Archive for the 'Brad Blog' Category

Finally, An Elected President

Posted in '08 Election, Black Box (Electronic) Voting, Brad Blog, Mike Connell, Velvet Revolution on November 6th, 2008

Barack Obama was overwhelmingly elected by citizens in all
regions of the country.  Unlike the past two elections where the results
were contested in two states run by partisans who rigged the results, this election was won hands down by the person who ran the best campaign.  This is not to say that there were not  massive problems with voting systems in many states.  But this election did not come down to one state or county controlled by corrupt officials.

Four years ago, VR was formed out of the chaos of the 2004 election. Since then, we and all  of you have fought a long battle to ensure that our elections are fair, honest and transparent.  We demanded accurate voting machines and paper ballots.  In this election, both Florida and Ohio, now with paper ballots, went Blue and there is no one questioning that result.

Over the past several months, we have raised the specter of a Man in the Middle computer attack on the vote tabulators controlled by partisan evangelicals.  We identified Michael Connell as the key GOP IT expert who created these nefarious networks.  We took legal action against Connell in the form of a federal deposition.  Karl Rove responded by threatening Connell to either take the fall or keep his mouth shut. Connell’s Bush/Cheney attorneys did everything possible to keep Connell from testifying.

Two  weeks ago, Rove was confidently saying that John McCain could win ten battleground states to become President.  McCain was confidently telling everyone that he would win with a surge in the wee hours of election night.

Well, last Friday, something important happened:  Michael Connell was forced to appear before Solomon Oliver,  a Clinton appointed Afro-American federal Judge in Cleveland. After Attorney Cliff Arnebeck accused Connell in open court of rigging elections for Karl Rove, the judge ordered Connell to submit to a sworn deposition 18 hours before the polls were to open.  On Monday at noon, Connell was placed under oath and  grilled about election fraud, Man in the Middle attacks,  Trojan horse manipulations and threats
from Rove.

And guess what happened?  Connell suddenly changed his tune. Connell said that to his knowledge there would be no tabulation manipulations of Tuesday’s election.  And something else, Karl Rove wrote on his blog late Monday that Obama would win by a landslide even in those states he had previously predicted McCain would win.

In short, at VR, with all the help from you, our affiliates, our supporters and others, we played a role in helping to make this presidential election more fair than the past two.  Our education campaign, our paper ballot campaign, our whistleblower campaign and our legal strategies worked.  That’s what democracy is all about.

Thank all of you for your confidence in our work, your dedication and your kind and generous support.  We hope to continue to do our small part to make our government more accountable to everyone.

Original Post on VelvetRevolution.us

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So Where’s the ACORN ‘Voter Fraud’?

Posted in '08 Election, ACORN, Brad Blog, Voter Fraud on October 15th, 2008
It Doesn’t Exist, But That Fact Won’t Keep the Wingnuts From Claiming Otherwise…

– Brad Friedman

So where’s the “voter fraud”?

Fox “News”, and it’s Rupert Murdoch owned print brethren, the New York Post, continue to bang the GOP’s phony ACORN “voter fraud” drum, but as far as I can tell, they’ve failed to come up with a single incident of any actual voter fraud committed by the dastardly “left-wing extremists”.

Yes, Ann Coulter has committed felony voter fraud, but neither of the Murdoch outfits have yet to note that point, even while they go wall-to-wall with misleading reports claiming that ACORN is committing massive “voter fraud” on behalf of the Democrats.

So, as it’s now been revealed that John McCain himself was a keynote speaker at a 2006 ACORN rally (on immigration reform) in Florida, where he declared to the ACORN volunteers in the room that they are “What makes America special”, and as I’ve been going back and forth with commenters on my “Republican Voter Fraud Hoax” piece at the UK’s Guardian (which today, has shot up to one of their most read items), still, nobody seems able to show me an instance of any actual voter fraud committed by ACORN, or even anybody who registered via ACORN for that matter.

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Election Integrity Expert Mark Crispin Miller Says ‘Fringe Movement’ Within Republican Party Is ‘Dismantling Democracy’

Posted in '04 Election, '08 Election, Brad Blog, General, Mark Crispin Miller, Video on January 20th, 2008

BLOGGED BY Alan Breslauer ON 1/18/2008 12:39PM  for The BRADBLOG

Says Movement ‘Has Been Destroying The Voting System On Every Conceivable Front’

Adds That Even A ‘Cursory Study’ Of The 2004 Election ‘Makes It Abundantly Clear That The Election Was Stolen’

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Election integrity expert and author of Fooled Again, Mark Crispin Miller, made some remarkable comments while speaking to the LA Election Protection Task Force last night. Robert Carillo Cohen, producer of Hacking Democracy, was also a featured speaker at the event.

After covering some preliminary matters, Miller retold the story of his post 2004 election encounter with John Kerry when the Democratic candidate admitted that he believed the presidential election was stolen. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since, as Miller states:

And believe me, a cursory study of the evidence makes it abundantly clear that the election was stolen and it wasn’t even that close.

