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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 21, 2016
Election Rigging, Integrity, Amnesia - The Final Debate: 'BradCast' 10/20/16
Bad hombres! Nasty women! And SUSPENSE! Special coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon and David Dayen of Fiscal Times...
Everything is 'Peachy Dory': 'BradCast' 10/19/16
Trump still plummeting; Wingnuts still falling for phony 'voter fraud' (MSM helping them); Good news for KS, FL (and maybe) GA voters; Huge early turnout; Clinton WikiLeaks; #FreeDesi!...
Neocon Apologist: 'Nazi Echoes in Trump's Tweets'
Former adviser to John McCain, Jeb Bush sees shadow of Third Reich in Trump response to NC GOP campaign office firebombing...
Will It Be 'Rigged'? 'Hacked'?: 'BradCast' 10/18/16
Dems and DHS warned of election system hacking a few weeks ago. Now, not so much. Fact-based discussion about our vulnerable US elections w/ Verified Voting's Pam Smith...
'Green News Report' 10/18/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major new int'l agreement phases out HFCs; US emissions lowest since 1991; Sept. 2016 hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Wikileaks reveals Clinton dinging climate activists...
Previous GNRs: 10/13/16 - 10/11/16 - Archives...
NH GOPer Decries Trump 'Rigging', But Denies Party Claimed 'Voter Fraud'(?!?): 'BradCast' 10/17/16
Guest: Former state GOP Chair Fergus Cullen. Also: Good news for FL voters, bad for OH...
Federal Judge Blocks FL's 'Illogical', 'Obscene' Absentee Ballot Rejection Scheme
Thousands of Vote-by-Mail ballots likely saved as court stops another GOP suppression scam at last minute in the Sunshine State...
Sunday Toons of the Unshackled Moment
Please do not touch, grab, or grope -- as the shackles come off in this week's collection of the week's best toon via 'PDiddie'...
'Dark' Presidential 'Debate' a Product of Strangled Democratic Discourse
Ernie Canning on how the Presidential Debate Commission joins corporate media in failing to help fully educate the electorate...
The Meltdown Began
Long Before Trump:
'BradCast' 10/14/16
Through the darkness and towards the light...
FL Preps for Election 'Storm'; Michelle: 'Enough is Enough': 'BradCast' 10/13/16
Guest: Palm Beach, FL election chief Susan Bucher on extended registration, huge numbers, e-tabulator failure, hack worries...
'Green News Report' 10/13/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gore, Clinton rally Millennials to #VoteClimate; Court allows resumption of Dakota Access construction; Matthew's toxic aftermath in NC; PLUS: OK Gov. calls for oil prayer...
Previous GNRs: 10/11/16 - 10/6/16 - Archives...
About Those 'Problematic' WikiLeaks Emails: 'BradCast' 10/12/16
Guest: Washington Monthly's David Atkins; Also: Judge extends FL voter registration by one week; Pence does something not horrible...
Fight to Extend Registration Deadline in FL After Matthew: 'BradCast' 10/11/16
Federal judge slams Gov. Rick Scott's refusal to extend voter registration. Election expert Dr. Daniel Smith explains why...
'Green News Report' 10/11/16
Climate change shows up at 2nd Presidential Debate....but not for long; PLUS: Global warming-fueled Hurricane Matthew leaves death, destruction in wake...
The Trumpening: 2nd Debate Turns Very Dark in St. Louis: 'BradCast' 10/10/16
Guests: Communications strategist Jacki Schechner, progressive public policy advocate Dave Johnson...
Sunday Toons of the Rated 'R' Moment
Hide your cat. PDiddie's collection of this week's toons, like this year's Presidential election, may not be appropriate felines or voters of any age...
Fight to Vote in Full Swing in WI, OH, Storm-Battered FL: 'BradCast' 10/7/2016
FL refuses to extend voter registration despite hurricane; WI, OH tossing ballots; Trump, GOP still lying about fraud...
'Not Your Grandfather's Weather': Conservative Meteorologist on Matthew, Climate: 'BradCast' 10/6/16
Veteran broadcaster, author, Paul Douglas on the bizarre, deadly storm, much more...
'Green News Report' 10/6/16
Hurricane Matthew churns towards US; Climate shut out at VP Debate; Canada's national carbon tax; PLUS: Paris Agreement ratified before U.S. election...
Avalanche of Lies: The Pence/Kaine VP Debate: 'BradCast' 10/5/16
Guests: Truth-tellers Heather Digby Parton of Salon, John Amato of Crooks and Liars...
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Yellow Dog Blog Calls it Hands Down for Ritter...
By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2005 12:26pm PT  

"I am as opposed to this war as strongly as one can possibly be against this war," said Ritter firmly. "I cannot come up with one justification worthy of a single American life for why we're in Iraq. And we cannot solve Iraq until we get some answers about the war's foundation. And, I'll tell you right now, it's the most corrupt foundation imaginable."
Ritter ended the debate with passion that brought the most enthusiastic reaction from the crowd.

