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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Joins NY Times in Finally Going on Public Record!
Though also remain inexplicably allergic to investigating Election 2004!
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2004 3:06pm PT  

As The NY Times finally did yesterday, Newsweek follows in-step today by covering the problems with E-Voting and it's lack of paper audit trails, etc.

It's encouraging for the much-needed election reform movement that such articles are finally making their way into the Corporate Media. Yet I find it still somewhat beguiling that these organizations are finally willing to report on the lack of verifiability at the root of our country's democracy, how easy it may be to tamper with the results and how the end result is a lack of confidence in the outcome --- Yet with all of those acknowledged problems, the same Corporate Media still proves wholly unwilling to actually investigate the enormous body of data recently gathered via such troubling means a mere three weeks ago!

In other words, they acknowledge that possible trouble exists with the technology, but they are seemingly unwilling to expend any resources to determine if such trouble did exist in the November 2nd election! Newsweek even goes so far as to title their piece "Four More Years to Finally Get It Right". As if to say, nothing to see last November 2nd, but let's look ahead to '08.

In any case, here's a few key grafs from Steven Levy's Newsweek piece.

On those of us who have been dubious about what went on in Election 2004 and our refusal to take the questionable results lying down...

Is it time for these folks to shut up already?

To the contrary, their curmudgeonry serves an important purpose. The nature of the ATM-style voting terminals used by a third of the country in 2004—and set to increase over the next few cycles—doesn't merely invite controversy. It makes doubt a permanent part of the process. The problem is that the new devices have no way of proving to the voter that his or her choice is reported in the final tally. Researchers have demonstrated that the machines themselves are not foolproof—and, worse, are potentially susceptible to vote-stealing schemes.

Really? Glad you've admitted that, but wouldn't you do even better by investigating if that may have actually happened?!

And then Levy closes by pointing to the concerns that those of us pushing for Election Reform have been pointing out for a while. He aptly mentions that the concerns are not only with E-Voting itself and finishes (ironically enough) by spanking those who don't yet seem to get it...

Of course, verification is only one component of voting reform. Why is it that the companies that make the machines are run by executives who favor one party over another? For that matter, why is it that the so-called referees of the process are often partisan politicians themselves? When tackling the problems of provisional ballots, supplying precincts with sufficient voting machines and handling recounts, wouldn't it make sense to have neutral parties in charge?

After the 2000 debacle, one might have expected that our leaders would move mountains to make the next election an exemplary one. The fact that we cannot convince the doubters proves otherwise. Don't call them paranoid, but recognize their passion for fairly run, accurately tabulated elections. If only their zeal were more contagious.

The sentiment is much appreciated. But what Levy fails to point out here is that the "2000 debacle" is what put these "leaders" in power in the first place! It's small wonder then that they'd wish to tamper with that easily-gamed system.

Levy quickly mentions "legislation that would have mandated such protections in 2004 was bottled up in Congress," but he conveniently or lazily doesn't mention that the "bottled up" legislation was "bottled up" by the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate (specifically by Hastert and Delay) who wouldn't allow these bills to even come up for a vote!

But let's not hold any actual feet to any actual fires. We wouldn't want to piss off our well-earned sources now would we?

Both this piece and the Times piece I pointed out yesterday are indeed encouraging and bode well (hopefully) for reform in '06 and/or '08 to a certain extent. But one would have thought the even more-obviously outrageous 2000 election would have kept us from being where we are today at all.

So while the emerging willingness of these Corporate Media outlets to finally acknowledge that these issues even exist, they would be far better off investigating whether any of the items they warn about actually occurred in this go-round. There's certainly ample evidence to look into if they decide to actually leave their offices and look into it!

Without attention and hard news reporting on the matter from such outlets, I see no reason why Election '04 will offer any greater incentive to force lawmakers to reform the system. If the well-reported-upon debacle of 2000 didn't do the trick, why would the picture the media has now succeeded in painting of a "relatively trouble-free" 2004 election encourage anybody to change anything?!...Especially with even more of those lawmakers --- the ones who were able to gain from the dubious system --- now entrenching themselves in the same halls of power that decided not to correct the problems last time?!

CONTACTS...(Please be polite!)
Steven Levy, Newsweek Columnist: steven.levy@newsweek.com
Mark Whitaker, Newsweek Editor: mark.whitaker@newsweek.com
...Or, TheBradBlog@cville.com&Subject=Please Investigate and Report On Voter Irregularity, Mistabulation and Fraud in Election 2004!">Email both at the same time with a BCC to me so I can track numbers!