Which ultimately leads Miller to conclude that Kerry is in denial:

Because if you really do accept what happened, you realize that it is a catastrophe, it’s an emergency. And it’s something that a guy like John Kerry or Al Gore is simply not built to deal with, right? Because if you come to terms with what went down, you realize that it is an attack on American democracy. Business as usual can’t simply continue. We gotta do something. We gotta hit the barricades.

But resistance to the idea that American democracy is under attack goes far beyond Kerry and Gore. Miller believes the way to break through this resistance is to:

keep publicizing, to keep spreading the word, to keep making clear that it is not just this little thing here or that little thing there, we’re talking about a fringe movement that has taken over the Republican party that has been dismantling democracy, that has been destroying the voting system on every conceivable front, not just the machines. They are even messing with the census. They are preventing another census from being taken because if you have census data you can track this stuff more easily.

Finally, Miller concludes by going over a 12-step approach to reforming our elections.


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UNCOUNTED – The New Math of American Elections

Posted in '00 Election, '04 Election, '08 Election, Bob Fitrakis, Brad Blog, Disenfranchisement, Exit Polls, Video on November 7th, 2007

For more information or to order a DVD please visit UNCOUNTED – The New Math of American Elections. 



UNCOUNTED is an explosive new documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 – and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof.

UNCOUNTED shares well documented stories about the spine-chilling disregard for the right to vote in America. In Florida, computer programmer Clint Curtis is directed by his boss to create software that will “flip” votes from one candidate to another. In Utah, County Clerk Bruce Funk is locked out of his office for raising questions about security ebudy flaws in electronic voting machines. Californian Steve Heller gets convicted of a felony after he leaks secret documents detailing illegal activities committed by a major voting machine company. And Tennessee entrepreneur, Athan Gibbs, finds verifiable voting a hard sell in America and dies before his dream of honest elections can be realized. 

UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. Beyond increasing the public’s awareness, the film inspires greater citizen involvement in fixing a broken electoral system. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America.

 

For more information or to order a DVD please visit UNCOUNTED – The New Math of American Elections. 

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Evidence Suggests U.S. Attorney Firings May Have Been Part of White House Scheme to Help Game 2008 Election

Posted in '06 Election, '08 Election, Brad Blog, General, Legal on March 31st, 2007
Karl Rove Associate and GOP Operative Tim Griffin’s Appointment in Arkansas — and Others Like it — Are Worth Noting as the Scandal Continues to Unravel…

Details continue to drip out from the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal which seem to suggest that electoral politics — and perhaps the 2008 election in particular — may well have been at the heart of the White House/Dept. of Justice scheme to strategically place partisan operatives where they might be most useful prior to the next Presidential Election.

One such detail revealed itself on Tuesday March 20th when Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball to discuss the recent purge of several US Attorneys by the Bush Administration. Host Chris Matthews opened the segment by asking Pryor how much he knew about the White House’s decision to replace the US Attorney in his state, Bud Cummins, with one of Karl Rove’s associates, a partisan operative named Tim Griffin.

Pryor criticized the Attorney General for firing Cummins and replacing him with Griffin, who had very little professional experience in Arkansas and had only recently moved there when Cummins was fired in December of 2006. Cummins, on the other hand, whom George W. Bush himself had appointed in 2001, had been well respected, competent, and non-partisan (despite personally being a Republican).

But the real bombshell came near the end of the interview….

Cummins told Matthews before going on the air that he had heard a “conspiracy theory” about why the Administration had chosen to replace Cummins with Griffin, and Matthews asked him about it a short time later when they were live. “Well,” Pryor said, slightly uncomfortable. “There’s kind of a conspiracy theory about that.”

“Some people have pointed to that, said isn’t that strange, here [the Administration is] putting in a maybe highly-political US Attorney in Hillary Clinton’s backyard… Isn’t that odd right before the Presidential race?” Pryor explained.

The implication was that if Republicans had a partisan prosecutor in Arkansas where the Clintons lived while Bill had served as governor during the 1980s, he would be able to drudge up old political dirt on the couple in time for the 2008 elections.

Pryor was quick to add that he didn’t personally subscribe to the theory, but that it was just speculation he had been hearing among political insiders.

But Griffin’s nomination wasn’t the only one with political and electoral undertones that might not bode well for Democrats in 2008. In fact, a report from the McClatchy Newspaper syndicate last Friday indicated that the Bush Administration has replaced US Attorneys in several key states, just in time for the 2008 Presidential election.

In April 2006, Karl Rove gave a keynote address to the National Lawyers Association, a partisan legal group. “He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in 2008,” McClatchy recalled in their report.

“Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005.”

Incidentally, during the same speech, Rove also acknowledged his friend, Thor Hearne, who had been both General Counsel to the Bush-Cheney 2004 election campaign and also Executive Director of the GOP front group “American Center for Voting Rights” or ACVR, which has engaged in voter suppression efforts via phony propagandistic reports on America’s non-existent “voter fraud” epidemic since 2004. (BRAD BLOG’s extensive coverage of ACVR can be found here. The group’s website has suddenly disappeared since the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal has come to light.)