"This is a war that's not worth the life of one American because it's a war based on a lie. And no amount of revisionism will make those lies true," he said. "And if you support this ridiculous notion that the ends justifies the means, then come up here, throw your passport on the stage and get the hell out of my country because that's un-American."

From Bob Geiger's excellent coverage of the recent debate between Scott Ritter and Christopher Hitchens. By Geiger's account at least, it sounds like Ritter cleaned Hitchens' clock. (A clock, we might add, which could well use some cleaning...even if a filthy, dirty, broken one still manages to be right twice a day.)

By John Gideon on 12/23/2005 8:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of the readers of "Daily Voting News" a wonderful holiday season. As long as there is voting news over this weekend DVN will continue to publish it. It is with a mixture of sadness and immense pride in my associate of over two years that I post this announcement regarding VotersUnite: "December 23, 2005. After two years of providing the public with accurate information about voting systems and related issues, Ellen Theisen is now working toward election transparency in a different way - by offering the Vote-PAD as an accessible alternative to computerized voting devices. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, Ellen is terminating her association with VotersUnite.Org, effective immediately." In today's news the AP has announced that the SoS of CA has warned ES&S about problems with their voting machines and has threatened that proceedings to decertify will begin if the problems are not solved....

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

Letter from SoS to Voting Machine Co. Warns of Numerous Problems Discovered on Touch-Screen, Optical Scan Machines!
State Senator Outraged, Comments to BRAD BLOG, Calls for Full Release of Information by State!...And Releases Statement on Related Matters...
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2005 5:05pm PT  

Holy cow...perhaps this explains why California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson suddenly started turning inexplicably back to Diebold some time around mid-November of this year after having decertified them already back in 2004, and then finding them to have failed massively in a recent mock election test over the summer.

"Information about problems with voting machines should not have been delayed long enough to become a lump of coal in California's Christmas stocking," half-joked State Senator Debra Bowen to The BRAD BLOG upon reading the following astounding new story.

AP's Juliet Williams reports today on a letter written by McPherson's office to voting machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) after the recent Special Election here on Nov. 8th. The letter documents a number of very serious problems discovered on ES&S voting equipment during the election. Apparently the SoS threatened ES&S with decertification in the bargain, similar to the one Diebold faced in the state back in 2004 under the previous Sec. of State Kevin Shelley...

SACRAMENTO - California election officials have told one of the country's largest manufacturers of voting machines to repair its software after problems with vote counts and verification surfaced during California's November special election.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Secretary of State for Elections Bradley J. Clark threatened to start the process of decertifying Election Systems and Software machines for use in California if senior officials didn't address the concerns immediately.

"The California Secretary of State is deeply concerned about problems experienced by counties utilizing ES&S voting equipment and software," Clark wrote in a letter addressed to company president Aldo Tesi nine days after the Nov. 8 election.

Software problems included incorrect counting of turnout figures, a malfunction that prevented voters from verifying that their choices were registered accurately and one machine recording the wrong vote during a test, according to the letter.

Eleven California counties used the company's voting machines during the special election. Election Systems and Software equipment also is used in 45 other states.

The problems in California are similar to ones the company has experienced elsewhere. During a 2004 primary election in Hawaii, glitches with the company's optical scanners led to a miscount of about 6,000 votes.
A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bruce McPherson declined to elaborate further on the Election Day mishaps, the problems discussed in the letter or the company's assertion that state officials are pleased with its proposed solutions.

In other words, it's none of the voters damned business what problems occurred in their own elections just five weeks ago! And had Williams not discovered the letter, none of the citizens in California, or for that matter States and Counties around the country --- all of whom are making their last minute decisions on which vendors to sign with prior to the Jan 1, 2006 HAVA deadline --- would have ever known about any of these problems with ES&S machinery!

CA State Senator Debra Bowen, who has been a leader in the state on issues of election integrity, was clearly irked upon reading this news, as reflected in this comment she just shared with The BRAD BLOG, asking [emphasis hers]: "WHY IS IT THAT WE HAVE BEEN IN THE DARK ABOUT THE PROBLEMS WITH ES&S FOR FIVE WEEKS?"

She went on to call on the SoS to release all pertinent information on these matters in her missive:

When is the public entitled to know? This kind of secrecy is completely unacceptable.

I call on the Secretary of State to immediately release all correspondence to all vendors, and all documentation related to the certification of any and all voting equipment and voting systems. Information about problems with voting machines should not have been delayed long enough to become a lump of coal in California's Christmas stocking.

As well, she promised to reiterate those concerns with a "formal request" in her official capacity soon.

Yet, there's still more that SoS's office doesn't feel, apparently, that voter's have the right to know. Back to the AP coverage:

Clark's letter said that on Nov. 8 a state monitoring team "experienced an alarming error on the iVotronic system in Merced County, where a voter chose one candidate but the vote was recorded for another candidate. This error is documented on videotape and demonstrates that it was not an operator error, but was, rather, an error in the system."
Fields said company officials have reviewed the state's videotape and blamed the problem on the tester's long fingernails.
"The iVotronic touch screens are designed to be used by soft-touched objects," he said. "We do not recommend sharp, hard objects like a stylus, a pen or fingernails."

