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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, November 27, 2014
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2006 11:22am PT  

From AP today...

LITTLE ROCK --- There will be no touch-screen voting machines at polling places in eight Arkansas counties for Tuesday's runoff elections, the secretary of state's office says.

Deputy Secretary of State Janet Harris said Thursday that Desha, Garland, Jefferson, Lonoke, Phillips, Pope, Pulaski and Searcy counties had told her office they won't use the electronic voting equipment on Tuesday. The equipment is required under federal law.

Pulaski County Elections Director Susan Inman said that county decided not to use the machines after reviewing the programming code from voting machine vendor Election Systems & Software and discovering errors.

"In its entirety, it was wrong," Inman said.

Congratulations to the State of Arkansas for putting voters and the integrity of their votes over the a horrendously flawed federal statute (HAVA) rammed through Congress by a soon-to-be-indicted criminal.

If it wasn't the disasters that AR has faced so far this year in ES&S's disastrous administration of elections in that state, perhaps it was the morality tale that played out on ES&S equipment in Pottawattamie County, Iowa last Tuesday that pushed them over the edge. Either way, glad to see it. We hope the other 45 states where ES&S runs elections (or, more aptly, ruins elections) will take note.

For a bit more background on the ES&S disasters in Arkansas, see this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: Arkansas Remains an Utter Disaster...
or this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: ARKANSAS PRIMARY A DISGRACE, DISASTER!
or search BRAD BLOG for "Arkansas".
(Hat tip to Doug K.)

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By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 8:54pm PT  

Given what we know about Diebold voting machines (both optical-scan and touch-screen), several folks have written to ask: "Are you sure they actually allowed poll workers to take these machines home with them" prior to the Busby/Bilbray U.S. House special election in CA-50th?

Yes. I'm sure. And yes, I confirmed it with someone in the media office at the San Diego County Registrar of Voting before I wrote my initial story on all of this. She asked me to keep her name off record, and so I'm doing so. Feel free to call and ask them yourself however: (858) 565-5800.

While you're talking to them (politely), ask how they intend to prove that the results of the Busby/Bilbray special election are accurate now that the chain of custody for the electronic voting machines --- which have been shown to be exceedingly prone to easy, passwordless tampering --- has been corrupted by sending them home for days and weeks at a time with voluneer poll workers. Also ask them how many absentee and provisional ballots there are in the race. Feel free to report your answers in comments here. If you can get any.

To help confirm the sleepovers of the easily hackable Diebold machines, here's a clip or two from a couple of emails I've received on all of this since posting my original story and this morning's follow up:

I volunteered to be a poll worker in the 49th. I took a short course on Sunday morning, loaded up the machine, and had it Sunday and all day and night Monday. I couldn't believe it! Folks, get in the polling places to watch for funny business.

Terry Olson

Enjoyed reading the Busby/Bilbray article on BradBlog and the questionable election equipment used, since I was working the election as an Assistant Precinct Inspector - Equipment. This is the person responsible for setting up and tearing down the Diebold Touch Screen Voting Stations. I understand that all but 7 CA counties will be using these systems as their main way of voting in November! I don't trust them, and the team that I trained with a week before the election didn't trust them either.

BTW, since I was trained a WEEK before the election, that means I got my two voting stations, 2 printers and cardboard privacy screen right after my training. All this equipment was sitting in my garage for nearly a week, but it was a rule that you couldn't leave the equipment at the poll site if you set up the night before. My neighbors were quite surprised when I showed them one of the touch screen systems from my garage. My Mom was also very surprised that the registrar of voters allowed us to take election equipment home with us.
...
Brian C Baer

And this from Pamela Smith, the Nationwide Coordinator for VerifiedVoting.org and Verified Voting Foundation, who's in San Diego County...

Yes, the machines had sleepovers. I was interviewed on our local news station about it prior to the election.

The procedure is that certain pollworkers are assigned equipment to take home with them upon receiving their training. They then bring it to the polling place on election morning early, and set up. Depending when they have training the machines could be at their homes for more than a week or two.
...
Best,
Pam

Pamela Smith, Nationwide Coordinator
VerifiedVoting.org and Verified Voting Foundation

UPDATE 6/9/06: I just noticed the following comment left on one of my original Busby/Bilbray article, from reader Patti Newton, who reports she had a similar experience as a San Diego County poll worker in Busby's district. Here's part of it:

I was an assistant precinct inspector in charge of equipment during this eleciton (I'm in the 50th). I had my two Diebold machines for seven full days before the election (I was dumbfounded). The chain of custody is abysmal. There is a seal on the machines (which are locked) but I am the one who sets up/breaks down the equipment and breaks the seal at the end of the day. The machines were reserved specifically for disabled voters but could have been used if a voter insisted on using it instead of the scanner. I registered zero votes and assume most if not all of the 1,646 precincts in the county had very little use but don't know for sure. I had no key to unlock the memory card but if I were motivated and had "friends" of like mind it would have been extremely easy.

