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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By John Gideon on 8/9/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In an interview by Mary Ann Gould on “Voice of the Voters” last night Congressman Dennis Kucinich said, “There is a question of validity of an election. People have to know their vote counts and is counted. People cannot be guaranteed that with the present DRE system.” Meanwhile another overall election failure has been reported by the Mississippi media. The Kentucky Attorney General has told the Secretary of State that doing nothing is not an option as he sends letters to Hart Intercivic and Diebold and demands they do the same for his state as they are required to do for California. And, of course, the rhetoric is building in California.

All of those stories, and today's other notable voting news articles, linked below...

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

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Says Congress Has Not Said Attorney General Guilty Of Any Wrongdoing
By Alan Breslauer on 8/9/2007 4:33pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




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On Election Integrity Program Says 'There Might Be a Legal Basis For A Lawsuit That Deals With Denying The Right To Vote'...
By John Gideon on 8/9/2007 1:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

Last night Congressman Dennis Kucinich was one of two guests on the Election Integrity radio program, "Voice of the Voters," which airs weekly at 8PM Eastern on WNJC Radio 1360AM and streams live.

The subject was voting machines, the vendors, and the voters, and Kucinich raised the possibility that the recent studies done on such systems in California might be the basis of a lawsuit to throw out "that technology." He said felt that legal action, in this instance, may be a faster route than waiting on Congress to act.

He also discussed his concerns about the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines in general, and expressed his feeling that they do not allow for confidence by the electorate. "There is a question of validity of an election. People have to know their vote counts and is counted," he told host Mary Ann Gould, "People cannot be guaranteed that with the present DRE system."

Here is the audio of Kucinich's the interview with Mary Ann Gould on yesterday's "Voice of the Voters" (about 20 mins):

(Hat tip to Alan Breslauer for preparing the audio.)

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Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles Lobby for Accountability in Meeting with Chairman of House Oversight Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2007 12:53pm PT  

Marcy Winograd, former Democratic candidate for the U.S. House and President of the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles (PDLA), sent the following e-mail missive to PDLA members earlier today describing a meeting on Tuesday with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

The conversation regarding Impeachment, the Congressman's views on same, and the arguments made by the activists in favor of it are interesting and offer some insight into both Waxman's thinking at this moment and, undoubtedly, that of many other House Democrats who clearly are seeing things differently from inside the Beltway than those of us outside of it.

We can only hope that all U.S. House and Senate members are getting such an earful now that they're on recess and back in their home districts. Here's Winograd's instructive report in full...

Waxman Says He Will Keep an Open Mind on Impeachment

Congressman Waxman, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, told an impeachment
delegation meeting with him in his Los Angeles office, Tues., Aug. 7, 2007, that he would mull over his constituents' articulate arguments, watch the Bill Moyers' interview on impeachment, and weigh whether there was sufficient evidence to, not just impeach, but convict Bush and Cheney. Waxman told the delegation it was not enough to believe Bush and Cheney were responsible for high crimes; his decision to support or co-sponsor an impeachment resolution must be predicated on the knowledge that there is overwhelming evidence for a conviction.

Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, California's 41st Assembly District Delegates, the Los Angeles National Impeachment Center, and the LA Green Party participated in the office delegation, while a group of impeachment supporters rallied outside, holding Impeachment is Patriotic signs and a huge banner that read Impeachment is on Our Table.

Inside, the 14 impeachment lobbyists meeting with Waxman offered multiple arguments...

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

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LETTER: AG Stumbo Demands Same Protections from Diebold and Hart InterCivic for His State as Demanded by Debra Bowen In California
While KY's 'Do-Nothing' Secretary of State Wants To Do Nothing...
By John Gideon on 8/9/2007 9:25am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

The impact of California SoS Debra Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" is beginning to be felt, tangibly, in other states across the country.

One such state is Kentucky, where this morning a press release was issued by the state's Attorney General Gregory D. Stumbo demanding that electronic voting machine manufacturers immediately correct security flaws identified in the independent reviews by experts in California.

In terse letters sent to voting machine companies Diebold and Hart Intercivic (letters posted in full below), Stumbo demanded that the companies "immediately implement in Kentucky all modifications and security upgrades necessary to correct the vulnerabilities identified by California."

Stumbo had this to say during in his news release this morning:

"Security upgrades are needed immediately to ensure voter confidence in the upcoming election," said Attorney General Stumbo. "Waiting and hoping for the best is not an option when the problems are obvious. Kentucky deserves the same prompt corrective action as California."

Meanwhile Kentucky's "do-nothing" Secretary of State, Trey Grayson publicly criticized Attorney General Stumbo's statements to which Stumbo retorted:

"I cannot share Mr. Grayson’s do-nothing attitude. Kentucky is a first class state that deserves the same voter security and protection as the California Secretary of State demanded and received."

