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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
CA Repubs Block State-Paid Automatic 'Recount' Bill
After gaping flaws in the law revealed by the closest statewide election ever, GOP blocks conservative Dem attempt to make oversight easier and election theft harder before Nov...
After a Year of Digital Detox, David Roberts Returns
The great climate blogger from Grist is finally back on the Internets, with some very helpful thoughts for the information overloaded...
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
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?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
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...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Brad Entertains Your Children (and Annoys You) for Hours on End with Every Spongebob Squarepants Character Voice in the Book!
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2006 10:35am PT  

Got kids from 2 to 8 years old? Considering buying them this swell new Telestory Console w/ Spongebob Squarepants Story Cartridge which plugs into your TV and either reads to them, or allows them to read to themselves!

Is this a bald-faced advertisement smack dab in the middle of The BRAD BLOG? Only sort of...

I'm the voice reading the story and performing all of the character voices on the Spongebob story cartridges. While I don't make money specifically from your purchase of this item --- though if you use a link in this article, I get a few cents from Amazon --- if the Telestory line is successful, perhaps I'll be hired to do the voice-overs for more story cartridges in the future, in which case, I would make some money from it. And I could use it!

Cartridges also available (though not featuring me) for Dora the Explorer, Cinderella, Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, and Power Rangers. Click here to see all the Telestory products at once.

Got no kids or nieces or nephews or neighbors to buy Telestory for, but want to support The BRAD BLOG anyway? No problem, you can always send a donation right here! We'll take that too! (Better yet, start a subscription to The BRAD BLOG for any amount you like! See the blue box on the right side of every page to sign up! For all of those who once requested such a feature, I've only had a few sign-ups. So please remember us on your list of Holiday Shopping!)

Here endeth our shameless plea for today...

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By John Gideon on 11/26/2006 4:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"One of the great hazards of the way electronic voting has been introduced in the United States is that it could end up undermining democracy by producing unreliable election results that cannot be truly audited or corrected. This month, that nightmare became a reality. Voting machines in a Congressional race in Florida — where else? — may have swallowed about 18,000 votes, far more than the nominal winner’s razor-thin margin of victory. Because those votes were in the loser’s strongest county, if there was a computer glitch it probably changed the outcome of the race." NYTimes Editorial. ...

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

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'Tens of Thousands Encountered Voting Machine Failures, Confusion over New ID Rules,' Reports Paper...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2006 2:35pm PT  

The New York Times' Ian Urbina (this time with Christopher Drew) continues to stay on point with his Electoral Failures coverage at the Grey Lady. Unlike Urbina's last report, this time he wasn't undermined by the Times headline writers. (Does anyone with a hard copy of the paper know what page this was reported on, btw?)

To his additional credit, he didn't use the word "glitch" even once. Thank you, Ian. Here are a few highlights from his piece in today's paper...

After six years of technological research, more than $4 billion spent by Washington on new machinery and a widespread overhaul of the nation’s voting system, this month’s midterm election revealed that the country is still far from able to ensure that every vote counts.

Tens of thousands of voters, scattered across more than 25 states, encountered serious problems at the polls, including failures in sophisticated new voting machines and confusion over new identification rules, according to interviews with election experts and officials.

Of course, BRAD BLOG readers will remember our desperate call for "Emergency Paper Ballots" here in the weeks prior to the election. On that, Urbina reports...

In many places, the difficulties led to shortages of substitute paper ballots and long lines that caused many voters to leave without casting ballots.

Wow. Who could have predicted that?!

And there's more...Of course, the "experts" (word used very cautiously!) are beginning to notice that things on Nov. 7th were worse than they had originally understood. "Voting problems may actually have been wider than initially estimated, with many malfunctions simply overlooked," reports the Times.

So how bad were they? How about 60,000 missing votes in Florida, bad. 20,000 voters who couldn't vote in Colorado, bad. Or in Arkansas, where "election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000," bad.