The November election will use only the touchscreen machines (the scanners will not be used at all). I will encourage voters to look at the paper and make sure their votes are registered properly there but still, what's the guarantee?

I attended a breakfast with Francine and she said if the vote was close she would demand a recount. I'll follow your advice and give her office a call.

UPDATE: 6/9/06: New numbers reported from San Diego county...

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By John Gideon on 6/8/2006 5:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Officials in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania hope to save a 'buck' by purchasing used, reconditioned Danaher 1242 voting machines. Will those machines be brought up to 2002 standards? What about voters with disabilities? / San Joaquin Co., CA's Debra Hench blamed all of the counties problems on absentee poll workers and ignored all voting machine problems but a few "paper jams". / As officials in Pottawattamie Co., Iowa hand-count their paper ballots due to an apparent tabulator failure (ES&S) one county officials said, "I love paper trails."When asked about DREs he said, "If you program them wrong, it would do the same thing (as Tuesday's counting errors)." / "It is unconscionable that in this day and age any American voter would be turned away from a polling place," said Calif. State Senator Ashburn in regards to problems in Kern County. "If there are problems with the system that is in place, then we need to know about it immediately. If yesterday's problems were caused by administrative errors or faulty training, then we need to know that too."...

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

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AP, ABC, et al Run Unverifiable Reports on Results of Tuesday's Special Election
There is NO BASIS for Confidence in the Reported Election Results. Period.
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 12:27pm PT  

ABC News is featuring this AP story on their website:

Republican Wins Bellwether House Race

Ex-GOP Congressman Wins California Race for Scandal-Rocked House Seat As 8 States Hold Votes

By ROBERT TANNER - The Associated Press

- A former Republican congressman narrowly beat his Democratic rival early Wednesday for the right to fill the House seat once held by jailed Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a race closely watched as a possible early barometer of next fall's vote.

Republican Brian Bilbray emerged victorious after a costly and contentious special election race against Democrat Francine Busby, a local school board member who ran against Cunningham in 2004.

Okay, AP. Prove it. I dare you. You can't.

Not without a 100% manual, hand-count of all the optically-scanned paper ballots and touch-screen "paper trails" from Tuesday's CA 50th Congressional district race for the U.S. House of representatives. And even then, depending on the margin of difference after the op-scan ballots are hand-counted, you will be unable to prove that the race was decided correctly if it should turn out the number of votes cast on touch-screen machines was more than the margin of difference after the op-scan ballots are actually counted (by hand!)

The deafening, dumbstruck silence after I posted my article yesterday, headlined 'Results of Close Busby/Bilbray U.S. House Special Election in Doubt!,' is deafening.

Yes, I know the headline is unsettling. As are the implications of the piece. I will hope, however, that most of you who know what I report at The BRAD BLOG also know that what I report, I source with independently verifiable information. So you don't need to trust me. And you shouldn't. No more than you should trust the words of San Diego County's Registrar of Voters.

The arguments presented in yesterday's article are airtight. The have been vetted by a number of election experts and computer scientists. So far, not a single human being has presented me with a flaw in my logic or contentions.

Mind you, I have never reported that any election was "stolen." Not even the 2000 Presidential (which wasn't stolen, as much as given away by the Supreme Court), nor the 2004 Presidential Election, which evidence shows would most likely have gone to Kerry had the votes actually been counted. But I have never claimed that election was "stolen" either, because we simply do not know. Until there is evidence, I do not report it as such.

I am not saying, in my article yesterday, that the Busby/Bilbray election was "stolen" either.

Nor have I charged there has been any fraud. This is (for now) about confidence in verifiable results in an American election. So far, there is no basis to have any.

Nor am I one of those who believes that legitimate elections can only be carried out on 100% hand-counted paper ballots.

This one, however, given the specific machines in use, which have been proven to be easilly tamperable and hackable, without a trace being left behind, (and admitted as such by even the company who makes them!) is a different matter. Add to that, security measures were completely compromised by sending the machines home with poll workers, in some cases, for weeks at a time, prior to the election and we've got a no confidence case on our hands.