The two one-page letters [PDF] from KY AG Stumbo to Hart InterCivic and Diebold demanding the same immediate corrective action as required by the state of California are posted in full below...

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

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

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

California is still the big news. Counties are beginning to realize that they have some decisions to make and some planning to do. While most counties take on the challenges one or two Registrars have decided that rather than do any planning they would rather whine and threaten. These will probably be the counties who are not ready in February. Meanwhile there is more news from Kentucky where the Secretary of State is traveling around the state talking with local officials about the California reports and what they mean to Kentucky’s voting machines. Tuesday was primary day in Mississippi and the media is talking about the many failures, both with voting machines and administratively, in their election....

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

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Tells AlterNet That His Legislation Would Require Paper Ballots, But It Doesn't...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2007 9:54am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road in Oklahoma...

"By November 2008, every voter would be given a verifiable paper ballot," Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) lies to Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet today concerning his flawed Election Reform Bill (HR811) which is still pending in Congress.

Despite the comments to Rosenfeld, Holt's legislation does not require a "paper ballot" --- no matter how many times he tries to put lipstick on that pig.

The state of California recently found the very voting systems Holt is pushing to see used across the entire nation to be easily hackable and not in compliance with federal requirements for disabilities voters. The state also found the "paper trail" that Holt's bill is to require for such systems, and which California already uses, cannot stop the tampering with votes found to be so easy on such systems.

Despite CA SoS Debra Bowen having decertified and severely restricted the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines with so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) last Friday --- as the Holt bill would allow for use --- and despite her having found that such paper trails do not protect voters and do not even meet minimal disabled accessibility standards, Holt continues apace to push his paper trail bill.

California's unprecedented independent study and actions "just adds more weight, more urgency to the need to pass federal standards," Holt told Rosenfeld concerning Bowen's appropriate decision to restrict the use of the systems. "We can't go into another federal election with machines that do no allow voters to verify their votes," he said --- despite the fact that his legislation does exactly that.

While Holt continues his disappointing campaign to deceive voters, media, and Congress Members into believing that "paper trails" are actually paper ballots, America seems to be moving on without him for the time being. In addition to the new restrictions in California, the use of DREs was recently banned entirely in Florida and New Mexico, and other states are re-evaluating their use of such systems.

HR 811's most powerful proponent/advocacy-group inside the beltway, People for the American Way (PFAW), is on record as preferring non-verifiable DRE voting systems over real paper ballots. They'd both do well to reconsider their positions, and adopt the voters' desire for paper ballots --- ones which are actually counted --- and a full ban on DREs.

Mr. Holt: Your deceptive misuse of the words "paper ballots" is a dog which no longer hunts. Please stop it.

[DISCLOSURE: I was asked to work with Holt's office on the language in HR 811 prior to its introduction in the U.S. House. Though I strongly urged they ban the use of DRE systems, that particular recommendation was not taken. I was, however, told that if I could convince PFAW to accept such a ban, they'd adjust their legislation immediately. So far, that has yet to happen. PFAW can be reached at PFAW@PFAW.org.]

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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Conny McCormack Worried Diebold Won't Make Enough Money off the Voters She is Supposed to Be Working For...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2007 9:00am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from somewhere in Oklahoma...

The shameful assault by California Elections Officials on the state's voters in the wake of CA Sos Debra Bowen's correct, yet courageous, decision to decertify and then limit the use of Diebold and other vendors' unreliable, hackable touch-screen (DRE) voting machines continues.

According to yesterday's LA Daily News, Conny McCormack, the Registrar of Voters in Los Angeles County, is very, very concerned...about profits for Diebold!

McCormack told the [Los Angeles] Board of Supervisors that Friday's decision by Secretary of State Debra Bowen requires all votes made on computer touch-screen systems to be hand-counted after the election to ensure accuracy.

Normally, only 1 percent of those votes are manually recounted.

"It's a shock that we'd have to hand-count at 100 percent," McCormack said.

McCormack said Bowen's order requires the county's vendors to pay the costs of that recount, which she estimated at $400,000 per election.

"I think we have to see what the vendors are going to say about that," McCormack said. "The vendors aren't going to make much money in Los Angeles County if they have to pay $400,000 for the recount."

But Supervisor Gloria Molina upbraided McCormack for her concerns about the vendors' profit margins.

"I think you are walking close to the edge," Molina said. "I don't understand why you are so protective of the vendors. You keep saying you are concerned about what this is going to cost them.

"It's really none of our business. It shouldn't be in our interest to protect the vendors' profits."

