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AUDIO/TRANSCRIPT: Peter B. Collins Show, 2/23/07, Debate Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG and Susannah Goodman of Common Cause Concerning the Rush Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811)

The following is the text transcript of the third hour of the Peter B. Collins radio show (website) from February 23, 2007.

The first half hour we were joined by Susannah Goodman of Common Cause, one of the public-advocacy groups supporting the Election Reform Bill (HR 811) as currently written and introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ).

The discussion surrounds the differences between those who wish to see the bill amended to include a ban on DRE/Touch-screen voting systems (as supported by The BRAD BLOG and many other Election Integrity organizations) and those who don't, such as Common Cause, People for the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn, VoteTrustUSA and others.

The complete audio from the hour is also available here:

-- PBC Show, Hour 3, 2/23/07 [MP3, Appx. 1 Hour]

Discussion of this show is available on The BRAD BLOG here...

Peter B. Collins Show
Feb. 23, 2007, Text Transcript

GUESTS:
Susannah Goodman, Common Cause
Brad Friedman, BradBlog.com

PETER B. COLLINS: Welcome to the Peter B. Collins Show, our third and final hour on Friday….

[Bumper music]

Tuesday in November, I took that stroll
To cast my ballot at the local poll
The lines were long, but I didn’t care
I had water. I had my phone and chair

Walked up to the booth, didn’t say a word
Sure that my voice would be heard
I hit that button, my vote was sent
But now nobody knows exactly where it went

They lost my vote, it isn’t fair
I took a stand, doesn’t anybody care?
They lost my vote, now do you know
Where my ballot goes…whoa oh oh

PBC: Has American democracy lost its way, due to stolen elections? Unreliable, or hackable, voting machines? Well, that’s what we pursue every Friday in this third and final hour of the Peter B. Collins Show. Our "Go To" guy on election protection and election integrity is Brad Friedman. He’s the proprietor of BradBlog.com. Good to talk to you again Brad, how are you doing today?

BRAD FRIEDMAN: I’m doing well, how are you Peter? I’m blogging in the background, with a late update – even later than the one I just ran, on Florida-13, so, but I’m doing well.

PBC: Well, let’s get the headlines first and let me just tell people that in a moment we’re going to be joined by Susannah Goodman, from Common Cause, and we’re going to have a good discussion about the Holt Bill, in it’s present form. But I know there’s breaking news from FL-13, there’ve been some studies, reports released. This is the Christine Jennings, uh, don’t remember Buchanan’s first name…

BRAD: Vern.

PBC: …Vern Buchanan. It was determined in the final tally by 369 votes and 18,000 were missing from the electronic machines. So there’s a report from that and we’ll get to that later in the hour. What else is breaking?

BRAD: Well, actually, this is in relation to that FL-13 race. I just received a statement from Christine Jennings. That she calls that official state report, that we’ll talk about a little bit later, she calls it "flawed" and "incomplete" and more compelling reason to seek an investigation in this matter.

PBC: Mm-hmm. Okay. Well Brad, you and I have been talking about the Holt Bill, and you have been honest and up-front in full disclosure, that you were one of the individuals consulted as this legislation was drafted. So, much of it has your support. But - in its current form, you have a number of questions and issues and you’re not willing to endorse the bill at this time. Joining us to discuss this is Susannah Goodman, one of the Election Protection Specialists at Common Cause USA. Susannah, welcome to the Peter B. Collins Show today.

SUSANNAH GOODMAN: Hello, how are you?

PBC: I’m doing fine, thanks for joining us. And I’d like to be clear to both of you that I’m not looking for a nasty debate here. I think that we all share a common goal here, which is that we really want to fix the electoral process in this country. We want to restore confidence, that every voter can believe that his or her vote will be counted, and counted properly, and I think that we are moving in the same direction. But Susannah, I think you would acknowledge that there’s some people who feel that the Rush Holt Bill, in its current form, doesn’t go far enough.

GOODMAN: Uh, sure. There are a number of folks that have pointed out with the current draft that was introduced, HR 811, that there - that there are issues with it and I think that’s the great thing about democracy and quite frankly, the Internet. This has been absolutely wonderful. As soon as the bill was released, thousands of people could look at it and sort of go through it with a fine tooth comb and all kinds of people from all walks of life, computer scientists, election hardware specialists, we have eyes and ears all over the country and that’s really terrific. And people found flaws in it because, hey, legislation was written by humans, it’s gonna have flaws.

