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By John Gideon on 11/10/2006 4:58pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A large majority of today's news comes from Sarasota Co., Florida where the voters won a referendum vote to require the county to provide a voting system that has paper and is verifiable. Unfortunately the voters spoke at the same time the machines decided not to count over 18,000 votes in a congressional race. / Polls were kept open late in Kane Co, Illinois, by court order, but now the state Supreme's are deciding if that judge overstepped in his court order. Many voters may now be disenfranchised. / Undervote rate for Florida attorney general in Sumter county was 22%; Lee was 18%; Charlotte was 21%. / In Benton Co. Arkansas a problem was found with the vote totals. They re-ran the ballots and the final results of 8 races changed. Another great election for ES&S...

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

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18,000 Missing Votes in Florida and Other Notable Meltown 2006 Dangling Threads...
PLUS: Velvet Revolution's $500k Reward for Evidence of Fraud!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2006 4:45pm PT  

A couple of important points buried fairly deep into my ComputerWorld post-mortem article on the 2006 Electoral Meltdown. So for those too lazy (okay, "busy") to read the whole thing, I'd like to make sure you're aware of a few key points, so far underreported by the corporate mainstream media:

  • Rick Santorum and the Pennsylvania GOP wrote a letter to state officials on Tuesday afternoon demanding touch-screen systems in 27 counties be impounded after reports of votes flipping from Republican to Democrat. I applaud the aggressive, pro-active stance. Even from Santorum. Dems should have done the same long ago with every report of Dem to Rep votes flipping. This is just one of the reasons I mentioned previously that Santorum shouldn't have conceded.
  • The election in the FL-13 U.S. House race continues to be a mess. With just 368 votes separating the two candidates fighting for Katherine Harris's old seat, some 18,000 votes seem to have completely disappeared on the ES&S touch-screen systems.
  • A full ten U.S. House races are still "too close to call;" many of them to come down to attempts to recount votes cast on uncountable electronic voting machines.

Be sure to read my complete, ingeniously crafted CW article, of course, for much more. But I just wanted to make sure you guys were aware of a couple of those above important issues of note as things move foward.

And a reminder...The VelvetRevolution.us Election Strike Force is still offering it's $500,000 reward for evidence of fraud in last Tuesday's election. We were happy to see MoveOn.org join in on Election Day with their own $250k reward as well. Complete details on VR's $500k reward here...

I should also note that VR contributed to the Zogby Exit poll down in the CA-50 Busby/Bilbray race we wrote about earlier today. Between that, other Exit Polls we've done around the country, and the reward fund, we're always happy for your support via donations to the effort if you're able.

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(Will Someone Please Tell the Headline Writers at the New York Times and the Associated Press?)
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2006 3:27pm PT  

ComputerWorld has just posted the following article of mine in full. Here's the first few (pre-CW-edited) grafs to whet your appetite...

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE SLAYS NINE!
Terrorizes Florida in Thrill-Kill Rampage

That headline was from a satirical column written by Andy Borowitz and published last Monday, the day before Tuesday's mid-term election.

Unfortunately, given the post-election coverage by some of the nation's leading media --- or at least their headline writers --- it seems that only an event such as a Diebold voting machine becoming "unmoored from the floor and...trampling everyone and everything in its path," as Borowitz wrote, would qualify as anything more than a "glitch," "hiccup," "snag," or "snafu". At least if you gauge the coverage from the headline writers at NYTimes or Associated Press.

"Voting System Worked, With Some Hiccups," declared the AP headline on Wednesday. "Polling Places Report Snags, but Not Chaos," echoed the Times.

"Hiccups"? "Snags"? Try telling it the thousands of voters around the country who were unable to simply cast a vote last Tuesday because new, untested electronic voting machines failed to work. Monumentally. Across the entire country.

"Not Chaos"? Apparently the Times headline writers failed to check with the folks in Denver who were lined up around the block for hours to vote. They didn't even bother to read the the Denver Post, who headlined the problem as a "Voting Nightmare" during the day on Tuesday and quoted voter Lauren Brockman saying "We will not get to vote today," after he had showed up before work to vote at 6:45 a.m. at the Botanic Gardens only to wait in line for an hour before giving up.

They didn't check with Colorado's Gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter, who had to wait almost two hours to vote, or with Sean Kelley, a Denver resident who said to the Post, "I can't believe I'm in the United States of America," before he gave up and went home without voting after waiting three hours in line when electronic machines broke down.

The courts in Colorado refused to allow the city's new consolidated "Election Centers" to remain open for extra hours that night. And yet this was only a mid-term election, with far lower turnout than we can look forward to in 2008.