And then there's the erstwhile election "expert" Doug Chapin of Electionline.org whose "expert" opinion ensures his presence in just about any mainstream media coverage of these matters. Mr. Chapin continues, on schedule, working all sides of the street in Urbina's piece. It's a tricky juggling act for this "expert" --- mustn't offend the Voting Machine Companies or the Elections Officials who pay his bills, or even, to a lesser extent, the Election Integrity advocates who might just call him a phony if he's not careful --- but, as John Gideon pointed out in yesterday's DVN, even Chapin's having a difficult time avoiding the obvious:

"If the success of an election is to be measured according to whether each voter’s voice is heard, then we would have to conclude that this past election was not entirely a success," said Doug Chapin, director of Electionline.org, a nonpartisan election group that plans to release a report Wednesday with a state-by-state assessment of voting. "In places where the margin of victory was bigger than the margin of error, we looked away from the problems, but in 2008 we might not have that luxury."

And the award for "Understatment of the Year" goes to...

UPDATE 9:01pm PT: Reader Adele writes to tell us that Urbina's article was on "page 30 of 36 pages in the National section" of today's paper.

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...And Other Long Overdue Thanksgiving Weekend Tweaks...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2006 1:40pm PT  

I've been mostly quiet this weekend. Catching up, finally, with some much overdue blog maintenance. A busman's holiday perhaps, but --- for me --- a holiday nonetheless. The other side of my brain was begging for excercise. It still is.

You may have noticed some of the tweaks I've been making to The BRAD BLOG if you've been paying attention. Other tweaks are still in the works. For now though, one of the most oft-requested changes has been for a Dark text on Light background version of the blog. I was finally able to find the free hours needed to complete such a version.

You may now select the "Dark on Light" scheme from new "SELECT COLOR SCHEME" choice near the top of our right sidebar. Your selection will be remembered the next time you return to The BRAD BLOG and switching back is as easy as selecting the other option. Hopefully, it's a no brainer that works for everyone. If you have any problems, please let me know here in comments and tell me what browser and OS you are using.

There will be tweaks to come on both color schemes (and I welcome anyone who knows CSS and may wish to create yet another choice for readers!), but for now, please let me know what you think here in comments, and by trying out this nifty new poll gizmo below...

Which BRAD BLOG color scheme do you prefer?
Total Votes: 620 Started: November 26, 2006 Back to Vote Screen

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By John Gideon on 11/25/2006 5:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

“If the success of an election is to be measured according to whether each voter’s voice is heard, then we would have to conclude that this past election was not entirely a success,” said Doug Chapin, director of Electionline.org, a nonpartisan election group that plans to release a report Wednesday with a state-by-state assessment of voting. “In places where the margin of victory was bigger than the margin of error, we looked away from the problems, but in 2008 we might not have that luxury.” The preceding from an article in the NY Times....

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

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By John Gideon on 11/24/2006 4:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A majority of today's news is about the audit to be held by the state in Florida's 13th Congressional District and the controversy over the people who will do that audit. I'll leave it to the readers to decide for themselves. / In North Carolina there is more testimonial to the fact that accessible voting systems are, in fact, not accessible for all voters who are supposed to be able to use those machines. / New York is the last state to make a decision about a voting system for their voters. Let's all hope the people who will be making the decisions have seen what DRE voting does to destroy voter confidence. ...

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

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While Scientists and Partisans Have Appropriate Concerns About the Team Florida Has Commissioned to Investigate
But We're Thankful, At Least, That the National Media is Beginning to Wake Up...Sorta...Kinda...Momentarily...Maybe...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2006 4:17pm PT  

Let's start with Krugman's "When Votes Disappear":

I've been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received. Here we have as clear a demonstration as we're ever likely to see that warnings from computer scientists about the dangers of paperless electronic voting are valid - and most Americans probably haven't even heard about it.

As far as I can tell, the reason Florida-13 hasn't become a major national story is that neither control of Congress nor control of the White House is on the line. But do we have to wait for a constitutional crisis to realize that we're in danger of becoming a digital-age banana republic?

"In danger of becoming..."?!! Okay, it's Thanksgiving weekend, so we'll just be thankful Krugman has decided to finally notice.

He also notes the concerns about the very partisan (natch) Prof. Alec Yasinsac whose been placed in charge of Florida's state investigation despite having "made an appearance on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 recount battle wearing a 'Bush Won' sign," as Krugman reports.