PBC: Yeah.

GOODMAN: And I just think it’s been a great process and so, a lot of those flaws have been pointed out and we’ve taken a lot of those flaws to the drafters of the legislation and the people that are going to be moving it forward and I mean, some of them we spotted, but some of them quite frankly, we didn’t spot. That’s what’s so great. I mean it’s really been kind of a thrilling process.

PBC: Well, and I want to make it clear from my posture, that we can all want to improve it., but I think as I said at the outset, that we all really are working in the same direction. Brad, let me give you an opportunity – before you talk about what’s wrong with the bill, to just tick off what you think the positive elements are, and then we’ll get into the things that you think need some tweaking, or fixing.

BRAD: Oh, there’s loads of good stuff in there and in fact, I was speaking with both Barbara Burt at Common Cause and Susannah throughout the development of this thing and so, you know, I concur – we’re all, all of the same mind here, although I would use different words than you did. You called for us to "fix" the election system in America, and I think that’s one of our problems. So, what we want to do is "reform." [Peter laughs] Anyway, yeah…there’s a lot of great stuff in there actually, limits on the use of the Internet and networking, public disclosure of source code, the removal - the outlawing of voting machine "sleepovers", which you know is a bugaboo of mine certainly. There’s really, there’s all kinds of stuff, and a demand for what seems to be a paper ballot, that would be durable and archivable. That’s a good thing, obviously, and I was very happy that Holt changed the language originally from "paper trail" or "paper record" to "paper ballot." The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t require that that paper ballot actually be tabulated. And that’s a problem for me, in any election. We need to tabulate the ballots - something that I had suggested to the Holt folks throughout the process. They chose to not include that. And essentially what that does is allows for these dreadful DRE touch-screen systems, that we’ve seen causing all kinds of problems, including down in Sarasota, where in fact Holt’s Bill would have required a paper trail of some sort be added to those machines. But such a paper trail down in Sarasota, in that Florida 13th District election, would not have avoided the problem that we’re in right now, with that race. That’s why I feel it’s so important …

PBC: And explain that ...

BRAD: ... to ban those DREs.

PBC: …because, because Brad as I understand it, the 18,000 votes that, you know, vanished – were cast electronically and if - when - that electronic vote was cast, it also produced a paper ballot --- not just a thermal paper trail, but a durable paper ballot --- that could later be counted. Is that not sufficient?

BRAD: Well, no, it’s not. At least from my investigation talking to loads of computer scientists about exactly this. And they’ve pointed out to me – and these are some of the most well-respected folks in the world on this – that in fact if 18,000 voters failed to confirm their - the lack of a choice in that race when they saw it in front of their faces, on that touch-screen, what makes anyone think that they would have succeeded in noticing it on a tiny slip of paper? You know, they had the opportunity to see that there was no vote in that race and they were unable to change that vote. So, having a paper trail really only would have served to ensure that we wouldn’t be able to challenge this election right now, cause folks would say, "Well, see, there it is. There’s that paper trail you guys wanted and it says ‘no vote.’ So, that’s that."

PBC: Alright, Susannah, your comment on this issue?

GOODMAN: Well I guess, just to back up a little bit, I do think that, umm, I mean, we’re facing a really dire situation. We’ve got 15 states which only have these paperless, direct record electronic voting machines. We’re in - we're not in good shape going into the 2008 elections – or – you know, even if we can’t make it by then, by the mid-terms for 2010. We’re - we're in trouble. We’ve got a lot of this country voting on machines where there is absolutely no accountability. And, um, that’s why Common Cause does support HR 811, Rush Holt’s legislation, because it would require every voting system to produce a durable paper ballot and voters will be looking at a sign right on the voting machine that says that they have to verify the ballot, because the ballot is the ballot of record for all audits and recounts. It’s moving in a direction we just have to go as a country. We cannot have - we’ve got to move on this thing. We cannot have these 15, you know, states with these paperless DREs out there anymore and risk this kind of thing.

PBC: Now Brad, I know that you’d like to eliminate the DREs entirely. But if they are essentially, their role is curtailed to where they basically just assist the voter in producing their ballot, which is then turned in, and there’s no way of connecting the ballot to the voter, so it’s still private and anonymous, can that pass muster with you?

