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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 31, 2014
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2014 2:49pm PT  

Bad news for voters in the Buckeye State. Good news for partisan Republicans who prefer to win elections by making it more difficult for voters to vote.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court have now overturned the 6th Circuit's earlier ruling that had blocked Ohio Republicans' attempt to limit early voting by shortening the Early Voting period by one week, eliminating the week where voters could both register and vote on the same day, and by doing away with Sunday voting before the election...

From UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen...

Via SCOTUSBlog comes this Supreme Court order staying the district court's order preventing various cutbacks in early voting (including a cutback from 35 to 28 days, and elimination of one of the two early voting days on a Sunday, a day African-American churches had been using for "Souls to the Polls" voter drives). [It is not clear from earlier orders which Sunday might be eliminated.]

Although the order is "temporary" in the sense that it will be in place pending a ruling on a cert. petition ultimately to be filed by Ohio in the Supreme Court, that won't happen before this election, and so for this election the new shorter voting period is in effect --- and not the old rules put back in place by the district court and affirmed by the 6th Circuit.

That the Court divided 5-4 along liberal conservative lines is no surprise...

See Hasen's coverage for his analysis of what happened here, and why he believes it was a mistake to even challenge the OH Republicans' new restrictions on early voting. Please note: We don't necessarily agree or disagree with his analysis, at this time. But you can read it and decide for yourself.

Our most recent coverage of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the lower District Court decision blocking the GOP voting restrictions is here.

The GOP in Ohio has been attempting to shorten and otherwise restrict Early Voting in the state ever since reforms put in place in 2005 --- in response to the embarrassingly disastrous 2004 Presidential Election there --- worked well enough that most of the problems voter had voting had disappeared by 2008. As we have documented over the years, every time they tried to limit those successful reforms, the courts had blocked them from doing so. They did so again this year, until today's 5 to 4 ruling by the Supremes.

It should also be noted that it is, arguably, because John Kerry failed to keep his promise and fight to make sure every vote was counted in Ohio's contested 2004 election, that the U.S. Supreme Court has now gone so hard to the right, with the addition of Justices Roberts and Alito during George W. Bush's second term.

With today's SCOTUS ruling, and the bad news from the partisans on the 7th Circuit concerning WI Republicans' draconian Photo ID voting restrictions, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning detailed this morning, it seems many of this year's most important elections may be won, or lost, in the courts --- before Election Day even gets here.

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Repubs file 'Emergency Petition for Rehearing' before full court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2014 7:48am PT  

Yes, Ohio Republicans are still barred from limiting the early voting period and still required to restore the days and hours they had, yet again, tried to cut off. At least they are barred, again, for now.

On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a 50-page ruling [PDF] in which it upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction from three weeks ago that prevented Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted from implementing a Feb. 19, 2014 GOP-engineered statute, and his own further Directive, which would have drastically reduced the number of early voting days and hours and eliminated same-day registration and voting during the first five days of a previously established 35-day period of early voting in the Buckeye State.

Reflecting the fact that he anticipated an adverse ruling, Ohio's Republican Attorney General Michael DeWine filed an Emergency Appeal for a Rehearing [PDF] by the full 6th Circuit, on the very same day the three-judge panel handed down their decision. His appeal presents essentially the same arguments that have now, repeatedly, been rejected by the courts, first in a 2012 case, Obama for America v. Husted, and now, again, in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted...

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

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Another Nathan Sproul worker arrested after 2-year investigation of 2012 GOP voter registration fraud scandal in Sunshine State...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2014 6:05am PT  

Well, this is an interesting turn of events. It includes a bizarre twist that even we would not have foreseen, involving a Republican operative who is now threatening legal action against us for reporting (accurately) on his companies' relationship to voter registration fraud and deceptive voter registration practices during the 2012 election and in previous cycles.

Remember that massive, multi-state GOP voter registration fraud scandal just before the 2012 election? The one that started in Palm Beach, Florida, spread to several different counties, then several different states? The scandal resulted in the Republican National Committee firing the Arizona firm they had secretly hired for millions of dollars to carry out voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts in a bunch of key swing-states, including Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado in advance of the Presidential Election.

