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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, August 3, 2015
Buying U.S. Elections; TX AG Indicted; Obama's Emissions Cuts: 'BradCast' 8/3/15
With guests Tarini Parti of Politico and Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman...
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At Least Six Ways to Hack the 2016 Election: 'BradCast' 7/31/15
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'BradCast' 7/28/15
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The Woman Who Led the #BlackLivesMatter Protest Against Sanders & O'Malley in AZ: 'BradCast' 7/22/15
Tia Oso on why she did it and reaction from progressives. Plus: Hillary in trouble? MORE...
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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Media Appearance Archives...
'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?...

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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

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So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2006 11:43am PT  

As reported yesterday exclusively by BRAD BLOG, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s exposé "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" on the gaming of the 2004 Presidential Election is now live at Rolling Stone's website.

The online version of the article has detailed footnotes for sourcing, etc., which Rolling Stone tells us are not available in the published articles to hit stands tomorrow around the country. The issue is currently available on newsstands in both NYC and LA, according to an RS spokesman.

Here are extended excerpts from the article...

###

Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in "tinfoil hats," while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as "conspiracy theories," and The New York Times declared that "there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale." But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004.

Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad never received their ballots ? or received them too late to vote ? after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations. A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states, was discovered shredding Democratic registrations. In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes, malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots. Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment ? roughly one for every 100 cast.

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the Electoral College. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.
...
But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election.
...
In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots. And that doesn't even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes ? enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.
...
Indeed, the extent of the GOP's effort to rig the vote shocked even the most experienced observers of American elections. "Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen," Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling, told me. "You look at the turnout and votes in individual precincts, compared to the historic patterns in those counties, and you can tell where the discrepancies are. They stand out like a sore thumb."

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

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Article to Contend 350,000 Voters Disenfranchised in Ohio; 80,000 Votes May Have Been Fraudulently Shifted from Kerry to Bush in Rural Areas
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2006 9:55am PT  

As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively yesterday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Rolling Stone exposé on 2004's questionable Presidential Election is set to hit the stands tomorrow (Friday). The online version is promised for today and we will, of course, link up as soon as it's publicly available.

We're reviewing the final version of the article as published in RS right now and will have more on it later today, of course. In the meantime, Rolling Stone has issued their own press release with a few more details (posted in full below).

According to the release, the article will contend that "Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters --- the overwhelming majority of them Democratic --- from casting ballots or having their votes counted" on Election Night. Says Rolling Stone...

In a race decided by only 118,607 votes, [Kennedy] concludes, these votes could have been enough to put Senator John Kerry in the White House. In his article Was the 2004 Election Stolen?, Kennedy also uncovers evidence of outright fraud that may have shifted more than 80,000 rural votes from Kerry to Bush. The primary culprit behind the widespread barriers to voting was Ken Blackwell --- now the GOP candidate for governor of Ohio --- who used his powers as secretary of state to purge tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, create long lines in Democratic precincts, and oversee a rigged recount."

Myriad Election Night "irregularities" in the Buckeye State, along with a nearly-impossible late-night shift from Kerry to Bush in a full 10 out of 11 Exit Polls in battleground states are covered as well. Again, from RS's press release:

CNN had predicted Kerry defeating Bush in Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percentage points. Instead, election results showed Bush winning the state by 2.5 percent. Bush also tallied 6.5 percent more than the polls had predicted in Pennsylvania, and 4.9 percent more in Florida.

The complete text of the Press Release for the article follows...

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

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Tells BRAD BLOG: 'Evidence Shows High-Level Republicans Succeeded in Scheme to Steal Election in Ohio'!
Mag to Hit Stands Friday, Internet on Thursday, Publicity Push to Accompany
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2006 12:49pm PT  

A damning and detailed feature article, written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., for Rolling Stone and documenting evidence of the theft of the 2004 Presidential Election is set to hit newstands this Friday, The BRAD BLOG can now confirm. The online version of the article will be posted tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The article --- headlined on the cover as "Did Bush Steal the 2004 Election?: How 350,000 Votes Disappeared in Ohio" --- has been several months in development and will contend that a concerted effort was undertaken by high-level Republican officials to steal the Election in Ohio --- and thus the country --- in 2004!

Kennedy told The BRAD BLOG this morning that "the best evidence says the Republicans succeeded" in their plan.

He writes in the 10-page long article, and confirmed to us today, that evidence shows Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was "certainly in on" the scheme, and there are indications that the effort went all the way up to the White House.

Kennedy, who is co-host of Ring of Fire, a weekend show on Air America Radio, is an environmental attorney and the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. This is his first public foray into the realm of Election Fraud, Election Integrity, Electronic Voting and, in particular, the questionable results of Election 2004.

A major publicity push is currently in the works to accompany the feature story which is sure to get the attention of more than a few D.C. and Buckeye State pols in addition to the mainstream media who have, of late, begun reporting more frequently on the litany of concerns and now-documented evidence that new electronic voting machines are hackable through a number of means.