“I ran into Thor Hearne as I was coming in,” Rove told the audience. “He was leaving; he was smart, and he was leaving to go out and enjoy the day.”

“I want to thank you for your work on clean elections,” he continued. “I know a lot of you spent time in the 2004 election, the 2002 election, the 2000 election in your communities or in strange counties in Florida, helping make it certain that we had the fair and legitimate outcome of the election,” Rove told the Republican attorneys.

He also compared elections in “some parts of the country” to those that take place in third-world dictatorships where the “guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” Whether he was aware of the irony of his comments is still unknown.

In any event, three of the US Attorneys Bush has nominated since the 2004 election were, remarkably enough, from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which has been criticized for implementing policies which unfairly disadvantage poor, often minority voters whose political tendencies historically favor Democrats.

And Griffin himself had allegedly been involved with voter suppression. Griffin, as investigative journalist Greg Palast discovered in 2004, was one of the RNC operatives that had thought up a complicated scheme to disenfranchise Americans who did not respond to letters sent to their home addresses. Victims of the scheme whose votes were thrown away, Palast reported, included homeless people, and black soldiers serving overseas who obviously could not respond to mail, marked with “do not forward” instructions, delivered to their home addresses.

The scheme Griffin played a role in also reportedly targeted predominately African American areas in swing states such as Florida.

Griffin recently dismissed Palast’s reporting in a radio interview. “I’m intimately familiar with [Palast's] allegations. That is a web article on the Internet. It’s patently false,” he pointed out, as if a “web article,” and “on the Internet” no less, might marginalize the facts of the report. Yet Griffin may not have been so intimately familiar with the allegations from that “web article on the Internet” after all: They were aired during a report by Palast, as filed on the television program “Newsnight” for the BBC. (A video of the original report can be found on YouTube).

When Justice Department and White House officials first tried to explain the US Attorney firings, they claimed that several of the prosecutors who had been forced to resign had refused to follow up on allegations of “voter fraud.” Some immediately recognized that “voter fraud” allegations have been the weapon of choice, of late, by Republicans attempting to make it more difficult for certain groups of Americans — particularly those in minority areas whose voters do not typically lean GOP — to vote, by pushing new regulations and disenfranchising Photo ID legislation as a “protective measure.”

The DoJ claims that the firings were “voter fraud” related raised some skepticism at BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and even led to the New York Times editorial page to sharply criticize the supposed rationale for the firings. It is perhaps ironic that the public explanation the Administration has given for firing the prosecutors — specifically related to elections — may ultimately draw more attention to what some suspect is a deeper scheme to set up a system of disenfranchisement just in time for the 2008 elections.

At least one Arkansas newspaper has called for Griffin’s resignation since the US Attorney scandal began, and he has said that he would only stay until the Administration found a suitable replacement. The White House has privately worried that Griffin would not be able to pass muster in Senate confirmation hearings, which he would be required to undergo if he wanted to keep his current job. The loophole in the PATRIOT Act which allowed Griffin and others to bypass the normal confirmation process was recently closed by the Senate in a vote of 94-2. The House is expected to pick up the matter soon.


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Posted on The Brad Blog by Arlen Parsa

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Opinion: More proof of e-voting trouble (cue crickets)

Posted in '04 Election, '06 Election, '08 Election, Black Box (Electronic) Voting, Brad Blog, GAO, General on March 9th, 2007

by Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG for Computerworld.com 

GAO report a reminder that EAC has failed entirely, says Brad Friedman

March 08, 2007 (Computerworld) — Here we go again: Yet another confirmation by the non-partisan GAO on Wednesday, in yet another a sure-to-be-ignored report, that our electronic voting systems across the country are a hellish patchwork of un-overseen technological mayhem and disaster. This latest is entitled “ELECTIONS: All Levels of Government Are Needed to Address Electronic Voting System Challenges” (PDF format).

But what are the chances that anyone in the mainstream media is paying attention?

The report was released yesterday along with testimony given by Randolph C. Hite, the GAO Information Technology Architecture and Systems Director, at a hearing on “Ensuring the Integrity of Elections” in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government this afternoon.

Among the folks on the hot seat at the hearing was U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Donetta Davidson, of whom we at Brad Blog been more than critical on a number of issues, including her failure to release information to the public (or even to elections officials) concerning the disastrous state of the federally approved CIBER test lab.

That lab was one of three private companies which secretly test all American voting systems at the federally level, until they secretly failed to receive accreditation last year from the EAC. The three made up the “Independent Testing Authority” — all of which are paid for by the Voting Machine Companies themselves.

CIBER had signed off on nearly 70 percent of the electronic voting systems used last November. Despite the discovery of those serious problems at the lab by Davidson’s EAC last July, it wasn’t until a front-page story in the New York Times in January of this year that anybody learned about the mess. Instead, the EAC inexcusably allowed America to vote on those systems last November with no warning — even to elections officials — that there were known problems.