The firm at the center of the RNC scandal was named Strategic Allied Consulting. It was created and run by Nathan Sproul, a notorious Arizona-based Republican operative with a checkered past, who ran Republican voter registration drives and other on-the-ground GOP activist campaigns. Sproul's name was not used in the legal filings which created Strategic Allied Consulting in advance of the 2012 election, due to his various companies facing voter registration fraud allegations and criminal investigations in a number of states going back as far as the 2004 Presidential election. Because of that unfairly tarnished background, Sproul claimed when the 2012 scandal first surfaced, the RNC didn't want his fingerprints on the operation. The RNC was dodgy about the issue, but fired Sproul and his firm in several states once the scandal came to light, despite having paid millions of dollars for the effort.

The BRAD BLOG broke a number of stories related to the RNC scandal at the time, including details on the very first reports of "hundreds" of fraudulent registration forms turned in to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections after they were collected by Sproul's workers and turned in by the local Republican Party.

In the same series of articles, we also exposed the deceptive (and perhaps illegal) registration scheme employed by Sproul's firms in states where they operated. The scheme involved registration workers trained to pretend to be pollsters asking voters who they planned to support in the Presidential election. If they answered the question correctly (Romney) Sproul's workers would help them register to vote. If the unsuspecting citizen answered the "survey" question incorrectly (Obama), the workers would wish them a nice day, and then move on to the next target.

As we documented with video, email and other records at the time, including admissions by Sproul himself, his firm used this same deceptive tactic in state after state and in a number of recent election cycles.

Now, a two-year Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation has finally wrapped up into the 2012 allegations in that state. It has led to yet another arrest of one of Sproul's workers, found no evidence of conspiracy by the company in that state, confirmed The BRAD BLOG's reporting on their deceptive registration technique, and sent Sproul scurrying to threaten us via email (posted below) with a lawsuit...for something...

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

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Restores evening hours, 'Souls to the Polls' Sunday, and 'Golden Week', allowing both registration and same-day voting...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2014 4:31pm PT  

This statement from the ACLU follows today's federal court ruling [PDF] restoring Early Voting hours --- yet again --- in Ohio in advance of the November mid-term elections:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge today ruled that cuts to early voting in Ohio must be restored in time for the November election. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a state law and directives that have dramatically slashed early voting opportunities in Ohio. The ACLU was in court last month to ask the judge to restore the cuts prior to full trial, in time for the midterm election.

"This ruling will safeguard the vote for thousands of Ohioans during the midterm election," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If these cuts had been allowed to remain in place, many voters would have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process this November. This is a huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections."

Today's ruling restores the first week of early voting, often referred to as "Golden Week," in which voters are able to register and cast a ballot on the same day. It also restores evening early voting, as well as multiple Sundays.

The ruling includes a temporary injunction on the Republican-enacted state law and on additional new restrictions on voting hours implemented by its Republican Sec. of State John Husted, finding the regulations are in violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which bars racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

"Ohio keeps trying to cut early voting and the federal courts keep striking the cuts down," writes The Nation's Ari Berman in response to today's ruling.

It's true. This has been going on for years. State Republicans, whether in the form of the legislature or their Republican Sec. of State in Ohio, keep attempting to make it harder to vote, and the federal court keeps ruling those attempts to be in violation of federal law. It has happened over and over again over the past several years.

Berman notes, in regards to today's ruling, that "In 2012, 157,000 Ohioans cast ballots during early voting hours eliminated by the Ohio GOP" and that African-American voters in the state "voted early in person at a rate over twenty times greater than white voters," according to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

The expansion of early voting in Ohio was implemented following the disastrous 2004 elections there when many voters --- largely in minority areas --- were forced to wait for 6 hours or more to cast a vote under restrictions implemented by then partisan Sec. of State and co-chair of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., J. Kenneth Blackwell. The last ballot cast in the Buckeye State that year, when the state's electoral votes would determine the Presidency, was around 2am on Wednesday morning at Kenyon College, where some students had waited on line as much as 10 hours to vote.