BRAD: Well, I concur with what Susannah said, we need to get this fixed by 2008. Problem is the Holt bill won’t fix it in its current state. That paper ballot that she noted, there’s a sign that says, "This will be the ballot for all recounts and audits". But what we’ve learned is that the count that matters is the count on Election Day and we’ve gotten to this place in this country, whether it’s Bush v. Gore, or now Jennings v. Buchanan, where pretty much the first person announced the winner, largely gets to be the winner. That’s a problem, that’s why we need to actually count those paper ballots. Look, I’m in California, we have a paper trail law out here, but I’ve seen problems in race after race where you had these paper trails, and they are essentially meaningless, because they’re never actually tabulated. That’s what we need to fix. Holt’s Bill comes very, very close up to the line there, but unfortunately doesn’t take that step that we need, which is banning those touch-screen machines. And even the Florida Republican Governor now, has agreed that that’s what needs to be done.

PBC: That’s Charlie Crist and you’re right. We’re going to take a break and return. Brad Friedman, from BradBlog.com, and Susannah Goodman, from Common Cause. Her website is Commoncause.org, a lot of great information there. We’ll continue in just a moment, our discussion of the Holt Bill, right here on the Peter B. Collins Show.

[Break]

PBC: And the Peter B. Collins Show continues and I remain your humble host, Peter B., 22 minutes after the hour. Right now we’re getting two viewpoints on the bill sponsored by Congressman Rush Holt, to fix our voting problems, voting machine problems, in this country. Brad Friedman from BradBlog.com, our Friday regular, and Susannah Goodman from Common Cause USA. We’ll go to the phones here, if you’d like to offer a question or a comment – triple eight, five, Peter B, puts you through toll-free. And Susannah, I just wanted to give you a chance, cause we had to go to a break there, and Brad got the last word in, anything you wanted to add about the paper trail vs. paper ballot issue?

GOODMAN: Well, I guess something that I think shouldn’t be lost in this discussion, is that, for example in Florida, I think the Governor is absolutely doing the right thing in moving to an optical scan system. And that’s a system that I used to use in Virginia, where you, you know, you literally get to mark the candidates that you want and then those ballots are scanned. But they’re not hand-counted, they’re read with a, with a electronic eye, an optical scanner. And those - that actually was one of the first machines that was exposed to be vulnerable to be hacked. I mean there’s this famous hack, called the Hursti Hack…

PBC: Sure…

GOODMAN: …which showed that the optical scan machines can be hacked. And you can, there - there can be, 50 votes for Smith, but if you hack that machine correctly, you can count only 20. So, the good thing about the Holt Bill, which, so, this idea that if we all went to paper, and those paper ballots were scanned, which is what we do in this country, we don’t do hand counts, then the problem would go away. And the problem is that it's - it’s an electronic count, if it’s counted by an optical scan, an electronic eye, or if it’s counted inside the machine. The lynch pin, I think, to this legislation, is the audit provision, which says that you have to go back and count by hand, in an audit, at least 3% of the precincts and more if the race is really close. You have to count by hand those ballots and compare them to the electronic count. And that’s sort of the critical piece of this, because quite frankly, there’s no state that I know of in the United States that doesn’t use electronic counting. And that’s - the real bugaboo.

BRAD: Well ...

PBC: Brad, go ahead.

BRAD: Well, if I could respond. Yeah and as a matter of fact, it’s funny, as she was mentioning the Hursti Hack, down in Florida on the optical scan Diebold machines, I actually got a message just at that very moment, from Harri Hursti, via email… so … I'm in touch with Harri on this ...

PBC: [Laughs] Woo, woo, woo!

