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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 2:41pm PT  

Here come the dirty tricks. This one courtesy of Ohio's Plunderbund...

An Obama volunteer in Greene County reports some mysterious canvassing activity whereby people are coming by asking if the resident has voted and if not offering them the fraudulent ability to vote in their doorway via an iPad.

The story was relayed to us by Obama campaign volunteer Anita Dobrzelecki, who says she was calling committed Obama supporters to confirm they had voted. She reached a woman who said she had not, but that she “wanted to vote like my fiancée voted.”

When asked, the young woman said that a man came to her fiancée’s door and asked if he had voted. When he answered no, he was asked who he wanted to vote for. He answered Obama. The man at the door says “Great! You can do that right now” and presented an iPad with what looked like an electronic ballot. He made a selection and was told his vote was counted and he did not need to submit an absentee ballot or go to the polls.

We had heard a rumor of this kind of activity also happening in the Youngstown area, but there were very little details on that story and we’ve been unable to find anyone to talk to about it. The Youngstown story wasn’t fully consistent with this Greene County report as it included the marking of a paper type ballot and also included an “I Voted” sticker.

Plunderbund also offers additional smart advice on what to do in the event this may happen to you, including "getting as much information as possible about the person at your door. Ask for their identification and get a picture with your cell phone if you can."

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 5:35am PT  

[This article has been cross-posted by Salon...]

Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as "uncertified 'experimental' software patches" being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties which service more than 4 million voters Buckeye State voters.

The story included a copy of the contract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted's office and ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the Sec. of State. The contract itself describes the software as "High-level enhancements to ES&S' election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File."

A subsequent story at The Free Press the following day included text said to be from a November 1 memo sent from the OH SoS Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske to a number of state election officials confirming the use of the new, uncertified software on Ohio's tabulator systems. The memo claims that "its function is to aid in the reporting of results" by converting them "into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State's election night reporting system."

On Friday evening, at Huffington Post, journalist Art Levine followed up with a piece that, among other things, advanced the story by breaking the news that Fitrakis and his attorney Cliff Arnebeck were filing a lawsuit for an immediate injunction against Husted and ES&S to "halt the use of secretly installed, unauthorized 'experimental' software in 39 counties' tabulators". Levine also reported that Arnebeck had referred the matter to the Cincinnati FBI for criminal investigation of what the Ohio attorney describes as "a flagrant violation of the law."

[Update: Details and documents from that lawsuit now here...]

"Before you add new software, you need approval of a state board," says Arnebeck. "They are installing an uncertified, suspect software patch that interfaces between the county's vote tabulation equipment and state tabulators." Arnebeck's alarm is understandable.

Since the story initially broke, I've been trying to learn as much as I could about what is actually going on here. During that time, a few in the mainstream media have gotten wind of the story as well, including NBC News and CNN, and have been able to press Husted and other officials in his office into finally responding to the concerns publicly. The Ohio officials have attempted to downplay the concerns, though in doing so, they appear to have given misleading information which, at times, seems to conflict even with the contract itself.

I've also spoken to computer scientists and election integrity experts, in trying to make sense of all of this, though many of them seem to be scratching their heads as well. My own queries to the Sec. of State's office have gone unanswered, as had Fitrakis' and Bello's before they published their initial story, begging the question as to why, if this software is as benign as Ohio officials are suggesting, they didn't respond immediately to say as much. Furthermore, why did they keep the contract a secret? Why did they wait until just before the election to have this work done? And why did they feel it was appropriate to circumvent both federal and state testing and certification programs for the software in the bargain?

I'd like to have been able to learn much more before running anything on this at all, frankly. But the lack of time between now and Tuesday's election --- in which Ohio's results are universally believed to be key to determining the next President of the United States --- preclude that.

So, based on the information I've been able to glean so far, allow me to try to explain, in as simple terms as I can, what we current know and what we don't, and what the serious concerns are all about.