The new GOP restrictions cut many of the additional voting opportunities instituted in 2005, which had otherwise led to a fairly smooth election under Democratic Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in 2008, as she described to us during an exclusive interview in 2012.

Early Absentee voting numbers had doubled between 2004 and 2008 after the expansion of voting hours, as a quick glance at the numbers starkly demonstrates...

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

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(And a reminder why elections still matter.)
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2014 11:50am PT  

Scrambling to prep for today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, so this will have to be quick today, but you've probably already read about the U.S. Supreme Court's horrible 5-4 decision in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case by now.

If not, Andrew Kroll's explainer "The Supreme Court Just Gutted Another Campaign Finance Law. Here's What Happened." is excellent, as is Ian Millhiser's "How The Supreme Court Just Legalized Money Laundering By Rich Campaign Donors".

[Millhiser will be joining me this evening on The BradCast.]

In (incredibly) brief, the SCOTUS ruling means that aggregate limits --- put in place 40 years ago, after the Watergate scandal --- that a single person may contribute to federal candidates and political parties were found to be an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free speech rights. While limits of contributions to individual federal candidates of $2,600 per election (that's $2,600 for a primary and another $2,600 for the general) and $5,000 to a political committee stay in place, the aggregate amount they may now give to many candidates and political parties will now be lifted.

So, where a single donor could previously give no more than $117,000 to all federal candidates and political committees during the 2012 cycle, that limit has now been entirely trashed. As the SCOTUS minority argued in the case, the ruling will now allow a single individual to give up to $3.5 million in a cycle, if they give to all federal candidates running. In turn, those candidates and political parties may now pool that money and divert it to the most needed races.

This ruling is great news, for an incredibly small number of very wealthy people. As Richard Wolf and Fredreka Schouten encapsulate it at USA Today...

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

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Our very first story to 'go national' became a pain in the ass for the Bush Administration in the lead up to the 2004 election...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2014 3:04pm PT  

I've been looking back at some of our most noteworthy stories over the years, in the course of reflecting on The BRAD BLOG's 10th Anniversary.

As I was digging into the archives, I was reminded again that while many folks know us for our coverage of election integrity issues, voting machine problems, whistleblowers, etc., it was our scoop about a story concerning the George W. Bush White House in the lead-up to the 2004 President Election that was our first to "go national" and have a direct effect on the national political discourse.

It was before we had even begun digging as deep as we eventually would on the e-voting beat, and the fallout from the story itself resulted in national pick-up by the MSM, pressure on officials and questions at White House press conferences, an academic study (years later) and, the most fun part, the Bush White House eventually being forced to spend what must have been an enormous amount of man hours restoring date to the White House website in the week before the actual election that year...

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

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'Harrowing account' of tragedy offered by British 'witness' on TV news mag appears completely untrue, says Washington Post
UPDATED: Davies responds, says lied to employer originally, but telling the truth now...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2013 3:11pm PT  

In what Washington Post's Karen DeYoung describes as an "explosive report" on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, the venerable TV news magazine offered "a harrowing account of the extremist attack that killed four Americans" at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya last year.

Naturally, Fox "News" and others on the Right --- such as Sen. Lindsey Graham who promised on Wednesday to block all of President Obama's nominees following the report --- have been trumpeting it all week.

In the report, CBS' Lara Logan interviews a man pseudonymously identified as "Morgan Jones", a British supervisor of security guards protecting the mission. He tells Logan that, as the attack that night went on and four U.S. officials were ultimately killed, he scaled the compound's 12-foot wall, took out an al-Qaeda terrorist "with the butt end of a rifle" and eventually was at the hospital to witness the lifeless corpse of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

But, as reported by DeYoung at WaPo today, that story by "Jones", as offered on 60 Minutes, appears to be completely untrue. That "harrowing account" by "Jones," whose real name is reportedly Dylan Davies, is completely at odds, according to the Post, with the written account that he "provided to his employer three days after the attack" when he said he was nowhere near the diplomatic compound on the night of the deadly tragedy...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2013 4:20pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

One of the world's largest ATM manufacturers and, formerly, one of the largest manufacturers of electronic voting systems, has been indicted by federal prosecutors for bribery and falsification of documents.