The burden is now on elections officials --- who we pay to run accurate elections --- to prove the race was counted accurately. Let's see them do it.

I do not champion, nor traffic in, "conspiracy theories," as those of you who know my work likely already understand. What I reported in yesterday's story was not editorial or "conspiracy theory," but plain scientific fact, resting on an enormous body of peer-reviewed, undisputed, scientific evidence. The contention offered in the piece then is summarized thusly --- presuming the integrity of the chain of custody for the paper ballots and the "paper trails" is still demonstrably secured:

Unless every optically-scanned ballot is counted by hand --- and only if the resultant margin after that count is larger than the number of votes cast on the touch-screen systems --- can there be any confidence that the results of the U.S. House race for CA's 50th congressional district are accurate.

I challenge anybody to prove otherwise. Anybody. It cannot be done.

I welcome any and all questions about the logic or accuracy of my contentions. So far, I have received none.

If, after reading yesterday's article in full --- and asking any questions of me concerning the logic or evidence (I will try to keep an eye on comments left here) --- you still do not understand what's going on here, and what's at stake in your elections, then you are simply heading into November while whistling past democracy's graveyard.

That goes for you, AP. (And ABC, since you're running the article on your site and yet have failed to run extremely important stories on American election integrity issues which, unlike AP's story, are demonstrably provable and feature actual evidence.)

Do you both, AP and ABC, stand behind this report? If so, I dare you to prove the contentions made in your article are backed up with any verifiable evidence. You can't. And you won't. The contentions made in my article, however, certainly are. I feel it's my responsibility to be sure of that when I file a report. Why don't you?

Elections should be verifiable and provable. This one, at least as of now, is most decidely not.

UPDATE: SD County Poll workers write in about voting machine sleepovers...

UPDATE: 6/9/06: New numbers reported from San Diego county...

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Machine Counts Halted in All Races After Hand Count of Absentee Ballots Finds 128 Vote Margin for Incumbant Instead of 20 Vote Margin for Challenger Reported by Op-Scan System!
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 10:42am PT  

More shortly concerning my reporting on the questionable Busby/Bilbray elections results in the U.S. House special election to fill "Duke" Cunningham's CA 50th congressional seat. In the meantime, this article from yesterday's Daily Nonpareil in Iowa, about Tuesday's Republican primary there, underscores precisely what I was talking about in my report on Busby/Bilbray yesterday.

After optically scanning absentee ballots in a Republican Primary on Tuesday in Pottawattamie County, a popular, long-time incumbent was trailing a first-time college student candidate by 20 votes. Since that seemed odd, the County Auditor decided to count the absentee ballots by hand and indeed found that the incumbent had won the count instead!... By 128 votes instead of having lost it by 20!

Anybody beginning to get this yet? (...thump, thump...is this thing on?...)

In this case, the new optical scan computers being used for the first time were reportedly made by ES&S. (The ones used in Busby's San Diego race were made by Diebold). Here's more details...

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

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Denies Living in Palm Beach Which Means She Admits to Breaking Florida State Tax Law By Taking a $25k Homestead Exemption
ALSO: Republican Mouthpiece Reveals a Disturbing Medical Condition for BRAD BLOG Reporters!
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006 9:18pm PT  

Were it not for the Busby/Bilbray issue reported here earlier today --- which is serious as a heart attack, and about which we'll have more tomorrow --- we would have covered this more indepth. In fact, we've got additional new documents from the Coulter case, which will have to wait until another day because we're buried in the other story for the moment.

But quickly, for now, if this report from the New York Daily News is accurate, the allegations against Coulter surrounding her alleged felony voter fraud, and now more, in the state of Florida, have just gotten a lot worse for her...

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

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By John Gideon on 6/7/2006 5:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Yesterday we had primary elections in eight states, yet all problems have not been settled in states that had primaries even a month ago. There are still residual problems being reported in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. How are these being addressed by the EAC? They are being ignored as the state's problems. /Underfunded candidates who did no campaigning won in the first count of absentee ballots in one Iowa county on ES&S Optical-scan machines. The county is hand counting those ballots./There were many reports of problems throughout the state of California yesterday. One can only guess that there were at least as many unreported problems./ Leflore Co., Mississippi had ballot programming problems even though a Diebold tech had worked on their machines for a month/...

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

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Race to Replace Randy 'Duke' Cunningham in San Diego Was Run on Hackable Diebold Voting Machines, Kept Unsecured at Poll Worker Houses Overnight Before the Election!
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006 1:57pm PT  

To be clear, at this hour, we have no evidence to show that Democrat Francine Busby --- running in yesterday's special run-off election in San Diego against Republican Brian Bilbray to replace the disgraced Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham for the U.S. House (CA-50) race --- actually won it.