And, just to pre-respond to those supposed journalists who have shown a proclivity for reading comprehension issues, let me be clear: No, this does not mean I am charging that there is a conspiracy to rig or steal the Ohio election. While there certainly could be, if there is, I don't know about it, nor am I charging there is any such conspiracy at this time. The secretive, seemingly extra-legal way in which SoS Husted's office is going about whatever it is they are trying to do, however, at the very last minute before the election, along with the explanations they've given for it to date, and concerns about similar cases in the past, in both Ohio and elsewhere, are certainly cause for any reasonable skeptic or journalist to be suspect and investigate what could be going on. And so I am...

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

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Problem no better in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2012 4:13pm PT  

South Florida, this weekend, 2012...

This is just shameful. Embarrassing for the entire nation. Again. How FL Governor Rick Scott and Ken Detzner, both Republicans, sleep at night I cannot imagine. That, even after both of their Republican predecessors, Governors Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush had the decency to extend early voting hours when lines began snaking around the block in previous years (and we've never had much good to say about Jeb Bush's administration of elections!)

Scott cut Early Voting from 14 days in 2008 to just 8 days this year in the Sunshine State because, apparently, there was just too damned much voting and democracy and stuff going on in 2008.

As Scott refuses to budge, despite the hours-long lines to vote --- as much as 6 hours in many places --- Democrats have been forced to go to court to sue for expanded Early Voting hours at the last minute, as Lizette Alvarez details at New York Times. A judge has already granted four additional hours in one county, after Early Voting had to be temporarily stopped there for a number of hours due to a suspicious object, which had to be detonated by the bomb squad, was left at one of the polling place. But, ultimately, the suits will most likely be too little, too late at this point.

This all comes on the heels of Scott severely restricting voter registration drives, attempting to even further restrict Early Voting hours, and falsely attempting to purge legitimate voters over the past year and, as we noted yesterday, even purging active duty military voters from the rolls in the bargain.

Last night, in a special Saturday broadcast, MNSBC's Rachel Maddow detailed this weekend's Florida disgrace...


Be sure to notice the scenes --- documented in photo after photo, at Early Voting polling place after polling place in the video above --- of lines around the block with people trying to do nothing more than simply cast their vote in the Presidential Election in Florida. Imagine how many voters saw those lines and simply decided not to bother, or were too elderly or infirm to be able to stand there for six hours.

Well, at least it's not like Florida is a state with a history of close elections, or one that's expected to be close at all this year. Most importantly, remember: "We are the world's greatest democracy", right?

Oh...and as Ari Berman has been reporting from on the ground, in Ohio, where Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted has similarly attempted to restrict as much Early Voting as possible, the problems at this hour are not much better.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, this weekend, 2012...

Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, 2012...


[via Michael Finnegan, LA Times]

And here are still more breathtaking photos of Early Voting lines in Ohio. I can't express enough my respect for those folks who are able to endure 6-hour lines to vote. Neither can I even imagine how countless-many simply choose not to.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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ALSO: NY, CT, PA, VA and OH polling sites struggle to get back on line after Superstorm Sandy and in time for Election Day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 11:47pm PT  

[This article cross-posted by Salon...]

Since both before Superstorm Sandy hit, and after, we've been reporting on concerns in states where voters are forced to vote on electronic voting systems on Election Day and, thus, could be kept from being able to cast a vote at all in this Tuesday's Presidential Election should power be unavailable at polling sites.

We've noted that voters simply cannot cast a vote at all on such systems when the power is out, and that it's just one more reason why no American should ever be forced to vote on the 100% unverifiable voting systems, incredibly, still in use across most of states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Ohio which were all hit hard by the storm, along with New York, Connecticut and elsewhere.

We've got a bit of good news to report today, for some of the voters whose ability to vote at all has been imperiled by this inexcusable, completely foreseeable failure by public officials who have long ago been warned about this possibility and yet refused to do the sensible thing and move to a verifiable paper ballot system to avoid it.

The news is more encouraging in states like NY and CT, where officials respect voters enough to allow them all to vote on paper ballots, even when natural disasters haven't struck...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 5:05pm PT  

Way to go, Florida GOP! Now you've disenfranchised overseas active duty military members too, according to Tampa's CBS affiliate 10 News...