The charges represent only the latest in a long series of criminal and/or unethical misconduct by Diebold, Inc. and their executives over the past decade.

According to Cleveland's Plain Dealer, a U.S. Attorney says the latest charges are in response to "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct" by the company....

Federal prosecutors Tuesday filed charges against Diebold Inc., accusing the North Canton-based ATM and business machine manufacturer of bribing government officials and falsifying documents in China, Indonesia and Russia to obtain and retain contracts to provide ATMs to banks in those countries.

The two-count criminal information and deferred prosecution agreement calls for Diebold to pay nearly $50 million in penalties: $23 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and $25 million to the Department of Justice.

The agreement with federal prosecutors also calls for the implementation of rigorous internal controls that includes a compliance monitor for at least 18 months. The government agreed to defer criminal prosecution for three years, and drop the charges if Diebold abides by the terms of the agreement.

Despite at least $1.75 million in bribes said to have been paid the company around the globe, nobody will go to jail for what U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach describes as their "worldwide pattern of criminal conduct," because they are a corporation --- and you are not.

The $50 million the company has agreed to pay is a mere fraction of the firm's $3 billion in annual revenues. That, even though Diebold is a repeat offender --- which may be describing it mildly...

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

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UPDATED with response to election law professor Rick Hasen's critique...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2013 2:54pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

This story just keeps getting more insane.

We recently told you --- at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon --- about Judge Richard Posner's remarkable disavowal of his own majority opinion in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case that became the basis for the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 approval of the Republican implementation of polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

Though it's the only court case of note that Republicans are able to cite in claiming the "constitutionality" of such laws, last week, during an interview with HuffPo Live, Posner recanted the opinion he wrote in the case. He claimed that he "did not have enough information...about the abuse of voter identification laws," to make a better decision in 2007's Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. If he had, he said, the Indiana case "would have been decided differently."

Of course, at the same time, he noted that the dissenting judge in the case seems to have had no trouble ruling correctly at all. Judge Terence T. Evans blasted at the beginning of his dissent in the case [PDF]: "Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."

Evans "was right", Posner now admits, and his own decision was wrong. Apparently, Evans somehow did have the information needed to decide the same case correctly, even if Posner now claims that he, personally, did not for some reason.

Today, the New York Times finally decided to cover Posner's admission, and they add at least one more head-spinning element to all of this...

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

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What happened and how 2 Republican judges overruled the State's case and the thorough deliberation of 12 jurors...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2013 7:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Following Thursday's 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge panel from an appellate court in Texas overturning the 2010 felony money laundering convictions of former U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R), the Travis County District Attorney announced her intention to seek a review of that decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

"We strongly disagree with the opinion of Judges Goodwin and Gaultney that the evidence was insufficient," Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg said in a statement. "We are concerned and disappointed that two judges substituted their assessment of the facts for that of 12 jurors who personally heard the testimony of over 40 witnesses over the course of several weeks and found that the evidence was sufficient and proved DeLay's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

She said her office is "preparing a response to this opinion and will ask the full Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review the ruling."

I've been poring over both the majority decision [PDF] by the three-judge panel's two Republicans, and the dissent [PDF] issued by the Democratic Chief Justice of that court. I'm no expert here, and I'm trying to learn more, but the majority's decision seems to invoke some fairly impressive tortured logic in order to overturn the 12 jurors finding that DeLay committed these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nonetheless, that logic, twisted or otherwise, may well work at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the court of last resort for criminal matters in the Lone Star State...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2013 2:35pm PT  

Eight top election officials from Clay County, KY previously found guilty in a massive vote buying and selling conspiracy --- which prosecutors charged had been run over several decades and included the manipulation of electronic voting machines in 2006 --- have had their convictions overturned and a new trial ordered by a panel on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of appeals.

The eight co-conspirators --- which included the County Clerk, a Circuit Court Judge and the School Superintendent, among others --- had previously been sentenced to a total of more than 156 years in federal prison following their 2009 arrest and 2010 trial and conviction over fraud carried out in the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections.

The BRAD BLOG had covered the arrest, trial, defendent flipping, conviction and sentencing of the Clay County, KY election fraudsters in some detail over the years as each step was happening.

