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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 1, 2014
'Green News Report' 9/30/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama creates world's largest marine sanc- tuary; Humans wiped out 1/2 of world wildlife; Also to blame for AUS' hottest year ever; PLUS: Oil co. joins Google to dump ALEC...
Previous GNRs: 9/25/14 - 9/23/14 - Archives...
'BRAD BLOG May Be Sued for Telling the Truth About GOP Operative': Hartmann TV
Brad discusses bizarre threat of legal action by longtime Republican voter registration schemer Nathan Sproul...
BREAKING: 5-4 SCOTUS Ruling Restores GOP Restrictions on Early Voting in OH
Bad news for voters. Good news for Republicans who like to win elections by trying to limit voters' ability to cast their vote...
7th Circuit Deadlock Means WI Photo ID Law Still in Place
Longtime court vacancy likely made difference in 5-5 tie; Scott Walker, GOP rejoice as 'electoral choas' reigns in 'toss up' re-election race; SCOTUS likely next stop for plaintiffs...
Too Much Voting Going On!: GA County Repubs Block Early Sunday Voting
Board of Elections votes against 'partisan' proposal to make voting more convenient, even though County already funded it...
Stewart Explodes Over GOP Climate Science Deniers on House SCIENCE Committee
And who can blame him? As White House Science Advisor forced to 'push a million pounds of idiot up a mountain'...
Federal Court Panel Denies OH Attempt to Avoid Restoration of Early Voting
State Republicans keep trying and trying to make voting harder (for some). Courts keep denying and denying their attempts...
'Green News Report' 9/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate Week Special Coverage continues: China will cut emissions; Experts say we're not doing enough; Admin makes econ case for action; PLUS: Corporate titans step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/23/14 - 9/18/14 - Archives...
GOP Values: Beating Wives, Suppressing Votes, Threatening Journalists - KPFK 'BradCast'
Latest on cases of GOP wife-beating judge Fuller; GOP voter operative Sproul; MORE...
Sproul Threatens BRAD BLOG With Legal Action After FL Confirms Our 2012 Reporting
GOP operative linked to years of registration fraud allegations sends bizarre email after yet another arrest of one of his workers...
'Green News Report' 9/23/14
GNR Special Coverage: Climate Week 2014 -- Climate March (largest in history), Wall Street protests (can ya hear us now?), special U.N. Climate Summit...
Report Cites Armed Walker Supporters Plotting to Target Democratic Voters in WI
'We can get our agents to watch polling location, identify the individual, and follow them to their residence'...
Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife-Beating Judge Mark Fuller
2012 docs suggest domestic abuse of two wives and children by federal judge w/ lifetime appointment...
ACLU Files Emergency Petition to Halt 'Electoral Chaos' in WI
Seeks full 7th Circuit hearing after three-GOP judge ruling reinstates Photo ID law just weeks before election...
'Green News Report' 9/18/14
DiCaprio's UN climate role; Jindal plays dumb; Fracking confirmed (again) to contaminate; Black lung coal disease on rise; PLUS: Polluter front groups newest attack...
Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
Chris Hayes plays horrifying audio from wife-beating incident by U.S. District Court Judge; ALSO: Calls for accountability from two Alabama U.S. Congresswoman...
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...

'Jeff Gannon'/James Guckert References Get Hard to Find at the White House Website
As Previously Revealed by BRAD BLOG, Scrubbing Even of Helpful
By Margie Burns on 2/10/2007 8:33am PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

Just prior to the 2004 elections, The BRAD BLOG revealed a number of embarrassing White House moments that had been scrubbed --- in violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978 --- from their website. Eventually, in the weeks just prior to the election, and after WaPo, AFP and other wire services picked up the story which broke here, they were forced to restore all of that information to the website. (Highlights from that series of reports here.)

Now it looks like they may be at it again.