Several public appearances are currently being scheduled for Kennedy in the coming weeks, including an appearance on The Colbert Report currently scheduled for Monday, June 12. (UPDATE: RS contacts us to say there may be a schedule change for the Colbert appearance. We'll update with more details when available.)

========== ...MORE... ==========

Sources have told The BRAD BLOG that Kennedy "does not hold back in this article."

One of the election integrity advocates involved in research and development with Kennedy on the story told us a number of weeks ago that "[Kennedy] essentially says everything that those of us who have been contending there was massive chicanery in the '04 election were right, and the media and politicians who ignored it at the time were wrong."

We'll have more details and information shortly from the story which includes quotes from Democrats such as Howard Dean and John Kerry, as well as pollster Lou Harris who also questions the validity of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio according to the article...

========== ...MORE... ==========

A sidebar included with the article calls for an investigation into Electronic Voting machines prior to upcoming elections...More soon...

========== ...MORE... ==========

Keeping in mind that a mere 6 votes registered for Kerry instead of Bush at each precint in Ohio in 2004 would have given the state, and the Presidency, to Kerry, here's a few quotes from the article...

Howard Dean: "I'm not confident that the election in Ohio was fairly decided."

U.S. Congressman from Ohio, Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "The secretary of state is supposed to administer elections ? not throw them."

Pollster Lou Harris of the Harris Poll --- described in the piece as "the father of modern day political polling" --- says: "Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen."

Despite Harris' comments, which may be amongst the most explosive in the article, Kerry himself brings up the rear...

John Kerry: "Can I draw a conclusion that they played tough games and clearly had intent to reduce the level of our vote? Yes, absolutely. Can I tell you to a certainty that it made the difference in the election? I can't. There's no way for me to do that. If I could have done that, then obviously I would have found some legal recourse."

Ed note: Glad to have so many of you folks stopping by to check out this story. While waiting for RFK Jr.'s story which focuses largely on what happened in 2004, please check out BRAD BLOG's front page for a list of just a few of our "Hot Stories" (links at top of page) covering our crumbling electoral system in 2006! Including more scandalously under-reported stories than you can shake a stick at! From Diebold's now-proven hackable election systems to Ann Coulter's own felonious voting fraud to ES&S's complete electoral meltdown so far this year to Bob Ney and Jack Abramoff's dirty hands in the creation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which has brought about the rise of these god-forsaken machines to the tune of 4 billion tax-payer dollars. Also, much more to come from Kennedy as well on the mess we face in 2006 as well, by the way, in the not too distant future. Stay tuned.

UPDATE 7/1/06: Rolling Stone issues a press release on the article with more details. Online posting a full article to come soon today.

EXTENDED EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE, INCLUDING NEW EVIDENCE SUGGESTING A STOLEN ELECTION NOW AVAILABLE HERE...

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UniLect Patriot Machines Lost Votes in NC and PA on Election Night...And So What About OH?
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2006 8:32pm PT  

From AP...

MERCER, Pa. (AP) --- County commissioners have sued the maker of a decertified voting system, alleging breach of warranty.

In the lawsuit, the county seeks $925,074 in damages from UniLect of Dublin, Calif., for the company's Patriot touch-screen voting machines.

The machines were in use in the 2004 presidential election in Mercer County, where votes were apparently lost.

In April of 2005, we reported on those machines, the UniLect Patriots, being decertified in PA.

Previously, on November 4, 2004 --- two days after the Presidential Election --- we reported that more than 4,500 votes were completely lost on the same machines in Carteret County, NC.

That same day, in the same report, we discussed the same machines in use in Ohio on Election Day.

While the incident in NC led to new laws in the state requiring full source-code submission to the state by Electronic Voting Machine vendors, and the problems in PA have led to state decertification and now a lawsuit against the company, we're aware of no action that has ever been taken by the state of OH to investigate what might have happened and whether or not votes were similarly lost on UniLect Patriot machines in the Buckeye state that same night.

Good thing what happened in OH on November 2, 2004 wasn't all that important.

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Contends Information on How Voters Voted is Not 'Security Risk' as Cited by State
Would like to know why there was 200% voter turnout, and many other still-unexplained anomolies in election... [UPDATED WITH FULL COMPLAINT AS FILED]
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2006 10:18pm PT  

In what appears to be the only known case of the Democratic Party itself (to our brain-addled knowledge anyway, since we've been on the road for the last several days for last minute super-secret meetings that have left us exhausted for the moment), the Alaska Dems and the DNC Alaska Communications Director have announced a lawsuit is being filed to demand the state release election records from 2004.

Yes, they are still trying to figure out what happened in 2004. And in America 2006, apparently such info can only be obtained (perhaps) by going to court!

The complete press release issued today is posted in full below, but here's a recap on this mind-numbing story up until now:

In December 2005, the Dems asked the state for the election data files from the '04 election. They were told that they couldn't have that information, because the state's contract with Alaska made that information a "company secret" of Diebold's!