TAMPA BAY, Florida - Local service members who have spent years serving the country are discovering this fall that they aren't allowed to vote in the presidential election.

Valrico resident and Navy Captain Peter Kehrig, who has been abroad for five years tells 10 News he feels cheated by a system that removed him from the rolls.

Florida State Law requires county supervisor of elections offices to perform regular "maintenance" on its voter rolls to eliminate voters who have been convicted of felonies, moved out of the county, or may have died.

Voters who miss two consecutive general elections (2010 and 2008, for instance) are mailed a letter to their residence warning them they will be removed from the rolls. But since the post office only forwards mail for six months, Kehrig never got it.
...
Kehrig is one of about 30 active and reserve service members who have contacted the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections' office about the discovery, but October 8 was the last day the law allows a voter to register for the general election. Other Tampa Bay-area counties reported small numbers of complaints too.

"It's not just a right that I've earned by being an American," Kehrig said of voting, "but I've (been) trying to protect our country and I really believe it's a right I'm being denied."

Kehrig has served in the military for more than 30 years, including time at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 4:12pm PT  

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its Civil Rights Division will be deploying "more than 780 federal observers and department personnel to 51 jurisdictions in 23 states for the Nov. 6, 2012, general election."

Their news release, posted in full below, notes that "The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group."

"The observers and department personnel will gather information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group; whether jurisdictions are complying with the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit voters to receive assistance by a person of his or her choice if the voter is blind, has a disability, or is unable to read or write; whether jurisdictions allow voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot; whether jurisdictions comply with the voter registration list requirements of the National Voter Registration Act; and whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act."

The announcement also includes DoJ contact numbers and websites for voters who have problems on Election Day. It also specifies the county and state jurisdictions where DoJ monitors will be on hand across the country.

Please note, however, that no matter how many monitors and attorneys and poll watchers are on hand, none of them can see inside an electronic voting system --- either touch-screen system, or paper-based optical-scan system --- to determine whether those computers have accurately tabulated the intent of the voters.

The DoJ's Friday press release follows in full below...

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

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A rare case of actual voter fraud, though another one which would not have been deterred by GOP polling place Photo ID restrictions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 2:46pm PT  

Hey, look! We may have an actual case of voter fraud at the polling place! An attempted case anyway...

Investigators today arrested a Southern Nevada woman suspected of trying to vote twice this week at two different polling locations.

Roxanne Rubin was taken into custody as she arrived for work at the Riviera hotel-casino, investigators said. Rubin, 56, is a registered Republican who lives in Henderson, according to the Clark County Registrar.

Rubin allegedly cast a vote Monday at the Anthem Community Center in Henderson. Later that day, she tried to vote a second time at an early voting location on Eastern Avenue, investigators said.

When Rubin arrived at the second location, a poll worker conducted a routine database check and found Rubin had already voted. When confronted by the poll worker, Rubin denied having voted and claimed the database used by the poll worker was wrong.
...
Rubin was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on one felony count of voting twice in the same election.
...
While allegations of voter fraud or faulty voting machines are common during a busy election, Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax said this is the first time in his 15 years on the job that a voter has been arrested for trying to cast two ballots.

While NV election officials are crowing about safeguards in their system which they say worked to stop Rubin from being able to vote twice, in fairness, we'll note that she deserves a trial before anyone decides for certain that she, indeed, carried out the crime she is accused of. It could very well turn out to be true that she didn't try to vote twice, that somehow, someone else voted under her name in the first instance. But we'll see.

In either case, this points up once again just how rare it is that folks commit actual voter fraud at the polls. (Doing so via absentee ballot is far more common, and another reason why systems like Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail system --- where state officials are now investigating ballot tampering by a GOP election official after she allegedly filled in unvoted ballots with Republican candidates --- remains a terrible idea for democracy.)

