California Secretary of State Has Difficult Relationship With the Truth
McP Squares Off, Falls on Face, Against Non-Lying Opponent Debra Bowen in Live Debate
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2006, 11:35am PT  

We spoke about the Democratic, and actually qualified candidate for California Sec. of State Debra Bowen yesterday.

So, equal time. Let's talk about the completely unqualified, partisan mouthpiece, the current Schwarzenneger-appointed California Secretary of State and accomplished liar, Bruce McPherson.

Oh, and as the end of yesterday's debate revealed, he's also a loathsome human being.

The two debated before the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. It was broadcast live --- now available to watch on the web --- and very informative. Here are some thoughts of ours on several of McP's obfuscations lies comments during the debate.

NOTE: Quotes of his below aren't always exact, but damned near. With one of McP's quotes, however, we had to go back and check three times, just to make sure we heard him right. We did. And we're appalled.

He actually said, "Under Secretary of State Bowen, if that ever happens, I will tell you, the blind and disabled will not be eligible to vote privately and independently."

Bowen replied gracefully by saying his comment was "shameful" and "not [McPherson's] finest moment."

Our personal replies to that appalling comment, and McP's host of other lies, follow below, and are far less charitable. As you may know, the election for California SoS may prove to be the most important race for the future of the nation's electoral system. Our snarky, point-by-point rebuttal to the truth-challenged McP --- who is working for the voting machine companies, not the voters of California --- follows in full...

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MCP: I implemented the most stringent security testing procedures ever.

Really, McP? Not as stringent as your predecessor Kevin Shelley who had the decency to decertify the same Diebold machines you are now allowing the state to use, when he discovered they had lied and installed uncertified systems. You, on the other hand, simply certified them even though they are known to be among the most unsecure voting systems made. Oh, and you also have a guy who actually works for Diebold drafting documents for your office on your stationery.

MCP: I created the strictest standards in the nation before I would certify any of [the voting systems]. I also added security measures before they were used in an election.

Really, McP? Then why did you completely ignore those security measures in the very first election after you implemented them?

MCP: The system in the Princeton Report [which showed Diebold touch-screen systems can be hacked with a vote-flipping virus in 60 seconds] was the Diebold TS, not the Diebold TSx as we use here in California.

Really, McP? Did you know the Princeton scientists also said the same vulnerabilities likely exist on the TSx? Want to dare us to prove that to you? (HINT: We don't have to. Your own team of scientists at UC Berkley already told you...you do know that, of course, right?)

MCP: I did convene a team of scientists to look at these systems, and they said 'they are safe and accurate.'"

Really, McP? Let's see what they really said. From their report [PDF]:

Harri Hursti's attack does work: Mr. Hursti's attack on the AV-OS is definitely real. He was indeed able to change the election results by doing nothing more than modifying the contents of a memory card. He needed no passwords, no cryptographic keys, and no access to any other part of the voting system, including the GEMS election management server.
...
However, there is another category of more serious vulnerabilities we discovered that go well beyond what Mr. Hursti demonstrated, and yet require no more access to the voting system than he had. These vulnerabilities are consequences of bugs–16 in all

...And then you went ahead and certified the Diebold systems anyway.

MCP: I've overseen two successful elections and no one has been disenfranchised in either of those elections.

Really, McP? What about those voters who were turned away in Kern County during the primary election in June because the Diebold voting machines didn't actually work at all?

BOWEN: The San Diego County Registrar allowed voters to take machines home for up to a week before the election...After those "sleepovers" the Secretary of State did absolutely nothing.

We've got no reply. We just wanted to point out that Bowen was right. Again.

MCP: She's been throwing out innuendos and conspiracy theories.

Oh, Bruce. Surely you can do better than to play the "conspiracy theory" card, can't you? Apparently not. Read on...

MCP: If they don't work, we send them back to Washington D.C. to have them re-tested, and have them improve their standards as well.

Really, McP? Isn't that what you promised, on video tape, last December, but didn't actually do before you went ahead and certified Diebold anyway? Never mind that you know, of course, they have no standards for testing these machines in D.C..

MCP: No vote...there has been no manipulation...no matter what Senator Bowen says about San Diego, no vote has been manipulated.

Really, McP? Can you prove that? Of course, you can't. And you know that as well. You are, again, misleading the voters of California.

MCP: I just want 100% participation of people voting in our elections.

Really, McP? Why did you make a deal with the Bush Administration to implement a voter registration system that resulted in the dumping of 26% of new registrations across the state as of Jan 1, 2006? And an average of 43% of them in LA County alone?!

MCP: She doesn't trust the elections officials, I do.

Really, McP? Did you trust 13-year Monterey County CA Registrar, Tony Anchundo? Do you still trust him now that the's been charged with 43 criminal counts? As any honest election official will tell you --- for example, Leon County, Florida's Ion Sancho --- our system is not built on trust. It's built on checks and balances. "Trust no one," says Sancho, rightly.

MCP: In Holder v. McPherson, the court upheld my processes. My processes stood the test....End of story. That's it. They challenged Bruce McPherson in court and the court sided with Bruce McPherson.

Really, McP? We thought the judge simply denied the temporary injunction because there was no time to switch systems this soon before an election, but the suit will go on, and the court has upheld nothing of your processes. Does he know this debate is being video-taped?

MCP: [When asked about disenfranchising Voter ID laws, and whether there has been evidence that there has been fraud or abuse in people voting improperly] There has been...uh, we have had some...and you hear about it in every election. ...People are concerned about the stories they hear...it may be cats and dogs voting for all we know, we've heard those stories....

Really McP? Talk about your "conspiracy theories".

MCP: We need to make sure that people don't lose confidence in the integrity of their voter rolls. If we lose that, then we've lost a big foundation in our election process.

Really, McP? Now you're concerned about confidence in the integrity of our election process? You don't seem to be nearly as worried about the confidence lost vis a vis the integrity of the voting systems themselves. And, as you know, and as the board told you during the debate, everyone is concerned about that, not just the Republican operative/partisans who instructed you to be concerned about the voter fraud canard.

They call this guy a Republican "moderate"? Says who?! He's hitting every talking point --- including the "disabled voters voting independently" card, at least three times --- in the GOP operative democracy-haters playbook so far!

MCP: Secretary of State McPherson is not gonna certify any voting system that has any kind of an error rate.

Really, McP? Never mind your constant habit of talking about yourself in the third-person, The BRAD BLOG would never do that. That said, every system you certified had an error rate! Are you kidding? Brad Friedman knows you're lying Mr. McP.

MCP: Under Secretary of State Bowen, if that ever happens, I will tell you...the blind and disabled will not be eligible to vote privately and independently.

McP, you are a disgrace.

UPDATE:"Ollieb" at dKos posted a slightly less snarky analysis of this debate (but only moderately so) if you prefer. He called it for Bowen "in a Knock-out". We concur.