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But, of course, not enough concerns to actually investigate them.
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2004 2:41pm PT  

The New York Times deems to recognize that it just might not be such a great idea to rely on so many untested electronic voting machines created by private, partisan companies using uninspected software with no way to validate the results.

Appropriately enough for The Times their James Fallows column is found on their "Business Section - YOUR MONEY - TECHNO FILES" page of tomorrow's paper.

Not much new offered, just the fact itself that The Times is willing to talk about these issues at all is what's most notable here. A sample...

Four years ago, about one-eighth of all votes for president were cast electronically. This year, nearly a third were. How the system would handle that large increase in scale could not have been tested until the presidency was at stake. Worse, most of the electronic systems are not accountable. When I voted this year, I fed my paper ballot through an optical scanner and into a storage box. In a recount, those ballots could have been pulled out and run through the scanner again. If I had used the touch screen, I would have had no tangible evidence that the vote counted or was recountable.

Is that a problem because the chief executive of Diebold, the largest maker of such systems, is a prominent Republican partisan? No. It's a problem because it defies the check-and-balance logic built into every other electronic transaction.

Very good. Now what are you willing to do, NY Times, to check-and-balance what these computers did not in this year's election? Anything more than simply talking about it?

managing-editor@nytimes.com; executive-editor@nytimes.com; national@nytimes.com; editorial@nytimes.com; oped@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com; letters@nytimes.com; magazine@nytimes.com; QandA@nytimes.com; washington@nytimes.com; TheBradBlog@cville.com?Subject=Investigate and Report On Voter Irregularity, Mistabulation and Fraud NOW!">Click here to send an email asking them to do so if you haven't already!

(Thanks Desi for the link!)

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And Another Voyage Through CrazyWorld...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2004 1:51pm PT  

"There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that placed their election, the validity of their elections, in doubt."
-- George W. Bush, 11/26/04. In regard to the U.S. position of not recognizing the validity of Ukraine's recent election.

If anyone sees a guy in a big top hat run by screaming "I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" do not be alarmed.

(See Colin Powell's equally appalling ironic quote from a few days ago here on the same topic.)

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A 'Floodtide' of Evidence Emerges
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2004 1:33pm PT  

I dare you to read this entire Columbus Free Press article and then explain to me why Ohio's election shouldn't be entirely invalidated and re-held!

Here's the first graf...

COLUMBUS --- A floodtide of evidence of questionable practices in the 2004 election is mounting fast against Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and Republican Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) Director Matt Damschroder. New transcriptions of sworn voter testimony, presented below for the first time, confirm growing suspicions of widespread use of rigged machines. Voters experienced hostility from poll workers, refusal of Republican election officials to follow the law, and discriminatory manipulation of voting machine placement, driving significant numbers of Democrats away from the polls.

Now go read the rest and get back to me.

(Hat tip to John of Crooks & Liars for the link!)

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Voters' Rights Group Claims Ballots Incorrectly Discarded
Some for simplying being left at the wrong table in the right building!
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2004 12:48pm PT  

There have been many reports since Nov. 2nd, of provisional ballots in Ohio being rejected because they were cast at the "wrong precinct" after Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell issued a directive requiring provisionals be cast at the voters' own precinct.

In many of those cases, where polling places had been shut down and consolidated in urban minority areas to make way for E-Voting --- which was then cancelled at the last minute, even though the polling places remained closed and consolidated --- several different precincts were combined into a single polling place.

Where that took place, there were different tables that represented the different precincts. Many poll workers, however, were reportedly unaware that provisional ballots had to be cast at the voters specific "precinct" (or in such cases, table) which meant that some voters who were forced to fill out a provisional were told they could simply leave the ballot at "Table B", when their actual precinct was at "Table A" --- in the same building!

Such ballots are now being rejected for having been cast at the "wrong precinct"!

A Cincinnati Post report today describes how that happened in just one of Ohio's counties:

About 14,000 provisional ballots were cast in [Hamilton County], according to elections director John Williams.
...
[A]bout 1,100 were declared invalid because they were cast at the wrong precinct, according to Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Burke...said about 400 of those votes came from polling places that housed more than one precinct.

"Four hundred voters were in the right polling place, but not at the right table," Burke said. "It is my opinion that they should be counted."

A lawsuit has now been filed in one county (Cuyahoga) against Blackwell and the State of Ohio arguing that such rejected provisional ballots should indeed be counted in Ohio!

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

A national nonpartisan voters' rights group has asked an Ohio court to reinstate nearly 8,000 provisional ballots ruled invalid in Cuyahoga County.