Two years ago, I posted a piece at another web site on “Go ahead, Jeff,” i.e. Jeff Gannon, actually named James Guckert, at White House press briefings. The White House web site has a search function of sorts, usable given the exact name or phrase as a keyword. My search term in February 2005 was Scott McClellan’s phrase “go ahead, Jeff,” meaning – as Jeff’s sympathetic questions made amply clear – that McClellan was calling on mysterious White-House-press-pass person Guckert/Gannon, whose exact activities in the White House have yet to be clarified. I have tried to phone Mr. Guckert but probably have not gotten through.

The precise dates of those press briefings at which Mr. Gannon/Guckert had been explicitly called on, found at that time, were November 17, 2004; December 10, 13, 17 and 21, 2004; and January 10 and 25, 2005.

Now, belatedly running the same search this morning, I found further briefings with equally revealing questions posed by Mr. Gannon. However, the previous references to Gannon/Guckert appear to have been scrubbed...

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

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By Alan Breslauer on 2/9/2007 5:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Don't trust bloggers! Chris Cillizza explains in his Washington Post blog the "potential perils" presidential campaigns face when hiring bloggers who, it turns out, usually have their own blogs where they write their own opinions. The controversy centers around Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister whom Tom Donohue of the Catholic League referred to as "two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots" for their "hate-filled, blasphemous and obscene remarks" written before joining the Edwards campaign. Donahue, joined by Michelle Malkin and others on the right demanded Edwards fire the two bloggers.

But Edwards made the surprising decision to keep the bloggers considering that Donahue and Malkin are two of the country's foremost experts on "hate-filled" "obscene" "vulgar" and "bigoted" speech. Even the New York Times appeared to take their side writing Marcotte "used vulgar language" in a post last year on the Immaculate Conception. The paper of record also quotes from an unrelated Marcotte post about the Duke lacrosse players despite acknowledging it was written sarcastically about the news media:

“Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.”

Whether or not you find these statements unworthy of an employee of a potential president of the United States, can we all agree that there is an unprecedented amount of rank hypocrisy at play here? Imagine if mainstream media regulars like Bill Kristol or the New York Times' own Thomas Friedman were held accountable for past statements? And what about Malkin who, despite her vile rhetoric, appears regularly on Fox "News"? For truly "vulgar" journalism it is worth reviewing just about any 2002/2003 Judith Miller column in the New York Times.

Similarly, the Washington Post's Cillizza did not seem overly concerned about the hiring of Terry Nelson to run presidential hopeful John McCain's campaign printing nary a word about his checkered past. Clearly, links to Tom DeLay money laundering scandals and illegal phone jamming scandals that subvert democracy and result in four underlings receiving prison sentences are chump change when compared to the hate-filled words of McEwan who called George W. Bush's base "wingnut Christofascist."

Well, I'd hate to ruin my chances of being picked up by a presidential campaign. So, from now on I will not repeat McEwan's mistake and will only refer to Bush's base as "Christofascist wingnuts" and you'll never hear me making sarcastic statements about the MSM. Fact is, I don't know much about Anna Nicole Smith anyway.

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By John Gideon on 2/9/2007 4:22pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

I highly recommend that everyone reading this take the time to read Lowell Finley’s “Testimony to Senate Committee on Rules and Administration” [see below]. It is excellent.

The New York Times editorializes, “It is good news that Ms. Feinstein has called for the federal investigations — and that she is pushing a bill to require paper trails nationally. As long as there are no paper records, and voting machine manufacturers continue to insist that the software that runs the machines is a 'trade secret,' voters cannot be expected to trust that votes are being counted correctly. The leadership in Congress needs to focus on making sure that Ms. Feinstein’s paper-trail bill becomes law, along with a companion House measure from Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey.” We need to add that we hope that Senator Feinstein will fix the various problems that are in the Holt bill. We don’t expect that she will ban the use of DREs, though we encourage her to do that, and we cannot support any legislation that does not include that ban. We do hope, however, that she fixes audit language that would allow a county to easily skirt the bill's requirements; language that squelches the use of alternative, low-tech voting systems amongst other; and the co-opting of “paper ballot” when the legislation uses that term to describe what is really a voter verified paper audit trail. These are only three of a short list of items that must be addressed. ...

