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By John Gideon on 9/14/2006 2:49pm PT  

Blogged by John Gideon

Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that vote totals in three-quarters of the cities 314 wards are suspect.

The paper reports:

By the city's calculation, only about half the ballots cast in Tuesday's primary actually included votes in the hottest races - those for sheriff and attorney general. For example, the city reported 78,801 ballots cast in the attorney general race in primaries for the two major parties, but vote totals for the Democratic and Republican candidates combined amounted to only 40,971. By that count, 37,830 ballots did not include a vote in the race - a number that political observers regard as obviously flawed.

In the same manner, the city reported 65,581 ballots cast in the Democratic primary, but only 35,182 votes recorded for the party's sheriff candidates.

The state is blamming the bogus vote totals on programming problems but they seem to be only concerned with the total number of ballots reported and not the total number of votes given to any particular candidate.

"[City Election Commission executive director Susan] Edman expressed confidence that the results of any individual race were unaffected. She said city and county election officials would meet today to decide how to verify the results."

Apparently this is nothing new for the city and county of Milwaukee as they have been in trouble with the Wisconsin state legislature for not following state canvassing statues for over 5 years.

Maybe this time the city and county will do the right thing and figure out what the problem is finally. It's past due that they do something.

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By John Gideon on 9/14/2006 6:36am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Lou reported on the complete failure of the Maryland primary. Thousands of voters were forced to vote on 'provisional' ballots instead of the state's vaunted Diebold Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. At least those voters have a paper trail of their votes, but will they actually be counted? What a failure and it should all be laid at the feet of state Director of Elections Linda Lamone and Governor Ehrlich who both share responsibility for this failure.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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

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County Charter Amendment Had Been Challenged by County Commissioners in Court
By John Gideon on 9/14/2006 6:20am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) has just announced that a Sarasota County Judge has found in their favor and against the county voting officials and the Florida Secretary of State.

SAFE had been proposing a ballot initiative that would require voter verified paper ballots and independent random audits of election results in Sarasota County. The County Commissioner chose to go to court instead of allowing the legal petition to move forward.

The press release from SAFE says:

Judge rules that County commissioners must submit amendment proposed by citizen petition to a vote

Chief Judge Robert B. Bennett, of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, State of Florida issued a final judgment on the petition for writ of mandamus by the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections that "the Board of County Commissioners of Sarasota County shall submit the proposed amendment to the Sarasota County Charter to the Sarasota County electorate in accordance with the requirements on provisions of Article VII of the Sarasota County Charter." The amendment requires voter verified paper ballots and independent random audits of election results in Sarasota County.

This ruling in favor of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections validates the process of proposing amendments to the charter via citizen petition. Over 14,500 voters in Sarasota County from all precincts, all demographic groups, and all political parties signed a petition for paper ballots and mandatory audits as opposed to the paperless touchscreen voting system now used in Sarasota County and 14 of the other most populous counties in Florida. This was well over the 12,030 or 5% of the registered voters needed to put the referendum on the Sarasota County ballot in November.

Rather than voting to authorize the election at their August 22nd meeting, the County Commissioners, on the advice of the County Attorney, filed a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment on the language of the petition, challenging its constitutionality.

Judge Bennett's decision validates the right of citizens to vote on the measure, and affirms the legality of much of the petition, which is the criterion for placement on the ballot. The Board of County Commissioners must respond to the judge's ruling in their meeting on September 13th. The resolution setting the election along with the ballot language must be delivered to the Supervisor of Elections by Friday, September 15th in order to print the referendum on the November 7th ballot.

The complete ruling of Chief Justice Bennett can be seen on the website of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE), at www.safevote.org.

This is a big announcement from a hard-working group of activists who still have an uphill battle to force their county to use a voter verified, auditable voting system.

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A Great American
I really, really liked her
By Joy Williams on 9/14/2006 6:19am PT  

Guest blogged by Joy Williams

According to CNN, Ann Richards, the former Governor of Texas, has passed on due to esophogeal cancer. She was a straight talker, a truth teller, and an intelligent and fiery woman. She will be missed.