Neither voting twice, as alleged in Nevada above, nor crimes via absentee ballot fraud, are deterred in any way by the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions enacted by Republicans in a dozen states recently, despite their wholly unsupported claims that such laws are needed to stop "voter fraud". The only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by those kinds of laws --- which study after study has found to disproportionately disenfranchise elderly, minority, student and poor (read: Democratic-leaning) voters --- is the incredibly rare crime of in person impersonation fraud.

A recent exhaustive study of all election fraud crimes in all 50 states since 2000, carried out by the investigative news consortium News21, found just ten (10) cases of in-person impersonation fraud out of hundreds of millions of votes cast across the nation during the same period.

Concerns about insider election fraud, however --- such as the gaming of voter registration rolls, or the ability of a single election insider to flip the results of an entire election with a few keystrokes in a matter of seconds, with little possibility of detection --- remain a very serious concern, as hundreds of computer scientists and security experts (as well as The BRAD BLOG) have been warning about now for years to little notice.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Nathan Sproul's Strategic Allied Consulting may have violated state law with deceptive partisan registration scheme
GOP operative with checkered past blames 'liberal blogs' for bad reputation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 3:58am PT  

A criminal investigation into voter registration fraud by a company hired by the Republican National Committee for some $3 million to sign up voters in at least five key battleground states this year is now widening, according to a new report by the Washington Post.

The reason for the expansion appears to relate to an overlooked aspect of the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal highlighted initially by The BRAD BLOG some weeks ago.

The probe by the office of Virginia's Attorney General began last week after the State Board of Elections voted unanimously to refer the matter to state law enforcement officials after 23-year old Colin Small was arrested in Harrisonburg and charged with 13 election fraud counts for allegedly dumping completed voter registration forms into a dumpster.

Small had been hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm created over the summer by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP activist Nathan Sproul. Sproul has said the company was registered in Virginia, without his name on it, at the request of the RNC, due to myriad election registration fraud allegations in multiple states, in multiple elections, as long ago as 2004. An RNC spokesman has said he's unaware of the party's request, though Sproul has told The BRAD BLOG he stands by the claim. The issue resulted in a testy exchange with a Denver television reporter this week. (That video is posted at the end of this article.)

According to the Post, "state prosecutors canceled Colin Small’s grand jury testimony to gather more information, with their focus expanding to the firm that had employed Small, which is led by longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul."

"State authorities are seeking to learn whether any of Small’s supervisors instructed him or any of his 40 co-workers in Virginia to ask potential voters about their political leanings during registration drives," according to two unnamed sources cited by the paper. "Asking such questions could be a violation of state election law," WaPo reports.

Last month, in an investigative report by The BRAD BLOG, we highlighted video-taped and other evidence from half a dozen states, including Virginia, detailing how Sproul had trained his workers to misrepresent themselves as pollsters to potential registrants in order to determine their political leanings before offering to register them to vote. The ruse was meant as a way to register only Republican voters, while keeping Obama supporters from being able to register at all...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 5:01pm PT  

The Oregon Department of Justice is confirming today that it is investigating a case of ballot tampering by an elections official in Clackamas County, OR after it was discovered that she was allegedly filling in unvoted ballots for Republican candidates.

According to Willamette Week today...

A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned.

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election.

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.

Elections law makes marking another person's ballot a class C felony.

The Oregonian reports, that the state Department of Justice spokesperson Jeff Manning says: "We can confirm we are currently investigating criminal felony violations of Oregon's elections laws, which allegedly took place in Clackamas County and allegedly involved a temporary county elections employee tampering with cast ballots."

Manning says it is currently unknown how many ballots may have been affected. "One of the primary goals of the investigation is to determine that," he said.

Oregon uses a state-wide Vote-by-Mail system which, as we hear every time we write about it, its voters seem to love a great deal. We don't, and, back in 2008, described just some of our reasons for that here: "Why 'Vote-by-Mail' Elections are a Terrible Idea for Democracy".