We'll also note that Livermore Labs' Prof. David Jefferson, who spent the last two weeks in Sarasota himself writes in several comments here at The BRAD BLOG that he is more optimistic about Yasinsac and the state investigation over all. Johns-Hopkins computer scientist Avi Rubin reports a similar sentiment on his blog today, defending Yasinsac and concluding about Krugman:

Sadly, I think this incident illustrates that this columnist is willing to embrace whatever circumstances and appearances serve his message with no regard for whether they are legitimate.

While we certainly hope that the Jefferson/Rubin evaluation/hopes end up being the correct ones, we're not sure they are keeping in mind the necessity of even the appearance of impartiality here.

If Yasinsac's group finds trouble in the machines, great. It can be said that even a tream led by a Republican partisan agreed the machines were to blame. On the other hand, if Yasinsac's group concludes there was no problem with the machines, the analysis will receive no confidence from the general public...where such confidence is much needed right about now.

Yasinsac should recuse himself from the team of analysts for exactly that reason, even if the rest of his team at Florida State University --- whom Rubin regards as excellent --- stay on the job. The same is true, and for the same reason --- as we discussed the other day --- for David Drury, who is also on the team, even though he is the man responsible for certifying these paperless ES&S touch-screen systems in the first place for the state of Florida. A "machines worked fine" conclusion from the team, as long as both Drury and Yasinsac are on it, will be regarded as partisan and/or self-serving. Whether it actually is will be completely beside the point.

Moving on then...Even WaPo's E.J. Dionne is beginning to get it. Today, he writes something remarkably similar to what I wrote for ComputerWorld on the day after the election about the huge bullets that the nation just happened to dodge on November 7th. Here's Dionne this morning...

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

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By John Gideon on 11/23/2006 4:59pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! / The disaster of an election in Denver, Colorado cost the tax payers over $4M or $20 for each voter who went to the polls. This is an amazing cost and it is being borne out all over the country as counties begin to tally up the costs of HAVA. Many counties are now spending two and three times more for elections than they have spent in the past and the cost can only go up once the first year contracts go away and the counties begin to realize they have the extra costs of maintenance, licensing, technical support, and the other hidden costs. And to add to the misery, many counties are beginning to complain about the cost of purchasing accessible voting machines that were not used in the last election and may never be used. ...

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

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PLUS: A Thanksgiving Day (Weekend?) Open Thread...
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2006 3:48pm PT  

Other than that...What are you thankful for this weekend? Consider it an open thread...

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By John Gideon on 11/22/2006 4:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

We at VotersUnite.Org want to express our hopes that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Our best wishes to all. / We warn anyone who will listen that our election system is being privatized. Private companies use private software to count our votes. There is very little transparency in the system. So it is extremely disconcerting to learn that some counties in Indiana have hired MicroVote to tabulate their votes for them. The counties buy MicroVote's machines, software, technical support and now even MicroVote employees to do the vote counting. MicroVote is the same company that knowingly installed illegal software on the machines in Indiana, and possibly in other states, prior to the primary. MicroVote is that same company that is being investigated for their practices in the state and has been investigated for illegal business practices and successfully sued for selling faulty equipment in the past. And yet this company is still being trusted to count votes? ...

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

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And a Concession in New Mexico...Despite Our Own Personal Best Efforts...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2006 1:54pm PT  

Of course, we've been covering Christine Jennings's (D) refusal to concede and her stand in favor of the voters in the FL-13 fiasco. And though we haven't mentioned it lately, vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis (D), rather than conceding, is convening a group of volunteers to verify the reported "results" of his race against the corrupt Tom Feeney (R) in FL-24.

But several other House candidates, from North Carolina to Ohio (but not New Mexico), are still fighting to assure the voice of the voters is accurately heard...

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

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Second Member of State-Convened Investigative Panel Charged With Having 'Vested Interested' in Demonstrating That the Failed ES&S Touch-Screen Voting Systems 'Functioned Properly'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2006 1:19pm PT  

Sarasota's Herald-Tribune has emerged as the bible of local, and in-depth, coverage in the FL-13 undervote fiasco. Today, however, the Orlando Sentinel published the results of an audit of "records of 17,846 touch-screen ballots that included no vote in the tightly contested 13th District congressional race to determine whom voters selected in other major races." They find that those ballots strongly favored the Democrats:

The group of nearly 18,000 voters that registered no choice in Sarasota's disputed congressional election solidly backed Democratic candidates in all five of Florida's statewide races, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of ballot data shows.