The group had been found guilty of complex, endemic vote buying and selling schemes carried out over many elections over several years, often meant to game the Republican primary elections in the very rural, very poor, Republican area of the Bluegrass State in a location where winning the GOP primary was usually a guarantee for also winning the general election.

The schemes became more sophisticated over the years, according to prosecution evidence and cooperating witnesses, including in 2006 when poll workers participating in the conspiracy were said to have changed the votes cast by voters on touch-screen voting machines after they'd left the "booth" on Election Day. (The same 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, the ES&S iVotronic, which allowed for the manipulation of votes in Clay County, are still in widespread use across the country today.)

Evidence presented during the trial also included testimony that one of the defendants, Circuit Court Judge R. Cletus Maricle, said to have been one of the scheme's main ringleaders, used his position as a judge to convince a woman, whose brother was a defendant before his court, to change her voter registration from Republican to Democratic so that she could serve as a "Democratic" poll-worker during elections there and take part in the scheme.

Over all, during the original trial, the prosecution had presented a remarkably wide-spread conspiracy taking place over many elections, with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to buy votes and manipulate results, year after year, election after election, by highly-placed election official insiders --- precisely the type of folks who those concerned about the manipulation of elections, particularly via computer manipulation, frequently warn about. At the end, the officials placed on trial were all found guilty and sentenced to an average of about 20 years apiece.

So, why did the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturn the original convictions this week, and remand the case for a new trial?...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2013 1:22pm PT  

"Maybe"? Ya think?! From Chicago Tribune, on their recent interview with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor about 2000's infamous Bush v. Gore case...

Looking back, O'Connor said, she isn't sure the high court should have taken the case.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"

The case, she said, "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation."

"Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision," she said. "It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."

"Probably"?! Ya think?! The paper goes on to explain that O'Connor's "vote in the 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision effectively gave Republican George W. Bush a victory over his Democratic opponent, then-Vice President Al Gore." That, after the U.S. Supreme Court had stopped the public hand-counting of the votes cast by the people of Florida.

Had O'Connor and friends not stopped the state-wide hand count, they would have found, as a consortium of media and academics did afterwards, that Gore defeated Bush by every conceivable counting standard in the state of Florida.

Contrast O'Connor's thoughtful, if ridiculously-too-late response to the question of the controversial Bush v. Gore, with that of the still-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was seen over the weekend yucking it up with Bill O'Reilly of Fox "News" at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. When asked, in 2007, about the case which allowed five Supreme Court justices to install a U.S. President over the will of the people, he responded that it was "water over the deck", and Americans just need to "get over it."

Four years after Bush v. Gore, in 2004, Democrats vowed not to let that happen again, of course. Their Presidential nominee that time, then Senator John Kerry, promised he would not concede until every vote was counted. Despite massive reports of fraud, particularly in Ohio, and Exit Polls finding he had won in swingstate-after-swingstate, countering the still-unverified electronic results reporting that he had lost in many of those same states, Kerry flip-flopped and conceded the day after the election.

Remarkably, now that an unverified and unverifiable election in Venezuela has recently resulted in the U.S. Government's favored candidate being announced the loser, Kerry, now serving as Sec. of State, is calling for a full hand-count of "paper receipts" in that country because he claims to be concerned about the "confidence of the Venezuelan people in the quality of the vote," as our own Ernie Canning detailed earlier today. Yes, that's what Kerry really said.

Do you suppose he, like O'Connor, may someday realize that "maybe" he made a mistake too?

* * *
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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/29/2013 6:35am PT  

Over the past decade, The BRAD BLOG, has become one of the nation's largest repositories of articles documenting the folly of e-voting. Thousands of articles at this site, written over the years by multiple journalists, computer experts, scientists, whistle-blowers and election integrity advocates, have pointed to academic and government studies, electoral train wrecks in election-after-election and out-and-out system crashes resulting in long lines, lost votes and denial of both service and democracy on Election Day.

We've even documented instances in which the official results were not merely absurd, but in some cases, virtually impossible --- from the negative 16,022 votes registered for Al Gore by a Volusia County, Florida optical-scan system during the contested 2000 Presidential Election to the thousands of electronic votes which simply disappeared after election night in Monroe County, Arkansas' 2010 state primary, just to mention a couple.

