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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2008 11:49pm PT  

I just finished a very lively late-night hour (actually 26 minutes with all the commercials removed, you're welcome) on San Francisco's KGO with Christine Craft. The discussion concerned the Supreme Court's outrageous ruling in the Indiana Photo ID restriction case, and my article yesterday detailing how difficult it now is to vote in Indiana if you don't happen to have one. Rights shmights.

The audio features plenty of wingnut callers who just don't get it, demonstrating why it's so damned difficult to fight off this out-and-out GOP voter suppression scam/assault on your democracy and Constitution. If it's this difficult in "liberal" SF (albeit, on "conservative" KGO), this nation is in big trouble. And, if the articles from the last few days here haven't made that clear, we are. Big time. This November is gonna be a nightmare. Big time.

Give it a listen. If only for the clueless callers and chickenshit racist emailers (MP3 Download, 26 mins)

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By John Gideon on 4/30/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

North Carolina voters who live in predominately black neighborhoods are the target of robo-calls and a mailing campaign, by a national non-profit called “Women’s Voices; Women Vote,” that may result in many voters being disenfranchised. The calls warn voters, whether registered or not, that they cannot vote until they fill out the information in a packet they will receive in the mail. The packet contains a voter registration form. What the call and the information in the packet don’t tell the voters is that it is too late to register to vote in the primary and that if recipients are already registered they don’t have any concerns. This same scheme has been used in other states prior to their primary elections. It is time that legislation be written and passed that will make these schemes illegal....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2008 12:45pm PT  

Media Bloodhound nails the latest corporate mainstream media disgrace. This time, courtesy of NBC's Brian Williams, and Dick Cheney's longtime former protégé turned NBC News "reporter" Pete Williams...

Last night, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams allotted eighty seconds to yesterday's momentous Supreme Court ruling that there's nothing unconstitutional with Indiana's law requiring a photo ID to vote. Meanwhile, during the same broadcast, it spent over two minutes on the concern caused by photos of teen star Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair.

That would be embarrassing enough for a news organization purporting to be credible.

But earlier in the day on the Nightly News blog The Daily Nightly, anchor and managing editor Brian Williams (in a post titled "What Times Is It?") actually took The New York Times to task for publishing puff pieces.

Well, at least Williams covered the outrageously anti-Constitutional Supreme Court decision, sure to disenfranchise thousands, if not millions, of voters, right? Even if only for 80 seconds. But, as it turns out, no coverage would have been preferable to Williams' unfair, unbalanced (and inaccurate) coverage...

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

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Yes, we said 'liar.' And if you hadn't known that already, here's even more hard evidence...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2008 11:10am PT  


On Election Day in 2006, in Sarasota County's 13th U.S. Congressional district race, some 18,000 votes cast on ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems failed to register a vote for either candidate on the ballot. It was an extraordinarily high undervote rate, which has never been explained, in an election outcome determined by just 369 votes. (BRAD BLOG's long series of reports on FL-13 here.)

Nonetheless, just last year, the county's horrible, and still un-resigned, Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent (one of the country's absolute worst), lied to a bunch of colleagues during a speaking engagement at the Pacific Northwest Election Conference.

"It was only after the results were in and the 18,000 undervotes were revealed that all of a sudden there were all of these folks that started saying well they couldn't touch the machines ... and their vote wasn't registering," she tells her colleagues, as seen in the video above right, as captured by Ginny Ross of the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition.

"But they were all after the fact," Dent informs the crowd, "and there were no phone calls coming into my office. So it's a little bit of an indication that there may have been some politics involved in this."

Documentation from her own office, however (yes, a paper trail!), shows incontestably that the Election Director's comments, as caught on tape, are a complete and utter and unrepentant fabrication...

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

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By John Gideon on 4/29/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In a laughable blog item Sequoia’s Michelle Shafer takes snippets of news articles that make Sequoia’s machines look good while she ignores all of the reports of problems. It must be harder and harder for Shafer to find good things to write about. Just last week she was attempting to make a point that Sequoia’s intellectual property (IP) must be protected from independent review in New Jersey. Then details of a company-wide phone call were released that revealed that not only does Sequoia not own any IP but that President Jack Blaine made statements about how good it was that they didn’t have any IP....

