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The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2008 2:07pm PT  

Please pay attention, people.

Another race, the second in a week, has now been overturned in Arkansas due to failures of the ES&S voting machines (here was the other we reported earlier in the week).

Says the candidate who ended up losing in the very-low-turnout race after the ES&S machine failure was discovered: "What's going to happen in November when there's a presidential race and there's all sorts of people here. This was a 1,500 person turnout. What's going to happen when there's a 20,000 turnout?"

What's going to happen indeed. Arkansas is quickly becoming Florida/Ohio, it seems. Worse, these very same, oft-failed ES&S machines are used all over the country.

Here's coverage from the Arkansas paper [emphasis ours]...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2008 1:08pm PT  

Good news for voters across American on Friday, as the judge in the Pima County, AZ, court case has finally agreed that citizens can try and see how citizens voted in elections, even if they are run by Diebold.

Via email from AZ Electon Integrity advocate Jim March...

Judge Miller's final decision came in this morning on the public records case filed by the Pima Democratic Party.In short:

  • All Diebold database files held in the trust's vault are to be released.These go back to 1998.
  • Database files in future elections are to be made available at the time of the final canvass.The judge appears to be suggesting that CD/DVDs or similar media with this material be prepared by the county for immediate release so that the material can affect challenges within the statutory five-day limit from the day of the canvass.
  • There is nothing in this order regarding the legal bills rung up by [plaintiff's] Attorney Bill Risner. However, given the now-absolute victory in this revised order (attached ed note: download here [PDF]) plus recent changes to AZ law supporting legal fees and costs where a government agency loses a public records suit, it seems very clear Mr. Risner is getting paid :-)

Congratulations! And thank you, EI folks in AZ!!!

Previous BRAD BLOG coverage of the Pima County case here...

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By John Gideon on 5/23/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

It was a successful day in Pima Co, Arizona, where a Superior Court Judge found that the county failed to prove its contention that the release of all electronic election databases to the Pima County Democratic Party would jeopardize the integrity of future elections and that they must release those computer records from past and future elections.

New federal legislation to be introduced by Sens. Feinstein and Bennett would require that voters casting their ballots using direct recording electronic (touch screen) voting systems would be able to simultaneously verify their choices by means of an independent paper, electronic, audio, video, or pictorial record. Such records would be auditable and would also be available for review in the event of a recount. The effective date for implementing this requirement would be January 1, 2012, unless a state requested a waiver until January 1, 2014. ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2008 4:37pm PT  

First Amendment...

CN8 has fired veteran TV journalist Barry Nolan for publicly protesting the decision by the local Emmy Awards to honor Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly.

Nolan tells MediaBiz he was fired Tuesday following a two-week, unpaid suspension.

More at Boston Herald... (Hat-tip RAW STORY.)

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Who Could Have Foreseen It?!...Apparently not Senators Feinstein and Bennett Who Have Announced New Federal Legislation Which Will Allow the Use of These Very Machines for Years...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2008 2:47pm PT  

As God is my witness, there will be blood...okay, hopefully not blood...but massive Election Disasters this November. Disasters which might have, should have, could have, otherwise been averted had Election Officials bothered to actually read this blog every couple of days over the last four years, and done a damned thing about it other than make excuses for their horrible decisions and continuing state of denial.

Keep in mind, we are going to save the most troubling aspect of this report for the very end, so those of you who can take no more of this garbage, will be able to bail out before hand.

If you can take it, prepare to be amazed by the end, as we wend through the massive failures in Arkansas last Tuesday, through mind-blowing new (disastrous) federal "Electronic Voting Reform" legislation just announced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) with Sen. Bill Bennett (R-UT), before landing in West Virginia, where a candidate on last week's ballot assures us everything is just fine because the guy spotted by voters opening up the voting machines and going inside of them to make adjustments at the polls during Election Day was him.

It's as bad as it sounds. Read on, if you feel strong enough, otherwise, abandon hope all ye who enter here...

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

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HBO's Retelling of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle on Sunday Raises Interesting Questions about 2008 Certain to be Ignored as Quickly as Possible by the American Corporate Mainstream Media...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2008 6:35am PT  

"The recount never really happened," notes Kevin Spacey, correctly, about the 2000 Florida election debacle in his interview Wednesday night on Countdown, in advance of Recount, HBO's theatrical retelling of the nightmare. The film premieres this Sunday.

Some weeks ago, we ran an item which included the theatrical trailer for the film and noted that we've neither seen it, nor been contacted by anybody from the production (they didn't purchase an ad here either, boo hoo) but that they did manage to use our "Stuck in the Middle With You" theme song for the film, curiously enough, as you'll see in the trailer. We'll take it as a compliment, as if we have a choice.

