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Article says optical-scan machines are easier to use than 'full-face' DREs
By Winter Patriot on 8/28/2006 7:23pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Sewell Chan, writing in today's New York Times, explains that a "full-face" voting system is one which shows all the races --- and all the candidates for each race --- on a single page.

Chan quotes Lawrence D. Norden, an associate counsel at the NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, as saying that adopting the DREs with a full-face requirement...

"virtually guarantees that thousands of votes are going to be lost at every election."

His conclusion is based on research conducted by Dr. David C. Kimball, a political scientist and a co-author, along with Norden and two others, of a report which was to be released today by the Brennan Center.

The NYT has more details, for subscribers only. But according to the NYT website, subscribing is free and easy. So click here if you're interested in the details.

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By John Gideon on 8/28/2006 5:02pm PT  

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

Today we have articles in the Washington Post and New York Times and a release of another Brennan Center Report. / A Republican state senator in Arizona is highly upset that the Arizona Secretary of State has not been able to do everything necessary so a mandated hand-counted audit can be done in the September 12 primary. / Vote-PAD was denied certification in California based on unfair and unreasonable test and test results....

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

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California SoS Denies Certification To Vote-PAD
By John Gideon on 8/28/2006 4:55pm PT  

"Off with Their Heads!" cried the Queen of Hearts

"How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
"Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman. "That's the first question, you know."

It was a Queen of Hearts sort of a day in California on August 9, 2006. The Secretary of State's advisory panel was hearing public comments regarding the pending certification of the Vote-PAD, a non-electronic assistive device designed to help voters with disabilities mark and verify a paper ballot independently.

Voting integrity advocates held signs supporting the certification of Vote-PAD. They told of countless failures of computerized voting systems. They spoke about recent discoveries of easily hackable "back doors" into the vote totals on those systems, which have been certified. By contrast, "Vote-PAD is no more hackable than a #2 pencil," said one.

Notwithstanding this and the letters praising the Vote-PAD from dozens of people with visual and motor disabilities, the Secretary of State's staff was recommending against certifying the Vote-PAD for use in California.

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

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By Winter Patriot on 8/28/2006 2:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Today's Washington Post has an excellent piece by Dick Thornburgh (former Republican governor of Pennsylvania) and Richard Celeste (former Democratic governor of Ohio). I'll give you a short excerpt but I urge you to read the whole thing.

Software or hardware problems could render a significant number of voting machines inoperable when they are first turned on. An unexpected sequence of voting inputs on touch screens might cause machines to lock up. Or the cards that voters use to activate voting machines to accept their votes might not work properly. Or voting machines might be inadvertently loaded with the ballot for a neighboring precinct.

Jurisdictions need to come up with contingency plans for such November problems, if they haven't done so already. One possible example: Make preparations to fall back to paper ballots if necessary.

As I've been saying, there's more.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2006 1:34pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

In addition to Emily Levy's coverage here on Friday night, and Winter Patriot's coverage last Thursday (which includes actual briefs and letters filed in the case), Miriam Raftery filed a superb summation at RAW STORY today of where the Busby/Bilbray CA50 Election Contest stands as of last Friday's hearing. She includes several details which the Guest Bloggers here hadn't previously touched on --- including details on the defendants' attempts at a frivolous "SLAPP suit" against the plaintiffs --- so we recommend giving her piece a quick read.

The Judge on the case in San Diego, Yuri Hofmann, is to decide tomorrow on the defense's argument that the case should be tossed out on jurisdictional grounds because, they argue, the Constitution gives the U.S. Congress --- not California voters or California courts --- the right to ultimately adjudicate such election challenges...even before, as in this case, the election was actually certified by the county or the state. No, seriously, that's what Brian Bilbray's attorneys are actually arguing. Out loud.

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In-Studio, On the Radio, with One of the Last of the Bush Supportin' Rightwingers, Live from St. Louis, Missouri...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2006 12:39pm PT  

Astute BRAD BLOG readers will recall my last bout with the far-right "conservative" Crane Durham on St. Louis' 97.1FM Talk on his ironically named "Nothing But Truth" radio show. Durham had invited me for his "Tuesday Night Fights" on the Fox News Radio affiliate station in my old hometown. And though I had thought the conversation would be about Electoral Integrity, it was instead about the war and whether or not Valerie Plame was indeed a covert CIA agent. Last time around we cleaned Crane's clock --- in both our own opinion, and that of all of his far-right listener/callers to boot! Even Durham himself, to his credit, admitted that he'd been bested. "I feel like Foreman after Ali," he would say after I hung up. Some fun radio here if you missed it the first time.