The secret EAC reports — yes, more secrecy — revealed the sloppy, incomplete and frequently non-existent “testing” performed by CIBER. The testing process (such as it is) is now documented online, if you’ve got the tech-stomach for them.

But more on Davidson and the remarkable, documented failures of the EAC in a later detailed investigative report which we’ve been working on for many weeks. For now, Hite’s 56-page report, released Wednesday, summarizes many of the GAO’s excellent, recent, and all-but ignored reports on voting systems from over the past year or two.

Utter HAVA disarray — documented

The report covers the lack of security and reliability standards and testing for all electronic voting systems across the country at the federal, state and local levels. It reveals a system of democracy in utter disarray in the wake of the ill-conceived and ill-administered Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and the technological nightmare now facing voting jurisdictions across the United States.

One of those ignored reports, which The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively about in 2005, was also referenced in the new GAO report.

We highlight the point referenced again here, since few people (see above) heard about it the first time out:

We concluded in 2005 that these concerns have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.

Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it.

But the take-away point from the latest report is the underscore, once again, of how the entire system would be immeasurably and immediately simplified by doing away with all disenfranchising, unreliable, inaccurate and hackable — easily hackable — Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems.

As well, Hite’s report underlined yet again that the e-voting activists once criticized as “conspiracy theorists” have been right all along. It’s hard for someone who’s been following the trail for years not to break into a chorus of “I told you so,” dedicated to the Republicans, Elections Officials, Voting Machine Companies (and a few utterly reckless and reprehensible Democrats to boot) who simply refused to handle the truth.

Hite finishes big, and with an important warning:

[E]lectronic voting systems are an undeniably critical link in the overall election chain. While this link alone cannot make an election, it can break one. The problems that some jurisdictions have experienced and the serious concerns that have surfaced highlight the potential for continuing difficulties in upcoming national elections if these challenges are not effectively addressed.

Note the word “effectively” in the above paragraph. Election Reform legislation is not enough; if it’s not effective, it’s meaningless and sends democracy back over the same cliff over which the process pitched in Florida 2000, Ohio 2004 and Sarasota 2006. Without a DRE ban — as in Holt’s bill if it’s not amended – there’s nothing to stop us from heading off that same cliff all over again in 2008.

The buck passes here

One last point. The issue of a DRE ban came up in an extraordinary and enlightening phone call I had last week with the top honchos at the EAC, including Davidson. Davidson and the others at the EAC claim that they do not have the power to decertify any of the voting systems which have been approved prior to now.

They claim that voting systems approved as meeting federal standards by the Voting Systems Board of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), who handled certification of systems prior to the EAC’s newly announced program (which has yet to certify anything) cannot be decertified by the EAC’s program. That despite Davidson herself having been a member of the NASED Voting Systems Board prior to her appointment at EAC, and Tom Wilkey, the EAC’s current Executive Director, having been the chairman of that NASED board.

It wasn’t “us” (EAC) that made bad certification decisions, goes the message — it was “them” (NASED). “We can’t decertify something we didn’t certify,” EAC spokesperson Jeannie Layson told us during the call, as they each passed the buck.

But the GAO report today would seem to indicate otherwise:

“[E]xamples of EAC responsibilities include…testing, certifying, decertifying, and recertifying voting system hardware and software through accredited laboratories…”

Luckily, it’s only American democracy and the future of the entire world at stake, so it’s no big thing. Anyone know the latest on Anna Nicole?!

Brad Friedman is the proprietor of The Brad Blog.

 

 

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Report: Group Says Exit Polls Show ‘Landslide Denied’ Democrats In Last Week’s Election!

Posted in '06 Election, Brad Blog, Exit Polls, General on November 17th, 2006
Election Defense Alliance Says ‘Major Miscount In U.S. Election’ Cost Dems 3 Million Votes Nationwide!
National Exit Poll Once Again Adjusted to Match Vote Totals, Report Says

Guest blogged by Emily Levy of Velvet Revolution for The BRAD BLOG


Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national election integrity organization, issued a press release yesterday announcing their new report, “Landslide Denied: Exit Polls vs. Vote Count 2006.”

According to EDA, the Edison-Mitofsky National Exit Poll, conducted by a consortium of news organizations, showed at 7 p.m. on Election Night an 11.5% vote margin in favor of Dems nationwide. But by 1:00 p.m. on the following day, according to EDA, “[T]he Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted, by a process known as ‘forcing,’ to match the reported vote totals for the election.” The adjusted exit polls showed “a 7.6 percent margin exactly mirroring the reported vote totals.”

It was EDA co-founder Jonathan Simon whose foresight in downloading the Edison-Mitofsky exit polls on Election Night 2004 before those polls were adjusted made the discovery of the now-infamous “red shift” possible. Analysis of the original exit polls from 2004 became one of the most compelling bodies of evidence to suggest that the 2004 election was stolen on behalf of George W. Bush.