The People for the American Way Foundation filed suit Friday in the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals in Cleveland against Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
...
Cuyahoga had 24,472 provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 2 election, and 8,099 - fully a third - were invalidated.
...
The action charges that poll workers and precinct judges "were deeply confused" about how to handle the provisional ballots and that Blackwell failed to provide clear instructions.

People for the American Way wants the court to order Blackwell and the county elections board to check electronic voter-registration rolls against paper registration records, to notify each voter who cast an invalidated ballot why it was rejected, and to give that person a way to contest the invalidation.

The suit also wants ballots counted if voters cast them in the wrong places and officials failed to send them to the right polling places.

Voter disenfranchisment in America. Just another topic worth less coverage from our major news media than shoppers buying DVD players at Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving.

Make no mistake, the cash register is the real voting booth these days in these dis-United States of America.

UPDATE: Columbus Free Press has an affidavit from Neil F. Schoenwetter, Jr., a Democratic "challenger" at the polls on Election Day in Ohio, who gives specific details of Election Supervisors and Poll Workers instructing voters that "ANY PROVISIONAL BALLOT THAT WAS CAST IN THE COUNTY WOULD BE COUNTED; THEY DID NOT HAVE TO BE CAST AT ANY PARTICULAR PRECINCT." See the link for the entire sworn account.

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Official Report Charges 'US Losing War of Ideas' in Islamic World!
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2004 12:03pm PT  

A Pentagon-appointed advisory panel has issued a harsh report on America's failing middle-east policies and "urged the creation of a 'strategic communication' apparatus within the White House and an overhaul of public diplomacy, public affairs and information dissemination efforts by the Pentagon and State Department."

The report, made available by the Pentagon just weeks after the U.S. Election, charges what so many of us have been charging for some time; namely, that the "US is losing the war of ideas" in the middle-east and the Islamic world in general. From The Australian's article on the report:

THE US is losing the war of ideas in the Islamic world, failing to elucidate its policies to Muslims wary of American intentions and "self-serving hypocrisy", a Pentagon advisory panel has found.
...
"If we really want to see the Muslim world as a whole and the Arabic-speaking world in particular move more toward our understanding of 'moderation' and 'tolerance,' we must reassure Muslims that this does not mean that they must submit to the American way," the report stated.

The toughly worded report said that while America's efforts to explain its policies have failed, improved public relations efforts cannot sell faulty policies.

"Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies," the panel stated.
...
"Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy," the report stated.
...
US intervention in the Muslim world, including wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, had actually elevated the stature of radical enemies of America, the report stated.

"In the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. US actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination," the report stated.
...
"American efforts... may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended," the report said.

Duh...do ya think?!

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By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2004 5:38pm PT  

Warren Mitofsky, head of the consortium which gathers and publishes the exit poll data for all of the major networks and newspapers, has been claiming of late that those who relied on and/or published his exit polling data during the course of Election Day were mistaken to have done so. The reason being, Mitofsky recently emailed Keith Olbermann at MSNBC, is because those raw numbers, leaking out when they did, are more aptly compared to "the score at half time at a football game" rather than information to be used to judge against the final election results.

I believe Joseph Cannon gets it exactly right, however, when he responded yesterday with this thought:

No, Mr. Mitofsky. They should be compared to the score at half time at fifty football games. Better analogy: Fifty tosses of a coin. Error should skew in both directions; if the coin keeps coming up heads, something is wrong with that coin.

Of course, without the raw data from the exit pollsters, everyone is largely guessing. So I will associate myself with pollster John Zogby's sage demand on MSNBC last Wednesday wherein he said, "I think that the gentlemen who are responsible for the exit polls should be fully transparent, release their data, discuss their methodology. Let us see what exactly it is that happened, and why it happened...I'll take this opportunity right now to say I think that it's in the interest of healing this country and restoring some unity to this country for us to have a thorough investigation of what happened both to the election and with the exit polls."

Hear, hear, Mr. Zogby!...

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

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Or, Democracies That Live in Glass Houses
PRAVDA Tells U.S. to 'Like It or Lump It' in regards to Ukraine Election
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2004 3:19pm PT  

A week or two ago I wrote an item here entitled "Why It Matters" which pointed to an article in the Russian PRAVDA Online discussing our election irregularities here in greater detail than we've seen from the bulk of the United States' own media.

My point in highlighting the article was that the world is watching carefullly what happens in the United States, perhaps now more than ever as we are attempting --- as claimed by the Administration, anyway --- to spread democracy around the globe.