After complaints to the state, and the state's consultation with Diebold, the state agreed to release the information, but only after informing the Dems they'd have to cover the cost of (and this is a direct quote from their letter), "manipulating the data" before releasing it!

Finally, before the data could be released --- "manipulated" or otherwise --- the state's top security official announced they would not release the information after all because it was a "security risk."

Oh, how I wish I was making this shit up. But I'm not.

So, now the Dems up there are showing a rare bit of spine and going to court to get at that highly secret and super dangerous information otherwise known as "how American citizens voted in an election two years ago."

Why are they so interested in this info in the first place? Here's a graf or two from the release (which you should read in full below for full impact!):

According to the Division of Elections' vote reports that were produced by the state's Diebold computer system and are posted on the Division's official web site, a far larger number of votes were cast than the official totals reported in the statewide summary. In the case of President George Bush's votes, the district-by-district totals add up to 292,267, but his official total was only 190,889, a difference of 101,378 votes. In the U.S. Senate race, Lisa Murkowski received 226,992 votes in the district-by-district totals, but her official total was only 149,446, a difference of 77,546 votes.

In 20 of the 40 State House Districts, more ballots were cast than there are registered voters in the district, according to information on the state's web site. In 16 election districts, the voter turnout percentage shown is over 200%.

"Alaskans must have an accurate accounting of the 2004 election results. "The accountability of our election system is at stake. Confidence in the integrity of our elections is fundamental to our democracy," [Alaska Democratic Party Chair Jake] Metcalfe said.

UPDATE 4/19/06: The entire complaint, filed as #3AN-06-7035 CI, is now available here [PDF]. Coverage from today's Alaska Daily News is here.

The entire press release from the Alaska Dems follows...

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

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More MSM Coverage of BRAD BLOG Reporting...Same Lack of Appropriate Attribution...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2006 2:55pm PT  

Before I register my complaint here with Matt Taibbi's otherwise excellent article on the background of "Mr. Republican" Jack Abramoff and "The secret history of the most corrupt man in Washington," as published in the April 6th edition of Rolling Stone, I'll point to this smart graf amongst many such smart grafs in a very well-researched and informative piece:

One of the ugliest developments in American culture since Abramoff's obscure Cold Warrior days in the Eighties has been the raging but highly temporary success of various "smart guys" who upon closer examination aren't all that smart. There was BALCO steroid scum Victor Conte ("The smartest son of a bitch I ever met in my life," said one Olympian client), Enron's "smartest guys in the room" Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay, and, finally, "ingenious dealmaker" Jack Abramoff. Somewhere along the line, in the years since the Cold War, Americans as a whole became such craven, bum-licking, self-absorbed fat cats that they were willing to listen to these fifth-rate prophets who pretended that the idea that rules could be broken was some kind of earth-shattering revelation --- as though they had fucking invented fraud and cheating. But to a man, they all turned out to be dumb, incompetent fuckups, destined to bring us all down with them --- not even good at being criminals.

Taibbi's piece covers in detail some of the many scams that Abramoff and the rest of the nationwide Republican Network of dishonest, opportunistic players who now comprise the power structure of the Republican party --- or the "vast rightwing conspiracy" as Hillary correctly described it. It's an ugly, but accurate portrait of those who have hijacked all that America was supposed to have stood for while an otherwise distracted and/or media-whipped public was trained to look the other way --- or otherwise give the benefit of the doubt to some very very bad guys who have earned no such benefit.

Those bad guys now run the country, its government, its corporations and its media virtually in its entirety. And more shamefull still, they've got goons played for suckers who are so daft and gullible that, to this day, they run around and play apologist for these people who --- I guess they don't realize it --- are fucking them hard up their own asses with their own hard-earned money and blindly offered good-will. You'll find many of those dopes repeating Fox "News" and Limbaugh-isms over Thanksgiving dinners everywhere, and otherwise plying their foolish and self-destructive trade wherever they can. A stroll through some of the most trollish comments left here at The BRAD BLOG reveals these people have left only the dimmest of connections to Reality as it exists in 2006 on the planet Earth.

With those accolades for Taibbi's work now out of the way, allow me to point to this earlier graf in his piece (emphasis added)...

All along, Abramoff was buying journalists, creating tax-exempt organizations to fund campaign activities and using charities to fund foreign conflicts. He spent the past twenty years doing business with everyone from James Dobson to the Gambino family, from Ralph Reed to Grover Norquist to Karl Rove to White House procurements chief David Safavian. He is even lurking in the background of the 2004 Ohio voting-irregularities scandal, having worked with the Diebold voting-machine company to defeat requirements for a paper trail in elections.

"Lurking in the background" must be MSM code for: Reported by BRAD BLOG but otherwise ignored.

We're glad to see Taibbi pick up on some of our reporting as he writes...