As a former Texan, I found in Ann Richards a salt-of-the-earth kind of person who had an incredible amount of compassion, and is one of those gems that you find amongst those tumbling tumbleweeds. You could trust her. You could rely on her. You knew she cared.

Her spirit and energy were phenomenal. She would have made a tremendous President.

In 1988, she gave the Democratic National Convention Keynote Address. Though it's a different George Bush, much of what she said then applies remarkably well now. The Bushes have NEVER changed their agenda. Please read her address.

We love you, Ann!

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By John Gideon on 9/13/2006 5:22pm PT  

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

Today the Brennan Center released another report. This report congratulates Congress for implementing the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and taking us forward. However, the executive director said, "the way it is being implemented by many states, combined with new underhanded efforts to crack down on voter registration and participation, could move the country backward. We see a real problem coming up in November in the elections." / Today, also, Princeton University scientists released a report on the vulnerabilities of the Diebold TS voting system. This is the first time that hardware, firmware, and software have been investigated at the same time and the vulnerabilities are staggering. / Unbelievably Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams said Tuesday that he hopes the statewide adoption of electronic ballots will boost voting among young Texans and make elections more secure. Why would anyone think elections are more secure after witnessing what happened in Maryland yesterday? / Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania commissioners just purchased 92 additional eSlate DREs. Meanwhile the county elections director is asking all voters to use the paper ballots and eScans. It seems that someone has a lack of confidence in DREs. ...

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

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New, First-of-Its Kind, University Study Reveals Malicious Code Can Be Easily Inserted into Voting Machine, Spread from One System to the Next, Resulting in Flipped Votes, and Stolen Elections…All Without a Trace Being Left Behind
Study Also Confirms that Voter Access Cards Can Be Created At Home to Defeat Security Protocols, Allowing Voters to Vote Multiple Times in a Single Election!
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2006 4:43pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, EXCLUSIVE
-- (Salon.com has posted a shortened version of the following report right here:
"Hack the vote? No problem")

A vote for George Washington could easily be converted to a vote for Benedict Arnold on an electronic voting machine and neither the voter, nor the election officials administering the election would ever know what happened. It wouldn't require a "conspiracy theory" or a "conspiracy" at all. It could be done by a single person with just a few moments of access to the voting systems.

Those new findings are detailed, and illustrated on video-tape, in a new first-of-its-kind study released today by computer scientists and security experts at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy.

(The version of the video demo at the Princeton website is being hit hard, and thus, slow to download and view currently. We've got a quick flash version available here for your convenience, courtesy of David Edwards.)

The scientific study has revealed, for the first time, that a computer virus can be easily implanted on an electronic voting machine which could, in turn, result in votes flipped for opposing candidates. The virus, as well, could be written to then spread itself from one machine to the next resulting in a stolen election. The malfeasance would likely never be discovered, the scientists have said.

Though the concept of stolen votes via electronic voting systems has been widely regarded as theoretically possible by experts up until now, a top-secret four-month long hands-on study of an actual touch-screen voting system, by the scientists at Princeton, has confirmed the worst nightmares of elections officials and American voters…not to mention a voting machine company known as Diebold.

The BRAD BLOG has had exclusive access to the scientists and information being tested as the team's various hack attempts have been designed and carried out over the course of the study.

Working directly with a Diebold AccuVote TS touch-screen voting system, the computer scientists have been able to implant a nearly-undetectable virus onto a touch-screen voting system, managing to successfully alter a voter's ballot --- after it's already been confirmed and cast --- in order to flip the vote so that it is recorded for a candidate other than the one the voter had intended.

According to the study's team leader, Edward W. Felten, a professor at Princeton's Department of Computer Science, the report confirms – and records in a video-taped demonstration – that such a malicious virus could be easily inserted onto a Diebold touch-screen voting system by a single individual "with just one or two minutes of unsupervised access to either the voting machine or the memory card" used with the system to store ballot definitions and vote tabulations.