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EAC Exec. Dir. Tom Wilkey Lends CIBER 'Test' Lab a Hand, As 'Confidential' Secrets about Their Failures Continue to Ooze Out...
By Michael Richardson on 2/9/2007 12:34pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director (bio [PDF]) of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), has now extended the deadline for CIBER, Inc. to qualify for interim accreditation to test the nation’s voting machines, despite previously reported disastrous testing conditions over several years discovered at the lab.

Wilkey previously kept problems at the CIBER test lab hidden behind a wall of secrecy including the non-accreditation of the controversial “independent testing authority” (ITA) laboratory as discovered and revealed by The New York Times last month.

CIBER, the nation’s most prodigious voting machine test lab, was banned from testing last summer when accreditation responsibilities shifted from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to the EAC. However, the public and election officials relying on CIBER’s testing where not informed of the ban until the Times disclosed the lab shutdown in January 2007, long after the elections in 2006 were allowed to move forward on CIBER's "tested" voting machines.

Even after the Times exposé, the EAC head kept the assessment reports [PDF], which detailed lab problems, secret until a subpoena threat by the New York State Board of Elections forced release of the reports. The assessments that Wilkey kept hidden from the public revealed a shocking history of sloppy, incomplete and non-existent testing.

Only after increasing pressure, including from Senator Diane Feinstein, to come clean about CIBER’s failures, Wilkey wrote to the company on January 26, 2007 [PDF] giving them 30 days to correct the identified deficiencies. Now, as the deadline approaches, Wilkey has itemized the problems in need of correction by CIBER and extended the deadline [PDF] for them until March 5, 2007.

Wilkey, once again as expected, has been very kind to the company that he seems to have spent years protecting.

Meanwhile, in written testimony [PDF] Thursday to the EAC, David Alderman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) explained why CIBER thus far has failed to gain a favorable recommendation from the NIST for future accreditation—CIBER actually missed the application deadline...

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

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Russert omitted any mention to his audience of his FBI interview in CIA leak investigation...
By Margie Burns on 2/8/2007 6:09pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

What did we learn from Tim Russert today, children?

Well, for one thing, we learned that Mr. Russert was interviewed – apparently willingly --- by the FBI about the CIA leak matter back in November, 2003. Under cross-examination by Libby defense attorney Theodore Wells, Russert disclosed that he had been questioned by FBI Special Agent Eckenrode, formerly the case agent for the Plame matter. Russert said that Eckenrode was the one who informed Russert that Libby had said he (Russert) was his (Libby’s) source on the item that Mrs. Wilson, wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson, worked in the CIA. “Mr. Eckenrode shared with me what Mr. Libby had said.”

Russert is on record as testifying firmly and clearly that he did not tell Libby about Mrs. Wilson; he was not Libby’s source. Though he would do well to be equally clear and direct about everything concerning his involvement in the matter...

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By John Gideon on 2/8/2007 4:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Some things stay the same and some things change. It keeps things interesting. The Associated Press is reporting the following from Cuyahoga Co., Ohio; “Vote totals couldn't be pulled from memory cards of some electronic voting machines used in a special election, forcing poll workers to transport the machines to Cuyahoga County's election headquarters for results to be counted.” This happened the day that the county’s election director, Michael Vu, was resigning under duress. The failed memory cards have failed before. No one has yet got a clue that they need to change the way they are holding elections and the first step should be to get rid of the Diebold TSx machines. // Meanwhile in Sarasota Co, Florida the county Supervisor of Elections and constant proponent of paper-less voting, Kathy Dent, is pushing to get rid of her failed ES&S iVotronic DREs so she can get the optical-scan system that the voters demanded. My how people suddenly change their tunes when the voters speak loudly in an election. ...

