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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 22, 2014
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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
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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...

Maher Takes Issue With Monica Goodling, Pat Robertson's Regent University and the Bush Hayseeds
Says More Than 150 DoJ Appointees are Graduates of Religous Fundamentalists' Law School...
By Alan Breslauer on 4/13/2007 11:14pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Tonight on HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher smacks down the Bush administration for the hiring and promotion of unqualified personnel including #3 Justice Department official Monica Goodling and the other 150 graduates from Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School that work for the administration. For more on Regent's Law School be sure to check out my post, "When Jesus Calls" (at HotPotatoMash), from earlier in the week.

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By John Gideon on 4/13/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A press release from the office of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) begins:

In the wake of a news report that the Election Assistance Commission altered its findings to overstate the pervasiveness of voter fraud, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today asked the Senate Rules and Administration Committee to look into the matter. Menendez has written Committee Chairwoman Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), expressing his concern over the revelations and asking her to examine the process by which the EAC report was produced. Menendez maintains that the use of the EAC to advance a political agenda is a blow to the integrity of the electoral system and that an investigation into the motivations behind the panel's report is warranted.

Links to that item, and all the other notable voting news stories today, follow below...

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

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UPDATE: Feinstein Sends Letter of Inquiry on both Matters to the EAC...
By John Gideon on 4/13/2007 11:55am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG (here and here) the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is being accused of altering a report that they commissioned and that did not meet their expectations.

In this case the EAC was apparently hoping to show widespread voter fraud had taken place in recent elections but the report that they commissioned revealed just the opposite. The EAC buried the report and issued one of their own that came to no conclusion at all.

Today Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has oversight over the EAC, "expressing his concern over the revelations and asking her to examine the process by which the EAC report was produced. Menendez maintains that the use of the EAC to advance a political agenda is a blow to the integrity of the electoral system and that an investigation into the motivations behind the panel's report is warranted."

Mendendez's press release on the matter is now posted here...

LATE UPDATE: Feinstein sends letter of inquiry on these matters to EAC, demanding all communications and processes leading to the alteration and/or hiding of both the EAC's "Voter Fraud" report and the report showing that Voter ID laws depress voter turnout. Announcement and Letter to EAC posted here...

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The BRAD BLOG will have an EXCLUSIVE new report next week, on yet another recently discovered and astounding failure by the EAC on the heels of a few questions we had ourselves for them over the past week or two...

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Eric Boehlert Documents the Consistenly Irresponsible Rightwing Warbloggers and the MSM's Failure to Report It...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2007 10:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the road...

Imagine if the reporting at The BRAD BLOG was as wrong as often and consistently as the entire swath of the Rightwing Blogosphere. We'd be marginalized and completely ignored by every legitimate mainstream media outlet...even more than we are now. And we're almost never wrong. But in those rare occassions where we are, we're eager to admit it. Prominently.

We're not talking about the small potatoes on the wingnut side, either. We're talking about the most prominent of them, from DRUDGE to Malkin to Power Line to the entire plethora of echo monkeys in the wrong after wrong after wrong wingnut 'sphere.

And yet, despite their consistent record of getting the story wrong, time after time after time, they continue to be referenced as "news" sources by the MSM --- that supposed "liberal media" --- nonetheless.

"In the last month National Public Radio, MSNBC, Bloomberg Radio, Fox News, CNN, and CNBC have all (foolishly) cited the Drudge Report as a source or an on-air reference to support a particular story," Eric Boehlert reported at Media Matters on Tuesday. "Yet all of them turned away last week when Drudge smeared a well-known journalist with a lie. And here's 10 bucks that says those very same news outlets in coming weeks will go back to citing Drudge items," he predicts, in what would be a sucker's bet for anyone to take.

Boehlert's latest report is long overdue. Not that any of it will get the attention that the now-discredited wingnut reports did, as he details, following last week's monkey-echoed (and completely wrong) debacle, claiming that a CNN reporter had "heckled" John McCain at a Baghdad press conference.

I guarantee that if Huffington Post, or Daily Kos, or any other very high-profile progressive online site had billboarded an "exclusive" accusing a public figure of outlandish, unprofessional public behavior, and liberal bloggers coast-to-coast linked to the story, and then it quickly became apparent that the report was a complete fraud, The Washington Post, for instance, would have covered that event as news, highlighting, no doubt, the "angry" tone of the loose-lipped liberal bloggers.

