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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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
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'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...

ALSO: LA Times Blogger Calls us 'State's Most Persistent Blogger-Watchdog on the Dangers of E-Voting'
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2007 11:57am PT  

There's been a fair amount of media coverage (at least in California papers), since our scoop yesterday of new CA SoS Debra Bowen's brilliant appointment of dogged E-voting critic and VoterAction.org attorney Lowell Finley to the post of Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy.

There are a couple more ironic points to the Finley appointment above and beyond the ones we mentioned yesterday. One we knew about, another we hadn't.

In his report on the matter, Oakland Tribune's Ian Hoffman reminds us of the qui tam lawsuit filed by Finley against voting machine company Diebold and joined by the state in 2004, which eventually resulted in a settlement:

Working with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, Finley sued Diebold Election Systems Inc., alleging the firm made misrepresentations to Alameda County and California to sell its voting machines. Diebold settled the case for $2.6 million.

In a point we hadn't previously known, the Los Angeles Times blogger on state capitol and gubernatorial issues, Robert Sallady, highlighted our coverage here --- describing us as "The state's most persistent blogger-watchdog on the dangers of voting technology" (thank you, sir) --- and advanced the story a bit with this irony-laden chestnut about the man who will now, officially, be working as an appointed member of Schwarzenegger's own Executive Branch:

Almost exactly three years ago, Finley represented Bill Camp of the Sacramento Labor Council. They successfully convinced a Superior Court judge that Schwarzenegger had illegally "loaned" his campaign $4.5 million. The ruling forced Schwarzenegger to pay the money back from his own pocket rather than through campaign contributions. The absurdly optimist governor called the ruling "fantastic," but Finley told the S.F. Chronicle (me, working there) at the time: "He is on some kind of medication that I would like to have a prescription for."

Office Christmas parties next year in Sacramento ought to be a hoot. Hopefully the Governator supplies the medication.

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By John Gideon on 1/8/2007 4:30pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"There is by now no doubt that there are serious problems with electronic voting machines: they fail to record votes, and even flip votes from one candidate to another. Election officials like to defend the machines by noting that they have been certified by independent testing labs. But the certification process has long been deeply flawed, and last week there was even more disturbing news — that the leading testing lab has been unable to meet the federal government’s standards." NYTimes Editorial / Lowell Finley, the lead attorney for the non-partisan voting machine legal watchdog organization VoterAction.org has been named to be the new Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy in California today. This is a huge piece of news for all voters....

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

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Debra Bowen Appoints Lowell Finley of Election Integrity Watchdog Group VoterAction.org to Role of 'Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy'
[UPDATED] Critics of E-Voting Hail News as 'Collosal Suprise,' Very Good for Voters, Very Bad for the Nation's Electronic Voting Machine Companies...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2007 2:31pm PT  

It may not be a very good day in the corporate offices at Diebold, but The BRAD BLOG has learned some big news that may well indicate today is a very good day indeed for the voters of America and specifically in California.

As incoming Sec. of State Debra Bowen was sworn in to her new office just moments ago, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that one of the nation's top critics of unverifiable electronic voting systems --- and a key player across several states in the legal battles against voting machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Hart Intercivic --- is today being named by the new California Sec. of State Debra Bowen as Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy.

Lowell Finley, the lead attorney for the non-partisan voting machine legal watchdog organization VoterAction.org, will be named to the position today.

In his new capacity, Finley will oversee testing and certification for all voting machine technology in the State of California. In a phone call this morning, Finley confirmed that he would be working closely in his new role with key national associations like the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC).

E-voting critics and at least one California Registrar of Voters have hailed both the swearing in of Bowen as SoS and her appointment of Finley, expressing delight to The BRAD BLOG over the news, characterizing it as a "colossal surprise" and a "very, very good sign for the future of voters' rights in California."

America's voting machine companies are less likely to feel quite as happy about the news.

Finley and VoterAction have filed a number of landmark lawsuits in several states, including in California, over the past year or so, demanding an immediate halt to the use and purchase of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE/touch-screen) voting systems and decertification of many of those systems, as well as improved processes for certification of such systems.

VoterAction is one of over 30 Election Reform organizations who recently went on record with an open letter to Members of Congress demanding federal legislation requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast in America. Such legislation would effectively ban the use of DRE systems, with or without a so-callled "Voter Verified Paper Trail" (VVPAT).