Similar problems led slighly more responsible officials to order polls to be kept open longer than scheduled in at least eight other states due to voting machine problems. In a NY Times story published the day before (which apparently the headline writers of the previously mentioned piece failed to read), it was reported that in Illinois "hundreds of precincts were kept open...because of late openings at polling places related to machine problems" and in Indiana "voting equipment problems led to extensions of at least 30 minutes, in three counties."

Other states where polls remained open late due to the inability of legally registered voters to vote when they showed up earlier in the day include Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio.

But the list of problems and, yes, meltdowns (not "glitches" "hiccups" "snags" or "snafus") is still pouring in from around the country. My inbox has been beyond readability since polls opened on Tuesday morning, and my ability to keep up had already been near the breaking point in the weeks prior just from similar reported disasters that occured with these failing, flipping, and flimsy new pieces of junk during the Early Voting period in Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and California, just to name a few.

On Election Day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation had received about 17,000 complaints on their toll-free hotline by 8pm. Common Cause received 14,000 calls by 4 p.m. John Gideon at VotersUnite.org performed the Herculean task of logging as many news reports as he could in a searchable online database of reported election problems that day.

One big fat bullet seems to have been dodged when George Allen conceded in his Virginia Senate race Thursday. Had he chosen not to, America would have found itself smack-dab in the middle of another Florida 2000 crisis with the balance of the entire United States Congress depending on voting machines in a state which offer absolutely no way to recount ballots to achieve any form of accuracy or clarity in the race. The battle of the forensic computer scientists trying to figure out what happened would have been another long national nightmare.

But that didn't happen, so everything's cool...

For the complete story, including other bullets barely dodged this week --- from the Santorum Senate race in Pennsylvania to innumerable U.S. House elections currently uncountable and unrecountable due to the failures of these god-forsaken machines --- and the ravages of an American electoral system in tatters no matter how the headline writers at the major national media and the Voting Machine Apologists are hoping to spin things...see my complete piece just published at ComputerWorld...

(Oh, and find out how that Diebold Voting Machine Killer Rampage in Florida comes out too!)

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Election Attorney Paul Lehto Blames Registrar Mikel Haas's Administration of Election, Refusal to Properly Count Paper Ballots for Discrepancy
Says, 'Abuse of Discretion' Improperly Delayed Count of Paper Ballots, Creates 'Second Class Ballots, Voters'
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2006 12:43pm PT  

This just in from attorney Paul Lehto concerning the People's Republic of San Diego, where one of the country's most irresponsible Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, defied the California Secretary of State by refusing to count paper ballots as "normal ballots" on Election Night.

Lehto says Exit Polling data commissioned from Zogby International shows a '6-Point Distortion' from the "results" as so far announced by Haas's office in the Francine Busby/Brian Bilbray U.S. House election in California's 50th Congressional district.

The complete results of the Zogby polling is available for download here [PDF].

NOTE: Busby (D) has appropriately refused to concede the race against her opponent Bilbray (R) until all votes have been properly counted. As of this moment, the San Diego County Registrar's website shows "100%" of precincts reporting despite thousands of uncounted paper ballots, absentee ballots and provisional ballots. Those "results" show Bilbray leading Busby 53% to 43%.

In fact, however, given Haas's defiance of the California Secretary of State's order to provide an adequate number of paper ballots for all voters who, in California, may vote by paper for any reason if they wish, coupled with his irresonsible --- and likely illegal --- decision to send all of the county's pre-programmed, election-ready, hackable Diebold touch-screen voting systems home on "sleepovers" with pollworkers for a full three weeks prior to the election, it is literally impossible for there to be any confidence in any of the reported "results" as announced for any election this year in San Diego. The county's elections are now officially and wholly corrupted by Haas's abominable and disgraceful election administration, fed by his apparent loathing of voters and democracy.

ALSO NOTE: The VelvetRevolution.us Election Strike Force, of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder, contributed to the funding of this Zogby poll. Please consider donating to VR in support of such efforts!

Lehto's press release follows in full...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NOVEMBER 10, 2006
Contact: Paul Lehto, Esq., 425.422.1387

CA 50 EXIT POLL ESTIMATES 6-POINT DISTORTION ENABLED BY REGISTRAR’S ABUSE OF DISCRETION

Haas’ Decision To Delay Paper Ballot Count
Artificially Inflates Votes For Republican

November 10, 2006 San Diego, CA – Attorney Paul Lehto, a national expert on election integrity, today released the results of an independent Zogby exit poll of voters in the November 7 election in California’s 50th District. The exit poll shows the race much tighter than the results published by the San Diego Registrar of Voters as of the day after the election, six percentage points closer. Moreover, after adjustment for an oversampling of Bilbray voters, the adjusted poll shows Democrat Francine Busby well within the margin of error, making the race uncertain in actual outcome. Paper based votes yet to be counted favor Francine Busby, such as paper ballots obtained at the polls, which constitute 6.4% of all voters and favor Busby 58% to 39%.