As I'm now in St. Louis myself for a few more days, Durham's peeps have invited me back for an in-studio mano-a-mano this time around. And so, I look forward to getting it on once again, this Tuesday night at 10pm PT (Midnight in St. Louis, Wed. 1am Eastern Time). Please feel free to tune-in online to see how things go. Should be fun. Will he best me this time? We'll see. I've been on the road for about a month, and thus, infrequently online in the bargain. So perhaps he'll have an advantage. He could use it.

Feel free to call-in to say hello (866-455-9797) if you wish. It'd be a nice change of pace from Crane's usual wingnut listeners!

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The BRAD BLOG Joins in the Endorsement Of Course...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2006 12:06pm PT  

Blogged quickly from the road by Brad...

I had to check in briefly for this one! Even while "out here" and still unable to do very much "in here". And especially with the Florida primary elections set for next Tuesday, September 5th.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal has endorsed Clint Curtis for next Tuesday's election over his primary candidate Dr. Andy Michaud who has shown up at almost ZERO campaign events over the last several weeks. He even failed to show up for a televised debate a week or two ago.

The News-Journal's full endorsement is fairly well done. They quickly cover Curtis' allegations (broken originally by The BRAD BLOG back in December of 2004) that Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- then the Speaker of the Florida House even while he was the registered lobbyist for the same computer firm Curtis worked at --- asked Curtis to create a computer vote-rigging prototype program back in 2000. Curtis now hopes to unseat the corrupt Feeney this November.

The last two grafs of their endorsement...

Curtis clearly is more than a one-issue candidate and has extensive knowledge on a wide range of issues. It is not surprising, though, that his highest priority is to "secure free, fair and trustworthy elections."

Some of Curtis' positions may be difficult to sell to Congress, such as creating a national health-care plan using tariffs on imported goods. But all of his stands are well-thought-out and imaginative.

· RECOMMENDATION: Clint Curtis for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House, District 24

As The BRAD BLOG has covered the Curtis/Feeney claims extensively over the past two years (a quick summary of his story is here) and has yet to find a hole in Curtis' story --- though we have found one after another in Feeney's considerable dodges and dances and smears and refusal to take a polygraph test (as Curtis did and passed!) --- we join the News-Journal in heartily endorsing Curtis in the upcoming election.

Given Feeney's huge money advantage, we also recommend you support clean elections by supporting Clint Curtis with a donation if you can afford it. Feeney, who was/is a huge supporter of Tom DeLay's, "Duke" Cunningham and Bob Ney, will have plenty of money, of course, as he's the only Congressman left in the House who went to Scotland to play golf on Jack Abramoff's dime now that DeLay and Ney have had no choice but to move on.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis is now running for U.S. Congress against Feeney.
To support or for more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com
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One Other Suspect Charged; One Released; Charity Funds Frozen; more...
The Media 'Lid' Seems To Be 'On' --- But It Can't Contain That Old Familiar 'Fish Market' Aroma!
By Winter Patriot on 8/28/2006 6:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot.
Research assistance by Agent99.

British authorities investigating the alleged "liquid bombing plot" released two more (suddenly former) suspects last Thursday, charged one person, bringing the total now charged to 12, and extended the custody limit for the remaining suspects who are still being held without charges.

One of the two people released Thursday (August 24) had previously been described as "a potentially important figure" in the alleged plot, since his brother is (or was) supposedly the ringleader.

Allo, London? We're getting mixed messages here!

But then again ... what else is new?

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

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By John Gideon on 8/26/2006 3:14pm PT  

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

A Maryland court has found the state's 'early voting' provision to be illegal and one candidate has been removed from the ballot. This will probably require new ballots to be printed and reprogramming and re-testing of the state's DREs in order to be ready for the Sept. 12 primary. It also means that overseas and military voters will again have problems. / Why is Sequoia being asked for an estimate to do a state-wide recount in Nevada? They quoted $175,000 for their part in doing that recount. What work do they have to do? The state is supposed to have a VVPAT. This large charge is, in part, forcing the candidate to challenge the election in court rather than ask for a recount. Just who is conducting elections in Nevada?...

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

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The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office
by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky
By Winter Patriot on 8/26/2006 12:21am PT  

Here's a welcome announcement from C-SPAN:

On Saturday, August 26 at 11:00 pm, C-SPAN2's Book TV presents : Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky
The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office

I was wondering if the 11:00 pm meant Eastern time, or what it did mean, and just as I was doing that, ka-blam: new email:

The show was taped by C-Span at Robin's Books in Philadelphia in July.