And now it comes out that Diebold, the notorious voting-machine company, paid some $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig, with the apparent aim of keeping legislation requiring paper trails in the voting process from getting into the Help America Vote Act. Conveniently, Abramoff pal Bob Ney, one of the HAVA architects, blocked every attempt to put paper trails into law, even after the controversial electoral debacles of 2000 and 2004.

...But it would certainly help to keep such bad guys from affecting so much corruption and damage for so many years before they actually get busted, if Taibbi would be kind enough to point out some of the sources --- independent, alternative, "blog" or otherwise --- who have been trying to blow such whistles for so long.

With appropriate credit and recognition from the mainstream, as we opined a several weeks ago, reporting such as ours and many others would likely have the effect of stopping the bad guys before they manage to wreak quite as much havoc on our once-great American democracy.

We'd hope that even the usually independent-minded Rolling Stone would keep such important points in mind by choosing to give appropriate attribution where possible in their future reporting. As we've said before: It matters.

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Indicted Elections Officials 'Pretended' to Pick Random Counties Against State Law
Says 'More Indictments May be Coming'
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2006 11:27am PT  

Racing to prepare for Guest Hosting the Peter B. Collins Show later today, so can't give more context for now (more on this during the show today, no doubt), but this out this morning from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Regular BRAD BLOG readers will be familiar with the stories of the three Cuyahoga County, OH Elections Workers who have been indicted on felony charges for gaming the 2004 recount, but this report provides many more details and corroboration from the Prosecutors. It also reminds us, that though the Elections Workers have been indicted on felony charges, they continue to work at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections! Only in Ohio! (well, okay, maybe Florida, too...)

This is incredibly mind-blowing...Even to us...

Workers accused of fudging '04 recount

After the 2004 presidential election, Cuyahoga County election workers secretly skirted rules designed to make sure all votes were counted correctly, a special prosecutor charges.
...
Three top county elections officials have been indicted, and Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter says more indictments are possible.
...
Internet bloggers have cried foul since 2004 about election results in Ohio, one of the key states in deciding the election. They have been tracking Baxter's investigation with online posts about the indictments.

Baxter's prosecution centers on Ohio's safeguards for ensuring that every vote is counted.

Baxter charges that Cuyahoga election workers - mindful of the monthlong Florida recount in 2000 - not only ignored the safeguards but worked to defeat them during Ohio's 2004 recount.

Candidates for president from the Green and Libertarian parties requested the Ohio recount. State laws and regulations specify how a recount works.

Election workers in each county are supposed to count 3 percent of the ballots by hand and by machine, randomly choosing precincts for that count.

If the hand and machine counts match, the other 97 percent of the votes are recounted by machine. If the numbers don't match, workers repeat the effort. If they still don't match exactly, the workers must complete the recount by hand, a tedious process that could take weeks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But the fix was in at the Cuyahoga elections board, Baxter charges.

Days before the Dec. 16 recount, workers opened the ballots and hand-counted enough votes to identify precincts where the machine count matched.

"If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," Baxter said.

"The preselection process was done outside of any witnesses, without anyone's knowledge except for [people at] the Board of Elections."

On the official recount day, employees pretended to pick precincts randomly, Baxter says. Dozens of Cuyahoga County election workers sat at 20 folding tables in front of dozens of witnesses and reporters.

They did the hand and machine count of 3 percent of the votes 34 of the 1,436 precincts and when the totals matched, the recount was completed by machines.
...
"They screwed with the process and increased the probability, if not the certainty, that there would not be a full countywide hand count," Baxter said.
...
[Executive director of the Cuyahoga County elections board, Michael] Vu acknowledged that the selection of precincts was not completely random because precincts with 550 votes or fewer were not used.

Nor were precincts counted where the number of ballots handed out on Election Day failed to match the number of ballots cast.
...
Baxter has said he can't understand why the three people indicted all managers - continue to work at the election office.

* * *

UPDATE 1/24/2007: Two of the indicted election officials found guilty of gaming the recount, charged with maximum penalty. Details...

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Governor's Open Letter: 'One person, one vote is in jeopardy if we do not act boldly and immediately'
But How Long Will the Bill Take To Come Into Effect?
By John Gideon on 3/1/2006 6:40pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

"American citizens once took for granted that every vote mattered, but no longer. It is time that we, the elected state officials, work to restore American's confidence in our electoral systems and undertake reform that moves to eliminate skepticism and uncertainty." --- NM Governor Bill Richardson's 3/1/06 Letter "To the State Officials of the 50 United States of America" (Posted in full below)

Today Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico made a powerful statement to officials in all states (see full letter below) as he announced that tomorrow he would be signing legislation that would require the state of New Mexico to go to a paper ballot based voting system. No longer will the state use Sequoia DRE (touch-screen) voting machines...the machines that reported large numbers of undervotes in previous elections...The same machines that disenfranchised minority voters...The technology Richardson describes as "simply fail[ing] to pass the test of reliability" in his open letter published today.

