerk out of his job in the wake of his having allowed a security evaluation of the county's new Diebold touch-screen systems by both computer security firm Security Innovation and Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti. According to several sources, that analysis revealed many new vulnerabilities and problems in the Diebold touch-screen systems, including the one that seems to be at the heart of the problem now being warned about by Pennsylvania officials.

Funk --- who has since been "vilified," as one source told us, by both Diebold and Utah state officials as high as the Lt. Governor --- was forced to implement the new Diebold touch-screen systems for the first time this year against his own objections. His prudent subsequent security evaluation of the systems was arranged by electronic voting watchdog organization, BlackBoxVoting.org. (We recently interviewed Funk on the radio concerning that evaluation, and his subsequent removal from office in its wake. Listen to that interview here [MP3].)

Here's some of what we've so far been able to learn from a number of officials, both on the record and off, in Pennsylvania, elsewhere around the country and at the federal level, as well as those involved in the initial Emery County discoveries...

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

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(HINT: Blue Dresses...Rented by the Hour)
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 11:45am PT  

As the corporate mainstream media shakes their head in clueless wonder about the Porter Goss resignation at CIA, (they're "stunned", "suprised", "can't imagine what else must be going on to have brought this on") the clues have been bubbling for the last week or so on the Internet.

We associate ourselves with Josh Marshall's initial take...

Here at TPM HQ we were listening to the president's announcement. And the talking heads on CNN were speculating whether Goss's departure might be part of Josh Bolten's 'new blood' shake up in the Bush administration. I don't suppose it anything to do with the fact that Goss is neck deep in the Wilkes-Corruption-and-Hookers story that's been burbling in the background all week. We don't know definitely why Goss pulled the plug yet. But the CIA Director doesn't march over to the White House and resign, effective immediately, unless something very big is up.

(Point of pride ed. note: TPMmuckraker has been on top of this story all week.)

Muckraker has, in fact, been all over various points of the developing scandal for the last week or so. We recommend you keep your eyes over there as things move foward.

Underscoring the bizarre state of our national corporate mainstream media, Josh made a related point earlier today, prior to the Goss announcement. As readers were wondering why TPM and their Muckraker site were giving so much attention to the Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) incident which, readers comments had suggested, just distracts from all of the more important GOP scandals, Josh defended their coverage with this reply...

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

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Several Counties 'Locking Down' Machines as Company Promises Last Minute Software Fix Just Before Upcoming Primary Election
Election Integrity Advocates Suggest Warning May Stem from Recent Independent Voting Machine Analysis Revealing Major Security Flaws in Diebold Hardware and Software
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2006 12:27pm PT  

Just weeks before their May 16th Primary Election, the Pennsylvania Sec. of State, Pedro Cortez issued a Security Alert late Tuesday concerning a "potential security vulnerability" in Diebold electronic voting machines which could " allow ''unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system." The warning was revealed yesterday at a meeting in Schuylkill County.

Details about the warning are still sketchy this morning, and we're trying to learn more, but The Morning Call is reporting today that the "glitch" was "found" by Diebold and counties are now being instructed to lock down systems and seal the memory cards into them.

A "fix" is said to be on its way from Diebold, though that begs the question of whether the last-minute software patch will be certified by federal and/or state authorities before it's installed on machines that have already proven to be vulnerable to hackers and other failures.

(As regular BRAD BLOG readers know, even if the software is inspected by federal authorities before being installed in machines, there is no guarantee that those authorities will find the bugs and illegal code that Diebold is quickly becoming famous for. The federal so-called "Independent Testing Authority" (ITA) is paid for by the voting machine company's themselves and has overlooked gaping flaws in software submitted by the vendors for years).

Says the Morning Call today about the security warning...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2006 1:21am PT  

As you know, those "glitches" in our elections are never Diebold's fault, or that of any of the Electronic Voting Machine Vendors who supply the equipment that doesn't actually work. It's always an untrained pollworker, or a voter who didn't read the instructions, or too darn much humidity.

So it wasn't Diebold's fault when Diebold's machines failed to work or to count absentee ballots by the thousands on Tuesday in Cuyahoga County, Ohio's Primary Election.

Look! Here's proof!