BRAD: ...and I certainly know the Hursti Hack well. Let me be clear. Susannah suggested that someone here is calling for a hand count. I’m not. I know that there’s a lot of folks who are and that’s fine by me. There are some places that do do hand counting – up in New Hampshire, I believe, they do some hand counting. But the point is, she had mentioned going back and counting 3% of the ballots in an audit later on. My question is why Susannah, or anyone else, wouldn’t be in favor of counting 100% of the ballots in the first place, using those optical scan machines or a hand count, either one. In any case, you’re going to go back and do that 3% audit, in some cases as much as 10%. I, I’m not crazy about the audit provisions either, the protocols in there, but let’s say they’ll suffice for now. Why wouldn’t we just count these ballots, these paper ballots, in the first place on Election Day? That’s what we need. That’s what Americans need and you know, in a case such as that, if you’d require a hand-marked paper ballot, you can divine the voter’s intention simply by looking at that ballot. You don’t have to presume that all the electronics worked, or didn’t, I mean I’ve been plowing through this FL-13 report today – it’s incredible how ridiculously complicated these touch-screen systems are. There is no good reason to use them in any election in America ever again. And 2006 showed us that thousands, if not millions of voters, were disenfranchised - not able to vote - simply because those machines broke down on Election Day, whereas an op-scan system with a paper ballot, you can vote anytime, anywhere.

PBC: And Susannah, in an ideal world I imagine you’d support elimination of the DREs. But do you think that’s an achievable goal in the near term, either by ’08 or 2010?

GOODMAN: Well, I actually think it’s a bit of a red herring. I mean, I think that, as Brad was saying, you know, you could take 100% of those ballots and you still scan them through an optical scanner. That’s still electronic.

BRAD: No problem. That’s great.

GOODMAN: It’s - the counting piece of this is electronic and it’s, it will absolutely, 100%, there will be a time when it absolutely fails, because it’s a machine and machines break.

BRAD: Well, that’s right, but we’ll have a paper ballot that’s been marked by the voter that they’ll be able to then go back and check, by any means necessary. We will not have that with the touch-screen system. And I’d be interested in - Peter said that you assumed that she’d be, Susannah would be in favor of banning those DREs. I’d like to actually know where Common Cause and Susannah is – would you guys be in favor of a ban on touch-screen voting machines?

GOODMAN: I, that’s not where we are, and the reason is that, I really see this bill as, I mean, what you have in, for example in New Mexico, is there are people that can mark a ballot by hand, but there are people that cannot mark a ballot by hand, because they have a vision impairment, or they’re blind, or they don’t have use of their hands, and…

BRAD: But we’re not talking about disabilities voters though...

GOODMAN: …those folks use a ballot marking device.

PBC: Mm-hmm.

BRAD: But what I'm talking about is ...

GOODMAN: Which is an electronic device, and so, so some ballots would be marked by hand, some ballots can be marked by an electronic ballot marking device. And if you have the DRE printing out a ballot, it’s like, it’s almost like turning it into a ballot marking device.

PBC: So Brad, Brad, hold your thought, because we just have 20 seconds and Susannah has to leave, so I want to give you the final word on why Common Cause, MoveOn and People For the American Way, have decided to endorse the current form of the Holt Bill.

GOODMAN: Uh, because we’ve got to do something and we really think that this actually, this is the way to create a software-independent system, something that will make a check on all the systems out there.

PBC: Alright, Susannah, I’ve got to stop now, thank you for joining us today.

[Break]

PBC: And the Peter B. Collins Show c-c-continues. More with his Bradness, Brad Friedman, in just a moment. And if you’d like to talk with us, lines are open at triple eight, five, Peter B. We’ll give you an update on the situation in FL-13 next.

[Break]

PBC:

[Taped message] I’d like to take a moment, if you’ll indulge me, and get the attention of our listeners in Phoenix, Arizona, on 1480 KPHX. You may have noticed a few changes around the radio station. I first learned of them yesterday, and then today I got a phone call from Anita Drobny, the new CEO of Nova M Radio, which operates KPHX, and she informed me that Dr. Mike Newcomb has left the station. And as many of you know, he was the host of The Morning Show and one of the driving forces that helped bring progressive talk back to Phoenix last year. Anita Drobny also informed me that they’re planning to move this show, The Peter B. Collins Show, to 10 p.m., that’s way after dark, in order to make way for a local show in it’s time slot. And I support local programming, I do, but I think our Phoenix listeners, while they could still hear the show, wouldn’t be able to call in and the station’s low power at night would further limit your access to this program. Ms. Drobny told me the change might happen in March, or early April, and I made it clear that such a move would be a major disappointment to me, and to many of you listeners and callers who've become loyal to this show. Anita said the new plans respond to the wishes of listeners and advertisers who she’s talked to. And she told me that if listeners tell her they want to keep Peter B. live in the afternoon, that she’ll listen to that. Quote, "I should only hope that will happen, she told me." And I actually wrote those words down. So, my friends in Phoenix, the future of The Peter B. Collins Show and its live origination, is up to you. I feel a pretty powerful connection to you folks and even to Steve, the Republican who likes to give me a hard time. With your support and activism, we may be able to turn this decision around. So to start, I ask you to email the station, and send a copy to me. I’m not going to tell you what to say. You can form your own message. But send it to Bily Foster, he’s the Chief Information Officer at Nova M Radio. His email is bfoster@aaphx.com. That's bfoster@aaphx.com. And copy me, peter@peterbcollins.com. I’ll make sure your comments reach the Drobny’s, the decision-makers. [End of taped message.]