Lovely. A device created to be used by touching the screen with ones finger, won't work if fingernails are used. Good thinking!

In all honesty, however, the entire "fingernail" defense from ES&S sounds like a bunch of nonsense to us. Once again, we've got a documented and video-taped report of "Vote Hopping", not unlike the thousands of similar reports that American's testified to back in November of 2004 after the Presidential Election --- only to be dismissed and called "conspiracy theorists" later when they testified to the incidents, and signed official affidavits along with it.

And just a bit more from the article:

According to the secretary of state's letter, other problems discovered in California Nov. 8 include:

_ The company's software incorrectly counting the total turnout figures for counties that used multiple ballot cards: "This problem was a recurrence of a problem experienced by your customers in November 2004; you have had a year to correct this known problem, and have not done so," the letter stated.
_ The touch-screen machine used in Merced County did not properly display the summary of votes, "making it impossible for voters to confirm their vote choices in those contests," the letter stated.

We had more on the troubles with the ES&S company --- just in case they were under the impression that Diebold deserved all the BRAD BLOG "love" --- in this previous item.

Between ES&S and Diebold, the two companies currently tally more than 80% of America's votes. They have each been run by two brothers named Urosevich. And while Diebold, Inc. in total, is a larger company than ES&S, the latter is actually a larger provider of Voting Systems and Machinery around the country.

AP's Williams deserves big props her reporting here! So...thank you to her! Please put us out of "business" entirely! And soon if you don't mind!

On further related matters from Sen. Bowen, who is running for Sec. of State in 2006 herself, she's been a rather busy bee of late, even if everyone else in Sacramento has already knocked off for the holidays.

A "Letter to the Editor" of hers was published in today's Tallahassee Democrat down in Florida, lauding Leon County's Ion Sancho for his leadership on the recent Diebold "Hack Test" which revealed that an Electronic Election could be entirely flipped by a hacker without as much as a trace being left behind.

As well, she issued a press release late yesterday spelling out how California's law requiring Voting Machine Companies to place their source code in escrow is virtually identical to the law in North Carolina which Diebold yesterday said they could not abide by and thus stated their intention to withdraw from the state completely. If that was the case in NC, suggests Bowen, then apparently Diebold needs to withdraw from CA as well.

She also states her serious concerns about the so-called "Independent Testing Authority" (not so "independent", they're chosen and paid for by the Voting Machine Vendors, and not so "authoritative" since they seem to rubber-stamp just about anything the companies send to them!) The ITA's are supposed to certify all of this software and hardware on the Federal level. Recently, as Bowen points out, Sec. of State McPherson opted to "punt" the matter of Diebold's hackable memory cards back to the ITA rather than doing what Sancho did; Simply decertify them and their crappy machines once and for all from all further elections!

As her press release on the ITA matters has not yet been published anywhere as far as we know, we offer her our Christmas gift by doing so here, in full, below...Happy Holidays, Senator...We look forward to coming to Sacramento in '07 for your Inaugural as the next California SoS...

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

By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2005 9:35pm PT  

The widely-read inside-the-beltway "Hotline" from National Journal notices our series of reports, of late, and seems to recognize (finally) that there may be something rotten in the State of Diebold.

They "assign" further coverage on these matters to Tom Edsall (WaPo), Scott Shane (NY Times), Sharon Theimer (AP), Mark Memmott (USA Today), and Bloomberg News. We'll see who takes them up on it.

Any of the above may feel free to contact me if they'd like to know where a few of the bodies are buried. I'm happy to help. And, otherwise, here's a friendly starter page to help fill you in on on what you missed "while you were out."

By John Gideon on 12/22/2005 8:08pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of

One day after winning a court decision in North Carolina that seemed to open the door wide for Diebold to ply their wares in the state; they decided to pull out. Their concern is that they could be charged with a felony if officials determine the company failed to send a copy of all the software its machines use to a special holding company assigned by the state. They say they don't have permission to provide code that is owned by third parties such as Microsoft Corp. This leaves ES&S as the only approved vendor in the state. There is concern from St. Louis Co., MO that ES&S may be over-pricing their AutoMARK machines in an attempt to force some counties into purchasing their DREs....

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

Sends Letter to State Announcing Intention to Withdraw in Light of State Law Requirement for Submission of Source Code!
Said to be happy to help state change their law, however!
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2005 3:51pm PT  

For those who have followed the recent yet storied history of Diebold in North Carolina, The BRAD BLOG has just received word that there has been yet one more late-breaking twist! We can now confirm that, in fact, Diebold is removing their company from contention for the lucrative election systems contracts in the state in light of a state law which requires Voting Machine Companies to submit their full source-code to the state for inspection. At least for now.

A letter just obtained by The BRAD BLOG, sent from Diebold to the NC State Board of Elections, confirms that indeed, the company which had previously fought a state law requiring the submission and inspection of their voting equipment's software source code has decided they'd rather quit than fight, and is withdrawing their bid to contract with the state of NC for the time being, pending their ability to convince NC to change their laws!