It will begin airing nationally on C-Span2's "Book TV" program this Saturday, August 26, at 11pm Eastern (8pm Pacific) and again on Sunday, August 27, at 8:15am Eastern (5:15am Pacific).

So now you know more than I do, and we're not even halfway through.

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

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By Winter Patriot on 8/26/2006 12:01am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

I have been so busy (doing nothing) that I didn't even notice how long --- and how far down the page --- the most recent open thread is. Ah, life!

Fortunately, Agent 99 sent me a gentle reminder that it's about time for a new one --- and a great pic to get us started.

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

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Takes Constitutional and Jurisdictional Matters Under Advisement
Could Judge Hofmann Be Prying the NeoCon Boot Off His Neck?
By Emily Levy on 8/25/2006 5:52pm PT  

Guest bloged by Emily Levy

Judge Yuri Hofmann announced in his San Diego courtroom today that he will take the constitutional and jurisdictional matters of the CA-50 election challenge case under advisement and issue a ruling next Tuesday, August 29.

The first item up for consideration today in the election contest filed by Attorneys Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins on behalf of two San Diego voters (and truly on behalf of all of us) was a defense motion for dismissal. Defense claimed that the San Diego court has no jurisdiction in this matter because the Constitution says, “Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members…” (Article I, Section 5). In other words, The House of Representatives gets to pick its members. (Who really needs elections, anyway?)

Lehto, in response, argued--as outlined here--that if the court has no jurisdiction, then Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas also had no jurisdiction to certify the election, given that certification happened after Bilbray was sworn in. (Yes, you heard that right.)

The defendants also argued that the court has no jurisdiction because plaintiffs had abandoned their recount efforts. According to Lehto, the request for a recount was filed properly within five days of certification of the election. Lehto says, "Jurisdiction was created by filing. That's all the statute says. There is no abandonment rule."

The judge is expected to rule on both the constitutional and jurisdictional issues on Tuesday.

From the courthouse by cell phone plaintiff Barbara Gail Jacobsen reported, "Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins represented us very well today in court. Lehto said it's invading the sovereignty of the State if someone swoops in and swears the person in and then says there’s nothing you can do. I thought he made some very good arguments about upholding checks and balances in our system and standing up for the right of the people to make sure that elections are accountable. We the People of this country decide on who is going to represent us, and it’s through making sure that our elections are sound that we can know for sure that we have elected people that we want to transfer power to. In this particular case what Paul Lehto was trying to say is that the people's right to know if the election was properly carried out is being blindfolded and taken away by the other side."

We can only hope that before Tuesday Judge Hofmann will have the opportunity to read the rest of the Constitution. It could be enlightening.

Donations are still needed for the lawsuit and other efforts in California’s 50th District to fight the illegal June 6 election. For more information, go to nosleepovers.org.

UPDATE: We have another report of the day's proceedings, this one from Judy Hess of CA 50 Action Committee:

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

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By John Gideon on 8/25/2006 4:45pm PT  

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

Diebold machines failed in the state of Alaska requiring hand counts of ballots in some locations. / Arizona is supposed to have a hand-recount law for this year's primary, however, the SoS has not managed to do her duties that will lead up to implementation of that law. She is not sure that the state will be ready to implement the mandated audits for the primary. / It seems that questions about the validity of any pronouncements in favor of ES&S are flying around the state / In Maryland the state Court of Appeals found that early voting was against the state constitution and told the state they had to cancel it for this year....

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

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AP Reports Republican Hand Count Request, Continues to Ignore Busby/Bilbray Election Challenge...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2006 10:26am PT  

Blogged by the road (from St. Louis, Missouri) by Brad...

As we wait for the results of the hearing today in the Busby/Bilbray CA50 Election Contest (see this story on the latest absurd claims from the defendants arguing that the U.S. House, not the voters of California get to decide who will be the "winner" of the election) and as I prepare to meet today with folks from the Missouri Honest Elections group, this story was brought to my attention.

No, it wasn't a "sore-loser" who requested the hand "recount" in Missouri's recent primary election for State Auditor. It was a Republican. As we know, only Democrats are "sore-losers" when they ask for such things.

To underscore that point, the following quotes are from an AP report on the matter. AP never bothered to report on the requested hand count in the Busby/Bilbray election, or even on the fact that a contest and lawsuit have now been filed in California Superior Court! We suppose that matter, since it was a Democrat who may have been screwed by the machines --- never mind that it was a federal race determing a new U.S. House member, versus a primary for a state election --- is just not to be considered newsworthy by the AP.