The Governor has also announced that the bill's signing ceremony will be webcast. The announcement says:

We hope you will join the Governor, concerned citizens and legislators as the Governor's signature moves New Mexico forward by ensuring that our democracy continues to flourish. The live webcast will begin Thursday at 11:00am MST (1:00pm Eastern) and can be viewed at:

www.billrichardson2006.com/reform/paperballots

Please watch the webcast, take a moment to look at the Governor's proposals, and sign the petition to get your state, and the rest of America, to make every vote count

This all sounds wonderful, except???opponents of the legislation managed to get the legislation amended so that voting systems "owned or used" as of 1 May 2006 that do not use paper ballots can continue to be used until, among other things, debt on purchases of those machines are paid by the state. Then, the bill that appropriated funds to pay off the debt died in committee. Now the state needs to find the money to pay off the debt.

UPDATE 3/3/06: Signing ceremony video and petition calling on all states to join NM now here.

The complete letter from Gov. Richardson of New Mexico follows...

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

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State's Top Security Officer Refuses Public Record Release of Diebold GEMS Database Files
The Latest Chapter in the Rollercoaster Battle to Audit Puzzling 2004 Poll Numbers Continues...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2006 7:51pm PT  

A bizarre story concerning Alaska's 2004 Election has taken yet another even more bizarre turn this week, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

A long-standing public records request for the release of Election 2004 database files created by Diebold's voting system had been long delayed after several odd twists and turns, including the revelation of a contract with the state claiming the information to be a "company secret."

But while it finally appeared as though the state had agreed to release the information (after reserving the right to "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing it), the state's top Security Official has now --- at the last minute --- stepped in to deny the request. The grounds for the denial: the release of the information poses a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

The state Democratic party has been attempting since December of last year to review the Diebold GEMS tabulator data files from the 2004 election in order to audit some of the strange results discovered in the state, including a reported voter turnout of more than 200% in some areas.

"At this point," Democratic Party spokesperson Kay Brown told the Anchorage Daily News in January, "it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004."

Some of the questionable results from the 2004 Election were outlined in a January 23rd letter [PDF] to the state's Division of Elections from the Alaska Democratic Party chairman, Jake Metcalfe. Amongst the anomolies detailed in Metcalfe's letter: "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."

The state Division of Elections, which had previously relented and agreed to release the data after refusing at first to do so, announced its latest about-face in a letter to Metcalfe on Wednesday citing the following concern from Alaska's Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis after he reviewed the public records request:

"release of any security related information creates a serious threat to our ability to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our systems and services..."

The complete letters from Alaska's Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster and Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis are both available in full here [PDF].

The earlier twists in this strange tale occurred first in January and then in early February.

In late January, we reported that the state had refused to release the Election Data Files on the grounds that their contract with Diebold disallowed the release of the files. Their contract, apparently, recognizes the voter information to be a "company secret" and thus the proprietary property of the company which could not be released to the voters of Alaska.

A week or so later, in early Februrary we reported that the state and Diebold had capitulated. Sort of. After conferring with Diebold, the state relented and agreed to release the files. However, they reserved the right to --- sit down for this --- "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing them!

As the Elections Director Brewster stated in a February 3rd letter [PDF] to Metcalfe announcing they would release the data:

To this end, we are consulting with the Enterprise Technology Systems in the Department of Administration as well as Diebold on this issue...please be advised that the Division will charge for its costs incurred in manipulating the data to provide the records you seek."

And now, the new wrinkle, the state's "security risks" lead them to announce that "after careful consideration," they "will not authorize the release of the GEMS database or audit files" after all.

"Delivery of the database itself, and some of the information contained within this database," says the letter from Davis, "presents numerous security risks to the State of Alaska Government."

We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.

So just to recap: First the voters of Alaska were not allowed to see their own voting data from the 2004 Election because it was the proprietary "company secret" property of Diebold. Then they would be allowed to see it as long as the state and Diebold could "manipulate the data" before releasing it. And now finally it's determined that allowing the voters to see how they actually voted in the 2004 Election would be a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

No word yet on whether the Alaska Democratic Party will take the matter to court to seek resolution.

The American War on Democracy continues...

(Hat-tip to VoteTrustUSA.org for the heads up and additional information!)

* * *

UPDATE 4/18/06: The insane roller coaster continues. State Democrats are forced to file a lawsuit to get at the records showing how voters voted in 2004. Details now here...

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Waives 'Proprietary Rights' to Public Voting Data Files...Though Reserves the Right to 'Manipulate the Data' Before Release!
PLUS: CEO Swidarski Works the AP PR Rope Line and Suggests Diebold's Election Division May Be For Sale, While Both AP and 'USA Today' Get the Story Wrong --- Again --- in Their Continuing Efforts on Behalf of America's Electronic Voting Machine Companies...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2006 2:47pm PT  

Good news (perhaps) regarding our previous story on Diebold's refusal to allow the voters of Alaska to look at their own voting data since the Electronic Voting Machine vendor claimed the file format of their GEMS tabulation software was a "company secret" in their contract with the state.