But when Drudge made up a story about a CNN reporter, the Post played dumb.

Boehlert is dead right, of course. And while his report details one instance after another of high-profile wingnuts making absolute asses of themselves, and failing to correct in most cases or apologize in all cases, it's the corporate mainstream "liberal" media who continue to help perpetuate this sort of bullshit by both reporting it as "news" and failing to expose it as garbage when it's found to be wrong. As it usually is.

Meanwhile, the same MSM fail to cover even a fraction of the news reported from the Progressive 'sphere, despite the fact that it's consistently correct.

As Boehlert details:

[D]espite being wrong about the war for four years running, warbloggers still retain an unfortunate amount of media influence, thanks in part to the fact that the mainstream press refuses to detail the warbloggers' blatant failings.

And as the Ware attack illustrated, left to their own woefully inadequate ethical standards, warbloggers have almost no interest in acknowledging their sloppy errors or expressing regret for the harm those errors cause.

Read his report and be appalled.

Beyond that, let us know if you have any ideas on how we could get away with being so wrong, so often, and still become so popular. It would save us a helluva lot of time. And we could use the money.

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Attacks Utterly Irrelevent Malik Shabazz in Utterly Pointless, Embarrassing Exchange
(Following Incredibly Gratuitous, Imus Segments...During War Time...)
By Alan Breslauer on 4/13/2007 2:04am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

It really doesn't get any worse than this Michelle Malkin (filling in for Bill O'Reilly) interview of Malik Shabazz Thursday night on Fox "News". There is so much wrong with the exchange that no analysis can do it justice. The clip picks up about halfway through a discussion on the Duke lacrosse case. Here is a taste:

Shabazz: Will you apologize for being a political prostitute for Bill O'Reilly, a white-male-chauvinist-racist, as a woman of color?

Malkin: You want to call me a whore on national TV?

Shabazz: Yes.

Malkin: There is only one whore on this split-screen and it's you Mr. Shabazz.

Shabazz: As a woman of color, you should be ashamed of yourself...

Only on Fox "News" and immediately after back to back to back Don Imus segments!

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Bush Appointee Admits 'Mistake', White House Has 'Full Confidence', Despite First Ever Call for Resignation of a World Bank President
Staffer Received Pay Increase Double Amount Allowable by Rules...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2007 7:16pm PT  

Blogged by Brad on the road...

Jesus...does this nightmare ever end?!...

April 12 (Bloomberg) --- World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz apologized for his role in the promotion of a woman with whom he was romantically involved as the international finance agency's employees demanded he quit.

Wolfowitz told a press conference in Washington today that he's prepared to accept whatever "remedies" the bank's board proposes. He later addressed the group's Staff Association in the atrium of the bank's headquarters, where colleagues shouted "resign, resign."
...
"I made a mistake, for which I am sorry," he said at the press conference. He also acknowledged the need to reorganize his personal office, where aides have been criticized for a lack of expertise in development aid and for ties to the Republican Party.

The Staff Association, which represents about 13,000 World Bank employees, hasn't called for the resignation of a president before, according to Alison Cave, who heads the group.
...
The Bush administration, which nominated Wolfowitz for the job, has "full confidence" in the World Bank president, said Deputy White House Press Secretary Tony Fratto.
...
Riza's promotion came with a pay increase that was more than double the amount allowed by staff rules, according to Cave. She later received an annual increase of 7.5 percent, also larger than rules allow.

(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "Ancient")

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PLUS: The Freeway Blogger's 'Public Punditry' Contest Begins!
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2007 6:54pm PT  

It was "60 feet long and only lasted about fifteen minutes," the legendary and mysterious Freeway Blogger reports about the above handiwork, courtesy of a brave minion in Chicago. But it was "well worth it according to the artists," says FB, who points out the sign, seen by thousands in that short moment, was "Made with cheap latex paint and disposable plastic tablecloths: about ten dollars for a hundred foot roll. Brilliant."

But leave it to the legendary and mysterious one himself to hit it out of the park with this latest beauty featuring what just may be one of the best catch phrases of our time...

"Blowing the job" bumper stickers coming soon, FB tells us, along with a request that we alert folks to his new "public punditry" contest in league with a few other freedom fighting sites.

Consider it done, and a job decidedly not blown, amigo...Far it be for The BRAD BLOG to leave any unfortunate stain on our reputation.

(Be sure to click the link above, btw, for a sampling of some of FB's greatest historical hits!)

