After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
The software most likely to steal elections is the BALLOT DEFINITION SOFTWARE loaded onto paper-based optical-scan and DRE (usually, touch-screen) voting machines in county elections offices across the U.S. just before the machines are sealed with security tape and transported to election polling locations.
And yet, the frightening reality is that there is little or no oversight of that software itself, nor of the people --- usually sub-contractors, who could be anyone from a non-U.S. citizen, to a criminal, to a political party operative --- who program that ballot definition software. Moreover, there is little or no testing of such software, despite the fact that it stores the ballot positions for all candidates and initiatives on every ballot, on every voting machine, and tallies the votes for all of them on election day.
For all of the concerns about election fraud, via the electronic voting systems in use across the nation today, and the eye on the source code for the software itself, few seem to have their eye on the ballot definition software, which can --- even on e-voting systems where the hardware, and main program software has been tested, certified, and audited --- succeed in flipping an election without detection, either by error, or on purpose.
On March 4 election officials in Butler Co Ohio discovered that even though their system said that all memory cards had been read, in fact the system did not read one of the cards. This is an error in accuracy. Last Thursday Diebold issued a report to the county to report the results of their investigation. Diebold will fix the software problem and send it through the federal certification process. It appears that the county will just live with the problem and mitigate it with administrative procedures. First, this is a violation of HAVA Section 301(a)(5) but more importantly why would any county use a voting system that has already proven itself to be inaccurate? This is an outrage....
'We the People' Win, as Thor Hearne's MO Voter Suppression Attempt Fails; von Spakovsky Withdraws FEC Nomination; TN to Require Paper Ballots; AZ Agrees to Follow Law, Perform Voter Registration at Public Facilities...
On the federal level, GOP voter-fraud zealot Hans von Spakovsky (cue evil music), finally withdrew his nomination to the FEC, which had been blocked by Sens. Obama and Feingold. The standoff had kept the FEC from have the required quorum of commissioners needed to do business in a crucial election year. With vS out of the way, perhaps a responsible, pro-voter set of commissioners can now take their place. But we'll see. Rick Hasen has the outlook. Either way, it's another very big victory.
In Tennessee, both houses have approved a bill to require a paper ballot for every vote cast! The bill has to go back to conference to work out one last point, but given its extraordinary success in both houses (it passed unanimously this week in the state Senate!) it's likely to be enacted quickly. This is a huge win for the tireless Election Integrity citizen heroes on the ground in TN, and a loss for the pro-machine, pro-invisible/unverifiable ballot crowd there, including Davidson County's Republican Election Commissioner Lynn Greer, who once told me, after I attended a meeting there, that "paper is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on this country." Apparently he was serious. The good news: the responsible folks in the state disagree with him. The bad news: the requirement for paper ballots won't take effect until 2010. But we'll take what we can get!
Finally, in Arizona, as Steve Rosenfeld, as one of my guests yesterday while I was guest hosting The Peter B. Collins Show told us, the DoJ has finally settled a lawsuit against the state where Sec. of State Jan Brewer, who once called Election Integrity advocates "anarchists" and "conspiracy theorists" has been doing everything she could, for years, to keep legitimate voters from being able to properly cast their ballots and have them counted accurately. The state has now finally agreed to follow the law (National Voter Registration Act of 1993, known as the NVRA or the "Motor Voter Bill") by performing voter registration services at public assistance facilities such as welfare clinics.
We spoke about most of the breaking good news above last night on the PBC Show (audio archive here), and will try, for the next few hours at least, to enjoy some of the great news, for a change, on several fronts in the continuing Republican War on Voting.
[Updated post show with audio archives below, and moving this item up to the top so you're sure to catch the great news, lots of it, that came in late today, as covered live on the show!]
I'll be jumping in for my friend Peter B. Collins to host the last hour of his syndicated radio show tonight at 5pm PT (8pm ET), as he'll be broadcasting from Missoula, Montana, but will be unable to do the final hour of the show, when I'm usually his weekly guest.
So...as my guests this week, splitting the hour, we'll have...
Journalist STEVEN ROSENFELD from AlterNet, to discuss his excellent reporting of late from the front lines of the "Republican War on Voting" battlefield and the outlook for November 2008.