Now EDA reveals evidence of similar manipulation of this year’s election. In his story Clear Evidence 2006 Congressional Election Hacked, executive editor of OpEdNews Rob Kall quotes Simon as saying:

We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape…so ‘the fix’ turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances….”When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure–of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7.

The BRAD BLOG wishes to point out the difference between election “hacking” and “rigging.” Hacking can be done by outsiders armed with such difficult-to-obtain weapons as a hotel mini-bar key (in the case of the Diebold TSx) or a finger (in the case of the Sequoia touchscreen machines). Rigging would be done by an insider such as someone working for an electronic voting machine company or a department of elections. The evidence of skewed results in the 2006 Congressional election doesn’t specifically prove whether hacking or rigging or both occurred, but certainly magnifies the call for further investigation into irregularities in the 2006 elections. Will this new report help the newly-elected-but-apparently-robbed-of-its-landslide Democratic Majority Congress understand the importance of revamping our election system before 2008?

The next phase of Election Defense Alliance’s work will be to analyze results of specific Congressional races. This work will include analysis of exit polls commissioned by Velvet Revolution (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) and other independent organizations. Perhaps then we will find out how many Democratic (or even Republican) candidates who have been declared losers actually won their races.


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Never Mind the ‘Results,’ Election 2006 Was a Disaster for E-Voting Systems Across the Nation

Posted in '06 Election, Black Box (Electronic) Voting, Brad Blog, Disenfranchisement, General, TAKE ACTION! on November 11th, 2006
(Will Someone Please Tell the Headline Writers at the New York Times and the Associated Press?)

by Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG for ComputerWorld.com 

Opinion: E-voting transition a disaster

A smooth transition to electronic balloting? Not so fast, America

November 10, 2006 (Computerworld)

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE SLAYS NINE

Terrorizes Florida in Thrill-Kill Rampage

That headline was from a satirical column written by Andy Borowitz published last Monday, the day before Tuesday’s midterm elections. Unfortunately, given the post-election coverage by some of the nation’s leading media — or at least their headline writers — it seems that only an event such as a Diebold voting machine becoming “unmoored from the floor and…trampling everyone and everything in its path,” as Borowitz wrote, would qualify as anything more than a “glitch,” “hiccup,” “snag” or “snafu.”

“Voting System Worked, With Some Hiccups,” declared the AP headline on Wednesday. “Polling Places Report Snags, but Not Chaos,” echoed The New York Times. “Hiccups”? “Snags”? Try telling that to the thousands of voters around the country who were unable to simply cast a vote last Tuesday because new, untested electronic voting machines failed to work. Monumentally. Across the entire country.

“Not Chaos”? Apparently the Times headline writers failed to check with the folks in Denver who were lined up around the block for hours to vote. They didn’t even bother to read the Denver Post article headlining the problem as a “Voting Nightmare” during the day on Tuesday and quoting voter Lauren Brockman saying, “We will not get to vote today,” after he had shown up before work to vote at 6:45 a.m. at the Botanic Gardens only to wait on line for an hour before giving up.

They didn’t check with Bill Ritter, the Colorado gubernatorial candidate, who had to wait almost two hours to vote, or with Sean Kelley, a Denver resident, who said to the Post, “I can’t believe I’m in the United States of America,” before he gave up and went home without voting after waiting three hours in line when electronic machines broke down. Despite an emergency request, the courts in Colorado refused to allow the city’s new consolidated “Election Centers” to remain open for extra hours that night.

Similar problems led to slightly more responsible officials ordering polls to be kept open longer than scheduled in at least eight other states due to voting machine problems.

In a Times story published the day before (which apparently the headline writers of the previously mentioned piece failed to read), it was reported that in Illinois “hundreds of precincts were kept open … because of late openings at polling places related to machine problems” and in Indiana “voting equipment problems led to extensions of at least 30 minutes in three counties.”

Other states where polls remained open late due to the inability of legally registered voters to vote when they showed up earlier in the day include Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio.

But the list of problems and, yes, meltdowns is still pouring in from around the country. My in-box has been beyond readability since polls opened on Tuesday morning, and my ability to keep up had already been near the breaking point in the weeks prior just from similar reported disasters that occurred with these failing, flipping and flimsy machines during the early voting period in Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and California, just to name a few.

On Election Day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation had received about 17,000 complaints on its toll-free hot line by 8 p.m. Common Cause received 14,000 calls by 4 p.m. John Gideon at VotersUnite.org performed the herculean task of logging as many news reports as he could in a searchable online database of reported election problems that day.

The nation dodged a significant bullet when George Allen conceded in his Virginia Senate race Thursday. Had he not chosen to do so, America would have found itself smack-dab in the middle of another Florida 2000 crisis with the balance of Congress depending on voting machines that offer absolutely no way to recount ballots to achieve any form of accuracy or clarity in the race. The battle of the forensic computer scientists trying to figure out what happened would have been another long national nightmare.

But that didn’t happen, so everything’s cool. Right?