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

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The Perfect Gift for the Careful, Discriminating Hacker...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2008 12:24pm PT  

Sure, Diebold voting systems have been easily hacked again and again. Sure, they use the same hotel mini-bar key for all of them. Sure, they posted the key online so folks could make their own at home. Sure, they leave their poorly written source code on the Internet for folks to download and study it. And, sure, there are many videos (e.g., here and here) to help you through those final steps, in order to successfully hack them yourself.

Still, there's nothing like hands-on practice, in the privacy of your home, to make sure you get everything just right before the big day comes. So, might we suggest this lovely new Diebold/Premier Accuvote OSx voting system, currently available to the highest bidder at eBay?

Hey Election Officials and Voting Machines Companies: How's that whole "security by obscurity" thing going? Might we suggest security by transparency and full citizen oversight instead? Oh, that's right. We have. Many times. But please feel free to continue to ignore us.

(Hat-tip to Melissa Urda, of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, where, btw, almost the exact same Diebold Accuvote systems are currently used in 64 of Illinois' 111 counties, not to mention thousands more around the country. So, run don't walk over to eBay, sez us!)

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By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2008 11:39am PT  

For those wondering what a legally registered voter needs to do to successfully cast a ballot in Indiana --- now that their draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions have been upheld by the Supreme Court --- so that it might be counted, in the event the voter doesn't currently own a state-issued photo ID (no, military ID is not acceptable) we thought we'd offer a handy quick guide.

Note: It doesn't matter if you've voted in every single election for the last 40 or 50 years at the same polling place. Nor does it matter, as Justice Souter pointed out his dissent yesterday, "that the State has not come across a single instance of in-person voter impersonation fraud in all of Indiana’s history." You'll still need to do the following if you don't happen to have an IN drivers license!

Also note: Given the SCOTUS decision, and the nation-wide GOP effort (anywhere they can get away with it) to deny legal, Democratic-leaning voters from being able to even cast a ballot, folks in other states may wish to read the following to get an idea what's likely to be coming your way, as the Republican War on Voting successfully rages on. Please try not to be a causality.

How to cast a ballot in Indiana, if you don't currently have a state-issued ID:

  • Find your birth certificate or passport. If you don't have either, you might be able to apply to the state to get a copy of your birth certificate, if you happened to have been born there, for just $12. A passport may cost you $100 (I can't help you get to the place where you'll need to get your photo taken for that.) UPDATE: BRAD BLOG commenter Mary Mancini points out Indiana's requirements for a copy of your birth certificate, require you to have......you guessed it...a Photo ID!
  • Get yourself to a Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Don't let the fact that you don't drive, or have a car, or have access to public transportation, as in many counties in Indiana, stop you from getting to the BMV before Election Day.
  • Do the above every four years, without fail, or risk not being able to vote like everyone else at the polls in Indiana on Election Day.

If you fail in any step above, don't have the money to afford the necessary documents, or have a religious objection to having your photo taken, do not to worry. Indiana has you covered...

  • Figure out how to get to the nearby polling place to vote. (Unlike the BMV, polling places in IN, for the moment, are many. If you're lucky, one will be close enough that you can walk there, presuming the weather in Indiana, say, in November, allows it. Though many will help you get to the polls on Election Day, even if they're not always available to drive you to the BMV at other times of the year.)
  • When you get to the polls, and are told you can't vote like everyone else, because you have no state-issued ID, you'll get to vote on a provisional ballot (hopefully, at least that's the law).
  • Don't forget to sign the affidavit on the ballot, stating that you are who you say you are, before dropping it into the box, so officials can match your polling place Election Day signature with your voter registration form signature.

But it's not over yet, if you want to get that vote counted somehow! (Having it counted accurately and/or transparently, due to the voting systems used in IN, is largely out of any citizen's hands, at this point.)

  • Before 10 days have elapsed after you've voted, you must now go back and figure out how to get your Photo ID still! (see original three steps.) And then...
  • Get a ride to the county seat, however far that may be from where you live. Get to the Courthouse there within those 10 days, and then show them your ID as mentioned above, sign yet another affidavit, similar to the one you signed on Election Day at the polling place on your provisional ballot, attesting again to the fact that you are you. And then maybe, just maybe, if that signature is also judged to match your registration, then your vote might be counted.