But now, according to a letter from Alaska's Election Officials, published at BlackBoxVoting.org from Alaska's election authorities, "Diebold has agreed to waive its proprietary rights to the GEMS database files."

That apparent capitulation by the Voting Machine Company may set a precedent with wider implications for other states and counties seeking access to such data and other forms of transparency in public elections. See the BBV link above for more thoughts on some of the possibilities.

That said, there is still reason to be cautious about this news for a number of reasons. Note the following --- almost incredible wording --- from the published letter [emphasis ours]...

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

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Contract with State said to Bar Release of 'Company Secrets' Such as Records of Who Citizens Actually Voted For
Democratic Official: 'It's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004'
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2006 2:39pm PT  

In just one more story which illustrates the many undemocratic dangers of allowing private companies to "own" our public elections, Diebold, Inc., one of America's largest Voting Machine Companies is currently blocking citizens in Alaska from viewing election data from the 2004 general election!

"All Alaska races from 2004" are now being questioned, said a Democratic party official in a written letter to the state Elections Director.

Questions have begun to arise about results from that election, including the reported revelation that "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of the letter sent yesterday by Jake Metcalfe, chair of the Alaska Democratic Party to Whitney Brewster of the Alaska Division of Elections. The letter responds to Brewster's refusal to supply the party with the requested data files and outlines a number of additional concerns about the reported 2004 election results.

The complete letter is available for download here [PDF].

Anchorage Daily News covers the emerging controversy today. Some highlights here [emphasis ours]:

The state Division of Elections has refused to turn over its electronic voting files to the Democrats, arguing that the data format belongs to a private company and can't be made public.

The Alaska Democratic Party says the information is a public record essential for verifying the accuracy of the 2004 general election and must be provided.

The official vote results from the last general election are riddled with discrepancies and impossible for the public to make sense of, the Democrats said Monday. A detailed analysis of the underlying data could answer lingering questions about an election many thought was over more than a year ago, they say.
...
At this point, it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004, [Democratic spokeswoman, Kay] Brown said.

The private contractor hired to provide Alaska's electronic voting machines is Diebold Election Systems.
...
Diebold told the state it owns the format, which can't be released because it's a company secret.
...
[U]nder the state's contract with Diebold, that cannot be released, Brewster said.

Never mind, of course, that Diebold's "company secret" has been available for download from the Internet for years, since the company --- who claims to specialize in security solutions --- left the information sitting unprotected on a public download site.

The full story is here...

(Hat tip to our friend Peter B. Collins of KRXA 540-am in Monterey, CA for the lead!)

* * *

UPDATE 2/7/06: Alaska capitulates...sort of. Details now here...

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The Dots Connect Between Abramoff, Ohio 2004 Election Smokescreen and Ney's Former Staffer Revealed to be on Diebold's Payroll While Working for White House Law Firm
All the While as HAVA --- America's 'Election Reform' Bill --- is Used for Political Payoff in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2006 11:21am PT  

There's been a great deal of speculation over the last several days, particularly in the light of Jack Abramoff's recent guilty pleas, concerning the connection of Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) to Election Fraud in Ohio, vis a vis his stewardship and authoring of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) back in 2001 and 2002. The heavy-handed tactics he has taken since, in order to keep the flawed act from being changed in any way over the years, along with going to great lengths to keep the nation's eyes off of massive electile dysfunction in Ohio and elsewhere since 2004, may finally get the attention it all properly deserves.

Both Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon have directly informed prosecutors of Ney's alleged wrong-doing in regard to money and gifts given to Ney, in apparent exchange for support on various legislation and even personal business deals. Ney, who chairs the important U.S. House Administration Committee, has been fingered, and now subpoenaed, for accepting illegal trips, gratuities and other apparent quid pro quo deals with Abramoff's former firms, partners, friends and groups who had paid both him and Scanlon as lobbyists.

His direct connection to the HAVA Election Reform bill passed in the wake of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle, and his various extraordinary efforts to specifically block amendments to the bill and to smokescreen attempted investigations into his home state's conduct during the 2004 Election Debacle, has been less widely reported. Until now.

While Common Cause quietly reported in December of 2004 that Diebold --- the much-beleagured-of-late American Voting Machine company --- paid as much as $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig for lobbying work, The BRAD BLOG has now found additional details that begin to shed new light on Ney's personal connections to Diebold lobbyists.

Such personal connections include those with Ney's former chief of staff turned lobbyist, David DiStefano, who has been working on behalf of Diebold, Inc. and at least one other Voting Machine Company as a registered lobbyist in the House going back to at least 2001. One of DiStefano's online bios crows about his having "an insider's edge to hard-to-reach political officials." That "insider's edge" has proven to have been a very worthwhile investment for the Voting Machine Companies who'd purchased access into Ney's political office.