We also noted, with evidence, that Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush in the state of Florida in 2000, and that seven whistleblowers from the company, Sequoia Voting Systems, who produced the paper ballots for Florida, have come forward to reveal that they were forced by someone to use bad paper on those ballots (only in Florida) against their objections, and to misalign the chads on them (only in Palm Beach County). To this day, other than Dan Rather at HDNet, who originally ran the report, nobody in the corporate media has found that story worthy of following up, or even merely reporting.


But for the third in our countdown of productions with the word "count" in its title, we turn to our friend Mary Mancini, who smartly blogs at the website of the documentary film Uncounted (We're in it, so see FULL DISCLOSURE at end of this article). Mancini notes that Olbermann, during his interview with Spacey (at left, including clip from film), joined so many other journalists who have taken the opportunity of the premiere of HBO's film to miss more than a few good journalistic opportunities...

With all the publicity surrounding this movie, now would be the perfect time for journalists to take the national conversation to the next level and ask the most logical follow up questions:

1) Why wasn’t our electoral process equipped, as Kevin Spacey says in the interview, “to handle margins of victory so small and margins of error so big” in 2000?
2) Are we equipped to do so now?
...
Another great opportunity was lost last night when during the interview Spacey explains the punch-card recount process:

That when you have a margin of victory so small, you have to go to what is called an automatic machine recount and yet, 18 counties, over 1,500,00 votes, didn’t bother to put their ballots back through the machine. They just re-tabulated the memory card, and you always get a different count when you do a machine recount. So, when you kind of realize that, well, that’s ’cause people just couldn’t bother to do it, um, it’s pretty stunning that…that…so..when Baker and Bush kept coming out and saying, “The votes have been counted, and they’ve been counted again, and Gore wants to count them a third time,” they were actually never counted.

No, they weren't. And the Supreme Court demanded that they remain uncounted, so Bush could be named "President."

Only the media and academic consortium who actually did bother to count all of those ballots [PDF] afterwards in Florida would know that Gore received more votes than Bush. Period. Even if they've done a superb job of keeping that little fact to themselves ever since. Whether HBO's Recount tells that truth, we'll have to wait until Sunday to find out.

Following below, for your convenience, are both the HBO trailer for Recount and, once again, the breathtaking Dan Rather report on the gaming of the paper ballots in Florida's 2000 election...

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

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By John Gideon on 5/22/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The minor problems experienced by voters in Arkansas that I reported here two days ago seem to have been a lot worse than was reported by the media on Tuesday; at least in White Co. Not one voting machine functioned properly at any of 32 polling places in the county. In one race there was a 3,954-vote disparity. That problem was cleared up only after the losing candidate found the disparity and called it to the attention of officials. Also, the internal clocks were never set for Daylight Savings time so the machines would not open on time and would not close on time. Also on the list of errors was candidates' names left off of the ballot....

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

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Disparities of Thousands of Votes, Faulty Flash Cards, At Least One Race Overturned After Tabulation Failures Discovered...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2008 1:40pm PT  

Arkansas had huge problems with their ES&S voting systems during local elections last Tuesday. Malfunctioning machines at multiple sites, and thousands of vote disparities, led to recounts, changed outcomes and at least one race was overturned in the bargain.

It's hardly he first time they've had problems with their ES&S voting systems in the state. Arkansas uses ES&S for almost everything with regards to elections and the vendor has a record of terrible work there, as we saw in 2006. (See bottom of article for links to scores of previous examples.)

"No voting machines functioned properly at any of the 32 White County voting sites on Tuesday," according to the Daily Citizen. That problem, most likely related to failures in the Ballot Definition Files as we'd warned about on Monday, seems to have led to a 3,954 vote disparity in two different races. That discovery then led to a "recount" of all the races on the ballot, which subsequently changed all results, and even overturned one of the races.

In Crawford County, it was "faulty" flash cards, reportedly, which initially led to the inability of the central tabulator computer to read the voting results from the county's 43 electronic voting machines.

From the Daily Citizen: "Winner rejoices, then deflated"...

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

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ALSO: DoJ Office of Professional Responsibility Opens Investigation into 'Selective Prosecution' of Siegelman 'and Othersm,' According to Announcement from John Conyers
Download the Documents: Full Subpoena, Atty Letters, Announcement of Investigation from DoJ OPR...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2008 12:04pm PT  

Just sent to The BRAD BLOG by John Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2008

Conyers Subpoenas Karl Rove

(Washington, DC)-Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), issued a subpoena to former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for testimony about the politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ), including former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's case. Yesterday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, sent a letter to the Committee expressing that Rove would not agree to testify voluntarily, per the Committee's previous requests.

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers said.

"Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate. Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters."