We dodged another bullet when Sen. Rick Santorum conceded. Earlier in the day, he and the Pennsylvania Republican Party sent a letter to the secretary of the commonwealth demanding that voting machines in 27 counties be impounded after they received reports of touch-screen votes flipping from the Republican candidate to his Democratic opponent.

Imagine, by the way, if Democrats had taken such a responsible position to impound machines every time votes were reported to have flipped from Democrat to Republican — certainly the more commonly reported occurrence on Tuesday. There wouldn’t be a voting machine left in the country. It’s a pity the Democrats haven’t figured that out. Yet.

They’re so delighted to have won anything they haven’t stopped to realize they might have taken 40 seats in the House instead of just 30 had they bothered to fight for an accountable, secure, transparent electoral system and instructed their candidates to concede nothing until every vote was counted, verified and audited for accuracy.

And still, the Times and AP headline writers — who seem to have failed to read the stories they were headlining, given that each outlined a litany of such meltdowns — believe there’s nothing to be concerned about.

18,000 votes seems to have vanished into thin air via ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machines (no paper “trails,” much less countable paper ballots ) in Sarasota County, site of Florida’s 13th U.S. Congressional District contest between Vern Buchanan and Christine Jennings. There’s currently a 368-vote difference between them, but there’s no paper to to examine to figure out what may have gone wrong and explain how a 13% undervote rate was found in only in that race.

On the very same ballot above that race, the gubernatorial contest had only a 2.6% undervote rate. A hospital board election below it had only a 1% undervote rate. On absentee ballots for the Jennings/Buchanan race, the undervote rate was just 1.8%. Some of the 120 complaints from touch-screen voters that came into the Herald Tribune on Tuesday are published on the newspaper’s site.

18,000 undervotes. In Florida. With no paper ballots to go back and check to see if all of those voters simply chose not to vote in that race for some inexplicable reason. Faith-based voting in a race that Florida election officials in the secretary of state’s office have said they have no plans to investigate.

Good thing the balance of the U.S. House doesn’t hang on that race. Or a presidential election. But why worry about something like that? After all, a mere 18,000 disappeared votes on an electronic voting machine in a single county in Florida could never affect the outcome of a national presidential race. (Again, for the sarcasm-impaired: Right.)

In San Diego, thousands of hackable Diebold voting machines were sent home for three weeks prior to the election with poll workers (most of them apparently high-school teenagers hired by the county’s registrar of voters, Mikel Haas) on “sleepovers.” As Princeton University demonstrated, a hotel mini-bar key and just 60 seconds of unsupervised time with a single machine is just about all a single person would need to steal votes from every machine in the county. Nobody would ever be able to prove it. Thus, there is no basis for confidence in any reported results from any election this year in San Diego County. 50th Congressional District candidate Francine Busby has, so far, appropriately refused to concede despite the wide margin being reported in her race from the tainted, effectively decertified voting machines Haas disgracefully used for the first time this year across the entire county.

In Orange County, Calif., voters were turned away without being able to vote at all when machines failed to work and there were not enough paper ballots for voters to cast their votes. Many reportedly opted to vote on Chinese and Vietnamese ballots when English emergency paper ballots had run out (in places where they even had paper ballots to chose from), just so they could exercise their franchise. Many voters were simply told to “come back later,” when poll workers hoped the machines would be working again.

It is not yet a felony in the United States of America to turn a legally registered voter away from the polls without allowing him to cast a vote. But it damned well should be.

Victoria Wulsin currently trails Jean Schmidt by less than half a percentage point in their Ohio 2nd Congressional District race for the U.S. House. Wulsin has also appropriately refused to concede until every vote is counted, accounted for and verified. But a recount will rely on both the same hackable Diebold AccuVote TSx touch-screen machines used in San Diego and the same ES&S optical scan machines that were found to have mistabulated at least nine Republican primary races in Pottawatomie County, Iowa, last June.

Ten other House races still remain “too close to call.” Many of them will rely on “results” reported by inaccurate, unreliable, untested electronic voting machines.

Fortunately, the balance of the House doesn’t rest on any of those races either, so all is well.

When Warren Stewart of the nonpartisan VoteTrustUSA.org noted a number of Voting Machine Company apologists — from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission’s Paul Degregorio to California’s unelected secretary of state, Bruce McPherson, to the Election Center’s Doug Lewis and ElectionLine.org’s Doug Chapin — joining the “everything’s fine” crowd, he noted:

They agree that the election went “better than expected,” “relatively smoothly,” with “isolated problems,” “just a few glitches,” “minor issues,” “no major problems.”

So, with multi-hundreds of news reports of election problems across the country — a fraction of the problems that actually occurred — you have to wonder what a meltdown would have to look like.

What would it look like, indeed?

I guess before the voting machine company flunkies and Times and AP headline writers would notice, it would have to look like Borowitz’ “Diebold Rampage” scenario. Though even that would likely have a predictable ending…

The touch-screen terror then cut a swath of death and destruction across the state, despite attempts by the state police to apprehend it.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appeared on television later in the day to urge calm, telling residents, “Clearly, Florida’s electronic voting machines are still very much a work in progress.”

