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By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2012 5:51pm PT  

Waukesha County's oft-failed election administrator, Kathy Nickolaus will not participate in the upcoming recall elections for Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators.

The BRAD BLOG first learned the news from a Wisconsin Election Integrity advocate late this afternoon, and it has now been confirmed with a statement issued by the office of Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas.

Her decision to recuse herself from the May 8th recall primaries and June 5th recall general elections comes on the heels of yet another embarrassing election administration failure this past Tuesday by the controversial County Clerk in one of the Badger State's most Republican counties.

According to Vrakas' statement, the elected Nickolaus --- who will face her own re-election contest later this year --- was given two choices by the County Executive, either resign or step aside for the upcoming recall elections.

"In a meeting this afternoon I presented two options to Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus," Vrakas' statement reads, "resignation, or designating the deputy clerk to run the upcoming recall election."

"Kathy agreed to hand off her election duties to the deputy county clerk in order to avoid my public call for her resignation," says Vrakas. "In stepping aside, Kathy also agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work side-by-side with the deputy clerk to help restore confidence in our election process. The county will move swiftly to examine the election night procedures in the County Clerk’s Office and make changes as necessary to restore public’s confidence in our elections."

Calls for her resignation occurred once again following her failure to post local election results online in a timely fashion on the night of the April 3rd primary elections this week.

The BRAD BLOG has been reporting on the many election administration failures of Nickolaus going back as far as 2010 when she refused to change a number of procedures at the request of County Executives after an audit found serious deficiencies in her security processes, such as failing to post election results online, and tracking them only on a personal computer in her own office. But it was the April 5, 2011 election for state Supreme Court (exactly one year ago today) that brought national infamy to Nickolaus...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/5/2012 2:24pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama pushes back on Republicans... as his USDA cuts back on food safety inspections; Water Wars: Frackers vs. Farmers in CO; Warmest March on record for half of U.S.; PLUS: Another major study smacks down climate change deniers ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Japan nuke plant worse off than previously indicated; OH River #1 in pollution; Mine union boss says 'Coal industry could suffer same fate as bin Laden'; Military sees threats and worry in climate change; Power source of the future: Snails!; Another warning on overfishing; Bat-killing fungus spreads; How China will force Americans to drive electric cars ... PLUS: The Brighter Side of Air Pollution ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2012 8:15pm PT  

Today on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's The BradCast I spoke to Pamela Smith, President of Verified Voting Foundation and Dan McCrea, President of the Florida Voters Foundation about the recent mess in Palm Beach County, FL where the electronic Dominion/Sequoia optical-scanners declared several losing candidates as the "winners" in a March 13th election. It took approval of a court to carry out a hand-count last weekend to determine the real winners of the elections.

So do either Smith or McCrea have confidence that the same problem hasn't already occurred or won't occur again in the 14 states (including many swing states and even Wisconsin) which use identical computer systems to tabulate votes? Do they think enough is enough and it's time to simply hand-count paper ballots, as per "Democracy's Gold Standard"? You'll have to listen to find out.

We were also joined by Margo Paez, just back from Santa Monica College, with her report on the outrageous pepper spraying of students (and one toddler) there last night; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and a remembrance of MLK who was assassinated in Memphis 44 years ago today as we find ourselves still in much the same fight for civil and human rights all of these decades later (hat-tip Tony Sorrentino and Desi Doyen for the really cool, and touching, montage!)...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

P.S. Reminder: We don't post all of The BradCasts here, but you can subscribe to the RSS feed to get all of our weekly shows as soon as they're archived, or you can visit the KPFK archives page for the show anytime.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2012 1:08pm PT  

During yesterday's Wisconsin primary election, a number of paper ballots were sent out in several counties that were reportedly too wide to be tabulated by the computerized optical-scan systems used to tally ballots in the state. The same exact thing happened just two weeks ago during the Illinois primary sending election officials into a panic and causing delays for some voters.

Then, as now, the problem has been chalked up to a paper-cutting error by the printers. Perhaps that's true, perhaps it's not. We'll take them at their word, barring evidence to the contrary. Innocent errors can and do happen.