With rare exception, these very real, scientifically-based and independently verifiable concerns about the threat to democracy posed by a lack of transparency in how, if at all, votes are counted within the confines of computer vote tabulators, have, at best, been all but ignored by the mainstream corporate media, or, worse, scoffed at by the likes of "journalists" like Chuck Todd, NBC News' supposed election expert, as little more than "conspiracy garbage." With rare exception (e.g. last year in Palm Beach County, FL where, as a result of a 100% hand-count of paper ballots, several "losing" candidates, as initially determined by the Sequoia optical-scan tabulators, were actually found to be the winners) election-after-election has been decided in this nation without so much as a single ballot having been counted by a human being before results, right or wrong, are announced to the public.

The extent to which the U.S. government has ignored these scientific concerns was encapsulated by the fact that, last Fall, the President of the United States saw fit to cast his early vote on the oft-failed, incredibly-vulnerable, easily-hacked and 100% unverifiable Sequoia AVC Edge Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting system in Chicago --- a system manufactured by the same voting machine company which, according to its former employees, deliberately sabotaged the punch card paper stock that was bound for use in Miami-Dade, Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election. That same tabulation system, relied upon by the President in Chicago, was also the one which declared the wrong "winners" in three different races in the Palm Beach County elections held earlier last year.

President Obama, in an apparent reference to the secrecy of the vote, said "I can't tell you who I voted for." He either didn't realize or didn't care how ironic that statement was given that it is scientifically impossible to ever know if his vote, or anyone else who cast a vote on that same 100% unverifiable e-voting system, was recorded accurately, or at all. It disappeared into the electronic black hole on equipment now ostensibly owned by Dominion Voting Systems, the Canadian corporation which purchased Sequoia in 2010. The Sequoia-manufactured, Dominion-owned e-voting machine Obama used to cast his vote last year was the trade secret Intellectual Property of yet another company: Smartmatic Voting Systems, a Venezuela-based, international e-voting systems manufacturer and supplier which had long ago been tied to the late President Hugo Chávez.

But a funny thing happened after the results of Venezuela's recent Presidential election were announced by the country's National Electoral Council (CNE). According to the electronic central tabulators of the country's 100% unverifiable Smartmatic DRE e-voting systems, Chávez protégé, Nicolas Maduro, had narrowly defeated the U.S.-backed Henrique Capriles.

At that moment --- and only for Venezuela's election, clearly --- both the U.S. government and U.S. mainstream corporate media suddenly became election integrity converts.

They insist on a 100% hand-count of the DRE-produced paper receipts because, as observed by ABC News, the CNE results are based upon "information that is sent electronically from each voting machine to the central vote counting hub," and not "from a manual count of the voting receipts deposited in ballot boxes." That, of course, is almost the exact same way that President Obama's vote in Chicago was tallied, either accurately or not, last year.

When asked by the AP's Matthew Lee whether the U.S. would recognize the Maduro government now that the election had been certified by the CNE, the State Department's Patrick Ventrell said earlier this month: "We're not there yet." His sentiment would be echoed by Secretary of State John Kerry, ironically enough, in an appearance before Congress. Both Ventrell and Kerry claimed to be concerned about the "confidence of the Venezuelan people in the quality of the vote."

Setting aside the fact that there is no way to know whether any computer-printed paper receipt accurately reflects the will of any voter in any election, the event underscores, once again, the striking duplicity of both the U.S. government and the corporate-owned mainstream media on the subject of democracy...

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

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UPDATE: Swift voting or Swift Boating?! Disgraced Bush/Cheney/Swift Boat GOP operative, Ben Ginsberg tapped to co-chair panel...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2013 5:41pm PT  

[UPDATED THRICE following the State of the Union address.]

Ryan J. Reilly had the scoop at HuffPo tonight. We're about to get another bipartisan commission on voting reforms...

President Barack Obama will announce a bipartisan presidential voting commission to focus on improving the Election Day experience, The Huffington Post has learned from two sources outside the White House with knowledge of the plans.