According to the letter, dated Dec. 20th, 2005 and sent by a Diebold attorney to NC's State Board of Elections Executive Directory, Gary Bartlett, Diebold has decided they cannot comply with the current state law requiring full source code submission. The letter claims that Diebold is prepared to submit their own source code, but not that of third parties which is used by Diebold in their voting systems, including Operating System software and pre-packaged third-party tools.

Diebold, however, in the letter written by attorney Charles R. Owen, and apparently sent via Email on Diebold stationery, says that Diebold "is prepared to work closely with the North Carolina State Board of Elections ('SBE') in drafting a modification" to the law which they contend neither they nor other vendors can meet. It goes on to say that such a modification to the state law would be one "that meets the true intent of the legislature while at the same time imposing reasonable requirements on all vendors that are capable of being met."

Owen adds, however, that they will be "unable to comply with the deadlines imposed by the SBE in addition to the requirements of state law."

-- Here is the full 12/21/05 Letter from Diebold [PDF] to the NC State Board of Elections.

John Gideon, of and VoteTrustUSA, as well as a frequent Guest Blogger here at BRAD BLOG, received word of this decision not long ago via an email sent from a source in NC:

I have just got the official word. Diebold withdrew from NC today because their CEO would not sign the document making him criminally liable for disclosing the source code.

This is what I was talking about in my post yesterday, but I couldn't be too specific.

Thank GOD! We did it. This has been one hell of a battle.

The email was a follow up to word Gideon received late last night from the source who was reportedly waiting to get "the official word" on the matter.

The back and forth between Diebold, North Carolina, and Election Integrity advocates has been an intense roller-coaster ride over the last several weeks as reported in several BRAD BLOG stories which followed all the various ups and downs.

Several weeks ago, Diebold had attempted to receive an exemption from the state court for submitting their complete source code into escrow. They were denied that exemption by the court and announced that they would therefore be unable to do business with North Carolina. Just a day or so later, the state announced they were going to go ahead and certify Diebold anyway based on a partial submission of source code even though that appeared to violate state law. That became known as the "Immaculate Certification" since it came just a day or so after the Ohio-based company had said they'd submit some of their source code to the state after all. Election integrity advocates had argued that their was no way the state could have complied with state law for inspection of the code in the short between the company's submission, and the states certification. The decision to certify at that point, was apparently led by the former Diebold employee, Keith Long, who had recently left the company to join North Carolina's commission advising the State Board of Elections.

Several days later then, a lawsuit was filed by NC citizen, Joyce McCloy, to challenge the state's decision to certify Diebold, contending that it was done against state law. And now, apparently, even Diebold agrees.

North Carolina passed their new, tougher state elections laws, after at least 4,500 votes were entirely lost in Carteret County on a single electronic voting machine made by UniLect, Inc. during the 2004 Presidential Election.

Where things will go from here, we can only guess. But, as ever, we will do our best to stay on top of the story as it moves forward...or backwards...or the case, when dealing with Diebold...may eventually be...

UPDATE: AP now has the story, reports that only one vendor is left in NC willing to meet the state law requirements. ES&S. More more on the problems of ES&S, and a few other remarkable items, see this BRAD BLOG story from earlier today.

Citizen Activists, Increasing Concerns about Diebold Security, Company Integrity Said to Have Been Key to Decision!
ALSO: FOIA Requests Filed About Closed-Door Hearings, Concerns Emerge About ES&S, the Company Chosen Instead of Diebold, and a Diebold Lobbyist Reportedly Inquires About BRAD BLOG...And FAMILY!!!
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2005 3:23pm PT  

Add St. Louis County, Missouri to the growing list of Elections Boards around the country who have now rejected Diebold, Inc. voting machines in the last-minute scramble to select new election hardware, prior to the Jan. 1, 2006 Help America Vote Act deadline to have such "upgrades" paid for with Federal tax dollars.

The bad news for the once-great, now-disgraced Diebold, Inc. (stock symbol: DBD) of North Canton, Ohio, comes as the latest blow in a long string of disappointments for the company, which last week saw the resignation of its CEO, the filing of several Class Action Securities Fraud lawsuits, and the devasting revelation that their voting machines can be easily hacked, allowing the results of Diebold elections to be completely reversed.

The loss of the contract in St. Louis County, who chose to go instead with Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), is estimated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to be at least $9.6 million.

The last minute decision came amid intense lobbying by both citizens' election integrity advocacy groups and paid Diebold lobbyists --- at least one of whom was reported to have inquired about both The BRAD BLOG itself and the financial background of the father of yours truly!

There are also growing concerns about the security of voting equipment sold by ES&S, as well, in light of various states and counties around the country selecting them, instead of Diebold, as the contractor to privatize their public elections.