At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow did not directly address the issue of the voting machine’s deadly rampage, choosing instead to make general remarks about the electoral process.

“This administration remains steadfast in its support of free and fair elections,” he said, adding, “in Iraq.”

by Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG for ComputerWorld.com 

 

 

 

 

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Think the 2006 Mid-Terms were clean? Think again…

Posted in '06 Election, Brad Blog, General, Greg Palast on November 8th, 2006

Now is certainly not the time to give up, or even back down the slightest bit in the election reform movement.  This seemingly landslide victory by the Democrats would have been even larger had it not been for dirty tricks and suppression on the part of Republicans.

Greg Palast’s “HOW THEY STOLE THE MID-TERM ELECTION” states, “Two million legitimate voters will be turned away because of wrongly rejected or purged registrations. Add another one million voters challenged and turned away for ‘improper ID.’ Then add yet another million for Democratic votes ‘spoiled’ by busted black boxes and by bad ballots. And let’s not forget to include the one million ‘provisional’ ballots which will never get counted. Based on the experience of 2004, we know that, overwhelmingly, minority voters are the ones shunted to these baloney ballots. And there’s one more group of votes that won’t be counted: absentee ballots challenged and discarded. Elections Assistance Agency data tell us a half million of these absentee votes will go down the drain. Driving this massive suppression of the vote are sophisticated challenge operations. And here I must note that the Democrats have no national challenge campaign. That’s morally laudable; electorally suicidal. Add it all up — all those Democratic-leaning votes rejected, barred and spoiled — and the Republican Party begins Election Day with a 4.5 million-vote thumb on the vote-tally scale.”

Brad Friedman of the BRAD BLOG reported on several “irregularities” throughout the day, such as:

Also, many thousands of complaints were logged on the Election Incident Reporting System (1-866-OUR-VOTE).  5140 complaints to be exact, and growing.

There was also the last minute Republican dirty trick of the Rovian Robo-Call.  According to TPMMuckracker.com, these calls (of which there appear to have been many thousand), have occured in at least 20 separate congressional districts, and were paid for by the RNCC.  From TPMMuckracker: “In a letter dated Nov. 6, Michigan Reps. John Conyers and John Dingell ask attorney general Alberto Gonzales, FCC chairman Kevin Martin and FEC chairman Michael Toner to probe whether a sudden rash of last-minute phone calls paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee violated any of a number of federal and state laws and requirements. Conyers is the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, while Dingell is the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”

Then you have Laura Ingram suggesting right wingers jam the Democratic voter information line

At this point you might be asking, “how did the Dems win?”.

Here’s how – the media started (albeit barely) to do their job!

HBO’s Documentary “Hacking Democracy” was aired prior to the election.  Also, Lou Dobbs had been extensively covering e-voting insecurity for at least a couple months prior.  The blogosphere (Democratic Underground and BradBlog in particular) has been more active than ever with this issue as well.  Basically, if they had tried to swing this election too far, it would have been painfully obvious.

Also, the Dems just weren’t going to put up with it this time.  There are at least a couple of congressional races that the Democratic candidate has NOT conceded, Clint Curtis’ campaign against Tom Feeney being one, with Curtis vowing to make sure every vote is counted. Francine Busby is another who is not conceding until all votes are counted.  Why should she trust the official result, what with the machine “sleepovers” in her district.  Also, election activist Bob Fitrakis is not conceding his Green Party gubernatorial bid in Ohio, he knows better than to just give up in that state.

Lastly, the turnout was considerably larger than expected, and the election protection presence on the ground was much more evident, both factors making fraud more difficult.

In conclusion, there were many problems that still occurred, and many that were prevented, but we CAN NOT rest on this victory.  Now is the time, with a Democratic majority, to make major gains in the area of election reform.  With Dennis Kucinich’s HR 6200 for hand counted paper ballots, with results posted at the precinct level, and with friend of democracy Congressman John Conyers Jr. the head of the House Judiciary Committee, we can definitely get some work done to repair our democracy.

by Organik for ElectionFraudBlog.com

 

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Urgent! Pass The Emergency Paper Ballot Mandate of 2006

Posted in '06 Election, Brad Blog, General, Legal, TAKE ACTION! on September 26th, 2006

Tell Congress to Pass the

Emergency Paper Ballot Mandate of 2006

Here’s the Bill Calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at Every Polling Place in America this November!

THE LET AMERICA VOTE ACT – Legislative Language

Yesterday I called on Congress to pass an emergency measure to require Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls during this November’s general election. I spelled out several reasons for this last-ditch, “Hail Mary” attempt to try and mitigate just some of the myriad problems and disenfranchisment that will occur at polling places this year thanks to new, poorly designed, malfunctioning, unsecure electronic voting machines now deployed across the nation.

Never mind the electronic voting machine fraud that is likely to occur. Never mind the proven inaccuracies of these god-awful machines. Never mind the ease at which they are now proven to be hackable. My concern right now — this late in the game — is simply to assure that voters who show up at the polls and are legally registered to vote, may actually be able to cast a vote at all!