And thank you very much for your indulgence. We return now to our regularly scheduled segment with Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com. Hey Brad, I wanted to see if you had any follow-up comments on Susannah Goodman, and the exchange you had over the Holt Bill. I got your email, but she was unable to stay. She had another commitment and so, we did spring her.

BRAD: Well, that’s too bad, because I, I really, I don’t like talking behind people’s backs like that. I did want to respond to something she said, but before I do, let me say, as you know, I just got back from Phoenix, where I was honored to guest host your show for a couple of nights. The folks in Phoenix, that I’ve met at least, are crazy about you out there. So I really hope they’ll jump in and make some noise down there in Phoenix and demand that you stay on live during the 4-7 hour in Phoenix. You’re much beloved down there and I was shocked yesterday when I heard from another source that this was possibly going to happen. So, I hope the folks in Arizona and Phoenix can mobilize to keep you on the air, live, as you should be.

PBC: Well thank you, I appreciate your support, and let’s mobilize and I, we’re just going to see what happens.

BRAD: Alright, anyway…

PBC: So back to the Holt Bill, and your discussion with Susannah Goodman.

BRAD: Well, yeah, it was interesting she had mentioned, she had pointed actually to New Mexico and in New Mexico in fact they had - they’ve changed from their touch-screen system after having so many problems in 2004 in the election, to require the paper ballot that I’ve been calling for and that for reasons that still seem to be somewhat unclear, Common Cause is NOT calling for. But, I’m about to release a report, there’s been a report, I’m going to report it on Monday at BRADBLOG, that in fact on the Indian reservations and minority areas in the Indian reservations out there in New Mexico, where they changed from touch-screen to optical scan, there was an 87% decrease in undervoted ballots. In other words, ballots or elections where there was no selection at all on the touch-screen machines. Once they had the opportunity to mark their votes on a piece of paper with a pen, there was an 87% decrease. That’s just one of the apparent advantages of optical scan paper ballots, in any case, no matter how they’re counted. And so I would have liked to have asked her about that, I’m sorry she did have to go.

PBC: Mm-hmm. Well, I really appreciate your contribution to this, because you know, I can imagine there are many people who are willing to say that perfect is the, what, the enemy of the good.

BRAD: Yeah.

PBC: And there are good things in the Holt Bill, and you acknowledge that.

BRAD: Oh, there's no doubt.

PBC: But you’re committed to really trying to clean up our election system, as I said at the outset, so that every voter can have confidence that his or her vote is counted, and counted accurately. And if we don’t do that, our system is going to break down and we’ve already seen some of those indications.

BRAD: Yeah, we absolutely have and that’s one of the concerns here. I wrote an article this week called, "The False Dichotomies of the Democrats and Their Public-Advocacy Supporters" … like Common Cause and PFAW and Vote Trust and MoveOn, right now, who are suggesting – and you heard it in our conversation there, where she brought up this hand-counted paper ballot canard, as if that’s what I’m calling for. Or, if I’ve said that, you know, there cannot be electronics in any election. That’s completely specious argument frankly, cause I’ve not made that argument and I haven’t heard others make it. At the end of the - well I have heard some make it, but those of us, suggesting a paper ballot are not demanding that there be hand-counted. I did hear her also toss in there the disabilities argument, that there are folks who are blind and disabled who can’t vote with a regular pen and paper, and that’s understandable and that too is easily dealt with. There are devices out there that will allow voters to vote on, disabled voters to vote on a piece of paper. We don’t need touch-screens. And in the worst case scenario, even if you allowed touch-screens for disabled voters, there’s no reason to risk democracy for everyone, simply to meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. So it’s, boy, it’s a really troubling argument. I don’t like going up against folks who I do consider to be the "good guys," and I do consider to be Common Cause good guys, but that’s - that’s kind of what we’re left with here and I’ll point folks to PDAmerica.org. They’ve got a campaign to call on Congress to amend the Holt bill. In fact, Maxine Waters announced that she would be dropping her co-sponsorship of the Holt bill because of some of these matters that have been brought to her attention. And, you know, I agree – we cannot afford another Presidential election in question. The Holt bill is going to send us in that direction, even if everything that Susannah and Common Cause and Holt argue, even if everything they call for works perfectly and accurately and every single vote is counted accurately, you’re still setting up a situation where people cannot verify for themselves that the vote is correct. And I would argue that losing confidence in that, in our democracy, is as much of a danger to democracy itself as is voting machines are fixed, or fail, or anything else.