Apparently I was more prescient that even I had imagined at the time in pointing out that particular article. Take a look at what PRAVDA Online now has to say about the U.S.'s recent objections to the election results in Ukraine:

Where was this condemnation during the appalling electoral fraud committed in the USA on November 2nd?
...
Mention of "electoral fraud and abuse" from an American observer was risible, after the two fiascos in the USA which saw the most flagrant examples of vote-rigging and electoral fixing in modern history.
...
When the Republican Party deploys electronic voting machines bought from Republican Party fundraisers who promised before the election to help the President to win, the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] observers describe it as localised and insignificant incidents. However, when the incompent stooge Yushchenko fails to win in the Ukraine, it is fraud.
...
If the West has a problem with that - and it appears that "international law" is a concept with which certain countries have a problem to understand these days - too bad.

In plain English, you can like it - or lump it.

Any other questions?

If we can't get democracy right in our own country or even show an interest in the fairness and transparency of same by the bulk of our controlling governmental bodies and corporate media, then one can hardly expect the rest of the world to follow an example which we're not particularly interested in applying to our own democracy.

Expect the international influence of the American Empire to continue to crumble in country after country, region after region as we here at home continue to fiddle even while worldwide democracy burns as a direct result of our own apathy for maintaining the health of our own once-fervently held democratic principles.

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The BRAD BLOG Replies Back...With Fervor.
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2004 12:19pm PT  

Apparently the number of Emails The NY Times has been receiving, spurred in no small part by our coverage here of their lack of, or otherwise condescending coverage of the hundreds of reports of "irregularities" in Election 2004 has caused a "flood" to their inboxes.

Or so says the New York Times "Public Editor" Daniel Okrent who has chosen to use his Times-supplied "blog space" to speak to that "flood" in his response posted here.

That response was both tepid, apologetic, and gave no real answers to the many concerns expressed by so many of you who have sent letters. Neither did he address any of the "15 Unanswered Questions" I compiled for them, and sent directly to Mr. Okrent's "flooded mailbox".

And so, I have now replied via Email to Mr. Okrent in regards to his reponse. I urge you to do the same. Here is my Email to him...

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

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(Though I do believe none was intended.)
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2004 11:35pm PT  

"We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse."
-- U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, 11/24/04. In regards to Ukraine's recent election and the announced U.S. rejection of the results. From The Washington Post.

Welcome to CrazyWorld.

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An Update on BlackBoxVoting.org's Continuing Florida Fraud Audit
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2004 10:24pm PT  

As promised, Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org has posted an update on the Fraud Audit she is now doing with a team down in Florida.

Last week she reported on their efforts to pick up the requested "Freedom of Information Act" documents at several Florida county election boards, and detailed a confrontation with election officials in Volusia County. She reported stonewalling from officials, incomplete records turned over, and having found official materials, including "polling tapes" in dumpsters outside election board offices. The "polling tapes" found showed discrepant numbers to the officially announced tallies. I've come to understand that "polling tapes" are the official records of who and how many voted at each precinct or voting machine as signed by poll workers before being handed off to officials for counting at the central tallying offices.

Today she reports that "Volusia County resident Susan Pynchon, with the help of Volusia County attorney Daniel R. Vaughen, P.A., filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, Nov. 23, seeking to set aside the Nov. 2, 2004 Volusia County election due to irregularities."

The full complaint is linked on her site, as well as a summary of the irregularities they've found in Volusia County to date. I've only had time to read the summary so far where many of the previously discussed issues are outlined. They are all troubling, worth reading. The last few in the list caught my eye...

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

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State Reports 106% Registered Voter Turnout!
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2004 8:53pm PT  

As proof of how healthy our democracy is, WatchingTheWatchers.org has just informed us that Wyoming had a voter turnout rate of 106% this year!

That's right, according to the Wyoming Sec. of State's website (go ahead, click on it yourself), out of 232,396 registered voters in the state, 245,789 of them came out to vote this year!

Yes, go read those numbers above again. That's 13,393 more votes than voters in Wyoming! And yes, even the Sec. of State's website brags about the 106% registered voter turnout!

With national turnout rates somewhere around 60% this year, and only 56% showing up in Wyoming for their 2004 primaries, the state should certainly be proud of their new record turnout! Which beats the previous record in 2000 of 101% turnout!

Waytago Wyoming! You are "W Country" indeed!

Nope, nothing funny going on with voting in this country. Just worry about Ukraine. We're fine here. Nothing to see. Move on...