Separately, Chairman Conyers recently received a letter from DOJ's Office of Professional Responibility (OPR) indicating that the office has opened an investigation into allegations of selective prosecution of Siegelman and others.

Included below and attached are the relevant documents:

  • Full text of the cover letter sent to Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney (attached and below); [Download here]
  • Full text of the subpoena (attached); [Download here]
  • Full text of the letter received yesterday from Luskin, declining to provide voluntary testimony (attached); [Download here]
  • Letter from OPR regarding new investigation into selective prosecution allegations (attached). [Download here]

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

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By John Gideon on 5/21/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Is anything but a take-over by Hart Intercivic going to save Sequoia Voting Systems? The Sequoia president, Jack Blaine, seems to have been caught, again, trying to deceive officials. This time he may have been less than truthful when providing testimony and written responses to members of the Chicago Board of Elections and a concerned city alderman. ...

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

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Sequoia Voting Systems' CEO, Jack Blaine, Sent Deceptive Letter to Windy City Officials Following 'Evasive' and 'Troublesome' Testimony on his Company's Control by Smartmatic, a Chavez-tied E-Voting Firm
Documents Reveal Officials Sought to Ensure Venezuelan Company's Divestiture of Sequoia Was 'Not a Sham Transaction Designed to Fool Regulators'; Recent Reporting by The BRAD BLOG Reveals That it Was...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2008 11:02am PT  

-- by Brad Friedman

The CEO and President of one of America's largest voting machine companies, Sequoia Voting Systems, gave both deceptive, and carefully selective, answers in his reply to a letter sent earlier this year from two high-ranking officials in Chicago, according to documents recently obtained during an ongoing investigation by The BRAD BLOG.

Sequoia's chief executive, Jack Blaine, repeated knowingly false answers, at least three different times, in his January 18 response to Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke and the Chair of Chicago's Board of Election Commissioners Langdon D. Neal. The pair had written to the company on January 11, expressing concerns about the truth behind Sequoia's claims that they had completely divested from their purportedly "former" parent company, Smartmatic, the Venezuelan-run firm with direct ties to Hugo Chavez and his government.

Last year, as media reports revealed the true extent of Smartmatic's shadowy foreign ownership --- and with it, the direct control of some 20% of U.S. elections --- the firm came under close scrutiny by federal investigators from Treasury Department, the FBI and the IRS. In November of last year, Sequoia announced that it had "completely" divested from Smartmatic in a management team-led buyout, thus ending an official review by Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

But in January, the officials from the Windy City --- where Sequoia holds one of the company's most lucrative contracts --- had continuing concerns about whether the sale was legitimate, or simply a dodge to avoid scrutiny by federal investigators. They were right to be concerned.

In their letter, Burke and Neale requested written responses from Sequoia after what was described as "evasive" and "troublesome" sworn testimony from Blaine the previous year, following "malfunctions of Sequoia voting machines during primary elections held on March 21, 2006."

In his testimony before a Chicago City Council joint committee in April of 2006, Blaine had claimed he didn't know the specific details of the financial arrangement that existed between Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc., and the Smartmatic Corporation, despite being president of both companies at the time. He did, however, manage to admit to the joint committee that at least 15 Venezuelan nationals were flown in to assist in the tabulation of votes in the troubled March '06 election and that the Venezuelans had access to Sequoia's source code. Blaine also conceded that it was "possible" that Chavez' government could hold an interest in the company, but that he wasn't certain because the ownership of Smartmatic was concealed in an off-shore trust.

In their series of follow-up questions to Blaine in January 2008, Alderman Burke noted that "the entire Smartmatic episode has served as a reminder of how important it is to know and trust who is counting the votes in our elections."

"It is therefore important," he continued, "to confirm that the sale of Sequoia by Smartmatic is not a sham transaction designed to fool regulators and to further confirm that Smartmatic and the government of Venezuela have no ability to influence or control the new owners of Sequoia."

Blaine's written responses to the officials, sent to Neale the following week, were dishonest, misleading, and even cleverly evasive on at least one crucially important point. His answers also contradict details recently exposed in a series of investigative exclusives by The BRAD BLOG, revealing several startling facts about the true ownership and control of Sequoia.

Moreover, after we broke the news in April, concerning the attempted hostile takeover of Sequoia by competitor Hart InterCivic, Blaine appeared to joke with employees during a confidential company-wide "town hall" teleconference about "the line" he used with yet another Chicago official, Cook County Clerk David Orr. "He accepted it completely," Blaine told employees, as he underscored the importance of keeping details of the attempted takeover confidential, and how he was being less than forthcoming about it with the company's customers...