Neither do we have evidence to believe that Bilbray actually won it.

We do, however, have copious and documented evidence to suggest there is no reason in the world to have any faith that Bilbray won the race.

The fact that the thin margin between the two at this hour (with "100% of the votes counted", according to the CA Sec. of State's website) is a mere 4,732 votes --- in a race where 125,882 votes were reportedly cast in a county with more than 355,000 voters registered --- is not even the largest question. Neither is the so-far unclear question of how the race will be affected by the 68,500 absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted in San Diego County according to the SD Registrar of Voters website at this hour.

The biggest concern about the race, by far, is that San Diego County uses two types of Diebold voting systems --- optical-scan and touch-screen --- both of which have not only proven to be disastrously unreliable in San Diego County and California in the past, but have also been demonstrated over the last six months to feature dozens of exceedingly well-documented and remarkable security vulnerabilities, making them extremely accessible to tampering. Especially if anyone has unsupervised physical access for more than a minute or two with them.

The voting machines used in Tuesday's election were sent home with volunteer poll workers the night before the election, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office today. As well, The BRAD BLOG has received reports that in some cases, poll workers may have had the machines alone at their houses, unsupervised, for a week or even two prior to Tuesday's election....

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

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Says 'The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy'
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006 10:59am PT  

It appears that Election Integrity advocates have a staunch new ally in their fight for clean, legitimate elections in the United States of America. And he's hardly a "lefty," a "conspiracy theorist" or a "sour grapes" guy.

Conservative CNN anchor Lou Dobbs hammered on Electronic Voting machines and the company's that own them for the third straight day yesterday on his show, Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Yesterday, his report led off with these clear words: "The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy."

While Dobb's initial focus for his reports concerns the foreign ownership of the Sequoia Voting Systems company (recently purchased by Smartmatic, a Venezuelan firm said to be tied to Hugo Chavez), his reports, and the guests he's interviewed, also focus on the broader aspect of private ownership of all the voting machine company's running our public elections, as well as the security vulnerabilities of the hackable and unreliable electronic machines.

We're working on getting the video up (the video and transcript from the report the day before is here), but in the meantime, here's the transcript from last night's installment which featured Warren Stewart from VoteTrustUSA.org and computer security expert Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins University...

Lou Dobbs Tonight - June 6, 2006

DOBBS: The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy. Nationwide, there is concern and even alarm that electronic voting machines are simply too easily compromised and vulnerable to fraud. And as we've been reporting on this broadcast for the past several evenings, there is a new threat, and that threat originates in the Venezuelan ownership of one of the country's leading electronic voting machine companies.

Kitty Pilgrim reports...

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

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By David Edwards on 6/7/2006 7:34am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...

Yesterday, Robert Kennedy appeared on Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto.

Neil Cavuto didn't give Robert Kennedy the chance to finish a thought or make a point. It was the same old hostile wingnut tactics of distractions, diversions, interruptions and unrelated questions.

Cavuto actually questioned Robert F. Kennedy Jr's integrity based on the 48 year old election of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy. At that time, Robert Kennedy Jr. was only 8 years old. Cavuto asked,

"On this day 38 years ago you had to deal with the loss of your dad. I say this with the utmost respect. Should a Kennedy whose uncle had a very controversial win --- that some say was stacked with dead people voting in the city of Chicago --- be the one to talk about fixing elections?"

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM BRAD: I love how these guys keep saying we shouldn't look back at '04, and then they look back 48 years ago to try and bash RFK's article on '04 (which is as important in re: it's implications for '06 and '08 as anything else). Not to mention, the 1960 JFK "stolen election" canard is exactly that, a canard. Here's some background which also shores up RFK's point to Cavuto that JFK would have won even without Illinois in 1960. But why dally on actual facts in having these sorts of debates?

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'Blackwell Should Hand Over Reins of Election'
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006 2:02am PT  

From NY Times' Op/Ed Wednesday...

Florida's Legislature, like Ohio's, is controlled by Republicans. Throughout American history both parties have shown a willingness to try to use election law to get results they might otherwise not win at the polls. But right now it is clearly the Republicans who believe they have an interest in keeping the voter base small. Mr. Blackwell and other politicians who insist on making it harder to vote never say, of course, that they are worried that get-out-the-vote drives will bring too many poor and minority voters into the system. They say that they want to reduce fraud. However, there is virtually no evidence that registration drives are leading to fraud at the polls.