The commission is one of a number of efforts the Obama administration is making to address the problems that plagued voting on Election Day 2012. The commission, which will focus specifically on Election Day issues and not broader voting reform, will likely be co-chaired by one Republican and one Democratic lawyer, according to one of the sources.

After the 2000 Presidential election fiasco, a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission headed by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford was created by Congress. The commission offered reforms that ultimately helped lead to the disastrous Help America Vote Act of 2002. That bill, among other things, offered some $4 billion in federal money to states in order to "upgrade" to computerized voting systems. Those same systems, using proprietary hardware and software from private vendors, tally votes in secret and continue to fail in election after election even today.

After the 2004 Presidential election fiasco, a private bipartisan commission was created, as The BRAD BLOG was the first to reveal, by high-level Republican operatives and former Bush/Cheney officials calling themselves the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). The private commission, formed in secret, was headed by Carter and longtime Bush family friend James A. Baker III, the man who took Bush's 2000 fight to keep ballots from being counted in the state of Florida all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The inclusion of Baker on the commission led to an uproar from Election Integrity advocates, a furious response at The BRAD BLOG from the commission's Executive Director for our revelation of the scam, a letter from then Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stating his "strong opposition" to Baker's presence on the commission, and then a guest-blog from Conyers himself, here at The BRAD BLOG.

As Conyers noted at the time, and as the sham Baker/Carter commission's report ultimately showed, the private commission was created in order to lay the groundwork for polling place Photo ID restrictions down the road. "Make no mistake about it," Conyers wrote here at the time, detailing his belief that the commission's push for Photo ID restrictions was "more of the same old Ken Blackwell-style Republican electoral dirty tricks, where Democratic voters are deliberately disenfranchised so that Republicans can win elections."

While the privately created Baker/Carter commission was meant to appear similar to the official Ford/Carter blue-ribbon commission (Ford was ailing at the time of the second commission, so was replaced with Baker), we can only hope that whatever new commission President Obama has in mind won't end up with the same "dead-on-arrival" recommendations as the ones from Baker and Carter. Though those recommendations were roundly criticized at the time, they are still cited today --- as if they were official recommendations --- by Republicans hoping to disenfranchise legal American voters through new restrictions on voting.

* * *

UPDATE: Reilly at HuffPo had it right. The President announced his call for a new commission during his State of the Union address tonight...

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

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Idiotic Update: Machine 'fixed' and put back online...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012 11:15am PT  

This seems to be the first official video of touch-screen vote-flipping 2012, reportedly captured today in Pennsylvania, where elected officials so disrespect their own voters that they still force almost all of them to vote on these 100% unverifiable systems...

Congrats, and thank you to the voter who was wise enough to capture the problem on his video cell phone! He described the problem this way on the YouTube page where the video was posted:

I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

Of course, this same sort of thing has happened every single election since 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting was forced on Americans ten years ago or so, but when it was first heavily reported by Democrats as having happened in 2004 all across the country, Republicans (and elections officials of all parties) called them "conspiracy theorists" and sore losers. Here's just a couple of examples caught on video from 2008. I've even written an entire chapter for Sonoma University's Project Censored book, Censored 2010, about the largely unreported nationwide vote-flipping epidemic during the 2008 election.

This year, it's been the Republicans who have finally decided, wisely, to be concerned about it. Last week, the GOP sent a letter [PDF] to top election officials in six different states, offering bad advice to them about what they should do, after a few unconfirmed complaints of touch-screen votes flipping from Romney to Obama were reported.

We briefly reported on the matter a few days ago this way:

We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Fortunately, it's being reported that the machine seen above has been taken out of service, rather than re-calibrated as so often happens, and as the GOP stupidly requested be done in such instances.

[Update: Mother Jones is now reporting that PA Dept of State officials are saying "they recalibrated the machine, did a test run, and put it back online." That's the dumbest thing they could do. Wonder who "fixed" it?]

All of that said, last night we offered several tips for voting today in ways that might help maximize the chances of your vote being counted and counted accurately. We included these quick tips on WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VOTE FLIPS ON A TOUCH-SCREEN MACHINE:

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

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