The County's decision to go with ES&S, instead of Diebold, comes just days after the City of St. Louis (distinct from the county) decided unanimously to go with Diebold. The City's decision occurred even after Diebold's machines were exposed as completely insecure in a so-called "hack test" in Leon County, Florida that resulted in the tally of a test election being completely reversed. A few days later Volusia County, Florida decided against Diebold, and shortly thereafter the State of California "punted" the issue, for now, back to the Feds, stating there were "unresolved significant security concerns" with Diebold's voting machines. The California decision, though not yet definitive, is undoubtedly one of the biggest blows for Diebold, since it is regarded by the company as America's largest "voting market."

The City of St. Louis may come to regret their decision as much as they eventually came to regret allowing the County to split off from it, back in the days when the County was sparsely populated and seen as draining tax dollars from the City. Today, St. Louis County's population is over 1 million, while the City continues to stagnate at a population of just over 300 thousand.

According to reports from both grassroots organization Missourians for Honest Elections and Jo Mannies of The Post, information and concerns about about the latest failures of Diebold voting machines, brought to the County's Board of Election by citizens, was crucial to the BoE's decision. As reported by Mannies in a story on The Post website last night:

Board member Anita Yeckel acknowledged that the controversy surrounding one of the contenders, Diebold Election Systems, was a factor in her decision.

"There was a lot of publicity about Diebold that hadn't been resolved," she said.

In the version of the story which ran in today's paper, the following addition to the above was found:

She added that she personally thought Ohio-based Diebold was "a terrific company."

There was no explanation for that added quote and we have been unable to reach Mannies for comment today.

According to Virginia Harris, a volunteer with Missourians for Honest Elections, St. Louis county resident Harvey Friedman (father of this blogger) was instrumental, along with several others, in bringing the latest disturbing news about the Diebold company to the attention of the Board of Elections.

On a personal note; While my father has never shown a proclivity towards political activism in the past, to the knowledge of this exceedingly proud blogger, I couldn't be more impressed with his tenacious efforts to inform the St. Louis County BoE members of the many growing concerns about Diebold, and to hold their collective feet to the fire in the bargain. The tree, apparently, does not grow far from the fallen apple. Thank you, Dad. And congratulations for the positive effect of your good work in my old home town!

The activism of Friedman the Elder, and the reporting of The BRAD BLOG, apparently has not escaped the notice of at least one person, said to be a Diebold lobbyist present at the series of recent BoE hearings in St. Louis. After Mannies of The Post ran a short blog item highlighting both our hometown connection and our father --- whom she met and interviewed at the hearings --- Lou Hamilton, reportedly representing Diebold, was said to have "thanked" Mannies for "the outing of BRAD BLOG" (whatever that might mean) and to have asked her "Who is Brad's father? What does he do for a living?", according to a report of the incident.

Hamilton is apparently the CEO of "strategic communications consulting service" Hamilton & Company, and described in an article by Mannies as "a prominent Democratic consultant." More information on Hamilton and his company is available here. We have been unable to reach either Hamilton or Mannies for additional comment on the information reported above, which was emailed to us yesterday.

While attention to the many anti-democratic maneuvers of Diebold, whose former CEO Walden O'Dell infamously pledged his personal committment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to George W. Bush in a fundraising letter to Republicans prior to the 2004 election, has been increasingly well-publicized, ES&S has escaped the scrutiny of many Election Reform advocates.

The fact, however, is that ES&S' voting machines are not known to be any more secure than Diebold's, as reported in an eye-opening article yesterday by Wired News. In the report, adjunct computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, Hugh Thompson, who also took part in the Leon County "hack test" last week, is concerned about the voting equipment being purchased from companies other than Diebold:

"Looking at these systems doesn't send off signals that ... if we just get rid of Diebold and go to another vendor we'll be safe," Thompson said. "We know the Diebold machines are vulnerable. As for ES&S, we don't know that they're bad but we don't know that they're (good) either."

Earlier this year, ES&S acquired distribution rights to the AutoMARK system, which has been described as far superior and far more secure than ES&S' own touch-screen and optical scan voting machines. As well, the AutoMARK system, which produces a paper ballot for every vote cast, is said to be accessible to disabled citizens in ways which ES&S and Diebold machines are not, according to a number of disabled citizen's advocacy groups. In Florida's Leon County, the Board of Elections has decided to contract with ES&S, with the intention of using the AutoMARK system once it becomes certified by the state.

St. Louis County's BoE has decided against the AutoMARK system, and instead will purchase 1,750 ES&S touch-screen machines for use in municipal races, along with 500 precinct-level optical-scan tabulators for use in Federal races, according to Harris, with whom we spoke by telephone earlier today. She suspects that ES&S is not dealing honestly with their newly acquired "partners" at AutoMARK, whom she contends ES&S is "defrauding" by over-pricing and under-representing their machines when dealing with potential clients on State and County elections boards.

"In my opinion, ES&S fraudulently priced the AutoMARK machines so high on their bid, that there was no way they could compete with ES&S's DRE [touch-screen] machines or anybody else's for that matter," she told us. Harris claims to have a copy of the bids submitted and hopes to share them with The BRAD BLOG soon.