This case points to one of the reasons why we've long argued that voting by mail, either via Absentee ballot, or a full Vote-by-Mail system like Oregon's, is a bad idea. There are simply too many people in the chain of custody between your casting of the ballot (usually by dropping it into the ultimate "black box": a mail box) and the time that it is hopefully tabulated, usually on oft-failed, easily-manipulated, unoverseeable optical-scan computer systems which either count it accurately or inaccurately, there is no way to know.

When a hand-marked paper ballot is cast at the precinct --- at least where there are precinct-based optical-scanners or, better yet, public hand-counting --- the odds of someone being able to tamper with your ballot before it's actually tabulated, as has allegedly occurred in Clackamas County, OR, are greatly decreased.

* * *

UPDATE 11/29/12: The election official in question, Deanna Swenson, has now been indicted by a grand jury with six felony and two misdemeanor counts related to her alleged tampering with Vote-by-Mail ballots in Clackamas County. According to the Portland Tribune, "The first four charges are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years imprisonment (as determined by applicable state felony sentencing guidelines,) and a $125,000 fine. The official misconduct charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine."

Oregon Public Broadcasting adds that "Investigators believe the ballots were marked in favor of Republican candidates."

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 1:03pm PT  

Via Laura Conaway at MaddowBlog...

After days of long lines and long waits for early voting, Florida Democrats asked Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, to extend early voting. It now ends on Saturday, because Republicans cut the number of days for early voting in half. Citing heavy turnout, Dems and League of Women Voters asked Governor Scott to restore voting this Sunday, the last day for "Souls to the Polls" drives before the election.

Governor Scott said no. From the Broward/Palm-Beach New Times:

"Early voting will end Saturday night," Scott told reporters in response to the request. "But I want everybody to get out to vote."

Scott's Republican predecessor, Governor Charlie Christ, extended early voting in 2008 because voters were waiting in line for several hours. Then Barack Obama won the state, and Florida Republicans decided fewer days would be better somehow.

The Palm Beach Post also notes:

The attempt to hold down Democratic turnout is obvious. In prior years, more Democrats than Republicans have taken advantage of early voting. Many African-American church congregations organized trips to the polls after Sunday services.

So, this year Republicans allowed only one Sunday of early voting.

And Michael Grunwald from Time's "Swampland" blog described his own experience attempting to Early Vote under the new Republican regime in Florida earlier this week:

I tried to vote early on Saturday, but there were two-hour lines at the only open polling station in South Beach. So I gave up. I tried again Monday, but the wait was still an hour and a half. So I decided to come back Tuesday. It took 45 minutes in line, plus 15 minutes wading through 10 pages of intentionally incomprehensible ballot questions, but I voted. If I didn’t have such a flexible work schedule—and if I didn’t write about public policy for a living—maybe I wouldn’t have.

The fight to simply cast a vote this year in the United States is a disgrace. One which the world, once again, is watching.

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UPDATE 11/4/12: Disgraceful. Voters forced to wait 6 hours to Early Vote in Democratic-leaning county after Democratic-leaning county. Take a look at the pictures in Maddow's coverage Saturday night below...


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By Ernest A. Canning on 11/2/2012 9:35am PT  

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), which had previously filed an ethics complaint against 43 Wisconsin state legislators, alleging that their relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) violated the Badger State’s ethics and lobbying laws, announced that they, together with Common Cause, have prevailed in a separate lawsuit filed against five Republican state legislators whom they alleged sought to conceal ALEC-related records by placing them in their personal email accounts.

In their formal settlement agreement [PDF], the five Republican legislators acknowledged that they were not relieved of their obligation under Wisconsin’s Public Records law to provide such public records, even if the records were located within their personal email account. They agreed to provide the requested records and to reimburse CMD and Common Cause for $2,519.50 in attorney’s fees and costs.

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PA, TN, IA Photo ID Messes; Early/Absentee Votes Lost in FL?; GOP Poll Watcher Lies in WI; CO Skullduggery; Votes Flipping R to D Says GOP; Voter Suppression Billboard Funder Unmasked...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 6:35am PT  

We're still having trouble, of late, keeping up with all the chicanery, dirty tricks and skullduggery now rolling across the country. So here, once again is our very quick take on just some of the most noteworthy items over the past few days that you'll want to keep in mind as we creep towards Election Day next Tuesday...