UPDATE: Eagle-eyed commentor Tracy updates us with a Nov 6th item from Wyoming's Casper Star-Tribune offering this "explanation":

"This was an exciting election day in Wyoming, with many people registering at the polls," Secretary of State Joe Meyer said Wednesday.
...
"It is possible to have a voter turnout of more than 100 percent because Wyoming statutes allow voters to register at the polls on election day," he said.
...
"Having Wyoming's Dick Cheney on the ballot has probably driven our high voter turnout the last two presidential elections," Meyer said.

So that explains that. For the record, Ohio, which doesn't have same day registration, but was the most contested state in the union this year had a registered voter-turnout of 69.86%.

Presuming interest was as high in Wyoming --- the reddest of the red states, where Bush won handily --- as it was in Ohio, that would mean that some 36% of the total electorate registered on Election Day in Wyoming.

As I said...keep moving...nothing to see here...these aren't the droids you're looking for...

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[UPDATED: Fixed Broken Links to NY Times Response!]
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2004 11:39am PT  

Have to do some travelling here in the next few hours, so will be shortly out of the loop. There's several brewing items I'd like to comment further on, but for lack of time, I cover them quickly now and hit in more detail later as time allows:

  • The irony of the current situation in the Ukraine over the last couple of days has been almost too much to wrap my brain around. Thus, I haven't mentioned it until now. As of this morning, the U.S. Government's official position is that the election was not legitimate due to "numerous and credible accusations of fraud". While no fraud has actually been proven, the position seems to be based on the fact that the Exit Polls showed the opposition candidate leading by 11%, but the Kremlin-backed incumbent candidate ended up "winning" in the Final Results by 3%. Sound familiar? As I say, the irony is almost too much for my brain to process here for the moment. Not to mention that I've already seen more coverage in the Mainstream Media about possible fraud in the Ukraine Election than I have about the U.S. Election. A velvet revolution seems to be brewing now in the streets of Kiev...anybody up for one in the United States?
  • Another official government investigation into the alleged Voter Irregularities has been announced by a congressional committee. I was able to find word about that investigation only from the Newhouse News Service as of late last night. Perhaps it's getting more coverage in the Ukraine.
  • Finally this morning, the Email campaign encouraged on the BRAD BLOG (nice constructive item here and angry reactionary one here) to the NY Times has had enough of an effect to receive a reaction from their "Public Editor" (the NY Times' version of an ombudsmen), Paul Okrent. His reply --- a pretty lame and apologetic one as you'll see when you read it --- is posted online here. I'll most definitely be speaking to his reply later tonight when I'm settled back in, as I have more than a thing or two to say in reply. But the good news for the moment, as you'll note when you read his response, is that we've gotten their attention! Keep those Emails going! managing-editor@nytimes.com; executive-editor@nytimes.com; national@nytimes.com; editorial@nytimes.com; oped@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com; letters@nytimes.com; magazine@nytimes.com; QandA@nytimes.com; washington@nytimes.com; TheBradBlog@cville.com?Subject=Investigate and Report On Voter Irregularity, Mistabulation and Fraud NOW!">Here again are the addresses to write to to encourage them to investigate and report on the many irregularities that have been found in our elections. (I know we don't live in the Ukraine, but still, alleged fraud in our elections would seem to be at least as trouble as alleged fraud in Kiev.)
  • As I've said, I hope to give each of the above items their proper due later tonight, hopefully along with more breaking news. In the meantime, safe travels to those of you moving about the country for Thanksgiving!

    ReddIt this story!



    A Clear Channel 'Public Service' Billboard in Orlando, FL
    Driving the Message Home...
    By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2004 3:10pm PT  

    Any questions?

    ReddIt this story!



    Completely Blowing the VoterGate Story
    By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2004 2:51pm PT  

    Maureen Farrell does a masterful job, in a new BuzzFlash piece today, of rounding up the national disgrace that is the current Mainstream Media coverage of VoterGate 2004. The piece is called "Election Angst Update: Clark Kent Vs the Media Wimps". The whole story is worth a read, particularly if you're new to what's been going on or are still in denial about the import of this story and how the MSM has so far completely missed it with the exception of one guy at MSNBC.

    Here's just one of her many money quotes:

    There is no doubt, of course, that had the e-vote been on the other foot, FOX News and Drudge would be discussing voter irregularities 'round the clock. And if Kerry's brother were Florida's governor and had a track record of disenfranchising Republicans, Rush Limbaugh would be throwing tantrum after tantrum. What do you suppose would have happened had the head of a voting machine company promised to deliver Ohio's electoral votes to John Kerry? Close your eyes and imagine.

    Still have questions? Go read the whole story.

    ReddIt this story!



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