The wrangling over which vendor to select in St. Louis County occurred shortly after several "closed door sessions" of the St. Louis County Board of Elections, who met privately with Voting Machine vendors and locked out the public and election integrity advocates. Those "closed door sessions" appear to be in violation of Missouri state law, and since then, The BRAD BLOG has learned, "Freedom of Information Act" (FOIA) requests have been filed with the County for the minutes of those closed door sessions. We will, as always, keep you up to date on details that may be revealed by those FOIA requests if and when the County complies with them.

By John Gideon on 12/21/2005 6:17pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of

Today has to be a bad day for two voting machine vendors. Diebold was told by the California SoS to send their system back to the Independent Test Authorities because some specific source code needs to be re-examined. In the meantime the state will not certify any Diebold voting machines. This morning a Temporary Restraining Order was filed by voters in New Mexico against the purchase of any Sequoia Edge voting machines. Included in the TRO is a statement from a developer of aides for disabled persons, who also happens to be blind, who correctly points out that the Sequoia AVC Edge DRE does not satisfy the disability access requirements of HAVA. There has been one disturbing announcement as a judge in North Carolina found for the state board of elections and against the voters of the state who pointed out that the voting systems certified by the state did not meet the law. Also in California a federal audit found that $3.8M of elections funds had been improperly spent by the previous SoS....

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

19 NM counties agree that Sequoia DREs should not be used by their voters
By John Gideon on 12/21/2005 3:04pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of

Last month The BRAD BLOG reported on an important lawsuit underway in New Mexico. We can now report that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) has been filed and that plaintiffs have been added to the suit.

Today, attorneys for Patricia Rosas Lopategui, et al. and against Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, et al. filed a temporary restraining order asking District Judge Eugenio Mathis for an emergency order blocking the Secretary of State from spending millions of dollars on Sequoia AVC Edge touch screen voting machines for use in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Santa Fe and 11 other counties. According to their press release VoterAction, the group who is providing support to the attorneys and the plaintiffs in this case, says:

The plaintiffs allege that the machines are not accessible by disabled voters and violate a state law requirement for voter verifiable paper trail printers, necessary for meaningful audits and recounts. Plaintiffs also submitted substantial evidence that the Sequoia touchscreen voting systems are inaccurate and unreliable, having lost thousands of votes and switched countless others in recent elections.

As a part of their case, plaintiffs submitted the affidavit of Noel Runyan, an expert on the design of disabled access devices. Mr. Runyan, who is blind, gave this harsh assessment:

In my opinion, the Sequoia AVC Edge DRE does not satisfy the disability access requirements of HAVA, as incorporated into New Mexico law. This opinion is based on (1) the Edge's complete lack of any accommodation for persons with severe physical dexterity impairments who are unable to use touchscreens or keypads; (2) the gross inadequacy of the Edge's audio assist feature for persons who are blind or low vision; and (3) the Edge's failure to accommodate elderly voters who have developed severe visual impairments with age but are unfamiliar with and unable to cope with audio-only access technology because they have had normal vision most of their lives. In short, it is my opinion that a large portion of disabled citizens who attempt to cast their votes on Sequoia AVC Edge voting machines will be unable to do so.

The work done by these attorneys has already begun to reap benefits outside of the state of New Mexico as attorneys in other states have begun asking for advice and assistance. VoterAction has a copy of the filing and all attached exhibits posted on their website.

A By-Request Open Thread...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2005 11:33am PT  

Unfortunately, I'm likely off the grid for the bulk of the day/evening today. So, unless the mighty fine Guest Bloggers jump in, feel free to Be the Blog! BRAD BLOG regular, "Dredd" requested an Open Thread recently, so Happy HOLIDAYS, old boy!

In my stead, it'll be as if I'm here by my kicking the Open Thread off with a few things "BRAD" that all have roughly something to do with your occasionally humble host, but that I otherwise don't know what to do with...

Hometown Boy Does Good-ish
Jo Mannies of my one-time hometown paper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch blogs about me. Please note that the commenters in St. Louis on both that item, and the one preceeding it about the city of St. Louis choosing Diebold (the county has yet to make their final determination), need some education and some help. Feel free to offer it to them politely.

Thanks for the Honor Danny!
The notable author/filmmaker Danny Schecter, currently of has taken note of The BRAD BLOG as one of the notable blogs listed amongst his notable list of "Media Heroes". Coming from someone such as Schecter, that is no small honor. Given the company we share on his list, we are about as humbled as we are cable of being. We'll not even note he called us "Brad's Blog" since humble beggars shouldn't be choosers. (For more on humble begging, read on to the end of this item...)

FINALLY! A Good Excuse to Go Out and Buy Hustler!
I've got a short piece in the January February issue, on stands now, so I'm told, about DIEB-THROAT! Go get it! Lemme know you think, since I've yet to see the final version. Finally, you can tell people you really did buy it for the articles!

FINALLY! A Good Excuse to Go Out and Buy Mother Jones!
I've got an article about Dan Borchers --- he the Conservative (real one) working on an Anti-Ann Coulter documentary as first discussed in this BRAD BLOG Exclusive --- in the January issue. Now also out on stands, or so I'm told. If you prefer to save your money, for a CHRISTMAKKAKWANZA DONATION to your friendly neighborhood BRAD BLOG, you can read the MoJo article online here. Be sure to note the cool Spewing Ann graphic with it!