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

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By John Gideon on 5/20/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

As of press time there are no reports in the media of voting machine problems in Kentucky. There were some reports of “minor problems” in Arkansas today where they are also holding elections.

ES&S is raping New Mexico counties for maintenance charges for the state’s machines. The Secretary of State has had to borrow $153,000 from another state agency to pay 6 months on the maintenance contract. ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2008 6:35am PT  

Some 33,500 registered voters in Oregon received two ballots in the mail for this year's primary election in the country's only 100% Vote-by-Mail (VBM) state. Though Secretary of State Bill Bradbury says he's confident the problem will be handled, and that no voter will get to cast two ballots, that snafu is a small concern compared to the larger ones presented by VBM.

Many Oregonians will tell you they believe their system is wonderful, yet many of the Election Integrity advocates on the ground there, including many we've spoke with at the Oregon Voting Rights Coalition, warn that the success of the state's VBM program is largely based on good procedures put in place by Bradbury, and which they fear may disappear, as they are not statutory, when he is someday no longer the state's SoS.

In the meantime, one of the unintended consequences of the success that EI advocates have had in helping to expose the failures of electronic voting systems, is that absentee and/or VBM systems have been growing in popularity.

For the voters, they believe such systems offer a "paper trail" not available to voters using touch-screen systems at the polling place. Many are unaware that their mailed-in ballots will be scanned by the same error-prone, easily manipulated optical-scan machines which handle paper ballots for precinct-based voting. But even worse, ballots mailed in, if they arrive safely, and are counted at all, are usually counted "in the dark," versus ballots scanned either at the polls on Election Day, or at county headquarters after the close of polls when citizens are often there to watch.

It is also much harder to track such ballots. Unlike ballots cast at the polls, where sign-in rosters can be compared to the number of ballots counted, it's far more difficult to match up such numbers after ballots are dropped into the black hole that is the U.S. Postal System.

For both major political parties, particularly the Democrats of late, the control they can have over ensuring voter "turnout" under such systems, and the increased participation that comes with it, is a big plus, and one of the reasons why they've been pushing mail-in elections of late.

But for those of us who prize transparency, security, privacy, and verifiable accuracy over partisan politics, all VBM elections remain a terrible idea. Here's why...

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

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By John Gideon on 5/19/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

41 voters in Atlanta, Texas went to the polls to vote for, amongst other items, a candidate for City Council District 1. Little did those voters know that the city had leased the machines from Cass County and Hart Intercivic had done the ballot programming which contained an error. It turns out that the vendor had programmed the DREs used by the city so more than just citizens of District 1 could vote in that particular race. Rather than 41 votes there was a combined total of 198 votes cast. This is an accuracy issue that was not caused by the voters and is another clear violation of HAVA Section 301(a)(5)....

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

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RELATED: No Voter Fraud by Space Aliens Found Either, Though Ann Coulter's Clear Case of Voter Fraud Remains Wholly Unprosecuted...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2008 5:30pm PT  

Texas' Republican Attorney General has found that there's little or no "voter fraud" of note down there either, despite a promise two years ago, according to the Dallas Morning News, to "root out what he called an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas," and his creation of a special unit which "tapped a $1.4 million federal crime-fighting grant" to expose the election stealing rascals.

For all of his crime-fighting in those two years, across the big Lonestar State, TX AG Greg Abbott has prosecuted just 26 cases, "all against Democrats, and almost all involving blacks or Hispanics," according to the Morning News, most of which resulted in "small fines and little or no jail time."

Additionally, almost all of them (18 of 26) involved mail-in absentee ballots where elderly voters were "illegally" given assistance in mailing their ballots, versus in-person voter impersonation of the type that cynical GOP attempts to mandate draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions are purportedly meant to deter. (In reality, they are meant to deter Democrats from being able to cast their legal ballots, so Republicans can more easily "win" elections.)

Just eight of the 26 prosecuted cases, the Morning News found, out of Abbott's two-year effort, involved any kind of ineligible or manufactured votes --- only 2 actually involved individuals casting fraudulent ballots at the polls, the rest were registration fraud issues --- and none of them revealed any larger conspiratorial scheme meant to effect the results of an election.

In the meantime, critics charge Abbott has been ignoring complaints about Republican election skulduggery, and we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that nobody has bothered to prosecute Republicanist Ann Coulter, for her several demonstrable voter fraud-related felony crimes in Florida despite, dead-to-rights evidence as published by The BRAD BLOG since early 2006.

We'd also like to point out, that in addition to there not being "an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas," there is similarly no such epidemic among space aliens either. Though Ted Rall suggests we may wish to implement some new measures there too...just in case...

Prices now slashed in The BRAD BLOG's 2008 Election Integrity Fund Drive! Please support our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available starting at just $5!
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