The poll also contains important findings about the relationship between different forms of voting and voter demographics, revealing a tendency for Democrats to use paper ballots versus other forms of voting such as electronic machines. In violation of state and federal law, and despite lawsuits filed to stop the process, San Diego Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas delayed the paper ballot count for paper ballots obtained at the polls by fully qualified voters, preferring to have other forms of ballots have been counted preferentially first, attempting to justify this second class service to paper-based voters by stating “this is an electronic election” when in fact the public is legally allowed a choice of either technology.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2006 11:07am PT  

From yesterday's Los Angeles Times...

Memo to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney: That was a mandate.

-- Bernard Altman, Los Angeles

UPDATE 11/11/06 11:49pm PT: My friend RJ Eskow discusses this mandate. A real one.

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By John Gideon on 11/9/2006 4:54pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

It took over 24 hours for Cook Co. Illinois to count their votes. That's with their brand-new Smartmatic clone Sequoia voting machines. County Clerk David Orr conceded that the hardware and software being used should be re-examined. / One of the striking problems that has come up around the country is the reason for long lines in many places. They just didn't buy enough machines for the turnout they had. Another boon for the vendors when all they really needed to do was buy one PBOS for each precinct and there would have been no need to go out and buy more DRE machines. And the cause of the long lines in Denver; poorly written, poorly tested voter registration software from Sequoia. ...

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

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Robert Gates Reportedly Served on Board of VoteHere, a Firm Which Poured Money into the Passage of HAVA, Included 'Crypto-Crap' into Diebold and Other E-Voting Manufacturer's Software...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2006 3:24pm PT  

Slow getting started today, as both my body and brain conspired against me to insist we slow down for just a few early hours this morning so that we can all get back on the same page. Though I fought off the mutiny originally, eventually we've worked out an agreement that I can catch up with a few items this afternoon and evening, as long as I promise to go a bit easier on them for a while to allow full rejuvenation in the days and weeks ahead. I'll try to keep that promise to both my brain and body. Don't tell them, however, but I've reserved the right to veer from that course as events on the ground warrant (and they do warrant, so we'll see.)

But for a start then today, I'll let Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org do some of the early heavy lifting. She has some concerns, which caught our eye, about Rumsfeld's announced replacement, Robert Gates, as DefSec. Described by Wonkette as "an Iran-Contra crook and ex-CIA chief," Harris's concerns about Gates revolve around his involvement as Director of a mysterious E-Voting group. She writes in a noteworthy article posted at SCOOP today...

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will resign, reportedly to be replaced by former CIA director Robert Gates.

Gates was on the board of directors of VoteHere, a strange little company that was the biggest elections industry lobbyist for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). VoteHere spent more money than ES&S, Diebold, and Sequoia combined to help ram HAVA through. And HAVA, of course, was a bill sponsored by convicted Abramoff pal Bob Ney and K-street lobbyist/buddy Steny Hoyer. HAVA put electronic voting on steroids.

You can find copies of the VoteHere lobbying forms here:
http://sopr.senate.gov/c.../m_opr_viewer.exe?DoFn=0

I can't get them to save to pdf, perhaps you can. Enter search terms in both "registrant" and "client" fields and put in terms "Rhoads" "Livingston" and "Votehere" (one at a time.). Then look at the gravy train while it was in the process of derailing American democracy.

Much more in her SCOOP scoop...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 5:58pm PT  

AP concurs...

The BRAD BLOG still calls on Allen to not concede!... (Seriously, we won't call him a whining, sore-loser, tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist! Go for it, George! Make 'em prove those numbers if they can! See if you can verify that vote count!)

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By John Gideon on 11/8/2006 4:38pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

'Hey! Let's take all of our polling sites and consolidate them into a few large, super poll sites. Then we have thousands of voters vote in the same location on the same machines. We will save all kinds of money.' That's Denver Colorado and everything worked great until the machines began to fail and the process to get voters in and out slowed to a crawl. Result: Lines 4 blocks long. Day After Result: "Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher today asked that Denver's two elected voting commissioners resign and that the mayor fire Clerk and Recorder Wayne Vaden as well as the entire senior staff of the election commission." / Over 18,000 under votes were recorded in the FL-13 CD. In a race that has less than 500 votes difference. Unfortunately most of the votes were cast on paperless ES&S voting machines. The software needs to be removed from the machines and closely inspected by experts. This race will not be decided for awhile....