No, it's not onerous at all. As Scalia and friends noted in their decision [PDF] yesterday, "the burden at issue is minimal," as he sees it. (Though we're guessing he probably owns a state-issued ID already.) So what could those losers on the Supreme Court have been thinking, just 42 years ago, when they struck down a simple $1.50 poll-tax on the grounds that it might keep some voters from being able to cast their legal vote? Silly them.

Welcome to America's brave new modern world. 9/11 changed everything.

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By John Gideon on 4/28/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today’s wrong-minded Supreme Court ruling on voter ID is not really a surprise but it is still very disappointing and disheartening. I’ve listed a few articles under “NAtional” below even though the ruling affects Indiana only at this time. The ruling will open the flood gates for more states to join the move to disenfranchise voters. It is a sad day....

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

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Polling Place Photo ID Restrictions in Indiana Upheld by SCOTUS in Courageous and Historic Dredd Scott-like Decision
But Why Stop at Keeping Black and Elderly Fraudsters from Stealing Elections?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2008 3:22pm PT  

As the great voting rights advocate, Rush Limbaugh, trumpeted at the beginning of his radio show this morning, today's 6 to 3 Supreme Court ruling allowing new, modern restrictions regarding which citizens may or may not cast votes at American polling places on Election Day, is "a huge, huge, huge move forward to undercut Democrat efforts to commit voter fraud this fall."

Fortunately, instead of coming in June as expected, this decision on an Indiana Photo ID restriction case comes just in time to prevent massive voter fraud at the polls in Indiana's Democratic Primary two weeks from now, when millions of fraudulent Democratic voters were almost certainly plotting to try and show up to vote on electronic voting systems on which it's impossible to prove one way or another whether they did or didn't vote the way the machines will tell us they did. With voting systems like those in use across the Hoosier State, and elsewhere around the country, it's all the more reason to ensure those Democrats can't show up and commit the fraud they were probably planning to engage in on May 6th!

The news is certainly the most important SCOTUS decision pertaining to elections since the triumphant, well-considered, and much-beloved Bush v. Gore decision of 2000. Today's verdict will undoubtedly be heralded and taught at American institutions of learning for decades to come, with the same reverence as that dedicated to landmark Supreme Court decisions like 1857's Dredd Scott v. Sandford ruling, which thankfully found that "people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants --- whether or not they were slaves --- could never be citizens of the United States, and that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories."

The Supremes have done it again! But no such important American political battle like that which was won today is ever fought alone. Due thanks must go to the long-fought efforts of countable simple citizens around our nation, concerned about the integrity of voting. We'd be remiss without noting some of the selfless freedom fighters who helped make today's great news a reality: Courageous, unheralded voices, such as those of "longtime advocate of voter rights" and Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, tireless Republican "voter fraud" information-wareness man John Fund, and Bush-appointed DoJ Civil Rights Division guardians of the ballot box, like Hans von Spakovsky, Bradley Schlozman and its former Voting Section chief, John "Minorities Die First" Tanner.

Thanks to brave men like them, and Mr. Limbaugh, of course, it'll be a new day at the polling place this fall! One in which, if Republicans legislators around the country hurry up and get on the anti-voter fraud ball, they can assure that millions of Democratic-leaning citizens won't be fraudulently mistaken for actual voters when they show up at their polling places this November.

But are restrictions that may keep just blacks and the elderly from casting a ballot enough to ensure the true integrity of our vote? Shouldn't we keep fighting to ensure that legitimate voters like you and me don't have our voices diluted by even more fraudulent groups out there, like gays, communists, and dead people, who every year change the results of election after election through their insidious anti-American efforts, because I say they do?

Read on for a couple of new ideas. Clearly, today's SCOTUS decision is a good start, but it hardly goes far enough to ensure that the right American voices are heard, as our founders intended! 14th Amendment, equal protection, blah, blah, blah, my ass!...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2008 9:17pm PT  

Let the history books show that the Democrats, and the tiny number of Republicans, who voted NO on giving authority to George W. Bush to wage war in Iraq (and virtually everywhere else) anytime he wished, in October of 2002, were right on every score.