First of all, electronic optical scanners made by Diebold could not count absentee ballots. But Diebold said it was an issue with the printing of the ballots, not their machines.

Secondly, some precincts have more machines on the blink that those that were working. This was due in part to dozens of Election Day technicians, or EDTs, not showing up on Tuesday.

The EDTs are volunteers trained to fix any problems with the electronic Diebold voting machines.
...
Mark Radke, a spokesman for Diebold, said, "In fact, we went out to some of the precincts to direct some of the poll openings because some people didn't show up. Within two or three minutes with a little direction, people would have had the equipment up and running with no problem at all."

As of 5pm Wednesday, Cuyahoga County was still hand-counting the 17,000 absentee ballots which the Diebold machines, through absolutely no fault of Diebold's, were unable to count as Diebold had promised.

No word yet on whose fault it wasn't that Diebold's paper-trail printers kept jamming all day, or on the 70 Diebold memory cards (otherwise known as thousands and thousands of ballots) which went missing. But we know that wasn't Diebold's fault either. Though perhaps the part about them being so incredibly easy for anybody to change the data on those cards in about 30 seconds while they're "missing" could be Diebold's fault.

Nah. It's probably just the humidity.

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Voting Machine Printout Reports Zero Votes for Several Candidates, All Bond Measures Received Zero YES Votes...
Reasons for Problem 'Unknown', But Sound Remarkably Similar to Recent Leon County, FL Hack on Same Diebold Machines
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 7:18pm PT  

Our Electoral System Meltdown continues as more and more reports come in on epidemic Electronic Voting Machine failures around the country. It's neck and neck right now as Diebold and ES&S battle it out for the prize of Worst Company, Worst Service, Worst Technology and Best Excuse Maker. But we've got a long way to go in this Election Year, so it's still anyone's contest. (Anyone's but the voters, that is.)

A "glitch" --- that's the magical word that was used no less than three times in WOOD-TV's coverage --- in the Diebold optical-scan system used for the first time in Barry County, Michigan's election yesterday forced Elections Officials to count all ballots by hand. Since it was an optical-scan system --- which uses paper ballots --- they were able to do so. That would have been next to impossible had a similar disaster befallen a touch-screen system with "paper trails" and completely impossible on a paperless touch-screen machine.

All seemed fine throughout the day on Barry County's new voting machines until the optical scanner printed out the final results at the close of the election. The report was found to have had all matter of inexplicable totals including 0 votes for some candidates and no YES votes for any of the bond issues on the ballot.

Sound familiar?

The Barry County mess, as it's being reported by WOOD-TV, sounds almost identical to the situation in Leon County, FL last December where "hackers" had exploited a security vulnerability in Diebold's optical scanner memory card causing it to print results that were virtually the opposite of the true results on the paper ballots. The "hackers", who were computer security experts, had hidden all traces of their "crime" in that mock election test, so it would likely never have been discovered.

The problem affected 15 out of 16 townships in Barry County on machines which cost $4000 a piece and were purchased because County Officials claim the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) forced them to do so.

WOOD-TV covers the story, "glitch" after "glitch", with both text and a video reports. Here's a few details from their text report...

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

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50 Temp Workers Hired to Count Absentee Ballots which Diebold Machines Fail to Scan Properly...
Problems Also Reported with ES&S and in Several Other OH Counties...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 12:01pm PT  

Add this to our previous report on the Diebold Disaster in Cuyahoga County, Ohio during yesterday's Primary Election. The Cleveland Plain Dealer headlines their story: "First all-electronic election marred by problems".

As expected the word "Glitch" makes it's way quickly into the headlines in Columbus Dispatch's coverage ("Glitches delay voting and reporting of results") as they cover problems across a number of counties, including counties that use ES&S machines which also failed in a number of locations. Inevitably, the poll workers are blamed by officials, of course.

As to Cuyahoga, the Plain Dealer has set up a running blog on their website covering the ongoing problems. Here's the latest...

Election workers continue to count votes

12:07 p.m.

Cuyahoga County election workers continued to count votes Wednesday, with about 85 percent of the votes cast on the touch-screen machines counted by 11:15 a.m. But 70 memory cards - with results from 200 precincts - were missing. Cuyahoga County board of elections officials are checking the voting machines to see if the cards were inadvertantly left inside.