Congressional lobbying records reveal that Diebold, Inc. has paid at least $180,000 to DiStefano and eventually his partner, Roy C. Coffee, to lobby for the "Help America Vote Act" and other "Election Reform Issues" in Congress since 2003. Another Electronic Voting Machine Company, AccuPoll, Inc., also paid DiStefano some $70,000 to lobby for HAVA on their behalf in 2002, although that relationship was apparently terminated once the legislation was passed by Congress.

In turn, Ney's former employee DiStefano and Coffee themselves have given nearly $20,000 to Bob Ney's campaigns dating back to 2002.

The connections of DiStefano and Coffee don't stop at Congress, however. Both lobbyists now work out of the new Washington office of the Texas-based law firm of Lock, Liddell & Sapp LLP --- the firm of George W. Bush's White House Counsel Harriet Miers. And Coffee, himself, had previously worked as a senior aide to then-Governor Bush back in Texas.

In addition to lobbying in favor of Electronic Voting, DiStefano and Coffee were also paid thousands to lobby Ney on behalf of an obscure firm by the name of FN Aviation, which later became known as FAZ Aviation. FN/FAZ Aviation, the Columbus Dispatch reported last December, paid for Ney's 2003 trip to England. On that trip, Ney met at a casino with FN Aviation's director, Nigel Winfield, a three-time convicted felon, and Fouad al-Zayat, the Syrian-born head of FN Aviation. Zayat, as reported by NBC News, is known as "one of London's biggest gamblers."

As has also been reported by NBC and others, the apparently once-very lucky Ney reported winning some $34,000 a few months later at that same London casino, after an initial $100 bet "on two hands of a three-card game of chance," according to his spokesperson Brian Walsh. Ney, who coincidentally carried at least $30,000 in credit card debt in 2002, was fortunate to be able to report that the debt was paid off in full by the end of 2003.

The dots begin converging, however, in regard to both large campaign contributions and lobbying done by Ney's former chief of staff, DiStefano along with Coffee on behalf of both FN/FAZ Aviation and Diebold, Inc.

Ney was one of the original authors and lead co-sponsors of HAVA, and a fierce defender of both the act and the effort to keep further legislation from moving forward in Congress that would mandate Voter Verified Paper Ballots for electronic voting machines made by Diebold and other e-voting vendors.

In 2004, prior to the Presidential Election, Ney went so far as to send a "Dear Colleague" letter signed along with the other HAVA co-sponsors, to members of congress urging them not to amend the original legislation. He argued at the time that paper records on such machines would somehow disenfranchise disabled voters, who had been cleverly afforded a special provision in the bill which mandated at least one disabled-accessable device in every voting precinct in the country. That device, of course, would be a paperless touch-screen electronic voting machine, like the ones made by Diebold, which, legislators, vendors and lobbyists would later proffer, were required to meet provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Ney had also personally gone out of his way to keep Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" (HR 550), which would mandate paper records for all votes cast, from ever seeing the light of day in the House Administration Committee. That, despite Holt's bill having now nearly 160 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Ney has succeeded brilliantly at squashing Holt's bill, first proposed as HR 2239 back in 2003, as it continues to both gain co-sponsors and gather dust as the powerful Republican committee chair still refuses to allow it even to be brought up for hearings.

The American Prospect's Art Levine broke a superb exposé last May concerning Ney's alleged payoffs from a number of the Indian tribes that now-disgraced, once-uber-lobbyist Abramoff was representing in exchange for promises to support their hope for new gambling legislation back in 2002.

"Just met with Ney!!! We're f'ing gold!!!! He's going to do Tigua," wrote Abramoff to Scanlon in an Email, after Ney reportedly promised to add the Tribe's hoped-for legislation to HAVA while the bill was still pending.

Ney then told the tribes --- who had been instructed by Abramoff and Scanlon to give tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign and to pay for a $100,000 trip to play golf at St. Andrews in Scotland --- that he was working with the Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd, to add gambling language in HAVA that would be favorable to the tribes.

In reality, Dodd had rejected the idea early on in no uncertain terms, as Levine reports, but that didn't keep Ney from spinning tales to the tribal groups. He told them on several occassions, at least once personally, that things were moving smartly forward as he kept accepting more cash and gifts from them along the way.

Finally, when the HAVA legislation was passed, and the promised language was nowhere to be found, Ney informed the tribes that Dodd had reneged on the deal at the last minute.

That was, of course, not true, since Dodd had rejected the plan months earlier.

But as the spotlight of corruption has finally begun to shine bright and clear in the Mainstream Media onto Ney, renewed interest in his support and authorship of HAVA itself --- along with the connections between that legislation, chicanery in Ohio's Election, Abramoff and several other GOP operative and lobbying firms' merry band of pay-for-players --- are helping to bubble up towards the surface a few previously overlooked, but very important, details that may finally now receive the attention they always deserved from the Mainstream Media...