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By Alan Breslauer on 2/8/2007 3:37am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


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By John Gideon on 2/7/2007 4:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

As related by John Bonifaz of Demos and the National Voting Rights Institute, in a blog on BradBlog.Com, “[Yesterday], Congressman Rush Holt introduced H.R. 811, a bill trumpeted as requiring 'a voter-verified permanent paper ballot.' But before we all jump on this train as the new guarantee that our votes will be properly counted in future elections, we ought to beware of the warning flag. A paper trail from DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) machines cannot protect the integrity of our elections.” And “the Holt bill tries to say it is requiring a paper ballot even for DREs, but, in the end, a DRE 'paper ballot' is nothing more than a paper trail, which requires voters to verify their votes after they have cast them in the DRE machines. Studies show that most voters will not spend the time to verify their votes after casting them into DRE machines. Thus, the 'voter-verified paper ballot' is a fiction when it comes to DREs.”

In the wake of the resignation of Cuyahoga Co Ohio’s election director is the news that memory cards used in local elections in the county failed again.

Officials in California and Idaho are calling for legislation to allow counties to use the Oregon Vote-By-Mail plan....

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Republican Kurt Browning, Former 'Ardent' DRE/Touch-Screen Supporter, Sees the Light...Whether He Likes it Or Not...
Now Will the Dems Do the Same???
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2007 1:13pm PT  


Kurt Browning, the new Florida Sec. of State, says in the one-minute video clip at right that he's "physically and mentally exhausted from having to defend touch-screen voting systems."

That is, of course, a tremendous victory. Particularly in Florida. Particularly from a previously "ardent supporter of touch-screen voting systems" as he admits in the video.

"If voters don't have confidence in their voting systems, what do they have confidence in?" Browning smartly asks. To which we say, "Kudos!"

His statements dovetail smartly with new FL Republican Governor Charlie Crist's recently announced initiative to replace all DRE/touch-screen sysaskems in Florida with optical-scan, paper-based systems (though not for early voting or disabled voters, but we'll take what we can for now).

Nonetheless, Browning's "exhaustion" is a victory for you and democracy! Congratulations all! Keep up the good work! There are many out there who still need to be exhausted!

Now if we could just get the Democrats and some of their knee-jerk supporters out there to see the same light, perhaps we'd be closer to do the day when we can finally declare: "Touch-Screen Voting - Game Over!"

(Hat-tip Jeannie Dean, both for the video and her tireless work down there in Sarasota!)

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Brad Speaking tonight to Pima County, AZ Dems...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2007 11:14am PT  

I'll be speaking tonight to the Pima County Democratic Club at 6:30pm. If you're in the Tucson 'hood, please stop on by!

It's at the Pima County Dem Headquarters:
4639 E. 1st St. (1 blk S. of Speedway & Swan), Tucson AZ
More details here...

NOTE TO PIMA COUNTY REPUBLICANS: I'll be in the area for a few more days, and if you'd like me to come and speak to your folks about Election Integrity, I'd be delighted to! Certainly you're also concerned about same, right?

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By John Gideon on 2/6/2007 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today has been a huge news day. Two bills were filed in Congress; one that we support (HR-756) and one that we don’t. HR-811 (the new HR-550) was filed, with 168 co-sponsors, and became the new Holt Bill. Newspapers began writing editorials and voicing their opinions before any of them could have read the bill. Many groups tripped over themselves in a race to endorse the bill; some without ever having read its contents. One group began, two weeks ago, asking their members to begin making calls to support the bill which was then changed more than once in the ensuing period. VotersUnite will not support this legislation because of its allowance for the continued use of DREs and its corruption of “paper ballot.” At this time, we will also not work against those groups who wish to support the bill. Instead we will stand neutral and report the facts, and an occasional opinion, as we have always done. // It appears that beleaguered Cuyahoga Co. Ohio elections boss, Michael Vu, is to be removed from his job. // Also being reported from Ohio is that the new SOS has asked the state auditor to do a complete audit of the SOS office over the past two years. Blackwell seems to have left a mess and a few problems....

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Guest Blogger and Constitutional Attorney John Bonifaz on Concerns About Holt's 'Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007' (HR 811)
By John Bonifaz on 2/6/2007 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Bonifaz

Ed Note: John Bonifaz is a constitutional attorney, the founder of the National Voting Rights Institute and a Senior Legal Fellow of Demos' Democracy Program. He further serves as co-counsel for VoterAction.org on behalf of the voter plaintiffs in the Sarasota FL-13 case.