But whether that's an accurate explanation or not, one way in which the failure was dealt with in both Illinois and Wisconsin continues to be extremely troubling and, frankly, offense: the practice of election workers manually "remaking" the ballots of voters after the election, in ostensible secret, and before they are tabulated...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2012 11:35am PT  

We've been busy covering election issues and other pressing matters, but the fully weaponized police military state that the U.S. has become post-9/11 --- as we reported in great detail late last year --- continues apace.

Last night, another horrifying example occurred out here near Los Angeles at Santa Monica College were campus security guards reportedly pepper sprayed some 30 students, without warning, in the hallway just outside of an open Board of Trustees meeting. Several hundred had shown up to try and voice their opinions during (ironically enough) the Public Comment period about the cost of some classes being raised by as much as 400% percent.

We've yet to see video of the actual use of the chemicals said to have been used, but this was the scene just after it...

While I don't believe it's yet been confirmed, there were several reports of either a 4 or 5-year old being among those doused with pepper spray, even while there were no arrests made.

In other words, the use of chemical weapons on peaceful demonstrators (and, perhaps, infants) now appears to be among the first, rather than a last resorts used in the disturbing rise of "police" violence against peaceful citizens expressing their First Amendment rights.

Via Xeni Jardin's report at BoingBoing, we're pointed to the following disturbing observation from blogger zunguzungu --- a student at UC Berkley, where cops resorted to the violent use of batons to break up peaceful student demonstrators last November (video here) --- on the troubling implications of what happened last night in Santa Monica and at several other recent attempts at peaceful demonstration...

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

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Powerful corporate lobbying syndicate's 'privatized legislative system' said to undermine state's public institutions, rule of law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2012 3:37pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The War for Wisconsin continues.

In one of the latest Battles for the Badger State, Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed a broad-based ethics complaint [PDF] with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B) charging that 43 Republican state legislators are in violation of both the state's ethics and lobbying laws. The named respondents in the March 23 complaint include three Republican Senators, Scott L. Fitzgerald, Van H. Wanggard and Terry Moulton, who are now facing recall elections.

The complaint alleges that lawmakers now serving in the Wisconsin state legislature violated state ethics laws by accepting corporate lobbyist-funded "scholarships", in order "to attend meetings of the American Legislative Council (ALEC)" and that many of them failed to list receipt of monies from the ALEC scholarship fund on their 2011 Statement of Economic Interests, as required by state law. In several instances, the complaint also asserts, legislators received prohibited "gifts" from corporations and their lobbyists in violation of Wisconsin ethics and lobbying laws.

The CMD complaint goes on to argue that the ALEC legislative "Task Force" system, in which "ALEC legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors on 'model' legislation," violates Wisconsin's Open Meeting Laws. The serious charge speaks to the extent to which corporate power has not merely undermined but supplanted the very essence of "representative democracy"...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/3/2012 2:49pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Biden slams GOP attacks on American-made clean energy; Trying to save the disappearing Maldives from global warming; Obama's FDA says OK to BPA; Pesticides implicated in disappearance of the bees; PLUS: Fox 'News' debunks itself! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Nuclear industry dreams dashed by current economic reality; CA moves to promote energy efficiency building retrofits; Not good: USDA proposed radical overhaul of poultry slaughterhouse inspections; Interactive: how would a rise in sea-level affect US cities?; Radioactive iodine from Fukushima found in CA kelp... PLUS: Cool calculator: How much does using coal really cost? ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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After admitting a failure in its software caused the problem, Dominion Voting changes its story...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2012 4:55pm PT  

A public hand-count of paper ballots in Palm Beach County, FL over the weekend has decisively determined the winners and losers of several disputed elections after paper ballot optical-scan computer tallying systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems (now owned by Dominion Voting) declared the incorrect "winners" of several races in a March 13th election.

But a dispute over who is to blame for the initial failure flared up again over the weekend as Dominion issued a statement that seems to contradict their previous admission that their software was to blame.

"The hand-count was 100%. We weren't missing a ballot," the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told The BRAD BLOG this afternoon about what happened over the weekend. "Frankly, without paper ballots and without audits, we would have let the wrong winners serve."

What will happen next, however --- for Palm Beach County, one of Florida's largest, as well as the other 285 jurisdictions across the country where the very same voting system is currently in use --- is anything but clear...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2012 1:32pm PT  

[Hat-tip @PoliticoRoger on the Twitters.]

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