CBS Radio Affiliate in PA Inaccurate Says Photo ID Needed To Vote: "CBS Pittsburgh radio station KDKA...is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26," despite the fact that it's been almost a month since the PA courts determined that no Photo ID will be necessary to vote this year in the Keystone State. The ad says: "The Voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor ... You're not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers' license center." The ad is completely inaccurate.

Broward County, FL Early Votes Disappearing?: Just one of the many reasons we advise against early voting, unless it's absolutely necessary: "An analysis of the unofficial totals by early voting location on the Broward Supervisor of Elections website from Saturday, compared to the tallies posted on Sunday, shows that in one location, the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Pompano Beach, the revised totals showed 1,003 fewer votes. The initial tally reported from the polling place in the heavily black neighborhood showed 2,945 votes, but the revised tally was 1,401. Across the 17 Broward polling locations, 15 saw their vote totals revised, mostly by minute amounts of between 1 and 7 votes. But the three more significant changes, including the addition of 398 votes in Tamarac (a racially mixed community) and adding 99 votes to the totals from Pompano Beach City Hall, whose demographic is majority white." ... Political consultant David Brown, who is working for three Broward candidates, "said that when he inquired about the numbers, he was told by the elections office that the changes had resulted from a 'computer glitch.'"

Loophole in FL Law May Disenfranchise Absentee Voters: Not sure this is necessarily in the "War on Democracy" category, but Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith have found a very interesting, if troubling, quirk in FL law that could result in legal voters being disenfranchised if they cast their absentee ballot and then move to a different county and re-register there before Election Day. Best to read their take to fully appreciate it, though it makes us wonder how many other states around the country have a similar loophole in their absentee ballot and registration laws and how many voters could actually be affected by such a loophole.

Romney Campaign Training WI Poll Watchers to Lie: "One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn't eligible to vote. This is not true." ... "The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a 'concerned citizen' instead." After the story was published, "the Romney campaign's schedule of poll watcher trainings was changed to private."

Update: Romney Poll Watchers also being mis-trained in Iowa, being told that Photo ID is required to vote there. It isn't.

Keep an Eye on Colorado: So recommends Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, and for very good reason. Not only is CO a key battleground this year, said to be a virtual tie in most of the polls, but "Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws." Among those laws? Ballots that can be tied back to the voter; A new law that makes ballots and other election materials no longer public records, at least not before 45 days after an election; Extreme Tea Party Rightwing Sec. of State Scott Gessler's new rules that "remove requirements for continuous video surveillance" under the guise of "cost-saving"; the reduction in the number of so-called tamper-evident seals on voting machines; and more...

GOP Says Votes Flipping From Romney to Obama on Touch-screens in 6 States [PDF]: We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Legal Voters With Library Cards Forced to Vote Provisionally in Shelby County (Memphis), TN: "A Shelby County election official said voters who are showing up at polls with only a Memphis library card as their photo identification are being given provisional ballots. ... Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said Monday that he's working to find out how many voters have been given provisional ballots after showing their Memphis library card during early voting ahead of the November 6 election. ... The state Court of Appeals ruled [last] Thursday that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is constitutional but also said the library card qualifies as a government-issued photo ID. State election officials filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the Memphis library ID should not be allowed because it wasn't issued by state government." This Thursday, the Supremes decided that library cards may be used as voting ID, but will review the case in full after the election.

Funder of Those Voter Suppression Billboards in WI and OH Identified: Last week, we told you about those "Voter Fraud" billboards placed throughout minority neighborhoods in OH in WI, by an unnamed family foundation, and that Clear Channel finally agreed to take them down. This week, the folks at theGrio and One Wisconsin Now figured out who paid for them. You'll be shocked to learn it was a Rightwing hedge fund manager who says he was only try to perform a "public service because voter fraud - whether by Republicans or Democrats - undermines our democratic process." He failed to explain why his "public service" billboards only appeared in minority neighborhoods.