PBC: Mm-hmm. Well, Mary in Denver shares your concern. She writes with the subject line, "Common Cause is a Lost Cause" ...

BRAD: Oh boy.

PBC: [Reading email] "I could barely believe the incoherence I was hearing from the Common Cause spokesperson. Is it possible she has no idea what DREs represent? Her only argument in favor of the Holt bill was that we have to do something right now, regardless of whether the bill gets it right. Wasn’t that what happened with HAVA? Just do something, forget about the consequences. Oh, and she remarked that we Americans don’t count paper ballots, that’s not the way we do things here. Why not, lady?" [Peter laughs.] Totally disheartened here in Denver, Signed, Mary."

BRAD: Yep, that’s, I welcome Mary to my disheart…ment-ness…

[Brad and PBC laugh]

PBC: Whatever it is.

BRAD: Because I mean frankly, that’s what I’ve been feeling as we’ve been moving forward and I’m seeing a lot of folks who really ought to be on our side and I can’t understand what they could possibly be thinking.

PBC: Mm-hmm.

BRAD: I really can’t. And I’ve gone out of my way, I’ve talked to folks at Common Cause, MoveOn, PFAW, all of these groups, and even Common Cause put out a press release in support of Holt claiming, as we talked about at the top of the show, claiming that those paper trails that Holt calls for would have avoided the problem in Sarasota. It’s just demonstrably untrue.

PBC: Mm-hmm. We’ll get your update on the latest reports from Sarasota, but Randall’s been holding for a day and a half. Randall, welcome to the Peter B. Collins Show with Brad Friedman.

RANDALL: Peter! Thanks for calling, what’s on your mind?

PBC: [Laughs] I forgot, man, I’ve been on hold so long. I, I, I really, I think it was about Anna Nicole…

RANDALL: That’s right, I’m the father, I’m confessing. Yeah, well I just wanted to, I wanted you to thank me for taking your call.

PBC: You’re welcome.

RANDALL: And I’m on my way down to Tucson to see Paul Lehto and Steve Freeman. Steve’s doing a book-signing down here.

PBC: Well good, I’m glad you mentioned that, because I’ve had this out to try to plug it and, since you’re on the way, it is Stephen Freeman, Paul Lehto, and also John "Achey" Brakey, is organizing this event. And it’s at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Hall. It’s underway right - actually starts at 6:30, oh well it is underway right now, Phoenix time, Arizona time. And do you have any further directions, the exact location of the Union Hall there?

RANDALL: It’s at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Hall and I can’t remember the address. It’s in my Palm Pilot, but if I look at it I’ll run off the road…

PBC: Oh, don’t do that. Don’t do that.

RANDALL:: …I’m on I-10. I’ve already lost the radio signal, I was hoping you’d put me on hold when I get off so I can listen to the rest of the show.

PBC: Sure, I’m happy to do that.

RANDALL: Well Brad, did you get those dog biscuits I sent ya?

BRAD: Well, I don’t know if I did or not., we’ll have to talk later, but I want to, if you were out of the signal, I want to make sure that you heard Peter’s announcement, that they may be moving the show in Phoenix. From a live show ...

RANDALL: That’s right. Yeah, I put my two cents worth in already on that…

BRAD: Good.

RANDALL: …and I hope everybody else will, too, and I’m not just blowing smoke, but I think that Peter’s show is one of the high quality shows nationwide in this genre, if you will.