Conservative icon RICHARD VIGUERIE to discuss his blistering op-ed yesterday calling for the "immediate resignation" of the GOP leadership in light of what he describes as the "looming disaster" he sees his party facing this fall as "the conservative movement has been set back 10-20 years – possibly even permanently," by George W. Bush, Karl Rove and friends.
We'll also have an update on the latest news from the MO Senate, on its final legislative day, as Republicans there try to push through a disenfranchising Photo ID/Voter-Suppression Constitutional amendment before the November election!
I'll be BradCasting live from the studios of KTLK AM1150 in Los Angeles. Though they don't carry the PBC Show (but should!), I'm much obliged for their assist. If lucky, we'll be coming atcha out of Stephanie Miller's studio, and thus plan to leave behind the wonderful smell of democracy to greet her on Monday morning.
Listen live on air, or via the Internets, and call in with your questions at 888-5-PeterB (888-573-8372)! Or post your questions here in an Open Show Thread and I'll try to notice them while on air!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Wow...Great news all around! We'll call it Voting Rights Victories Friday! Here's the audio archives from tonight's 3rd hour of the PBC Show!
First up, Mindy Mazur of AmericaVotes.org reports the attempt by the MO GOP Senate to pass a state Constitutional amendment to allow voter disenfranchisement through new, draconian Photo ID and citizenship requirements goes down in flames, as the final day of the MO Senate legislative session ends without a vote on it, due to the outcry against the measure! Great work, guys!
Then Steven Rosenfeld of Alternet.org joins us to break the news that GOP voter fraud zealot Hans von Spakovsky has finally withdrawn his nomination to the FEC, and as if that's not enough, Arizona finally agrees to allow for voter registration at welfare clinics as they are supposed to, under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993!
Some county election officials in Ohio are pushing to continue using only central-count optical scan. The ACLU withdrew a suit against Cuyahoga Co because the county promised to go to precinct-count optical scan. Now the county wants to renege on that deal.
It appears that Tennessee will join the paper-age. Newly passed legislation requires all voting machines to be paper based, i.e. optical scan, beginning in 2010.
The Missouri legislature was unable to pass any Voter ID legislation today, the end of their legislative session....
By way of late update, MO sources tell The BRAD BLOG that the Republicans' state Constitutional Amendment to require draconian proof of citizenship and photo ID in order to cast a legal vote --- which the MO SoS reports could disenfranchise as many as 240,000 legal Show-Me State voters --- is still likely to come up for a vote today in the MO Senate, as this is the last day of the legislative session before recess.
All eyes were on developments on the floor until the early hours last night, when the Senate was still in session as of 2:30am, even as Columbia Tribune reports there may be attempts to amend the language to make the Constitutional revision more "palatable" by allowing for the disenfranchisement to not take place until 2010, instead of this November.
The Senate session is scheduled to end today at 6pm CT, and we're monitoring the situation. We hope to have an update tonight when we'll be guest hosting the Peter B. Collins Show at 5pm PT (7pm CT ).
Advocates for democracy (small "d") are still urging Missouri residents to call their Senators to ask them to vote NO on HJR48, which could be all the GOP needs to keep the important swing-state in the R column this fall! Here's the details you'll need...
Just yesterday we mentioned that there was not a lot about voting system problems in West Virginia. Today the media woke up and began reporting. Nothing really serious but there were problems reported and probably many more that the media never discovered or cared to ask about.
There may have been fraud in the handling of ballots in a local school council race in Chicago. Losing candidates, all incumbents, have hired an attorney and asked for a new election. ...
Wow, and this guy, Kevin James, actually gets paid to do a radio show, on the public airwaves, in Los Angeles. While progressive talkers, who actually know what the hell they're talking about, get shut out by the corporate megalopolies sucking off the goodwill teat of Government largess, allowing them to use our airwaves for free. Go figure.
No doubt, this is the very type of clueless wingnut to whom conservative icon Richard Viguerie referred yesterday, when he charged this bunch has destroyed both the Conservative Movement and the Republican party. [UPDATE: Viguerie was my guest on Friday, when I filled in to Guest Host the Peter B. Collins Show. You can listen to the interview now online here.]
Unfortunately, there are millions of Kevin James' in America right now. Which is, in no small part, why we're in the mess we're in. Glad to see one of 'em get outed, and face the public humiliation they deserve for a change. Behold...
California's Republican-dominated Supreme Court --- in a conservative finding --- has just found the state's ban on same-sex marriage to be in violation of the state Constitution.