Bowen has been a dogged critic of former Secretary of State Bruce McPherson during her candidacy and in her role overseeing the Elections Committee as a California State Senator. She has criticized his lack of oversight and lax testing procedures, and has championed a "Voters' Bill of Rights" for the Golden State.

While a suit by VoterAction.org filed against former SoS McPherson and several CA Registrars of Voting --- concerning McPherson's certification of Diebold TSx touch-screen systems --- is still pending in state court, the disposition of that suit will likely change due to the fact that the lead defendant, McPherson, is no longer in office.

The Berkeley-based attorney Finley --- also one of the attorneys representing voter plaintiffs in the contested election in Florida's 13th Congressional district in Sarasota --- had one of his most recent and notable successes last September, when a Colorado judge ordered a complete review of certification procedures for voting machines in the state. The court found the official placed in charge of testing and certification didn't have the qualifications necessary, and performed little or no testing. That man, John Gardner, was appointed by former CO Sec. of State Donetta Davidson, who has been appointed by George W. Bush to head the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

The news of Finley's appointment will undoubtedly be of concern to the major voting machine companies that received little oversight from the former Sec. of State McPherson.

"I wish I was a fly on the wall in the offices at Diebold as they learn of this appointment. I'm sure jaws will be dropping and damage control will be ramping up," John Gideon of election watchdog organization VotersUnite.org told us today. (Gideon is also a frequent Guest Blogger here at The BRAD BLOG.) ...

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

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Fantastic Quotes Abound At Today's Ethics Reform News Conference
By Alan Breslauer on 1/8/2007 12:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




This is a beautiful thing! Democratic Senators hit Republicans hard for their six year ethical lapse during today's ethics reform news conference. While it's too early to get excited about anything yet, especially with Iraq looming large, even the prospect of a government for the people is exciting. Plus, my smile made an appearance for the first time in recent memory.

The video (8:44) starts with Harry Reid (D-Nevada) laying out some of the key points of the proposed legislation followed by Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Barack Obama (D-Illinois), Claire McCaskill (D- Missouri), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) who kills, Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Magical.

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Congress Must Demand to Know the White House's Estimated Body Count for Bush's Double-Down Scheme in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2007 11:54pm PT  

All of the Sunday news shows today were abuzz with talk of Bush's reported troop "surge" plan for Iraq.

The general theme was that, as Commander-in-Chief, Bush could do whatever he wanted in regard to troop levels and the only thing Congress could do about it was to use their control of the purse strings by voting to stop funding the war. In other words, they could take what increasingly appears to be the White House dare.

Never mind that briar patch --- and the fact that Congress could instead gracefully vote to end funding for the war as of a date fixed long into the future. For example, no more funding as of next year. In that way, there would be plenty of time to begin a withdrawal, and the Dems wouldn't end up falling into the Bush dead-enders' disingenuous trap, set to show the Democrats as hoping to see our poor troops stranded in a foreign country with no food, water, bullets, or way to get home.

But aside from cutting off funding for the war, now or in the future, there is another option for the moment in answer to Bush's predicted call for a "surge"; demand that the White House release their estimates of the number of casualties we will incur during such a "surge."

Now, I'm no military expert (and I'd be delighted to hear, via comments or email, from anyone who is and can speak to this issue), but it seems to me that any plan to increase troop strength would come with some sort of general estimate from the Pentagon as to the cost in increased, or decreased, causalities for our troops.

Congress must call on the White House to go on record with that estimate!

If there is estimated to be an increase in casualties, okay, let's hear it. The country needs to know exactly how much blood of other people's children that Bush is willing to throw down in his Hail-Mary gamble for "victory."

If there is estimated to be a decrease, fine, let's hear it. At least there will now be a paper trail metric of what the official predictions for such things were. If Bush ends up moving ahead with his double-down plan, we'll be able to clearly judge his Administration's "success" against that metric in the future if the "surge" happens despite all other efforts --- and reason --- to keep it from happening.

Finally, if no such estimate has been made by the White House (or, more aptly, the Pentagon, presumably) in planning for such a radical change in policy, then the Administration would simply be seen as wholly delinquent in their duties. That alone should be enough for Congress to be able to roundly vote in favor of a resolution condemning the plan. In the bargain, it will help make the case to the American people, loudly and clearly --- as if it has not been made already --- that this Administration has no damned business running the foreign policy of this country while using the men and women of our armed forces as chess pieces in their desperate attempt to save their own disastrous political and historical legacy.