Earlier today, The BRAD BLOG posted a short article about the new Holt Election Reform bill in the U.S. House urging readers to read it before either endorsing or rejecting the legislation. We hope to have a thorough analysis of the bill in the coming days and weeks. For now, Mr. Bonifaz, given his background, credentials and current work on the FL-13 case, provides a useful and important perspective on the new legislation.

Today, Congressman Rush Holt introduced H.R. 811 [PDF], a bill trumpeted as requiring “a voter-verified permanent paper ballot.” But before we all jump on this train as the new guarantee that our votes will be properly counted in future elections, we ought to beware of the warning flag. A paper trail from DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) machines cannot protect the integrity of our elections.

Here’s the bottom line: The DRE technology is fundamentally flawed for recording and counting our votes. The Holt bill, unless amended, will further codify into law the use of this technology, piling onto the disaster of HAVA (the Help America Vote Act of 2002) a new disaster.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist recently announced proposed state funding to replace DREs in the state with optical scan machines for election days and Florida is moving forward on certifying the AutoMARK machine, a ballot marking device NOT a direct recording device. New Mexico has already moved away from DREs and has a blended system of optical scan machines and AutoMARK. New York may soon go that way, as may California and Ohio.

Why, in the face of this movement in the states, should we embrace a bill in Congress that allows for the continued use of DREs? Yes, optical scan can also be vulnerable to being hacked, but at least with optical scan, there are still paper ballots (marked by hand or by a ballot marking device) that can be audited or recounted to ensure that our votes are properly counted. DREs provide no such guarantee.

Yes, the Holt bill tries to say it is requiring a paper ballot even for DREs, but, in the end, a DRE "paper ballot" is nothing more than a paper trail, which requires voters to verify their votes after they have cast them in the DRE machines. Studies show that most voters will not spend the time to verify their votes after casting them into DRE machines. Thus, the "voter-verified paper ballot" is a fiction when it comes to DREs.

If none of this is convincing, we need to look no further than Sarasota, the current epicenter of this debate. A "voter-verified" paper ballot or paper trail in Sarasota would not have erased the problem with the 18,000 missing votes in the FL-13 congressional election. With most voters not verifying their votes, most of those missing votes would still be missing --- and with no way to recover them and derive voter intent.

As Brad Friedman rightly says, placing a paper trail on DREs is like placing a seatbelt in the Ford Pinto. The Pinto will still explode --- so what is the point of installing a seatbelt?

We can and we should press for the principled position here: an amendment to the Holt bill that would ban the continued use of DREs and require a real paper ballot. Otherwise, we're going to wake up in 2008 realizing the new disaster we helped to create.

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Big Doings in the Buckeye Today...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2007 3:48pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

As is too often the case, the proverbial shit seems most likely to hit the erstwhile fan whenever we're on the road and unable to cover the splatter sufficiently. This week has been no exception.

There is much movement in Ohio today as Michael Vu, the Election Director for Cuyahoga County, where two Election Officials were convicted two weeks ago of having rigged the 2004 Presidential recount, has now finally resigned from the Board of Elections after what is hopefully his last failed election.

The official BoE statement generously says: "Michael Vu has chosen to pursue future career growth and will resign as director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections March 1 of this year."

In related news --- and speaking of failed elections and "future career growth" --- the office of the new Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, has now officially requested an audit of the SoS's office over the last two years as it was led by the corrupt former SoS and democracy-hater J. Kenneth Blackwell.

In addition to the $80,000 in bonuses given to employees on the way out the door, and the $250,000 settlement Blackwell agreed to concerning the 2004 Election last December (as we reported two weeks ago), Brunner expressed a new concern in her hand-delivered letter to the Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor: Shredded documents.

As reported today by the Columbus Dispatch:

Brunner cites five major concerns that prompted her request, including the revelation that a member of her transition team witnessed "many shredding machines in operation" while Blackwell was in office — and those machines are no longer in the office.

"We hope that this does not affect your ability to perform the complete and thorough audit that we request," Brunner wrote.