The virus, as programmed by the Princeton team, could then spread from one voting system to the next depending on the way the machine in use is configured, or the way in which votes are tabulated in any particular jurisdication.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2006 11:37am PT  

(NOTE: This story was set to break on Sunday, with a release of the study on Monday morning. I had written an exclusive story for The Nation to be released Sunday night along with exclusive coverage that was being scheduled with ABC World News Tonight. The scientists of the study, unfortunately, jumped the gun in releasing it this morning without warning me. Currently scrambling to get a version of my previously prepared report up on Salon.com to be followed by a more complete report here at BRAD BLOG shortly.)

UPDATE:
-- My full exclusive report is now posted here.
-- Salon is now running a shortened version of that full report. (Requires subscription, or viewing of a short ad.)

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By Winter Patriot on 9/13/2006 12:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot


by David Horsey, from the September 3rd Seattle Post-Intelligencer, via Bartcop, via my science advisor (who loves Bartcop!!)

Please consider this an OPEN THREAD!

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It's A Double-Whammy --- And Just In Time For The Primaries!!
By Winter Patriot on 9/12/2006 10:22pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Election integrity advocates in Arizona got a double-whammy Tuesday --- just in time for their primaries!

First we have some bad news from Erica Meltzer of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson:
Backup verifying of votes unlikely: Hand-recount procedures not cleared for touch screens

The hand recount that was supposed to guarantee the integrity of the touch-screen voting machines being used in today's election probably won't be done because the secretary of state didn't submit its procedures for federal review until Thursday.

The widespread use of electronic voting machines to comply with the Help America Vote Act raised concerns among some political activists that the machines could be used to tamper with election results.

In response to those concerns, the Legislature passed a bill requiring a random recount of 2 percent of all precincts, and the Pima County Board of Supervisors said it would require a 100 percent hand recount.

The Justice Department signed off on the bill last month, but the secretary of state didn't submit procedures for the recount until late Thursday.

What??? Late Thursday? To get the recount procedures approved for use when?

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

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Jonathan Allen Has The Details At The Hill
By Winter Patriot on 9/12/2006 9:32pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Jonathan Allen: Most RSC members enjoy pork

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) is one of the House’s harshest critics of pork-barrel spending. A member of the conservative Republican Study Committee, he was one of 20 lawmakers who voted 19 times in May and June to strike earmarks from appropriations bills. He refers to himself as Tom “Pork Buster” Feeney.

But Feeney’s antipathy toward lawmakers’ pet projects has not extended into his own district, which is due to receive $500,000 in earmarks in the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, including $250,000 for the Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

and more...

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Palast and his producer have been charged with unauthorized filming of a 'critical national security structure'
It’s true. It’s weird. It’s nuts. Get Some Now!!
By Winter Patriot on 9/12/2006 8:25pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Have you seen this yet?

It’s true. It’s weird. It’s nuts. The Department of Homeland Security, after a five-year hunt for Osama, has finally brought charges against… Greg Palast. I kid you not. Send your cakes with files to the Air America wing at Guantanamo.

Though not just yet. Fatherland Security has informed me that television producer Matt Pascarella and I have been charged with unauthorized filming of a “critical national security structure” in Louisiana.

Weird is RIGHT!

You can read all about it here.

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Noe remains free on bond pending his other trial --- for 48 felony counts in the rare-coin scandal!
Mike Wilkinson has the goods at the Toledo Blade
By Winter Patriot on 9/12/2006 8:14pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Regular BRAD BLOG readers will know that Thomas Noe has been in big trouble for a long time. As reported previously on these pages, the former head of the Lucas County, OH GOP and a "Pioneer" level (responsible for more than $100,000 in contributions) fundraiser for Bush/Cheney '04, pled guilty to three charges including funnelling more than $45,000 in illegal contributions to the Bush/Cheney re-election effort in Ohio. Noe's wife, Bernadette, was the head of the Lucas County board of elections and was forced to step down after "irregularities" were found in their management of the 2004 election. Some of those points are discussed in Bobby Kennedy's Rolling Stone article on the gaming of the 2004 election.