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By John Gideon on 4/12/2007 6:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Yesterday the New York Times reported:

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews. Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Why is it that the main-stream media can report this yet the supposedly bi-partisan Election Assistance Commission refuses to release a report that says the same thing?

Also late yesterday San Diego Co, CA announced that they had hired Michael Vu to be their assistant registrar of voters. Vu resigned under fire from his last job as the election director of Cuyahoga Co, OH where two of his employees were convicted of election fraud for pre-counting precincts in a scheme to cherry-pick precincts to be recounted with no problems. Vu still refuses to believe that the employees did anything wrong. Perhaps Michael Brown will be San Diego county's next emergency preparedness director?

And today voters in Pennsylvania won a suit brought by the state who attempted to stop a suit brought by 26 voters. The original suit challenges the use of electronic voting machines “that provide no way for Electors to know whether their votes will be recognized” through voter verification or independent audit.

Those voting news stories, and many others on a busy day, all lined below...

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

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Active Voters' Social Security Numbers Exposed
By Desi Doyen on 4/12/2007 3:11pm PT  

Guest blogged by DES...

Apropos of voter registration database problems elsewhere, as covered by BRAD BLOG's Michael Richardson earlier today, the Georgia Secretary of State's office has announced an investigation into how 75,000 voter registration cards ended up in an Atlanta trash bin, exposing sensitive information with voters' full names, addresses, and social security numbers.

AP has the details...

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To Replace Promoted Mikel Haas, County Hires Riverside County, CA's Mischelle Townsend as 'Interim' Registrar, Who In Turn Hires Disgraced Cuyahoga County, OH Registrar Michael Vu as 'Assistant'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2007 12:00pm PT  

{Ed Note: This article was original to have been published at ComputerWorld on 4/12/07. Due to a technical problem there, it never ran, I'm running it here, back-dated to tje originally planned publication date so at least it's available here on the Internets, at least for the "historical record". --- BF, 5/22/07}}

Blogged by Brad from the road...in San Diego, of all places...

The latest news out of the People's Republic of San Diego brings to mind Scooter Libby's now infamous note, sent to former NY Times' administration plant Judith Miller, encouraging her to maintain her silence while she was in jail.

"Out West, where you vacation," the disgraced Libby wrote to the disgraced Miller, "the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

The same seems to be true for the Elections Officials, and their various operative/enablers around the country. Where ever you turn over the rock of a disastrously administered election in any part of the country --- such as in San Diego or Riverside County, CA or Cuyahoga County, OH --- it seems you also find the same band of recognizable folks slithering amongst the slime time and again. Turning in clusters, if you will, because their roots connect them.

Such seems to be the case now that one of America's worst Registrars of Voters, San Diego's Mikel Haas --- he of the infamous Busby/Bilbray debacle and voting machine "sleepover" fame --- has been promoted by the county. Failing up, if you will, like so many other 21st Century Wingnuts before him in Bush's America.

He's been replaced on an interim basis by Mischelle Townsend, the retired former Registrar of Voters in Riverside County, CA. She was responsible for bringing unverifiable, inaccurate, hackable touch-screen voting systems to America for the first time, as Riverside was the first in the nation to offer this "luxury" to voters. Riverside has been on a collision course with election integrity ever since.

Aside from conflicts of interests she brought to the dubious transaction in 1998 --- her husband, was VP for a firm which directly benefited from the county's purchase of the Sequoia touch-screen voting systems --- Townsend is tellingly quoted during an interview on the DVD version of HBO's Hacking Democracy proudly declaring: "Electronic touch-screen ballots are 100% accurate. We've not seen a single example in which their accuracy can be disputed."

As if that's not a horrific enough punishment to subject the otherwise beleaguered and battered voters of San Diego to --- they deserve far far better, especially following in the carnage of the county's disastrous Reign of Haas --- she has now hired as her "assistant," the disgraced and recently resigned-by-force, Michael Vu, the Election Supervisor for Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Vu was pushed out of his job in the Buckeye State just weeks ago after two of his poll workers were convicted and sentenced to the maximum allowable time in prison for having rigged --- yes, rigged --- the 2004 President Recount in the county.

Vu oversaw the entire affair and reportedly admitted that county workers opened sealed ballot boxes to do a pre-count prior to the recount which was requested and paid for by the Green and Libertarian parties. As the trial revealed, the outrageous violation of law was carried out to ensure the mandated the 3% "randomly" selected precincts (which were not randomly selected after all) would match the previously reported results. Both the judge and the prosecutor made it clear that they believed the conspiracy went much higher up the food chain.