Why is McCormack "so protective of the vendors," as Molina asks? The answer may lie in determining whom McCormack is really working for.

She's supposed to be working for the voters, of course, not the vendors. But that's never stopped Conny, apparently. Here's Cover Girl Conny as she appears on the Diebold sales brochure to help them sell their voting systems...

McCormack has, of course, joined --- and even led --- the state's Elections Officials in their the outragous (and fallacious) attacks on Bowen, the state's chief Election Official.

In the meantime, McCormack hasn't bothered to attack either Diebold for lying to her and us about the security of their voting systems, or ES&S --- the vendor of her paper based voting system, used by most Los Angelinos --- for refusing to supply their op-scan source code, as per state law, for Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review." The ES&S InkaVote system has therefore been completely decertified for the moment.

The vendors lie and withhold information illegally, but Conny continues to fight for them and their profits. Not one word on behalf of the voters. What a disgraceful display.

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By John Gideon on 8/7/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today we have much more from California including the first talk about counties filing a lawsuit to stop Bowen from forcing them to meet new requirements. The Houston Chronicle has editorialized about the CA decisions and the fact that officials in Harris Co Texas should look into using some of the security measures newly mandated in California. The Kentucky AG has requested that the SoS re-examine voting machines used in that state. A New York newspaper is gloating because the state has yet to decide what system they are going to use for elections and they will save millions by not going down the same path as other states. Meanwhile the Miami Herald points out that the vendors are making money by putting out garbage, forcing jurisdictions to change systems. In Mississippi elections are happening today. The vvpat printers on the state’s Diebold DREs are jamming and at least one county is blaming the humid weather. A call to a paper products wholesaler proved what I thought was true; thermal paper as is used in vvpat printers is NOT affected by humidity.

Links to all of those stories, and the other notable voting news, all below...

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

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Secretary Of State Debra Bowen Decertifies E-Voting Machines
By Alan Breslauer on 8/7/2007 11:52am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




A Transcript of the segment of Lou Dobbs is below

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

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And Yet Another Sad Chapter from the Lying Liars of Diebold, America's #1 Un-American Voting System Company...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2007 6:05am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Plano, TX...

Staying, as we were for a few days, just about five minutes from Diebold Election Systems, Inc., headquarters in Allen, Texas, we thought it might be nice to drive by and see the old place for ourselves late last Saturday night...

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

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John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle! For an Unbelievably Clueless Report on CA SoS Debra Bowen's Recent Decision to Restrict Use of Touch-Screen Voting Systems
Wait Until You See What He Reported!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2007 12:49pm PT  

Filed by Brad Friedman from Diebold Country (Plano, TX)...

There have been some first class examples of horrendous journalism in the wake of CA SoS Debra Bowen's historic attempts to begin righting the e-voting wrong late last Friday Night. (You can see a bunch of them for yourselves linked in John Gideon's 'Daily Voting News' yesterday.) In story after story, Election Officials --- most ubiquitously Steven Weir, Registrar of Contra Costa and President of the California Assoc. of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO), but many others as well --- and Voting Machine Spokesliars are directly quoted making one demonstrably false statement after another.

The majority of the journalists covering the beat don't seem to have a clue that they are being lied to, or how to counter it. A good start, however, would be to improve the ratio of Vendors/Elections Officials quoted to the number of Election Integrity advocates quoted. In many of the stories, there is barely a peep from the EI folks, who actually know what's going on (versus the Journalists who don't, and the Election Officials and Company Employees who are willing to lie to them). There is also a dearth of reporting on the opinions of actual voters and how they feel, since they are the ones who will be most notably affected by Bowen's long overdue changes to the Golden State's voting system.

Of all the stories we've reviewed since Friday, however, this Sunday piece from John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle easily takes the cake for the most atrocious reporting, perhaps ever.

In his incredibly unbalanced, anti-Bowen article --- featuring the biased, misworded, and unsupported headline "Touch vote machine ban hurts counties" --- Wildermuth offers an astounding bit of "reporting" on Bowen's new restrictions for Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting devices made by Diebold and Sequoia. In order to marginally meet federal requirements for a single disabled accessible voting device in each polling place (even though Bowen found that these systems do not meet such requirements), she's ordered no more than one such DRE device be used per polling place in counties who wish to deploy them for disabled voters.

Hold onto your hats, because Wildermuth, incredibly, mis-reported the point this way (emphasis added)...

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

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Unlike Articles of Impeachment the Hinchey/Feingold Resolutions, if Passed, Would Carry Absolutely No Actual Consequences for the Men Accused of 'Disregarding Rule of Law'
Was Hinchey Just Kidding When He Described the Admin Just Weeks Ago as 'The Most Impeachable in the History of Our Country'?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2007 10:46am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...in Texas...