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

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San Diego 50th U.S. House Candidate Says She Won't Consider Conceding Until All the Votes Are Counted!
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 4:00pm PT  

U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray appears to have handily won reelection to the House but his opponent, Francine Busby, said she won't consider conceding the race until all of the votes are counted.

Well, hallelujah! And thank you, Francine. On behalf of every voter in CA-50, San Diego, California and America (if we may be so bold.)

The Voice of San Diego continues...

Despite Busby's statements, CNN and The New York Times called the race in [Brian] Bilbray's favor.

Part of the delay in tallying the votes stems from the countywide deployment of new electronic voting machines for the first time this election. That prompted local Democrats and election watchdog groups to urge voters to request paper ballots.

Busby said that her own ballot was mistakenly counted as provisional after she requested a paper version. Her vote won't be added to the official total until the Registrar of Voters verifies that she's an eligible voter.

The Registrar of Voters in San Diego is Mikel Haas, one of the country's worst, as BRAD BLOG readers likely know well by now.

Voting machines malfunctions at numerous polling locations also forced many voters to manually register their opinions via paper ballots and Busby's campaign claimed that some precincts had reportedly run out of ballots.

In the days leading up to the election, the Registrar of Voters also ran out of absentee ballots and was forced to send out photo copies, which will take days to manually transfer to official ballots by hand.

More interesting details in the article by Daniel Strumpf and Kelly Bennet, both of whom are to be congratulated for their use of the word "appeared" to qualify their reporting of a possible Bilbray win, and letting CNN and New York Times face the ignominy of reporting the results of a race --- marred with so many security, integrity and verification issues --- that neither outlet, nor any human being on the face of the earth, could actually prove to be accurate in any way at this time.

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By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 3:19pm PT  

From today's New York Times in an article headlined "Blogs Take Lead in Reporting Polling Problems" by Tom Zeller, Jr.:

Brad Friedman, perhaps the most dogged critic of electronic voting machine technology in the blogosphere, said he saw his site traffic spike at left-leaning Bradblog.com, as reports of machine malfunctions began pouring in from around the country.

"Folks understand by now that I’ll get these stories out so that they’ll get confirmed," Mr. Friedman said.

Well, somebody hadda "take the lead in reporting polling problems," Zeller! ;-)

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By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 1:26pm PT  

(Here's a good place to start. Though, NOTE TO CIO Insight: they weren't "glitches," they were failures.)

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UPDATE: And This Afternoon with Chris Duel on KTSA in San Antonio...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 12:17pm PT  

After co-anchoring last night's 9-hour Velvet Revolution Election Strike Force radio marathon spectacular until the wee hours, we were still more than happy to wake up and speak to both Stephanie Miller and then Thom Hartmann this morning...


-- Brad on Stephanie Miller Show, 11/8/06 [MP3, 9 minutes]


-- Brad on Thom Hartmann Program, 11/8/06 [MP3, 8 minutes]

UPDATE 4:57pm PT: And here's another from this afternoon with Chris Duel on KTSA News-Talk 550 AM...


-- Brad on Chris Duel Show, 11/8/06 [MP3, 11 minutes]

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BUSH TO REMAIN IN OFFICE (FOR NOW)
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 11:00am PT  

AP and Fox "News" (and thus, the White House) is reporting that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be "stepping down." The man responsible for choosing him for the roll and keeping him in that post has not yet announced that he will have the decency to do the same. He should.

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Tester Announced 'Winner' in Montana, But We Say What's the Hurry?
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2006 10:55am PT  

We'll have much post-mortem to come today, and likely for the next several. Now that the media has announced John Tester (D) the "winner" in Montana, the balance of the Senate all comes down to Virginia. Will it get ugly? We hope so.

For now, here's a far-from-complete list of folks that The BRAD BLOG feels shouldn't concede or shouldn't have conceded, and a few whom we congratulate for announcing they don't plan to do so. More soon on these races specifically and why we feel this:

SHOULDN'T CONCEDE:
George Allen (R-VA) U.S. Senate
Conrad Burns (R-MT) U.S. Senate
Bruce McPherson (R-CA) Secretary of State

SHOULDN'T HAVE CONCEDED:
Jim Talent (R-MO) U.S. Senate
Rick Santorum (R-PA) U.S. Senate
Harold Ford (D-TN) U.S. Senate

ANNOUNCED THEY WON'T BE CONCEDING UNTIL EVERY VOTE IS COUNTED:
Francine Busby (D-CA) U.S. House, CA-50
Bob Fitrakis (G-OH) Governor, Ohio
Clint Curtis (D-FL) U.S. House, FL-24

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