Among these voters, even the weakest Democrat --- agriculture-commissioner candidate Eric Copeland --- outpaced a much-better-known Republican incumbent by 551 votes.

The trend, which continues up the ticket to the race for governor and U.S. Senate, suggests that if votes were truly cast and lost --- as Democrat Christine Jennings maintains --- they were votes that likely cost her the congressional election.

The Herald-Tribune editorial board today correctly writes that "Jennings Should Not Concede" as they argue there is "too much room for doubt about election's true outcome."

And finally, for the moment, one of the groups involved in the voter lawsuit --- which calls for an investigation and a revote in the election where 18,000 votes went "missing" with the margin between the two leading candidates at just below 400 votes --- charges that the state-convened audit committee is cooked (no suprise, this is Florida after all). In a news release sent to us moments ago, and posted in full below, People for the American Way reports that committee member David Drury, the man responsible for certifying voting machines for the state of Florida, clearly has "a vested interest in finding that the [paperless ES&S touchscreen machines used in FL-13, which] he certified functioned properly." Additionally, the PFAW release points out, Drury is also responsible for approving the shipment and "illegal distribution" of uncertified voting machines to the state of Florida.

Oh, and Sarasota County's Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent, has still not resigned. Just thought we'd mention that.

The complete PFAW press release follows in full below...

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

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Republican, Democratic, Independent Candidates Join Lawsuit Against Paperless Diebold E-Voting Machines in Georgia...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2006 10:05am PT  

Dear Judges: You may as well make swift and unambiguous decisions that lead to the end of E-voting in America as we know it. For your own sake, and that of the court docket, sooner would be better than later.

Elections Officials can't do it themselves because it would be tantamount to admitting they failed in their only job: to ensure free, fair, and accurate elections. Of course they have failed, but they've already staked their careers on millions in state and local dollars, robbed from unsuspecting taxpayer constituents. Admitting that fact out loud would mean that most of them would (deservedly) be run out their jobs faster than Diebold or ES&S or Sequoia spokesholes can dutifully tell AP: "our voting machines work fine, the problem is human error!"

Until you folks on the bench end this nightmare forever, you will keep finding only more and more such suits like the one mentioned below in Georgia (and dozens, if not hundreds more like it) month and after month, year after year, election after election, hitting your docket until this mess is solved once and for all.

Underscoring what The BRAD BLOG has been saying for years --- that this is not a matter of Left versus Right, but rather a matter of Right versus Wrong --- Democrat, Republican, and Independent candidates have now joined the suit to put an end to Diebold's paperless E-voting in the state of Georgia...

Three losing candidates in this year's elections announced their plans Tuesday to join a lawsuit challenging Georgia's electronic voting system.

A group of activists, led by VoterGa, filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court in July, alleging that electronic voting machines in Georgia do not accurately record votes.

Mary Wilhite, a Republican candidate for a state House seat in Cherokee County, Woody Holmes, an independent write-in candidate for a seat in south Fulton, and Donzella James, a Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District, joined VoterGa representatives at the Capitol to say the results of their elections have caused them to join the lawsuit.

How much longer are we all gonna play this game? How much longer can American democracy take it? Complete story on the GA suit is here...

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By John Gideon on 11/21/2006 5:47pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Elections officials, including the EAC, wring their hands in worry over "Voter Confidence." Voter confidence won't come about because we cover up or minimize the fact that there are failures all over; that people are having to stand in lines so long that some give up and go home. Voter confidence will not come about as long as voters see their votes 'flipping' on the screen before their very eyes. Voter confidence will not come about as long as voters know there were problems with the machines they voted on but election officials tell them it's alright, "no votes were lost." Voter confidence WILL grow when the problems are fixed and when all voters can go to the polls and have a good experience. Making a pretty picture out of a disaster helps no one except a few elections officials who want the truth hidden and the vendors. ...

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

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Plea Deal for 'Wobbly Felony' Conviction, 3-Years Probation, May be Reduced to Misdemeanor after One Year of Good Behavior
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2006 4:54pm PT  

In an exclusive statement sent to The BRAD BLOG earlier today excoriating the privatization of America's voting system, whistleblower Stephen Heller says, "Diebold has shown they cannot be trusted to run elections in America."