Your thoughts?

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By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2007 12:48pm PT  

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By John Gideon on 1/6/2007 4:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The EAC seems to be hiding a lot with regard to their not giving interim accreditation to Ciber for testing voting systems. One commissioner says there is no report that led to the lack of accreditation by the EAC. Part of that interim accreditation is an inspection of the lab's facilities and procedures. An advisor hired by the EAC did that inspection. How can there not be a report? Maybe it's not the final report. Maybe it's an interim report. No matter what it is called there must be a report. The government does not run without reams of paper. Why is the EAC obfuscating? What are they not telling us and why?...

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

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'The Year of Accountability'
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2007 7:33pm PT  

The first of my weekly appearances on the Peter B. Collins Show for 2007 --- which I am now officially dubbing "The Year of Accountability." We covered quite a bit of ground, hit a bunch of recent stories, had some great calls, broke some news here and there (if you pay close attention), and had a number of good laughs. Listen up as you like...


-- Brad on The PBC Show, 1/5/07 [MP3, about an hour w/ commercials]

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By John Gideon on 1/5/2007 4:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

States are now beginning to question whether their voting systems were originally inspected and tested by Ciber and whether the quality of that testing should be questioned. / Meanwhile the EAC has sent their commissioners out to handle damage control. Commissioners are denying the existence of negative reports against Ciber and denying that Ciber has any problems beyond what they think is normal for an accreditation process. They, however, are not explaining why two other labs were accredited almost immediately and why Ciber's process has taken 5 months longer and is still not complete. / Another key member of the House of Representatives has weighed in on the disputed Florida Congressional election, saying that not only the litigants but the House itself would benefit from more open discovery. On Thursday, the incoming Chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, which has the responsibility for evaluating any House election contest, submitted a letter to the Florida First District Court of Appeal expressing concern with the inability of the Plaintiffs to pursue their claims....

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

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Letter Could be Precursor to Congressional Subpeona as Necessary...
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2007 3:18pm PT  

Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, the new chair of the U.S. House Administration Committee, has sent a letter to the Florida Court of Appeals currently reviewing the absurd decision made late in the day on the last day the year by circuit court Judge William L. Gary to disallow release of the source code from the paperless ES&S touch-screen voting machines to the plaintiffs who have requested it in the state election contest in the U.S. House race in Florida's 13th district.

Gary found at the time that release of the material would "result in destroying or at least gutting the protections afforded those who own the trade secrets." In other words, the private corporate interests of the ES&S voting machine company was more important than allowing Florida voters to try and determine the valid winner of an election.

The election is one of five now being contested in the U.S. House under the Federal Contested Elections Act, and we'd suggest Millender-McDonald's letter may serve as a precursor warning to the courts that the committee may use their subpeona power to get at the source code if the Florida courts refuse to allow its release.

Electronic Frontier Foundation covers the news here with the short letter itself linked here [PDF].

It is [...] of concern that the parties have been unable to agree upon, and that, on December 29th, the lower court declined to order, the requested access to the hardware and software (including the source code) needed to test the contestant's central claim: voting machine malfunction.
...
[T]he House is well served in its own deliberations by having before it a complete record. Consequently, Florida law will facilitate the evaluation of the election contest pending before the House to the extent that it provides access to relevant and critical evidence. I am confident that this can be done in a way that accommodates the valid interests of the parties, and resolution of these issues may obviate the need for the House to address them.
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As Tom Elias Writes the Single Best MSM Article We've Ever Seen on the Current State of E-Voting!
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2007 2:34pm PT  

Syndicated California columnist, Thomas D. Elias, has written the single best MSM article we've ever read on the problems with the current state of our electoral system. Period.

In covering changes planned by incoming CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Elias --- for the first time, at least that I've ever seen anywhere in the MSM --- squarely places the blame for the entire fine mess we're in exactly where it belongs: On the voting machine companies and the elections officials who have been their enablers and apologists...

An anxious time is just about to begin for the two interest groups that have done more than anyone else in recent years to make Californians feel uncertain about the integrity of their elections.

Those two groups: The makers of electronic voting machines of various types, many of whose devices have been shown to be both hackable and problematic in other ways. And county voter registrars who bought those machines largely with many millions of dollars derived from the federal Help America Vote Act, which was more concerned about speed of conversion to new technologies than whether they were trustworthy.