Blackwell shredding documents?! We're shocked! Shocked!

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As Ever, With Election Reform Legislation the Devil is in the Details...So Learn the Details BEFORE Supporting or Rejecting This Bill!
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2007 2:15pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new, re-written Election Reform legislation --- now known as HR811, previously known as HR550 in the last Congress --- has been introduced today. It's now available here [PDF].

Holt's bill is the first of several competing Election Reform bills which will be introduced in the House and Senate by various members. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is to hold hearings tomorrow (Wednesday) on "The Hazards of Electronic Voting: Focus on the Machinery of Democracy" in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which she now chairs.

We continue to be on the road, and are thus not able to sit and focus as long as we'd usually like on any one thing. But we will have much to say on Holt's legislation and other bills in the coming days and weeks.

While groups such as VoteTrustUSA, People for the American Way (PFAW) and CommonCause are urging their members to endorse this legislation, for now we'd encourage you to actually read it before making any such decisions.

CommonCause, for example, urged members to endorse this legislation with a campaign begun weeks ago, before the final version was even introduced (the bill has been changed substantially in the ensuing weeks and recent drafts). As of this morning, PFAW had offered several misleading and down-right incorrect bullet points in support of the legislation on their petition page, calling on members to support the bill. We contacted them about that, and at least they've now removed the misleading bullet points, even if they still urge members to support the legislation. More on all of that in the near future as well.

Holt's bill, as proposed, does indeed offer many good and much-needed provisions. However, it also includes several troubling and dangerous loopholes, in our opinion.

By way of full disclosure, we consulted with Holt's office on this bill, having been allowed access to several drafts over the last month or two, about which we were able to offer input. Much of that input was included in subsequent drafts and remains now in the far-better final version. However, other input was not included, and thus we still have concerns about some of the existing loopholes in the bill.

For the moment though, we'd ask you to simply read it and share your thoughts. More on all of this soon...

(We would also ask you again to sign the Open Letter to Congress from more than 40 non-partisan Election Integrity organizations demanding a paper BALLOT --- one that must actually be counted --- for every vote cast, along with a complete ban on disenfranchising DRE/Touch-screen voting machines, which must never again be used in an American election!)

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Thomas Wilkey Has Kept Problems at the Labs Hidden from the Public and Behind a Wall of Secrecy for Years...
By Michael Richardson on 2/6/2007 9:35am PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), seems to bear more direct responsibility for the growing voting machine test lab scandal than any other person. Let's connect a few dots and sift through a bit of murky alphabet soup.

For nearly a decade, Wilkey has overseen the testing process of electronic voting machines, keeping recently revealed problems with the so-called “Independent Testing Authorities” (ITA) a secret from public and elections officials alike. Wilkey also tried to prevent federal oversight of the testing process during the development of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and worked to keep the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) out of his hidden world.

The EAC inherited the responsibility of qualifying voting machine test laboratories from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), where Wilkey strategically positioned himself to control the test laboratories. When HAVA eventually assumed responsibility for the test laboratories from NASED and handed it to the EAC, Wilkey worked behind the scenes to try to keep control over the labs for himself.

Wilkey, formerly the director of the New York State Board of Elections, was appointed to his present position at the helm of the EAC on June 20, 2005. At the time of his appointment, Wilkey chaired the NASED Voting Standards Board, which oversaw the testing labs for voting machine qualification. Wilkey, a founder and past-president of NASED, also chaired the organization’s ITA Committee from 1998 until his departure to the EAC.

As well, Wilkey also served several tours of duty on the board of directors of The Election Center, a non-profit group of dubious (or at least mysterious) background headed by R. Doug Lewis, who is also one of the founders of NASED. The Election Center acted as technical consultants to NASED on voting machine testing. From 1998 until his move to the EAC then, Wilkey was in charge of every aspect of control, selection, and oversight of the voting machine test labs.

His involvement, therefore, in the entire process and the recently revealed failed accreditation of one of the previously-approved labs, CIBER, Inc., deserves close scrutiny --- particularly as one reads Wilkey's bio [PDF] as posted over at the EAC website which describes him as...

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