Anyway, Republican Jack Jackson reportedly came in second to Republican Sandra Thomas after the machine count of votes in the Missouri Republican Election to determine the Republican candidate for State Auditor. Jackson received a few reports of problems throughout the day, and so --- responsibly --- has asked for a full hand count and, according to AP says, "Whatever this recount shows, I will accept...[But] right now, I am still a candidate."

We agree.

Jackson said he had received about 15 calls from people who had trouble voting on the electronic equipment used for the first time at many polling places.

"It sent up enough signals that I thought a hand recount was appropriate, and it's so close," said Jackson, of Wildwood, who currently serves in the state House.

Does Jackson's opponent Thomas consider him a "sore-loser" for making the request? Of course not. Jackson's a Republican...

Thomas, currently the Platte County auditor, said she respects Jackson's right to seek a recount. Under state law, both Jackson and Thomas can submit names of people to help in the recount. The candidates or their attorneys can also be present for the recount, which will have to be done in each of Missouri's 116 voting jurisdictions.

Of course, Missouri has no idea what to do now. Does a recount mean they simply push the button to get the same numbers again from the same new electronic voting machines they used to get their numbers the first time? Or does it require a full manual hand count of the paper ballots and "paper trails" as the candidate has requested? Again, election officials find they have no laws for the new voting systems they have now irresponsibly decided to use.

The Democratic Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, will decide. We hope she makes the right decision and allows for a full hand count. The voters of Missouri (my old hometown) deserve no less.

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Plaintiff in Response: 'Defendant's Argument Means Election Is Uncertified, Never Happened'
UPDATED! NOW WITH A LIVE REPORT FROM THE COURTHOUSE! where Attorney Paul Lehto Claims 'Election Nullification Argument' is Absurd, Power Grab by Speaker of the U.S. House...
By Winter Patriot on 8/24/2006 10:27pm PT  


Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

UPDATE: We have a live update from the courthouse. You can see it at the bottom of this post

We haven't been covering the CA50 Election Mess as often as in the recent past --- while Brad's been on the road and otherwise occupied --- but we have been keeping our ears to the ground, so to speak. (Yes, they get dirty, but so what? We can hear things coming before they happen. It's cool; you should try it.)

My friends, we have been hearing distant rumblings of great power. To get you up to speed quickly...

The CA50 U.S. House special election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray was held on June 6, on illegal Diebold voting machines as has been reported here many times. (Click here for a good recent summary of the situation.) On June 13, Bilbray was quickly sworn in to the House of Representatives while thousands of votes were still being counted back in San Diego. (This surprised and angered many voters, especially since a poll taken three weeks before the election showed Busby ahead by 7%.) On June 29, the election was finally certified --- in favor of Bilbray --- by the Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas.

The election was contested on July 29 after Haas refused to allow for a hand count of the ballots, as allowed by California state law. And on August 22, defendants filed a brief in the case to dismiss, stating that because Bilbray has already been sworn in (by the Republican House of Representatives,) the California Court has no jurisdiction whatsoever and the House has exclusive jurisdiction to judge who its members are and the qualifications of those members.

According to an email sent to The BRAD BLOG this evening from attorney Paul Lehto...

The defendants' position is that the court is powerless (i.e. without jurisdiction) to do anything about this election contest, because Bilbray was sworn in only 7 days after the June 6, and long before the election was legally final on or about June 29.

This premature termination of the election in the 50th Congressional District by the swearing in took place while votes were literally still being counted and provisional votes were still being counted, and also this premature swearing-in took place well before the 1% ballot audit required as part of the certification process, and also occurred fully 16 days prior to the official certification of the results.

The defendant's premature swearing-in at the command of Washington DC politicians, if it had any legal effect at all, necessarily means that if there's no power for a Court in San Diego County to protect and review our elections for Congress, there was certainly no power and no jurisdiction for defendant Registrar Haas to certify the results of the election, either.

The swearing in simply terminated the election in mid-count. Consequently, the defendants' arguments about the court's lack of power also mean that this uncertified election does not legally exist, in the legal sense that the election never happened, and this election never became final because it has never been certified at a time when anybody in San Diego had any power to do anything about it.

Because no election is decided or over until it's officially certified, this election was actually decided in Washington DC, and not decided in San Diego's 50th Congressional District.

So there you have it. This is the stick with which Paul Lehto is trying to beat a corrupted electoral machine back into shape.

Here's Lehto's brief responding to the absurd position [PDF] taken by the defendants in this case.

The judge is set to give his decision on the jurisdictional matter Friday, determining whether or not the case will be tossed out based on the argument of the defendants. The court hearing on this matter begins at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time in San Diego.

UPDATE... Michael Collins at Scoop has more. And now, so do we --- below the fold...

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

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