And Speaking of Donations...and Beggars...
Remember, just a few days left to make your end of year tax-deductible donations! Of course, we're not tax-deductable as far as I know, but really...Who does more good for the world? Those losers over at Save the Children or The BRAD BLOG? ;-)

Okay. After you send the tax-deductible part to them, feel free to share whatever might left with us. We could use the end o' year help.

Alternately, a monthly subscription of any amount you choose (see the blue form on the right of this page) is also a very lovely way to end one helluva roller-coaster ride of a year!

(And don't forget the swell merchandise in The BRAD STORE! Though who knows if it'll get there in time for the Holidays...Well, hell, there's eight full days of Chanukah to come! So, sure! It'll make it!...Maybe.)

Discuss all or none of the comments below...

Federal Judge Rules Dover, PA 'Intelligent Design' Mandate in Biology Class Unconstitutional...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2005 11:31am PT  

Yesterday, from AP:

Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said. Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.

The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID [Intelligent Design] Policy," Jones wrote.
"We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom," he wrote in his 139-page opinion.

The Dover policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement said Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It refers students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.
Said the judge: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

We should also note that the smart voters of Dover, removed all of the board members responsible for this idiocy from their jobs in last November's election.

Gun Lovers Take 'War on Christmas' to New Heights (Lows?)
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2005 9:48am PT  

SoS: 'Unresolved significant security concerns', 'Source Code Never Ever Reviewed'
State 'Punts' Issue Back to Feds for Further Testing, State Senator Objects --- Complete Letter from SoS, Senator Bowen's Full Statement...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2005 7:16pm PT  

Late this afternoon, Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's office sent a letter to Diebold Election Systems, Inc. Vice President David Bryd, informing him that the state is declining --- for the time being --- to re-certify Diebold AccuVote touch-screen machines in the state of California pending further testing and certification by Federal authorities.

In the letter, on McPherson's letterhead (complete letter at bottom of this article), Caren Daniels-Meade, chief of the Elections Division writes that "Unresolved significant security concerns exist with respect to the memory card used to program and configure" the Accu-Vote operating system and touch-screen equipment.

In a statement reported by AP, SoS spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns announced problems "discovered during routine state employees and independent consultants":

She said each system approved for use in California must meet 10 security requirements, and the Diebold machines did not meet one of those standards.

"This is a unique case in which we discovered that the source code had never, ever been reviewed," said Kerns. "There were potential security risks with it."

Some of those "potential security risks" may have been revealed in a test last week using similar Diebold equipment in Leon County, FL, where the results of a test election were reversed by a hacked program inserted onto one of the AccuVote memory cards. The hacked election was completed without a trace of the manipulation left behind.

In 2004 Diebold machines were de-certified by California's then Democratic Sec. of State Kevin Shelley after it was revealed that the company had used uncertified software in voting machines in the state. That matter was resolved in a $2.6 million settlement by Diebold with the state. A recent Securities Fraud Class Action complaint has alleged the settlement was meant to shield the public from a litany of flaws in Diebold voting systems. Additional complaints are now pending against the Ohio-based company whose former CEO had promised to "deliver the state of Ohio" to George W. Bush in an infamous fundraising letter sent to Republicans prior to the 2004 Presidential Election. The CEO, Walden O'Dell, was forced to resign early last week just prior to the filed litigation.

Republican McPherson, who later replaced Shelley, carried out a massive mock election test over the summer revealing that 20% of Diebold's AccuVote touch screen machines failed to operate as promised, with many of the touch-screens freezing and printers jamming.

Several weeks ago, McPherson's staff, however, suddenly announced that they were recommending the re-certification of Diebold machines again (under specific conditions) after a secret test, using machines specially prepared by Diebold, found this time that only 3% of the machines failed.

Then came the protests, the Securities Fraud Litigations, and last week's devasting Leon County hack test which resulted in the county announcing they would never use Diebold in another election. Another county in Florida, Volusia, quickly followed suit in deciding to dump their Diebold machines.

McPherson's office, rather than simply decertifying Diebold once and for all in California, has today decided instead to pass the buck back to the the so-called Federal "Indepenent Testing Authority" (ITA). The ITA is a group of several companies chosen and paid for by the voting machine companies such as Diebold themselves, to test their equipment and software on behalf of the Federal Government. Those ITA labs then either certify the software and/or hardware or send it back to the company with the results of the failed tests kept confidential.

State Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) has been an outspoken critic of McPherson's process for considering recertification of Diebold and has otherwise been a watchdog on issues related to the quickly changing Electoral landscape in the Golden State. She released a statement to The BRAD BLOG late this evening (complete statement posted at end of this article). Bowen is critical of McPherson's plan to "punt" the issue back to the Feds and says in her statement:

“The Secretary of State shouldn't punt the decision about whether Diebold machines should be used to count ballots in California to the federal government and an ‘independent' testing authority that's financed by the voting machine vendors. That decision needs to be made in the open, right here in California.”