In primary after primary this year, voters have been told to “come back later” or, at best, given a provisional ballot (which may or may not ever be counted) when voting machines either failed to work or, frequently, weren’t even present by the time voters showed up to vote. That is voter disenfranchisement, pure and simple, and it affects voters of any and all political stripes.

Common sense (one would think) would dictate that State and County Election Directors would mandate Emergency Paper Ballots for voters to use in the event of machine unavailability. Though the Secretaries of State in several states so far this year (Texas, Arkansas, etc.) have issued emergency orders for such Emergency Paper Ballots, remarkably, many states and counties didn’t bother and thousands of legally registered voting citizens were sent home in the bargain.

The legislation required by Congress to mandate Emergency Paper Ballots (I call it the “LET AMERICA VOTE ACT”) is incredibly simple. In yesterday’s article, I included a three-sentence piece of legislation. Below, is a more fully-formed draft legislation based on those three sentences as sent to me orginally by Bob Wilson of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.

Along with additional tweaks by myself and a few others, my complete suggested legislation can be read — in it’s entirety — in about 30 seconds. It’s posted in full below.

If Congress cares (and if you help them to do so!), I’m quite certain that this measure can be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by George W. Bush with Terri Schiavo-like speed.

I’d think our democracy is worth at least as much. And I know it’s certainly worth trying for!

Some have responded to my call for this LAVA legislation (“Let democracy flow!”) by pointing out that the method of counting and/or auditing these Emergency Paper Ballots must be included in the legislation. My answer to them is that I agree with their point! However, at this late in the game (with only some 5 or 6 legislative days left before Congress recesses prior to the election) I don’t want to give any Congress member any reason to oppose this act!

In other words, with the time we have left, if all we can do is assure that at least there will be a piece of paper on which a registered voter may cast a vote this November — if they bother to show up — then we will be doing a service to democracy. It’s an incredible fact, but even something as simple has that has not been the case in many places this year. Last week’s Maryland primary, were thousands were forced to go without voting at all when the machines failed to work, was a prime example!

Some have said there is no time to get this bill passed. I don’t care. Let’s get it passed anyway. If it fails, at least we will have a “paper trail” to point back to on November 8th when everyone else is wondering what went wrong and if anybody had tried to do anything about it while there was still time. Those of us who give a damn will have done everything we could.

I continue to speak to folks in Congress about sponsorship of this bill, and I urge all American citizens to contact their Congress Members — as well as their state and local officials — to demand that non-provisional Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls this year!

You can contact your Congress person here (and you can contact local media here.)

(The URL for this article is: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502. Feel free to point them to it!)

Let’s get to work! This effort is about all we have left legislatively at this point! Please spread the word everywhere. My complete suggested language for the LET AMERICA VOTE ACT is posted below…

LET AMERICA VOTE ACT

(EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT MANDATE OF 2006)

WHEREAS significant failures of electronic voting machines have occurred in various jurisdictions during primary elections held in Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and other states during 2006, and

WHEREAS such failures have forced legitimate, registered voters to have been turned away from the polls by the thousands so far in 2006 primary elections simply because neither voting machines nor paper ballots were available for use when the voters arrived at their polling place, and

WHEREAS the probability exists that such failures will continue and the adverse results of such failures will be multiplied and increased in magnitude by the additional number of voters participating in the November 7, 2006 General Election, and

WHEREAS the potential exists for massive disenfranchisement of American voters in the November 7, 2006 General Election, by such failures of electronic voting machines,

NOW THEREFORE be it enacted that:

A. For the November 7, 2006, General Election, each election jurisdiction shall be required to prepare and print Emergency Paper Ballots of the proper ballot style for all races and propositions which shall be contested in that jurisdiction.

B. Such Emergency Paper Ballots shall be printed in sufficient quantity to guarantee that every voter who may require one, either as requested or as a result of voting machine unavailability, shall be able to receive such an Emergency Paper Ballot.

C. As with all provisional ballots, such Emergency Paper Ballots shall be printed in all languages specified for ballots in that jurisdiction.

D. Any voter eligible to vote in the jurisdiction in which he or she requests an Emergency Paper Ballot shall be entitled to receive and cast such Emergency Paper Ballot, regardless of the type of ballot that shall have been specifiied in that jurisdiction through operation of law, without further qualification, request, proof or furnishing of reason for such request.

E. Such Emergency Paper Ballots shall be official ballots for purposes of casting, tabulating, audits, redundant counts and recounts, and shall not be considered provisional ballots.

F. Emergency Paper Ballots shall be cast and tabulated in the same manner as all other ballots cast on November 7, 2006.

G. The associated costs to states for this mandate will be reimbursed out of Help America Vote Act funding.

H. This Act shall terminate and cease to have effect on February 28, 2007.


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Tell Congress to Pass the

Emergency Paper Ballot Mandate of 2006

From the Brad Blog 

 

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