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

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'Non-Partisan' Group Tied to Bill Frists' Attorney, Ohio's Pending Anti-Democracy Legislation & Hordes of Frivilous Lawsuits and Attacks Against Legitimate Voting Rights Advocates...
By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2005 6:49pm PT  

It's been a while since the slimy cretins trying to pass themselves off as the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) have reared their ugly, high-level GOP-operative heads. We first uncovered these punks back in March while they were busy attempting to pull off a congressional charade in cahoots with the not-yet-indicted U.S. congressman, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). We haven't heard much out of the ACVR since their August '05 report trying to sell the silly notion that "Democrat operatives were far more involved than Republican in voter intimidation and suppression in 2004" was laughed off the nation's radar (by all but a few of the most pathetic dead-ender wingnut suckers who will believe anything they're told to believe, no matter how laughable.)

But today, our friend Bob Fitrakis at the Free Press in Columbus connects a few more dots in the shameful ACVR/GOP/Ohio story. He offers a few more details on the group's direct connection to other high-level GOP operatives (like Bill Frist's attorney), the horrendous Ohio HB3 "Election Reform" legislation being ram-rodded up the asses of otherwise democracy-loving Ohio citizens by the unapologetically corrupt GOP-controlled snakepit of a legislature in the state, as well as more of the direct connections between them and the frivolous lawsuits and PR attacks made against several of the most active (legitimate) Voter Registration groups in the country.

We had a quick story ourselves on that last bit about two weeks ago, explaining how virtually all the phony legal attacks made against these groups have now failed --- even if the swiftboating success of the phony PR from it lingers on. Mission accomplished. This is the group whose website --- the one with Fox "News" Channel's Tony Snow on the front page, speaking of dead-ender wingnut suckers --- promises "ACVR will defend the election process through on-going civil litigation" amongst other lies, garbage and scurrilous attempted deceptions on the American electorate. Anyway, before we get too worked up into another rant on the America/democracy-hating ACVR chumbuckets, here's Fitrakis' latest on them and more.

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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Another GOP Operative Facing Up to 7 Years Prison Time, $500,000 Fine
ALSO: Voter Registration Groups Cleared of Wrong Doing as Accused by Phony GOP 'Voting Rights' Group...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2005 8:10pm PT  

From AP...

A federal jury this afternoon returned a mixed verdict against a former national Republican Party official accused of orchestrating an election day phone-jamming plot against New Hampshire Democrats.

The jury acquitted James Tobin of the most important of three charges --- violating voters' rights --- and convicted him on two counts of telephone harassment.

Tobin, 45, of Bangor, Maine, was President Bush's New England campaign chairman last year.

Tobin faces a maximum seven-year prison term and $500,000 in fines when he is sentenced in March.

Please note that Tobin's crime occured in the 2002 election. He was known to be under investigation for the crime thereafter, but was hired anyway by Bush/Cheney '04 to run their NE campaign until he was indicted and the "honesty and integrity" campaign decided they better get rid of him. People might talk. More background on that particular GOP scandal here. And another update here, including info on the $722,000 that the RNC paid to defend their man, Tobin!

This is all counter, of course, to the horseshit put forth by the GOP front group calling themselves the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). As you'll recall, they and their other Rightwing operative cronies had released reports, propaganda and all sorts of unsubstantiated claims about Democrats and various non-partisan Voter Registration groups such as ACORN having committed all forms of Voter Registration Fraud (which they tried to suggest was "Voter Fraud" --- which is something quite different).

You'll be surprised to learn, no doubt, that ACVR and friend were full of shit. It turns out that one year later, the organizations they scurrilously attacked --- in a transparent attempt to smokescreen the real Election Fraud that they were neck deep in perpetrating --- have been vindicated of the various bogus charges, as virtually all of the frivolous lawsuits and investigations the GOP liars made so much noise about have simply collapsed. See this for more [PDF].

Sorry for both the vulgarities and the terse report on both of these items. Too much to cover for the huge BRAD BLOG "Staff" (that would be me and an occasional helping hand from one or two similarly overworked and patriotic helpers!) that isn't adequately being covered by the "real" media. And that means I'm both way too busy, and way too cranky and just a little too foul-mouthed this evening. Don't fucking like it? Go read the fucking NY Times instead. By next week, they oughta have a great story on Wally O'Dell resigning from Diebold! :-) (There, now I feel better).

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR scam and the snake-oil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2005 4:00pm PT  

The congressman man who ran sham hearings in House Administration Committee on last year's Ohio Election mess (the ones that exposed the insidious ACVR hucksters), was recently subpeonead by the DoJ where he is said to be under investigation on four different aspects of an ongoing probe, looks to be in big big trouble in the wake of the Michael Scanlon indictment.

Jesse of Stakeholder has a round-up of today's headlines on the apparently-soon-to-be-indicted U.S. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). Here's what Jesse's found just today at a quick glance:

"Plea Deal Ties Ney to Second Tribe" [Roll Call]

"Rep. Bob Ney is poster boy in bribe probe" [AP]

"Ney's Troubles Are Mounting" [Roll Call]

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