He oughta know.

As we reported last night, Heller pled guilty yesterday in an agreement with Los Angeles prosecutors, after his arrest earlier this year on felony charges related to his release of attorney-client privileged documents he obtained while working as a temporary word-processor at Diebold's law firm, Jones Day.

The agreement, which required him to sign an apology, pay $10,000 in restitution, and not discuss the documents he released, may also allow Heller's felony conviction to be reduced to a misdemeanor charge after one year of "good behavior."

As well, in exchange for Heller's signed apology and commitment not to discuss the documents themselves (which are already publicly available since he released them originally to both the media and Election Integrity activists), Jones Day signed an agreement that they would not sue him in civil court in the matter.

In a phone call this afternoon, Heller explained Diebold's enormously powerful law firm --- where he had worked at night while pursuing an acting career by day --- had informed him that they'd planned to convert any criminal felony conviction in the case into a civil suit. Had the case gone to trial, he explained, and been successful, Jones Day had promised a lawsuit claiming losses of "well over a million dollars." Such a suit "would have left my wife and I impoverished for the rest of our lives," Heller says.

He went on to tell us that the plea deal conviction was characterized by his attorneys as a "wobbly felony" --- one that will likely be reduced to a misdemeanor after a year, as long as he "doesn't do anything bad." He quickly added, "which I have no intention of doing."

A court date of Nov. 15th, 2007, has been set to review the case in order to determine if the sentence will be reduced and, among other things, allow Heller to have his right to vote in California restored!

"Yes, I am now a disenfranchised voter as a convicted felon," he told us today with no small amount of irony in his voice.

Despite California having decertified Diebold voting systems in 2004 after Heller's release of documents showing the voting machine company had violated state law and that they may have been planning to lie about it to state officials --- and even after the state and election watchdog BlackBoxVoting.org eventually agreed to settle a fraud complaint with Diebold for $2.8 million dollars in the bargain --- Heller is, for the moment, unable to vote in the Golden State due to his conviction.

All of this, of course, despite those who've denounced the arrest of Heller on the grounds that they believe, as we do, that he is an heroic whistleblower who exposed important information --- illegally or otherwise --- because it was in the best public interest of the country.

California does have a "Whistleblower Law," which prevents employers from exacting retribution against an employee who "has reasonable cause to believe that the information [being released] discloses a violation of state or federal statute." That law, unfortunately, doesn't seem to apply to apparently over-zealous County Prosecutors such as Los Angeles's Steve Cooley.

Heller has promised that he will share "the whole story" with us in a Guest Blog special to The BRAD BLOG after the holidays.

In the meantime, however, his agreement at least does not keep him from speaking his mind about Diebold, electronic voting, or the private corporatization of our public democracy. Earlier today, Heller followed up on his promise of last night and emailed us the following statement with his opinions of the current state of our electoral system in America:

In my view, Diebold has shown they cannot be trusted to run elections in America. We must not allow a private corporation to run our elections for us in secret, using secret machines and secret software. The only thing secret about our elections should be the secret ballot.

I urge all Americans to insist Congress enact Federal legislation requiring that all voting machines must have a voter verifiable paper ballot, be run on open source software code, be subject to inspection by independent computer experts, and that each election have a random sample ballot recount. Only then will we have a chance of restoring true integrity to American elections.

The BRAD BLOG wishes to express our deepest and most heart-felt gratitude to Heller for his courageous and selfless act of civil disobedience. As bad as our electoral system is now...and make no mistake, it is in tatters...we shudder to ponder the state we'd currently be in without patriots like Heller who continue to fight for free, fair, honest, and transparent elections in America --- at no small cost to either themselves or their families.

On behalf of The BRAD BLOG and likely millions of democracy-lovin' Americans: Thank you, Mr. Heller.

UPDATE 8:48pm PT: Oakland Tribune's Ian Hoffman is the first MSM'er out of the box to pick up on this story. Hoffman first reported on Heller when when the Trib ran the Diebold documents given to them while Jones Day sued to stop them. His coverage tonight is quite good and worth the read.

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