Meanwhile, a second team of 50 temporary agency employees continued the hand count of 17,000 paper ballots used by absentee voters. Election officials decided to hand count the paper ballots after tests on the optical scan machines showed innaccuracies. Vote totals for the absentee ballots are expected sometime this evening.

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Embattled Incumbent, HAVA Author, Loses 32% of Vote to No-Show Primary Opponent
'Congressional Quarterly' Says Numbers Predict Trouble
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 12:00pm PT  

The soon-to-be-indicted lead pusher of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) had his primary race in Ohio's 18th District tonight. While most congressmen named in four different criminal indictments and convictions would usually be toast, this is, after all, Ohio.

That said, Justin Rood over at TPM Muckraker, had this to say earlier this afternoon about the outlook for Ney tonight...

...Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) is expected to win his congressional primary, being held today. His competitor, James Broadbelt Harris, is an unknown who hasn't campaigned --- he hasn't even filed with the FEC, which indicates he has raised less than $5,000, [Congressional Quarterly's] Greg Giroux tells me.

I called Giroux to get his take on the election. While he expects Ney to win, he said, he's curious about what kind of "protest vote" Republicans in the district will cast for Harris, reacting to Ney's ethical troubles.

"I'd be surprised if Harris got more than 20 or 25 percent," Giroux told me. "That would be a sign that there is a chunk of the Republican base that's disenchanted with the incumbent."

"If Ney gets in the 80s --- and he very well may --- that'd show that at least Republican voters are behind him, and they weren't willing to look at this alternative candidate," Giroux said.

100% of the results are now in from all but 1 of the 16 counties which make up Ohio's fightin' 18th. (Belmont County's results have been stuck at 25.3% for the last several hours, about which I suspect we'll hear more tomorrow. Trouble with those pricey new op-scan machines, Belmont?)

As of 2:13am ET, these are the results from the Ohio SoS website:

If Giroux is correct, it looks like Ney may be in for a tough ride this fall...If he makes it that far without ending up in the slammer.

UPDATE 5/3/06: 100% of counties now reporting in full. Ney: 68.38% Harris: 31.62%

UPDATE 5/4/06: As expected, the reasons for the delayed reporting out of Belmont was due to all manners of mess in counting votes off of their new machines. Here's a description of the mess..

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Voting Machines Refuse to Power Up, No Paper Ballot Backups, 17,000 Absentee Ballots Must be Counted by Hand
Voters Pay the Price, Investigations Are to Come...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 11:20am PT  


The meltdown continues.

Cuyahoga County Election Director (and former Diebold proponent), Michael Vu, described Diebold's performance yesterday as "unacceptable" after problems were revealed all across the county in the state's Primary Election.

The panoply of problems included failed Diebold machines, lack of working power outlets and three-prong adapters for them, machines unable to start up, voters unable to vote, paper jams on the "paper trail" printers, and 17,000 absentee ballots that must now be counted by hand because they don't work with the Diebold optical scanners.

All of it now leading to investigations, as called for by Elections Officials. And, of course, there was the 61-year old voter who destroyed two Diebold machines out of apparent frustration.

With all of that, who even knows yet if the tallies acquired by the machines that did "work" are actually accurate?

WKYC covers with a video report here.

Below is just some of the extraordinary litany of problems revealed during elections in just that one county yesterday according to WKYC. We wish someone had warned them of the possibility of such problems in advance...

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

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By David Edwards on 5/2/2006 1:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


Video in Streaming Flash format...
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Audio in MP3 format...

After his major role in the theft of the 2004 Presidential Election, Secretary of State Kenneth J. Blackwell should be in jail instead of on today's primary ticket for Ohio Governor. If Blackwell wins in the primary today it will largely be because of the illegal use of religious organizations to manipulate the opinion of voters.

The latest edition of PBS Now maps out how the Republican National Committee and Republican operatives are using "patriot pastors", mega-churches, polarizing rhetoric and tax exemptions to create an illegal and unfair advantage against their competitors.