Bowen, the author of the so-called "Bowen Amendment" (SB 370) recently signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. That legislation mandates, among other things, paper records created for all votes cast in California, as well as mandatory audits of ballots. She has also recently announced her intention to run for Secretary of State in 2006. Her website is here.

Bowen is highly critical of the secretive processes of the ITA, and various electronic voting machinery being deployed around the state using secret software to count Californians votes:

“The federal testing process is notoriously weak and it's done in secret,” continued Bowen. “Plus, these supposedly ‘independent testing authorities' the Secretary of State wants to rely on are financed by the voting machine industry and conduct their tests in secret as well. That's why California shouldn't be relying on proprietary software that uses secret code to count ballots. If we want to ensure we have voting systems that are reliable and secure – and that voters have confidence in – we need to be moving toward an open source software structure.”

Computer security expert, Avi Rubin, who originally discovered some of the astounding security flaws in Diebold's GEMS central tabulator, recently wrote at Huffington Post about the "Dirty Little Secrets of Voting System Testing Labs". We highly recommend his insightful and revealing article on both that and his recent experience at a summit held on Electronic Voting Security issues in California.

In a report just filed by Contra Costa Times Rubin says that review of the source code will determine little, since the source code has little do to with whether or not a hacker is able to introduce a malicious program. It's "definitely not something that's going to give a definitive answer," said Rubin.

McPherson's decision is surely a setback for Diebold who, like several other Voting Machine Companies, are currently scrambling for contracts in the wake of the impending Jan. 1, 2006 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) deadline. If States and Counties wish to receive Federal money to pay for voting systems upgrades, they must make their final decision on which companies to use by that date. Many of those States and Counties had been watching and waiting to see what California would do, given their previous history with Diebold. And of course, as Diebold --- one of several private companies vying to control the country's public voting system --- has described the state: it is America's "largest voting market."

The complete letter from Sec. of State McPherson's office to Diebold, along with Bowen's complete statement follow...

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

A Video of the Moment Flashback...
PLUS: Why Was Bush Admin First Ever, Reportedly, to be Rejected by FISA Court?
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2005 3:00pm PT  

Emailer Expathos sends us an interesting compilation of video clips taken from both C-SPAN and Here's an outake from part of it, taken from speeches in Pittsburgh and Buffalo in 2004:

BUSH: Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires --- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

-- View the complete video here

The emailer also adds:

Wiretaps are conducted around the country every day. The FISA Court alone approves something like a half a dozen a day in highly classified national security or espionage related cases. Bush can tap up to 72 hours prior to asking permission.

The only issue here is why the president decided to go around the normal rules that govern such surveillance, why he chose to make himself above the law.


UPDATE: Additional info on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in response to those Bush apologists suggesting he had no time to go to the court (Rush Limbaugh told his listeners today that it could take "10 to 12 days" to get approval back from the court which frequently gives appropral to such requests in hours, if not minutes). This from an Op/Ed by Anthony Wade yesterday:

From 1979 through 2002 there were 15,264 surveillance warrants issued by the FISA court, clearly displaying that the process is quite favorable to the government seeking such wiretaps. Further supporting this is the amount of surveillance warrants which were rejected during that same 23 year period, ZERO. That is right; in a 23 year period not one request was denied.

But then Wade adds this:

From 2002 until now, only four such requests were denied.

Interesting. So from the time the act was established until 2002, nobody seeking a warrant was denied. Then, the Bush Admin was turned down four times. Why? And could that be why they simply decided to go around the FISA court?

Would you expect anything less?
The Right Makes Up Stuff to Defend Their President's Flagrant Disregard for 'The Rule of Law' While Spying on American Citizens
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2005 1:02pm PT  

The wingnuts are in a full-blown panic to try and justify the latest admission by George W. Bush that he authorized the warrant-less spying on American Citizens. That would be strictly against the law, of course, and likely an impeachable offense (remember, Presidents, we used to be told, are not above "the rule of law").

In their usual well-oiled lockstep fashion, the dead-ender wingnut bloggers and hate-radio folks are now attempting to forward the notion that "Clinton did the same." As usual, the apologists get their talking point assists from the extremist rightwing "news" site, NewsMax who reported:

During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon…all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.

Trouble is, this report, from ThinkProgress, would seem to prove otherwise. Testimony given to Congress in 2000 (back when Republicans pretended to care about this sort of thing) by then FBI Director George Tenet would seem to indicate (surprise!) that NewsMax and the other apologists are wrong:

I'm here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…

There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department.

Whether Tenet was lying or not in his testimony --- which NewsMax didn't bother to quote --- we couldn't tell you. If Bill Clinton actually broke the law in this regard, as the wingnuts suggest, perhaps Republicans should impeach him. Oh, wait, it may be a bit late for that. But perhaps they should have impeached him for it (if it actually occured), instead of impeaching him for receiving an unauthorized blow job. We're just saying.

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