One Wisconsin Now notes that "In 2010, [Reince] Priebus [who is from Wisconsin, but is now the RNC Chairman] was cited by name, in an aborted voter caging plot targeting minorities and college students involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin's Tea Party leaders, including documents that referenced 'billboards' as part of the scheme multiple times. ... That this anti-American garbage is turning up in other states now that Priebus is running the RNC is of no surprise to us in Wisconsin given his career of scheming to deny legal voters their right to the franchise."

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/1/2012 4:46pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
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VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: With Hurricane Sandy recovery underway, Bloomberg endorses Obama, Romney is heckled, and the impacts of climate change finally begin to dawn on corporate media and public officials; PLUS: Planning ahead for a climate changed future ... 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): CIA's Climate Change Security Report Delayed Due To Hurricane Sandy; Winter Storm May Hit In Early November, Possibly On Election Day; Energy company CEO: Why do we have to talk about climate change today?; Australia Rejects Calls From The Fossil Fuel Industry To Roll Back 20 Percent Renewable Energy Target; Exxon And Shell Earn $54 Billion So Far In 2012, After Taking $800 Million In Annual Tax Breaks; KFC UK will no longer source from Asia Pulp & Paper ... PLUS: The Onion: Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2012 2:05pm PT  

[This article was cross-published by Salon.]

With just 5 days to go until the nation holds its next Presidential Election, power remains out in large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard, according to Google Maps' special Hurricane Sandy power outage map.

The outages persist in a number of states which force the majority of their voters to use 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines to cast their votes at the polls on Election Day. If power is out at the polling place on Election Day in those states, voters may not be able to cast their vote at all.

As we warned before Sandy barreled ashore earlier this week, the ability of voters to vote at all --- presuming polling places are not flooded and voters are able to get to them --- is imperiled by states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and even Ohio, all of which force all, or some of their voters to vote on systems which simply do not work if they do not have power.

While most of those states require a small percentage of emergency paper ballots be made available at the precincts, that number is unlikely to be enough in the event that voting machines are unavailable all day at the polls on November 6th. Moreover, battery backups on the electronic touch-screen systems are unreliable at best and, even when working, can only be counted on for a small number of hours.

In Pennsylvania, for example, as noted yesterday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "In case of power loss, local election officials are encouraged to keep enough paper ballots on hand for 20 and 25 percent of their registered voters."

While the PA Dept. of State claimed in the same report that voting machines can run on backup batteries "about six hours," a Lehigh County, PA election official offers a more realistic assessment, noting their touch-screen system backup batteries last just 2 and a half hours at best.

The BRAD BLOG has long warned that power loss on Election Day is just another, among a myriad of reasons why forcing voters to use such systems is insane and extraordinarily disrespectful to the electorate in such jurisdictions. Other reasons why these type of voting systems should never be used: They are 100% unverifiable in every case (whether they include a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" or not, as some do) and computer scientists and security experts have long warned, in virtually every instance where these type of systems have been examined over the past decade, that they are both prone to failure and easily manipulated, by both election insiders and hackers alike, in ways that are unlikely to ever be detected.

At The Nation today, Ari Berman notes that "Thanks to a wave of new voting restrictions passed by Republicans, the 2012 election was already shaping up to be pretty chaotic before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, which left 8.2 million households without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia."

He then goes on to detail some of the worst hotspots for concern...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2012 12:11pm PT  

First his campaign had VP running mate Paul Ryan pretend to work at a soup kitchen for a photo op. Then they sent out faked, Photoshopped campaign rally photos.

All of that doesn't even speak to Mitt Romney's unprecedented campaign of blatant lies.

Now, as if their mendacity to date wasn't nearly enough, as first reported by McKay Coppins at BuzzFeed, they exploit a tragedy by pretending to be collecting food --- food that they had already purchased and then gave to attendees at their rally to pretend as if they were donating --- for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this campaign...


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