As well, Vu ran one of the worst election debacles of the 2006 cycle --- and that's saying quite a bit --- when absentee ballots couldn't be read by his Diebold optical scan system and his brand-spanking new Diebold DRE touch-screen voting systems failed to record votes properly, as determined by an independent analysis commissioned after the primary election meltdown in the county.

But that's not all. Another new criminal investigation is now underway in Cuyahoga looking into a number of troubling recent discoveries. Among them, computer audit logs have been discovered to reveal that early and absentee voting results were printed by someone at Vu's county headquarters prior to Election Day. (The same thing also was recently discovered to have occurred in Pima County, AZ where a law suit is currently underway to get to the bottom of it...just so you'll keep your eye out for what may well prove to be a concerted national conspiracy if the Aspens keep on turning in such remarkable clusters.) Oh, and a network cable was left in one of the tabulation computers overnight, and in violation of regulations, for some odd reason. But certainly that was just an accident, right?

Little surprise then, that San Diego's North County Times reported that Haas told them "the county immediately moved to contact Vu when he became available and felt lucky to hire him."

Of course they did.

Haas also continued his impressive, and growing track record as an accomplished liar of some reknown, by telling the paper that "Vu resigned for personal reasons and had family living on the West Coast."

Of course he did.

The BRAD BLOG has spoken at length with Vu in the past, and we've found him, like Haas the Horrible, to be a very affable fellow. Even if his actions, not his words, reveal him, like Haas, to have an extraordinary disdain for democracy and the voters who they supposedly serve.

We've been told that Vu has said he regards Townsend as "a mentor". So it comes as little surprise that he'd show up when beckoned by her, and littler surprise, after all we've come to learn about the County of San Diego, that their Board of Supervisors so despise their own voters that they'd allow Vu, despite all that's known about him, to be hired as an "assistant".

Rest assured, however, with Townsend --- who had previously been enjoying a quiet retirement from the madness that she had wrought on Riverside --- only committing to "interim" status at the Registrar's office, it won't be long before the full Reign of Vu commences. We believe you can bank on it. On a Diebold ATM if you wish.

America's Elections Officials, those who are most assiduously dedicated to subverting democracy with electricity, and those who time and again are found at the rotten core of virtually every bad election in the country, are indeed connected at the roots. And they continue turning in clusters.

And the voters continue to pay the price.

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New Computerized System was Rife with Bugs, Unexplained Errors and Party-Flipping According to Newly Revealed Documents...
By Michael Richardson on 4/12/2007 11:27am PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The 18,000 "undervotes" in Sarasota and other questionable elections in November 2006 election were not the only problems faced by Florida voters last year. Most of them, in fact, likely have no idea just how bad it really was.

Florida's statewide voter registration database, and election management systems designed to work with it, were plagued in early 2006 with a host of problems. Some of the details are now revealed by a raft of email messages sent recently by a source to the non-partisan election integrity watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org which posted them quietly on their site for public scrutiny.

Sixty-four email messages to election officials, spanning a four-month period from January to April 2006, from VR Systems, a Florida corporation, document a staggering series of serious problems with Florida's new computerized voter registration database during the early months of its implementation. The emails, from Jane Watson, a manager at VR Systems, provide a disturbing picture vis a vis a nearly day-by-day report from inside the software test lab.

The Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS) is statewide voter registration database described by Watson in the emails as a "home grown system" built by IBM to Florida specifications and maintained by Department of State staff. Voter Focus is a software system, unique to Florida, which provides election management functions to 60 Florida counties.

The emails tell the tale of software failures which began in January 2006 as programmers furiously work to solve program glitches and failures prior to the state's upcoming elections. The system went online before development was complete, in order to meet the January 1st deadline imposed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The source of the Florida emails, an insider familiar with the development and implementation of the database who has requested anonymity, tells The BRAD BLOG that, "The system should never have seen the light of day until the bugs were worked out. They used the voters and county election officials as guinea pigs to experiment on and test the program."

Documented failures include the software somehow, without apparent reason, switching the party registration for voters. As one of the emails describes: "We are seeing instances of voters being changed to a different party when there was no user activity. This is our top priority now." And the next day: "We worked this weekend on diagnosing voters whom we suspected as having had their party changed by Voter Focus...There were 3 counties with high numbers of suspected cases of this kind of inadvertent party change."