PBC: Well, my ears, my ears are burning, but thank you very much.

RANDALL: Well, I hope you guys work it out, because really I think Nova M is going places. It’s growing and growing and the more content they have on there to sell, the better they’re going to do. And I hope it gets worked out somehow.

PBC: Well put.

BRAD: Give our best to everyone down there …

PBC: Randall, did you want to add something, or should I put you back on hold so you can listen?

RANDALL: Oh, and just one more thing, yeah. In Arizona, like I’ve said, we only use the DREs for the handicapped voters. And statewide, I think there is less than a couple hundred votes, total, done on the DREs. The rest are all scanned paper ballots. And we’re fighting in the legislature right now about preserving and defending the gains we made on the hand-count audit last session. And hopefully, if what I heard you say was, about the Holt Bill, they’re going to mandate hand-count audits, that could be nothing but good, because that will take a lot of pressure off us getting stuff through this baboon troupe of a legislature.

PBC: Okay. Alright, Randall, thanks for checking in today and I’ll put you on hold so you can listen to the rest of the show.

RANDALL: Thanks Peter. Thanks Your Bradjesty.

PBC: And please give our best to John Brakey and Stephen Freeman and Paul Lehto.

RANDALL: Sure will, thanks.

PBC: Alright good, nice to hear from you. Alright Brad, I think we’ll go to our break and then come back and give you a couple of minutes to update us on the developments, the report, on that tainted election in FL-13, where Christine Jennings lost by 369 votes and everybody lost 18,000 votes. We’ll pick up there as we continue with Brad Friedman. And if you want to call, go ahead, we’ll try to squeeze you in – triple eight, five, Peter B. It’s Friday at the Peter B. Collins Show.

[Break]

PBC: We continue on the Peter B. Collins Show. Friday evening at the radio, Brad Friedman continues with us, from BradBlog.com. Drop by the blog, there’s a lot more news breaking that we haven’t had time to fit in today because we focused primarily on our conversation with Common Cause and the Rush Holt bill. And Brad, there is some interesting developments, there are interesting developments, relating to FL-13. And I’ll just again recap for people who just joined us, this is the race last November decided by 369 votes in favor of Republican Vern Buchanan, and 18,000 votes disappeared from the DRE machines. So, who did a study and what kind of report came out?

BRAD: Well, the study was released today from the State of Florida, who had commissioned an audit and a study by some computer scientists, under the auspices of Florida State University. And you’ll be stunned to learn that they found everything was recorded exactly right and there were no problems whatsoever.

PBC: And the public is not in any danger.

BRAD: That’s right. Everything is well. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. [Peter laughs] Uh, this is, you know, it was incredible. In fact, Kurt Browning, the new Secretary of State out there, came out and claimed that the report showed that there was no evidence that any votes were recorded incorrectly – which is actually in direct contrast with what the report actually says. Which, in fact, says that the audit team concluded, uh, where is it here, I want to get that statement. Shoot. Well I can’t find it, it’s at BradBlog.com. Essentially what they said was that their study of these systems could not find the reason why 18,000 votes disappeared, but they said that this was absolutely not normal and not to be expected and in fact called for more studies. Now, the Jennings campaign and the groups, PFAW and VoterAction.org, who are fighting the race down there, have contended that the, uh, part-, that the group that has been commissioned, is actually a partisan group. In fact, it’s headed by a guy who was seen as spotting a - as wearing a "Bush Won" button on his - in 2000, on the Florida Supreme Court stairs and they say that, it’s - the study is flawed and partisan and should never have been run by folks who actually had a stake in its outcome.

PBC: Hmm.

BRAD: So, I’m afraid this report leaves as much, as many questions open as we had prior to the report, much as we thought would happen with this particular group doing the auditing.

PBC: Now, Brad, I have a report from People For the American Way, their analysis of this report, the audit, and one of the points they make is that it tested only 10 voting machines and five of them were used on Election Day. The other 5 were just samples from the factory? I mean why would you audit them, if they weren’t used on Election Day?

BRAD: Well, I guess you could compare the behavior…

PBC: A control group.

BRAD: Exactly.

PBC: Okay.