BOOM! Outta the park!

Those two grafs alone are enough for us to nominate Elias for a Pulitzer. Yes, the reporting on this matter in the MSM has been so indescribably horrible from the get-go that we're willing to give it all up just for those two grafs which finally tell the story correctly.

But Elias doesn't stop there. While we recommend you read his entire piece in full we'll highlight a few of the most notable grafs just to make sure as many eyeballs as possible actually get to see them --- for the good news they offer about a possibly brighter future for elections in California (and thus, the rest of the country) and for the fact that they have actually been printed in a fairly major metropolitan newspaper.

On Bowen's plans for full 'top to bottom review' of outgoing SoS McPherson's rubber-stamp certification of all electronic voting machines...

"We are going to do a top to bottom review of every voting system in use anywhere in California," Bowen said in an interview. "Yes, I would consider decertifying machines that my predecessor approved. Unfortunately, we've spent a lot of money on equipment that's not ready for prime time. Any Fortune 500 company would have sent those machines back with a letter saying they just don't do what they're supposed to."

On the truth (finally!) about the feckless and incompetent McPherson...

Her appointed predecessor and defeated autumn opponent, the former Republican State Sen. Bruce McPherson of Santa Cruz was anything but a skeptic, certifying virtually any machine any county registrar wanted to buy and imposing questionable checks on their performance.

On the infamous voting machine "sleepovers" (as first revealed by The BRAD BLOG)...

"I believe the sleepovers are illegal," said Bowen, an attorney. "If a system is designed so it can't be used without sitting in someone's garage for two weeks, we should not be using that system. We could fix this by using a bonded delivery service like Brinks to deliver machines to polling places at a set time."

In short, the voting machine status quo will not be lasting long in the nascent Bowen era.

On the worthlessness of so-called "paper trails" and the difficulty candidates face in paying exorbitant costs for recounts as capriciously and arbitrarily priced by Registrars...

Bowen recognizes that a paper trail is worthless unless it's usable. "I think $50,000 to do a recount where it might be merited is a tiny price to pay for democracy and to keep people from saying ‘forget about the election, they'll never count our votes anyway.' " So she'll support at least a partial public subsidy of recounts, where they appear justified.

NOTE: The BRAD BLOG covered the cost quoted for a recount in last summer's Special U.S. House Election in CA-50's Francine Busby/Brian Bilbray race. The cost, capriciously and arbitrarily quoted for that recount in order to make it impossible by the horrendous San Diego County Registar of Voters Mikel Haas: $150,000!

Elias also speaks of Sequoia's yellow button "feature" (also first revealed on these pages, but who's counting?) and more. All of which, apparently, forces the Ventura County Star to label the piece, regretablly, as "opinion." But so be it. We'll take what we can get.

If you'd like to send a thank you note to Elias and the VCS Editors, please click here!

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By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2007 1:25pm PT  

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Sends Letter to Outgoing CA Sec. of State Attempting to Create New Conditions for Hack Test! Computer Security Experts Deride!
EXCLUSIVE: Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone's Complete Letter to SoS Bruce McPherson
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2007 2:16am PT  

In a letter obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Riverside County, California, Supervisor Jeff Stone attempts to move the goal posts concerning the ill-considered challenge he issued to Election Integrity advocates in December during a public, video-taped meeting.

The letter, sent by Stone on Wednesday to outgoing California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, attempts to unilaterally create unrealistic (some might say desperate) conditions for a proposed hack test of the county's electronic touch-screen voting machines, made by Sequoia Voting Systems. When Stone initially issued the challenge, he included no such ground rules.

Computer scientists and security experts interviewed by The BRAD BLOG, as well as a number of reports and studies from nationally-recognized bodies, understand what Stone apparently doesn't: the major threat to voting machine malfeasance comes not from a voter walking up to a voting system on Election Day, but rather from insiders who are easily able to gain unsupervised access to the machines.

The letter to McPherson from Stone is posted in full at the end of this article.

As we reported in mid-December, Stone had challenged Election Integrity advocates from Democracy for America-Temecula Valley, during a public meeting of the County Supervisors, to bring in a programmer willing to attempt a hack of Riverside's voting system. His offer was simply "to set up an appointment with one of our machines and I’d like him or her [the programmer] to verify that they can manipulate that machine."