The emails remain unclear on whether the problems were completely found and fixed, and whether or not all voter files had been correctly restored. Later emails suggest that various related problems still existed months later when voters, whose registration should have been recorded in the system, were nowhere to be found. Votingindustry.com, a website which tracks the progress of the implementation of statewide registration databases, currently describes Florida's system as "Still working out kinks."

Jane Watson, the author of the memos, spoke with The BRAD BLOG and confirmed the authenticity of the emails. She explained that the federal government with its HAVA mandates "didn't understand the time it takes to develop programs."

While Watson stressed her confidence that no voter was disenfranchised in 2006 because of bugs in the statewide voter registration system, she admits that "party changes never have worked as well as they should" and that "there are still some things to work out..."

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

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AUDIO FILES: Public Service Announcements Calling on Action Against PFAW, a Ban on DREs...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2007 7:57pm PT  

Blogged by Brad on the road... (Yes, I'm on the road again for a few days, and struggling to keep up.)

People For the American Way (PFAW) has yet to respond to my formal request or correct their unconscionable use of my name and website in spreading their misinformation about Election Reform and the Holt Bill (HR811) on their website. While I continue to consider them "the good guys," their deceitful behavior and lack of attention to this matter makes it harder to hold on to that assessment.

Please let them hear from you: (pfaw@pfaw.org)

If you've haven't yet, please see this open letter to PFAW from the day before last, requesting that they cease their outrageous mischaracterization of my personal position on Election Reform, as well as condemning the out-and-out dishonest misinformation on the Holt Election Reform bill that they are peddling there. All of that comes on top of their incredibly irresponsible advocacy in favor of the use of dangerous DRE touch-screen voting systems.

They know what they are doing. They are doing it anyway.

While the other major public advocacy groups in league with PFAW --- including MoveOn, Common Cause, VoteTrustUSA, and others --- are not actively advocating for the use of DREs, as PFAW is, none of them have disassociated from PFAW's indefensible position or spoken against their dishonest use of my name and website in support of their agenda.

For those who have expressed skepticism about PFAW's position, since they are usually considered "good guys" in these matters, here's a quick sampling of their statements in support of DRE voting, as published on their website in the official PFAW's analysis of the Holt bill [PDF] (from pages 2 & 3):

DRE technology offers better access options to voters with disabilities and voters who have minority language needs.
...
DRE technology is much more effective for minority language voters.
...
DREs afford voters with disabilities an opportunity to cast an independent secret ballot— something that optical scan paper ballots cannot fully do.

All demonstrably misleading or untrue. Non-tabulating touch-screen ballot marking devices, which print a paper ballot, can be used by the disabled without disenfranchising voters and creating unverifiable electronic ballots. And DRE technology is not "much more effective for minority language voters" --- quite the opposite is true, in fact. They have no science to back up their position. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Those statements, however, are at least out in the open. In their "Democracy Campaign FAQ", they have changed their tune, and used quite a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand to disguise their position. See my open letter to them for a few of the more egregious examples.

...AUDIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS CONDEMNING PFAW'S DISHONEST BEHAVIOR & IN FAVOR OF A BAN ON DRE VOTING SYSTEMS...

Cynthia Black of Action Point on KPHX 1480 (Air America/Nova M Phoenix) kindly asked me to record a couple of quick Public Service Announcements on these matters. They are now running on the station.

She suggested the PSAs be made available for others to use as well. Feel free to pass these on to your favorite local radio station, or use them as you see fit. Two spots, one on PFAW, and one on the need to ban DRE/touch-screen voting systems in Rush Holt's HR811 bill...


-- "Contact PFAW!" PSA Spot [MP3, :26 seconds]


-- "Ban DREs!" PSA Spot [MP3, :26 seconds]

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By John Gideon on 4/11/2007 4:28pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The Election Assistance Commission has again taken deserved flack for hiding commissioned reports that do not meet the political aims of some. Instead the commission has released versions of the reports that more closely represent those aims. The New York Times reports:

A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times. Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.

Meanwhile Congressman Hinchey (D-NY) has said:

The EAC has an obligation to be forthright with the American people and operate transparently and in a non-partisan manner. The draft report was commissioned with taxpayer dollars upon a mandate from Congress so that we could learn more about voter fraud and intimidation.