But there is one clear way that Ohio's election system is corrupt. Decisions about who can vote are being made by a candidate for governor. Mr. Blackwell should hand over responsibility for elections to a decision maker whose only loyalty is to the voters and the law.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2006 10:40pm PT  

How bad is the ES&S meltdown in Arkansas? Really bad...

Of course, we ran a series on things as they were falling apart before, during and after their recent primaries. (See this story for a quick primer). Apparently, things have gotten no better out there.

Then ponder that ES&S has so far failed in about 10 states. These are just the primaries. With low turnout. On separate days. How do you suppose things will go for a general election. With large turnout. When ES&S has to service all 46 of their states at the same time?

This quote, from today's article on the mess they're still in, says it all:

"November is going to be a massive train wreck," [White County Election Commissioner, John] Nunnally wrote.

Now where have we heard that before?

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Tells BRAD BLOG that 20% margin win is 'a major victory for grassroots organizing'
Plans to continue investigating reported problems in today's elections around the state...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2006 9:37pm PT  

Updating this item with the latest news on top now. See 'below the fold' for the earlier reports, and the map of Bowen's enormous win!

1:04a PT... I just got off the phone with Senator Bowen where she's just heard from Senator Ortiz who has conceded!

It was a remarkable win, in many ways, given the 56% undecided in the state just a few days ago, and the fact that she was outspent by Ortiz, who also ran TV spots over the weekend (Bowen didn't run any, by the way.)

I asked her then to what she attributes this victory (with a whopping 20%+ margin) to?

"I think it's a major victory for grassroots organizing. People sent out messages to their email lists, to their friends. We used the net and the blogs to get our message out. I think it's also that people are beginning to understand if you don't make sure that elections mean something, you will lose your democracy."

(The BRAD BLOG was one small part of that netroots efforts with our recent endorsement and interview of Bowen, which was crossposted over at Huffington Post. You guys did all the rest!)

Was she surprised? "I really had no idea what to excpect. The 56% undecided a few days ago was rather...unnerving."

So what's the message that needs to get out between now and November? "People need to take a look at what's happened in the Secretary of State's office. The issues with voter registration and his certification of these voting machines....I mean look at what happened today with the problems around the state. I'm concerned about what happened in Kern County...and I won in Kern County!"

Will you be looking into it? Even though you won it? "You bet I will!"

Our kind of patriot. (Some of those meltdowns reported earlier here.)

Glad it wasn't a squeaker. I gotta be up in about 5 4 hours to do a radio show...And tomorrow's gonna be another big day. I just have a feeling...Congrats Senator! We'll be right there with you through November!

See below for earlier reports from the evening and map as of 1:04am...

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

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By John Gideon on 6/6/2006 5:14pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Madison Co. Indiana needs to do a recount but before they do two ES&S employees have to come into the state to do that count for them. There are reports of failures of Diebold DREs coming from Mississippi. In Contra Costa Co., California 5 to 10% of the counties AutoMark machines did not work today. Kern Co., California had problems with their voter access cards which weren't programmed properly at the beginning of the day. Pima County, Arizona officials voted to purchase Diebold DREs for their disability accessible machines, ignoring the fact they are not accessible and the vote does not say they are going to use the machines in Sept. Thieves stole two optical-scan machines and an AutoMark from a polling place in Barbour Co., Alabama....

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

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[Send Him a 'Thank You!']
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2006 3:59pm PT  

This was buried in the earlier piece concerning Lou Dobb's coverage of Electronic Voting in which his report alleges that these machines and the private company's that now control our vote are a "threat to democracy". But the later CNN segment with Jack Cafferty deserves to be front and center.

Said Cafferty yesterday (complete must-read transcript of the segment is below!):

"The arguments against the machines include these: they're vulnerable to software tampering, they don't keep an easily recountable printed record, and they may miscount, switch or not record votes at all. Other than that, they're great.

Defenders of these machines say that most of the problems occur because of hasty setup or poor training of poll workers. What's the message there, that it's OK as long as it's one of those two reasons?"

THANK GOD someone in the MSM finally gets it! Lord knows Wolf doesn't! See the full transcript below for answers from emailers to Cafferty's question-of-the-day yesterday: "Do you trust the honesty of America's election process?"

Regular BRAD BLOG readers won't be surprised at the answers sent in. Only that CNN actually read them on air! (Thank you, Jack Cafferty!)

...CONTACT...
Email: caffertyfile@CNN.com
Or go to CNN.com/caffertyfile

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

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