Today we got the first meaningful indication of how much time Tom Noe is going to spend in prison. The Toledo Blade has very good coverage, and more than I can quote here. So hurrry on over and get yourself some of this: Noe gets 27 months in federal prison for illegal Bush contributions

Tom Noe, the GOP fund-raiser at the heart of Ohio's biggest political scandal in a generation, was sentenced today to 27 months in a federal prison for illegally funneling money into President Bush’s re-election campaign.

U.S. District Court Judge David Katz also ordered Noe to pay $136,200 in fines for sending more than $45,000 into a 2003 Bush fund-raiser by using two dozen friends and associates — including several current and former local Republican elected officials — in violation of federal election laws.

Noe, 52, remains free on bond until the conclusion of his trial next month on 48 felony counts in state court related to allegations that he stole millions from a $50 million rare-coin fund that he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Noe, a former Maumee rare-coin dealer whose large donations made him a powerful political figure, apologized in court for the scheme to give friends money to donate to Bush to fulfill his promise to generate $50,000 for a presidential fund-raiser.

Noe said he arranged the scheme because “in 2003 I was pressured by Bush-Cheney officials to become a Pioneer,” a name the campaign gives to people who raise $100,000.

It's an incredible tale in the American-dream mold: rags-to-riches-to-prison!
And Mike Wilkinson has done a fine job on the story so I really want you to read it all.

But I can't resist this bit:

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

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By Winter Patriot on 9/12/2006 7:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Thanks (I think) to Radar Magazine, if you went to this page: Capitol Domes: Creepy comb-overs. Macabre toupees. Misadventures in gel. (And that's just the women.), and you scolled down to where it says "Trend Four: CHILDLIKE HAIR", you would find:

Feeney, 48, a close ally of the religious right who considers yoga a threat to our country and has been accused of commissioning an electronic voting computer program that could rig an election, faces a slightly different issue. His hair looks, well, pubic. As in seventh grade discussions of "secondary sexual characteristics" pubic. He's not necessarily doomed, however, to resemble an adolescent groin, says Maysonave: "He could do a few things to convey more experience. Add a little gray to his temples. Maybe wear some subtle, wire-framed glasses."

And if he doesn't actually need glasses?

"Well," she says, "that's not really the issue, is it?"

They have a picture. Click that link!

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It's not surprising, it's just nastier than usual.
By Joy Williams on 9/12/2006 7:00pm PT  

Guest blogged by Joy Williams

Bush's speech yesterday and Cheney's interview this last week on Meet the Press, were the first salvos in their attempt at business as hideously usual during this election cycle. It's still fear, terror, and divisiveness, and Bush's speech last night had nothing new, except that he said there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11 but then spent the rest of the speech trying to convince us there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. His speech was an example of the politicization of 9/11 that is to come. Oh, the spin, the spin.

What is coming next is an ugly and cynical attempt to scare voters into voting to maintain the do-nothing Republicans in Congress.

Democrats need to be prepared with a counter-Rovian strategy. According to the Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Republicans are spending 90% of their campaign funds on negative ads, where they will attempt to dig up as much dirt as possible on their Democratic competition. And Rove has a strategy to politicize 9/11. Rove's Fall Election Strategy is revealed at Andrew Sullivan's blog...

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

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By John Gideon on 9/12/2006 4:56pm PT  

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

Since when is "it's close enough" a good response when talking about our elections? Since when is "the problems identified won't change the results so we are going to ignore the problems" a good response when talking about our elections? Since when is every vote counts NOT a good response? / The Arizona SoS drug her feet and now a state law that requires a hand recount of ballots to check the machines won't be done on today's election unless the DoJ can approve the audit by tomorrow evening / Maryland seems to have been a complete 'Train Wreck' of an election. The problems will all be blamed on human error and people like Linda Lamone will do all they can to sweep the problems under the carpet. Human error was a large part of the problem and the blame should start at the top. ...

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

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