At the time, Stone also said that he was willing to "bet a thousand to one that they cannot do it." (A transcript of the entire, very brief exchange was posted in full in our initial report of the incident, along with links to two different video tapes of the encounter.)

The challenge was accepted the following week by the activists, who announced that noted Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti had volulnteered to perform the tests. Hursti previously hacked a paper-based Diebold optical-scan voting system in Leon County, Florida, at the end of 2005, and helped to discover alarming vulnerabilities in Diebold touch-screen systems a few months later in Emery County, Utah.

At the same time, a number of other election integrity advocates announced they would stake $1000 for charity on the bet against Stone's $1 million.

Stone's challenge, as seen in the videos and transcript, specified no ground rules for the hack test, despite what Stone indicates in his letter to McPherson. The Secretary of State recently lost his election bid to the incoming Debra Bowen, who will take office this coming Monday. McPherson had been much criticized for his lax testing of voting systems and his close relationship with a number of voting machine companies such as Diebold. He had also been quite friendly with the all-Republican Board of Supervisors in Riverside, The BRAD BLOG has learned from sources on the ground. Bowen has been an outspoken critic of McPherson's rubber-stamp certification of electronic voting systems in the state as well as the lack of adequate security standards specified for their use.

In his letter --- notably sent to McPherson and not to Bowen --- Stone creates a number of ground rules which were neither specified at the time of the challenge, nor the norm for standard security and vulnerability testing of computer software and hardware. He incorrectly characterizes the December exchange with Election Integrity advocate Maxine Ewig this way, unilaterally creating absurd conditions for the testing in the process...

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

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By John Gideon on 1/4/2007 4:46pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"A laboratory that has tested most of the nation's electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests" according to the New York Times and the EAC forgot to mention it. Ciber Inc., apparently up until last summer, was one of three Independent Test Authority (ITA) labs that were allowed to hire themselves out to voting machine manufacturers for inspection and testing and ultimate certification of those voting machines. Ciber, along with SysTest and Wyle, held a very lucrative position in what has become the boondoggle of certifying of voting systems. They get test procedures written by the vendors and a hefty check from those same vendors and, apparently in Ciber's case, they don't do the paperwork or testing required and pass the voting systems on to the voters....

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Two Media Releases Issued On the Conditional Seating of U.S. House Candidates
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2007 4:11pm PT  

Two groups have issued media releases concerning the provisional seating of Congressional candidates in the U.S. House.

Both releases laud Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) for championing the challenges in the U.S. House.

The first one, issued yesterday by a representative from the Democratic Clint Curtis campaign, points out that there are four Florida elections being contested in the House under the Federal Contested Elections Act, including Curtis's race in Florida's 24th district against the corrupt Republican Tom Feeney (whose violation of House travel rules seems to have been discovered by the Ethics Committee last summer, but was only announced yesterday along with a gentle rap on the wrist and a polite request that he cough up the money equivalent to what Feeney estimates was paid by Jack Abramoff for Feeney to go and play golf with him in Scotland).

In addition to the FL-24 Curtis/Feeney challenge and the FL-13 Christine Jennings(D)/Vern Buchanan(R) race, the release also states that challenges have been filed in the FL-5 John Russell(D)/Ginny Brown-Waite(R) contest (Update: Tampa Tribune catches up, posts details here.) and the FL-21 Frank Gonzales(D)/Lincoln Diaz-Balart(R) race.

Though they didn't mention those last two races, USA Today reported yesterday that the election in Louisiana's 4th district between Patti Cox (D) and Jim McCrery (R) is also being contested on the allegation that McCrery isn't actually a resident of the district, or even the state.

The second news release is from People for the America Way (PFAW) today and focuses on the Jennings/Buchanan touch-screen debacle in FL-13, where PFAW is one of the groups contesting the election in State court and calling for a revote.

In a comment sent to The BRAD BLOG last night from Holt's office in reply to the Curtis statement, the office says Holt's actions in the House "will focus on Christine Jennings and FL-13, but the ruling will apply broadly." As well, they say that while Holt will be "championing the cause of anyone who has a pending legal or official house electoral contest, the genesis of his involvement is certainly with" Jennings and that he's "more able to attest to the merits of her case."

The fight to ensure that the voice of the voters is heard --- and heard accurately and legally --- continues. Both releases are posted in full below...

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