Due to complaints from more established liberal churches, the Internal Revenue Service is now investigating the illegal activities being conducted by the Republicans who have hijacked the beliefs of many Christian's for corrupt political purposes. The IRS has promised to step up its' prosecution of these abuses.

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ES&S Failures Continue Across the Country...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 1:00pm PT  

From the Pine Bluff Commercial...

Jefferson County's new touch-screen voting machines won't be making their debut until after the May 23 primary and June 13 runoff elections.

The Jefferson County Election Commission voted unanimously Monday afternoon to instead use the county's old lever machines. The panel had previously voted to use the new Electrical Systems and Software (ES&S) iVotronic Touch Screen Voting System, but Commission Chairman Trey Ashcraft said several ES&S "failures" forced a change in plans.

"With early voting beginning (Monday) May 8, ES&S hasn't provided us with many essential and critical tools necessary for us to conduct the election to the standards set by law and to our own high standards," Ashcraft said.

===
CORRECTION:
As you'll see below, in the flurry of today's breaking Primary Day news we had originally reported the above as having occurred in Jefferson County, Texas, as opposed to Jefferson County, Arkansas. The information following, concerning the problems in Jefferson County, TX, are still accurate, however, in regards to what happened in that Texas county, which also mirrors the problems as reported above in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Nonetheless, the original headline for the story, referring to Texas, was inaccurate. It should have said Arkansas, and we've now made that correction. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.
===

As regular readers know, The BRAD BLOG has been extensively covering the E-Voting meltdown issues, with a particular eye towards the failure of ES&S, America's largest E-Voting vendor.

Texas, in particular, has been a mess of late. See our previous coverage of the ES&S meltdown in the state where the Secretary of State has instructed to create "emergency paper ballots", purchase storage containers for them, and extra staff to manually hand-count them.

Jefferson County specifically had previously tried to withhold payment from their vendor, ES&S, after enormous failures by the company during the county's March 7th primary. Reportedly, however, they were strong-armed by ES&S and told they would not program machines and ballots at all for the upcoming runoffs if payment was withheld.

We are hearing quite a few reports of similarly thuggish behavior, threats and tactics from ES&S and hope to have more details in a future report.

Unfortunately, States and Counties have sold off their public responsibility to carry out accurate and transparent elections to private corporations to whom they are now entirely beholden. On one side, there are the failing private Voting Machine Vendors, and on the other side, the U.S. Dept. of Justice threatening to sue when states and counties don't comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which kicks in this year.

Of course, as we've reported previously, it's the voters who are paying the real price for their democracy vanquished.

ReddIt this story!



Early Reports of Trouble During Primary Elections Today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 11:40am PT  

It's Primary Day in Ohio (and several other states) and, as we've been warning for some time, the meltdown is under way. This report in earlier, as with our previous report, from Akron's NewsCenter5...

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio --- There have been some problems at polling locations throughout Cuyahoga County, NewsChannel5 reported.

Because of some confusion at the polling locations, citizens are being given ballots to fill out by hand, said Micheal [sic] Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

At about 6:45 a.m. at Woodberry Elementary School in Shaker Heights, a resident left the polling location after growing extremely frustrated about the process.

There were several problems with the new electronic voting machines throughout Cuyahoga County.

More...

ReddIt this story!



Man Smashes Diebold Touch-Screen Voting System in Ohio!
Arrested at Polling Place During Today's Ohio Primary Election
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 11:32am PT  

Just coming in from News Channel 5 out of Akron...

CLEVELAND --- A 61-year-old man was arrested after an alleged poll rage incident, NewsChannel5 reported.

Officials said the man was arrested after breaking a voting machine. He faces disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and resisting arrest charges.

It took several people to restrain the man who was trying to vote at a 4330 Jennings Road.

It's unclear what caused the man to become upset.

The report didn't specify, but the machine in question, and in the photos, was a Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) system. Look, people, those machines don't work anyway! Even when they're not smashed!

As today is Primary Election Day in Ohio, we'll do our best here at The BRAD BLOG, of course, to keep you up to date with any other "breaking news" out of the Buckeye State.

More photos...

UPDATE 5/3/06: WKYC has a video tape report. Apparently the man damaged at least two of the Diebold voting machines.

ReddIt this story!



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