Now UPDATED with a response from Hinchey's office. See update at end of article.

Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate have announced they are prepared to issue a very, very stern slap on the wrist to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales.

Moments ago, in a joint news release (posted in full below) issued by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), it was announced that Censure resolutions, which have absolutely no force of law or actual consequences if passed, would be brought against the three men in both chambers.

"From misleading this country into invading Iraq to establishing a warrantless domestic spy program, this White House has continuously misled and deceived the American people while disregarding the rule of law that guides our democracy," says Hinchey in the statement.

Of course, it could be argued that a resolution of Censure, in lieu of a trial on Articles of Impeachment, is one of the only ways the U.S. Senate can bring some form of historic accountability to the three accused men until such Articles of Impeachment are sent to them by the U.S. House. But where the Senate may be limited in that they cannot bring their own Articles of Impeachment, the U.S. House has no such excuse.

The Censure resolution brought by Hinchey seems to fly in the face of his own comments on the Peter B. Collins Show just weeks ago when he said that this administration was "the most impeachable in the history of our country." From the transcript/audio of the interview:

HINCHEY: I think that this administration --- both the President and the Vice-President --- are the most impeachable in the history of our country. They have engaged in activities that have not only made them impeachable, but they have engaged in activities that have violated, in a criminal way, very important federal laws.

And yet, Hinchey is now supporting only Censure, apparently.

If Hinchey and his 19 co-sponsors in the House believe the White House needs condemnation for the points they describe in their resolutions of Censure --- which read like a swell description of Impeachable High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- then they have little excuse not to perform their Constitutional Duty and bring forward Articles of Impeachment in the House for this precise set of serious crimes which, as Hinchey said, "disregard the rule of law that guides our democracy."

Then again, courage of conviction is not something Democrats are too often accused of.

While we were unable to reach the White House for comment, we are fairly well able to anticipate their expected reaction to the Democrats latest attempt at "accountability":

The press release from Feingold and Hinchey, announcing Censure Resolutions in both the House and Senate, follows in full below. Following that is an update with a response from Hinchey's office to the comments above...

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

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By John Gideon on 8/5/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

“With gratitude, VotersUnite! applauds Secretary of State Bowen's decision to decertify voting systems in California and recertify them for limited use with extensive conditions and safeguards intended to mitigate their shocking vulnerabilities and inadequacies.

We appreciate that she has her priorities in order and is protecting the voices of voters, rather than deferring to the complaints of those election administrators who prefer convenience over accuracy, or bowing to the protestations of vendors who have misrepresented their products.”

And, as ever, the huge list of notable voting news stories today are all linked below...

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

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To Appeal to 'President's Conservative Religous Base,' DoJ Looked the Other Way as Kids Were Sexually Molested by Those 'Protecting' Them...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2007 11:34am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Plano, TX...

"Compassionate Conservatism" at work.

Dallas Morning News reports today that there were 2000 confirmed allegations of kids in the Texas juvenile penal system who were beaten and molested by those who were supposed to be protecting them between Jan 2003 and Dec 2006.

The U.S. Justice Department knew about it and declined to prosecute. 2000 cases.

Notably, one of the sick and twisted "voter fraud" zealots at the U.S. DoJ, Bradley Schlozman, also finds his way into the middle of this story. As the Morning News, who spent three months on their investigation, reports on the ignored cases of rape, abuse, and manipulation of these kids:

[T]wo former career attorneys in the [DoJ] Civil Rights Division contended the department's political leadership shifted enforcement priorities to human-trafficking prosecutions because that would appeal more to the president's conservative religious base. One of the attorneys said there was also a desire not to anger the law-and-order segment of the Bush constituency with abuse of authority prosecutions.

[Albert Moskowitz, chief of the Criminal Section from 1999 to 2005, said] his supervisor, Bradley Schlozman, left no doubt about his distaste for abuse of authority cases.
...
"He sort of made that clear, and that had a sort of self-censoring effect on people," Mr. Moskowitz said. "People got awards not for doing police cases but for doing [human] trafficking cases."

The U.S. Attorney in San Antonio, Johnny Sutton, who received the case referral is "chairman of the U.S. attorney general's advisory committee and a Bush family friend." He declined to prosecute, on the grounds that no federal laws were broken by the detailed cases of sexual abuse in which "victims revealed that none sustained 'bodily injury'...None of the victims claimed to have felt physical pain during the course of the sexual assaults which they described."

The Bush Administration, and their DoJ, have similarly parsed the definition of "torture," claiming that if there's no permanent bodily injury, it couldn't be "torture."

No doubt "the president's conservative religious base" is prouder than ever of their man.

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