Those who spoke out, and were publicly tarred and feathered, labeled as unpatriotic, left-wing fringe, out of step with the country, and generally loons for having done so --- folks like Feingold, Kennedy, Durbin, Waters, Lee, Kaptur, Kucinich, Wellstone, Woolsey, Waters, Conyers, Hinchey, and perhaps, most prophetically, according to Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue's the new documentary film, Body of War, Robert Byrd of West Virginia --- are all owed a great debt of thanks by every American, particularly those who had maligned them for having the temerity to be right back then.

Last night I went to see Body of War, which opens this weekend in Los Angeles, and was struck by the simple message that an entire swath of courageous Congressional members, who had stood up, to little notice, to say the right thing, were almost entirely - to a man and a woman - branded as moonbats and traitors back in the dark days of 2002. To this day, they have never received the appropriate recognition for having resisted the systematically orchestrated lies and fear tactics of the pro-Bush crowd (which includes both Ds and Rs), nor have they received the appropriate thanks and apologies from those who were absolutely, undebatably, undeniably, 100% wrong in their horrific assessment of what will go down as perhaps the greatest policy mistake in American history.

To that same end, I would suggest that history will eventually regard the much-maligned Gold Star mother, Cindy Sheehan, as belonging side-by-side with courageous Americans before her like civil rights hero Rosa Parks. I predict that Sheehan will, one day, receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. I only hope she'll be alive to receive that honor, from that body, in person, when that day comes. And it will.

Donahue was on hand last night for a Q&A following the film, which I attended along with PDA's national chair, actress Mimi Kennedy. As I, personally, played a small part (and am seen briefly in the film) in originally helping to tell the story of disabled Iraqi vet Tomas Young, whose remarkable story is told in stark parallel to the fateful --- and often shameful --- words heard during the "so-called" Congressional debate on the resolution to allow the use of force in Iraq back in 2002, just three weeks prior to that year's election, I was delighted to be able to thank Donahue personally, for placing the entire story, finally, in correct, often maddening, often gut-wrenching, historical context.

(See bottom of this article for my audio interview with Young in August of 2005, his first for a national audience, from on the ground at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX.)

Body of War should be seen by every American, left, right, center, and other. It should be mandatory viewing for every current and future Congressional representative. It should be shown over and over again, in an endless, Clockwork Orange-like loop, in the jail cells of those who will likely never be convicted for the unspeakable crimes they have knowingly and callously committed, at the expense of thousands of courageous dead American troops, and more than 100 thousand dead world citizens, who have all fallen victim to the cowardly and shameful actions of those entrusted to know better...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2008 9:01pm PT  

At least one photo I hadn't previously seen, even as Pennsylvania officials were telling the media that all was going well last Tuesday. Even while we documented, in no uncertain terms, that it wasn't.

Trouble with Diebold, purportedly in Allentown...

More at this Barack Obama community page...

(Hat-tip to NCVoter's Joyce McCloy, to whom we wish the best of luck in the upcoming North Carolina primary. What could possibly go wrong?)

UPDATE: Several readers have written in to point out the above photo does come from Allentown, PA, but from the 2006 election, as originally reported here. Can't believe I'd never seen that photo before! In any case, happy to put it on the official BRAD BLOG record here, as just one more way these machines can fail on Election Day, leaving the possibility of voters unable to even cast a ballot (much less have it be counted in a way that can be verified as accurate, a notion that is strictly impossible with the type of voting machine seen above, even when it "works" as designed!)

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By John Gideon on 4/27/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In an updated article, Brad Friedman reveals that while the Sequoia spokeswoman, Michelle Shafer, claims that their Intellectual Property (IP) must be protected, in fact, they don’t even own the IP used on their voting systems. It is still owned by Smartmatic of Venezuela, the previous owner of Sequoia.

Does the State Attorney’s Office that has jurisdiction in Broward Co Florida really expect us to believe that there is no conflict of interest when the county writes a no-bid contract with ES&S for $5.4M for new optical-scan machines, where one of the county commissioner’s husbands works for the lobbying firm that represents ES&S? He was also the lobbyist who sold the county $18M worth of junk DREs in 2002. Are they blind or do they just think the voters are stupid?