And yes, that's a conservative finding, in that it respects both the state and U.S. Constitution and keeps Government out of our bedrooms and private lives.
For those phony "conservatives" who don't understand the difference, a special note: The ruling does not require you to go out and marry someone of the same sex. So you don't need to worry your little selves about it one bit. You get to stay married to your current partner as usual. If you wish.
[UPDATE: Viguerie joined me as my guest on Friday, 5/16 at 5pm PT when I filled in as Guest Host on the syndicated Peter B. Collins Show during my normal weekly guest slot. You can now listen to that interview online here. - BF]
Another winner for The BRAD BLOG's rarely bestowed, but much sought after "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award."
Today's winner (in actuality, this year's winner, seeing as it's been a pretty dim year so far), conservative icon and author Richard Viguerie, who yesterday called at the "Ultimate John McCain" website for the entire Republican Leadership, from George W. Bush on down, to "resign immediately."
He charges "disaster is looming" following the Republican loss of the third previously "safe" U.S. House seat in a row on Tuesday, in Mississippi's special election where Bush reportedly defeated Kerry 62% to 37% in 2004. AP announced the Democratic candidate Travis Childers the winner of the MS-01 race, in the heart of the "solid South" by a remarkable 54% to 46% thumpin'.
In its wake, Viguerie names names, and declares the entirety of the GOP leadership has "failed --- or outright betrayed --- the conservative voters who put them in their positions...The hard work of the last 50 years by millions of conservative campaign workers, donors, candidates, writers, intellectuals, and activists has been trashed."
"The conservative movement has been set back 10-20 years – possibly even permanently," pens the man once referred to as the conservative "funding father" and creator of political direct mail fundraising. The "party Establishment...has brought the party down," he writes, adding "the party must clean house. The party leadership should resign immediately."
He goes on to say Republican leaders have "nothing" to offer Republican voters and are motivated by "nothing except a craving for power," before concluding with a direct command to the GOP Leadership: "You turned against the principles you once espoused – conservative principles – and, in turn, conservatives and the American people have turned against you. Things will not get better until you accept responsibility, and resign...You have stayed too long. For the future of the Republican Party, for America and the cause of freedom: Go!"
Ouch. Extended, must-read excerpts from his blistering --- and we mean blistering --- rebuke of those who have hijacked his party, follow below...
It appears that West Virginia either had very, very few machine failures yesterday or they were very, very successful at keeping the failures out of the news.
It appears that our friends north of the border want the same instant gratification that our media insist on. New Brunswick has changed to optical-scan machines so they can get quicker results, amongst other reasons....
Colbert's response to O'Reilly's recently exposed, profanity-laced, uncensored on-camera flip-out from his days at Inside Edition was incredibly funny. Here it is, including both O'Reilly's flip (edit for both time and language), and Colbert's own...
Jason Leopold over at The Public Record has more goods today on GOP Vote-Suppressor Extraordinaire Thor Hearne, including confirmation that he is working behind the scenes with the Missouri state Congressman (Rep. Stanley Cox) who drafted the Constitutional Amendment currently barreling through the state Senate to require proof of citizenship and Photo ID proof of residency before voting.
For the record, MO already has a Voter ID requirement, so this new restriction is meant to do nothing more than keep Democratic-leaning voters from being able to vote. Period.
The Senate session goes on hiatus as of this Friday, so the question is whether the Dem majority can hold off the effort to disenfranchise some 240,000 state voters, according to the MO SoS, who could be affected by this cynical attempt at stealing November. Failure to fight off the effort could result in the Show-Me state, a crucial swing state, in going to the Republicans this November simply by virtue of voters turned away for lack of specific types of Photo ID in the City of St. Louis alone.
An urgent call has been put out for MO residents to call their Senators immediately and urge them to vote against HJR 48, Thor's latest move, the Constitutional amendment to require incredibly draconian proof of citizenship and state residency with Photo ID before you're allowed to cast your legal ballot!
So for those in Missouri, please take action NOW to fight for your democracy and Constitutional rights! Call your Senators, and defeat this amendment! Here are some helpful tools for you, courtesy of PDA...
LATER UPDATE 5/16/08: The good guys win one for a change! Measure fails to be passed by the MO Senate before they completed this year's session! Details now here...
For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.