Those stories, and many many more today, all linked below...

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

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The Mess We've Been Warning About for So Long, Concerning the EAC, Finally Makes it to Prime Time...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2007 3:31pm PT  

More on the EAC's "voter fraud" report boondoggle covered earlier today.

The New York Congressional delegation has sent us a statement (posted in full at the end of this article) in which Rep. Maurice Hinchey excoriates the behavior of the EAC in hiding, and then altering, the report's findings for political reasons.

"The draft report was commissioned with taxpayer dollars upon a mandate from Congress so that we could learn more about voter fraud and intimidation," says Hinchey. "The need for this report is even more clear when we see the way in which the Bush administration is carrying out the electoral process and how this system is sliding towards corruption."

"Slide towards" may be an understatement. Hinchey --- who requested that the original report be disclosed by EAC Chair Donetta Davidson, a Bush-appointee, during a recent Congressional hearing --- is a member of the House Administration Committee which is now considering Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NY) Election Reform bill, which will make the hopelessly partisan and haplessly incompetent EAC a permanent body for the first time in its short, controversial life.

New York's Rep. José E. Serrano, a member of the appropriations subcommittee which oversees the EAC, says he's concerned about the "partisan bias" apparent in the two different versions of the report.

"When you read the draft report side-by-side with the final version, it is clear that important conclusions of the experts who wrote the draft report were excluded from the final product. Among the excluded information is an analysis that undermines the notion that voter fraud is rampant," said Serrano.

Democrats, however, are not in the clear on this issue themselves...

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

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NY Times Finds Original Bi-Partisan Draft Report, Buried by the EAC, Concluded Fears of 'Voter Fraud' Were Overblown
Altered, Politicized Report Follows Familiar White House Pattern, Brings Additional New Concerns About Continuing Status of EAC...
By Arlen Parsa on 4/11/2007 1:12pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

The New York Times reports today that a governmental report on the so-called dangers of "voter fraud" was manipulated to reflect the Bush Administration's claims rather than their own panel's findings.

The Times obtained two copies of the report on voter fraud, the first of which [PDF] concluded that fears of voter fraud were overblown and exaggerated. The second --- and official version of the report --- however steps back and promotes ambiguity about the danger (or lack of danger) that voter fraud poses to American democracy.

The Times reports:

A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.

Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.

The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians, who have long suggested that voter fraud is widespread and justifies the voter identification laws that have been passed in at least two dozen states.

Democrats say the threat is overstated and have opposed voter identification laws, which they say disenfranchise the poor, members of minority groups and the elderly, who are less likely to have photo IDs and are more likely to be Democrats.

Though the original report said that among experts “there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,” the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that “there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.”

The bi-partisan report had been buried for months by the supposedly bi-partisan U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), which has come under fire of late for partisanship and a failure to oversee the electronic voting systems and voting machine vendors they are supposed to be overseeing and testing for compliance with federal standards.

The two bi-partisan authors of the original report were bound, by contract, as reported by the Times, to keep quiet about their opinions on the final report. However, following the release of the EAC's edited final version, one of the two authors, Tova Andrea Wang, a Democracy Fellow at the The Century Foundation, telegraphed some of her opinions about it in a guest blog we ran at The BRAD BLOG titled "Where's the Voter Fraud?" Her editorial made clear that the Republican claims of a "voter fraud" epidemic in America were simply unfounded and being used as a political weapon to suppress Democratic voter turnout via the use of Draconian Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

The EAC's approach in releasing their altered final version of the report --- spreading doubt when there is really a consensus among experts --- is a technique that the White House has used in several instances when expert agreement is not politically convenient. Perhaps the most famous case of this was when the Administration trumped up scientific doubt about climate change and used it to mis-portray findings of government scientists.

According to the originally submitted draft report [PDF], marked "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION," voter fraud at polling places, which Republicans have frequently cited as part of a massive, insidious attempt to undermine democracy, is not nearly as frequent as is claimed.

As The BRAD BLOG has previously reported, debate about the report, and its initial origins, was highly politicized by members of a White House-connected GOP front-group organization whose founder, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, a St. Louis resident and White House operative, is closely associated with the EAC's Paul Degregorio, a fellow St. Louisan, who was chair of the federal body when the report was first commissioned.

An email obtained by the Times detailed the complaints of the lead Republican author of the report, Arkansas election attorney Job Serebrov, in response to pressure to alter the conclusions of the report's findings...

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

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