Those stories, and more, all linked below as usual...

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

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By John Gideon on 4/25/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Attorney Penny Venetis won a huge victory in court in New Jersey today. The judge found against Sequoia Voting Systems and the state. Election officials, who have complained about an issue with the machines where a few machines misreported some results on Super Tuesday, can now provide the machines to Prof. Ed Felten of Princeton University for inspection. The good Professor gets the machines, software, and source code. Sequoia had threatened to attempt to quash any subpoenas that were issued. The judge has now scheduled a court date for September to hear testimony regarding the reliability of the Sequoia voting machines. One has to wonder how the folks at Hart Intercivic feel about their attempt to take over Sequoia in light of this new development....

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

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UPDATED WITH EXCLUSIVE NEW DETAILS: Sequoia CEO Jack Blaine Admits Company Does Not Control the Intellectual Property Rights for Sequoia's Voting Machines!
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2008 1:30pm PT  

[UPDATED: Please be sure to see the update, containing exclusive, previously unreported news, added at the bottom of this article.]

The BRAD BLOG learned this morning that a New Jersey judge has today given plaintiffs and Princeton University computer scientists the right to examine the state's Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed to record voter totals accurately, in at least six different counties, during the Garden State's recent Super Tuesday primary.

Sequoia had previously both threatened legal action against the professors, despite a unanimous request from a state association of county election clerks, and attempted to quash the court-ordered subpoenas to have the machines impounded and examined independently.

The Courier-Post confirms this afternoon, and publishes the following account of the Judge's decision today...

A New Jersey judge says voting rights activists should have a chance to examine the programming of touch-screen voting machines.

The order was issued today by Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg in Trenton. She dropped a May trial date on the reliability of the machines but says the trial should start by September.

She has been asked to decide if the state's 10,000 electronic voting machines should be scrapped, as the voting rights advocates contend.

The state of New Jersey says the machines should continue to be used in elections.

The manufacturer of the machines, Sequoia Voting Systems, has resisted efforts to have the machines tested independently.

The BRAD BLOG has covered this (sometimes very amusing) saga in great detail, since it first came to light following the election (and even on Election Day, when machine failure kept the NJ Governor from being able to cast his own vote for 45 minutes).

For those who haven't been able to keep up with it all, a post which quickly recaps the bulk of Sequoia's disgraceful NJ behavior can be read here.

We've also continued to cover (with complete exclusivity, unless someone else in the media cares to join us! Hello?) the saga of beleaguered Sequoia's fight for their very life, as they attempt to fend off a hostile take-over by competitor Hart InterCivic.

IMPORTANT/EXCLUSIVE UPDATE!: AP jumps in with a few more details raising a point which The BRAD BLOG can reveal here for the first time, concerning Sequoia's "intellectual property" rights. Namely, they neither own, nor control them, as admitted recently by the company's own CEO...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2008 7:05am PT  

Earlier this week I posted my invitation to address the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), on behalf of The BRAD BLOG, at a roundtable of "Voter Advocates" to discuss the proposed 2007 federal Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG).

Given the primary in PA this week and other considerations, as I noted then, it seemed wiser for me to stay back here in LA rather than travel to and from DC this week. So I asked computer security expert and e-voting specialist Dr. Rebecca Mercuri to sit in for us. She did so yesterday, and will be joining Peter B. Collins and me tonight on his radio show, during my weekly Friday guest appearance (5pm PT, 8pm ET, listen online here) to report on how things went.

I was, at least, able to submit my own written statement to the EAC, with my fairly direct thoughts on the VVSG and the nightmare such federal certification standards have wrought. The statement is now posted [PDF] at the EAC website, along with some of the statements from some of the other participants, and it's also posted in full below.

I'll try to update this item with the audio from the PBC show later tonight, and Dr. Mercuri will likely post her own report in full here at The BRAD BLOG in the coming days.

Update: Audio from the PBC Show, with myself and Dr. Mercuri discussing the EAC roundtable, now available for download [MP3], or online listening here (commercials removed, appx 42 mins)...

My written testimony/statement to the EAC follows in full below. Please enjoy, and feel free to let me know what you think in comments...

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

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