BRAD: So that much makes sense, but you know, again, this was run, those tests that you’re talking about were run by a fellow by the name of David Drury, on behalf of the State of Florida. David Drury is the same fellow who certified these machines as being safe for use in the state of Florida. Now, is he going to be likely to come out and say that, oh, these machines were wrong, they didn’t work? I should have never certified them in the first place, please fire me? Of course not. That’s why you need an independent group to look at this. Look, as I’ve argued at BRADBLOG and elsewhere, even if this report was completely legitimate and they did a terrific job, you’re still going to have these questions about the validity of the report and we’re still, therefore, in the same mess that we were when we began. I’ll tell ya, in my report you might want to also want to check today at BRADBLOG, in my report on this, I showed one of the charts from the Florida State University Report, which shows the hardware architecture of these paperless touch-screen machines they use down there in Florida. It is absolutely mind-boggling how complex these systems are, and even the computer scientists said that these are incredibly complex systems, which just brings us back to the conversation we were having earlier with Susannah Goodman, from Common Cause: Why the hell are we going to such lengths to make our process more complicated than it needs to be? We’re talking about adding one plus one plus one. This really is not rocket science and the fact that we’re making it so difficult is going to lead to these sorts of problems happening over and over again.

PBC: And there’s more at BRADBLOG, including a statement, a reaction from Christine Jennings, who’s on the losing end of this whole episode. Let’s go to Cynthia in Phoenix. Hello Cynthia, you’re on the Peter B. Collins Show.

CYNTHIA: Hi Peter. How Brad, how are you?

PBC: Doing fine.

BRAD: Is that Cynthia Black?

CYNTHIA: It is.

BRAD: Action Point on KPHX, Cynthia Black.

CYNTHIA: On 1480, Sundays dude, come on… [Laughs]

PBC: Alright, hi Cynthia.

CYNTHIA: Hi Peter. I’ve never called into your show before and I’ve sat in my cold car in Phoenix, because it’s below 80 degrees of course, [Peter laughs] trying to get you on my cell phone. This is how motivated I am.

PBC: Well, thank you.

CYNTHIA: You’re welcome. It’s an, it’s excellent, of course I’m very excited about it, Brad could tell you that. But, this is the question I haven’t heard anyone ask and I’d love to hear an answer for. Why do these four organizations, PFAW, Common Cause, MoveOn, and Vote Trust, why aren’t they on the same side as thousands of election integrity individuals? What is their motivation for not carrying forward the clearly meaningful, important, types of changes that Brad has outlined?

BRAD: Well, of course you would ask that question with about a minute and a half left in the show…

CYNTHIA: Come on, you can do it.

PBC: [Laughs] You must.

BRAD: I would point folks again, to my article on the dichotomies here and what’s at work, and what these people are possibly thinking. There is the big suggestion right now, is that this is because of language minority voters, that somehow they are more, they are better served with touch-screen machines than optical scan, despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that I’m aware of, to back up that argument. So it seems to me to be disingenuous in some cases and in other cases, they’re just simply being misinformed on this topic. You know, Susannah Goodman, the folks at Common Cause, they are not computer scientists. I’m not either, although I did make my living for 10 years as a computer programmer, so I know something about this, and I’m just, I think there’s a lot of bad information going out there and I continue the investigation to figure out where the hell it’s coming from.

CYNTHIA: Let me ask one more question then. What do you think about the suggestion that these were some of the original lobbyists and backers of HAVA, and they don’t want to have egg on their face for getting rid of DREs?

BRAD: Yeah, I’ve heard that suggested, and the idea that they can’t, that they pushed for these touch-screen machines in the first place…

CYNTHIA: Right.

BRAD: …and so that they can’t change their position now. I hear that argument. I have not seen any evidence to back that up. I think that if these folks came to believe that we needed to get rid of touch-screens, I think they would step out and say so.

CYNTHIA: Alright, well thank you.

PBC: Cynthia, thanks for your call. I smell a horse here. ["Happy Trails" closing theme song plays] Brad, thank you very much, it was an excellent program today. We’ll talk again soon.

BRAD: I appreciate it my friend, have a good weekend.

[Music]
Happy trails to you
Until we meet again...

PBC: Visit BradBlog.com to find out more. And you can visit my website, PeterBCollins.com. My email - Peter@peterbcollins.com. Have a great weekend. We’ll talk to you Monday right here.



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