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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, January 22, 2018
'We Are in a Reverse Democracy Right Now'': 'BradCast' 1/19/2018
Guest: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice; Also: Shutdown politics; 'Wicked' SCOTUS; Criminal candidates, and much more!...
Our Way or the Kids Get It!: 'BradCast' 1/18/18
The return of GOP government by hostage taking. Plus: Our own 'Fake News' awards! (Can you guess the winner?); 2017 breaks heat records; and much more...
'Green News Report' 1/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Burning oil tanker sinks off China coast; Warmer temps damaging coral, turtles; Ocean dead zones dramatically expanding; PLUS: Big shift to electric cards at Detroit Auto Show...
Previous GNRs: 1/11/18 - 1/9/18 - Archives...
Dems Help Trump Spy on All Americans Without Warrant: 'BradCast' 1/17/18
Guest: Elizabeth Goitein of Brennan Center; Also: Dems flip WI seat; Sex scandals; Mass NPS resignation...
'Reshuffling the Decks' on Guns, Marijuana, Immigration: 'BradCast' 1/16/18
Guest: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news...
Sunday Toons of the $h!thole Moment
And so now it's come to this. And on Martin Luther King Day weekend of all times. PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Trump is a Symptom, Not the Disease: 'BradCast' 1/12/18
In the wake of the President of the United States' reported 'shithole countries' comment, the GOP's toxic, racist policies are laid bare in the U.S. and across the globe...
More White Supremacist Neo-Nazi Domestic Terror Ignored by Trump, Congress, Media: 'BradCast' 1/11/18
Guest: HuffPo's Ryan Reilly; House re-ups 702, Trump clueless, calls Haiti, Africa 'shitholes'
'Green News Report' 1/11/18
Record rain, mudslides in CA after record fires; Trump reverses on offshore drilling for FL; PLUS: NYC sues oil industry, divests over climate change damage...
Chaos Reigns: 'BradCast' 1/10/18
DACA scheme blocked; Off-shore drilling reversed; CA's latest disaster; VA's gamed elections; NC's gamed Congressional maps; much more...
Battling 'Big Lies' in 'Trump Country' with Facts and Sustainable Farming in IA: 'BradCast' 1/9/18
Guest: Farmer John Gilbert; Also: Detente in Korea; Arpaio returns; Landmark NC ruling...
'Green News Report' 1/9/18
2017 shatters US record for costliest weather disasters; Oil tanker on fire off China; Opposition to Trump expansion of offshore drilling; PLUS: Norway all in on e-cars...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
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...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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...


Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2017 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one last battle over democracy before 2017 comes to a close, and an early look forward to the battles --- and, perhaps, "democracy's revenge" --- that lie ahead in 2018. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In his last minute bid to prevent final certification of the first Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate in more than two decades, Alabama's Republican candidate Roy Moore filed an 80-page lawsuit [PDF] late Wednesday night alleging massive "voter fraud" and other somewhat confusing irregularities are to blame for his December 12 Special Election loss to the Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

A state court judge quickly dismissed Moore's complaint on Thursday morning and Jones was certified shortly thereafter as having defeated him by nearly 22,000 votes out of some 1.3 million cast. Jones will fill the seat vacated by Alabama's former Republican Senator turned Donald Trump's U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions shortly after the new year.

We're joined today by long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING who largely dismisses the allegations detailed in Moore's suit. Though, as we discuss, the GOP may have themselves to blame for making it difficult, if not impossible, for federal candidates in Alabama (and elsewhere) to ensure the accuracy of computer-reported vote tallies, even when they are based, as in AL, on hand-marked paper ballots scanned by computer systems but never verified for accuracy by human beings.

Moore's complaint, Canning adds, is also deficient when it comes to presenting any actual hard evidence of fraud by voters. The controversial Republican cites statistical analyses focusing on high turnout in a number of African-American districts said to contrast with Exit Poll data, and the affidavit of one poll worker who claims she saw more out-of-state IDs than usual used by voters even though that's perfectly lawful under the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction. Beyond that, no hard evidence is offered by the complaint to prove that any illegal votes were cast in the election, much less thousands of them.

Then, we discuss two of Canning's recent articles at The BRAD BLOG, both looking forward towards what he describes as the possibility of "democracy's revenge" in 2018. In one, he details why every single Republican U.S. House member from California could be in jeopardy of losing their seat in the "deep blue" state next year. In the other, he lays out what he describes as "Revolutionary Strategies to End GOP Rule in 2018" across the nation.

The CA attorney and 2016 Senior Adviser to Veterans for Bernie also discusses the need for "political maturity" among both progressive and establishment Democrats alike, in order to effectively take on the GOP following the 2016 election of Trump and his compliant Republicans in Congress who, he argues, have since revealed their true nature of legislating only for the benefit of the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Desi Doyen then joins us for our final Green News Report of 2017, rounding up both the good and horrific news over the past year, including, despite Trump's best efforts, a number of very hopeful signs for the environment as we head into 2018. And, finally, we close with one last punch in the face at the intolerable and seemingly endless 2017, from comedian Lewis Black.

Angie Coiro guest-hosts for us on tomorrow's BradCast, and Desi and I will see you again after the New Year holiday! Until then, my thanks to those of you who have answered our call by stopping by BradBlog.com/Donate in support of our efforts to try and continue our work --- over your public airwaves --- as long as possible into the new year!

Peace!

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Guest: Jeet Heer of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: An all too remarkable reminder that every vote --- every single vote --- matters. Or should, with control of the Virginia's House of Delegates and, potentially, healthcare for hundreds of thousands now at stake amid a remarkable "recount" in the state. Also, now that the massive GOP tax bill has been passed, are Democrats still relying too much on potential findings of the Special Counsel and the possibility of impeachment in 2018? [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Just after our show yesterday, the Commonwealth of Virginia completed a partial-machine, partial-hand "recount" of one of last month's House of Delegates races that, by one single vote, appeared last night to hand the victory to the Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds. One single vote. If Democrats pick up that seat, it would, in turn, end decades of Republican-majority control of the House, with a 50/50 seat split among Ds and Rs. Before the November 7 election, Republicans held a 66-34 seat advantage.

It appeared, as of last night, to be a done deal, with the Dem having been declared the winner after the "recount" by one vote on the state's hand-marked paper ballots and the Republicans having conceded the race. (Virginia finally got rid of all of its 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems this after.) The bi-partisan election official judges signed off on Tuesday's new tally, handing the victory to Simonds over Republican David Yancey who had led by just 10 votes prior to the "recount".

But on Wednesday morning, a GOP election official judge had second thoughts about one ballot which, previously, the judges had unanimously determined to be an overvote --- with a selection in the bubbles for both the Democrat Simonds and for the incumbent Republican Yancey. The Simonds bubble, however, appears to have a slash through it. The rest of the selections on the ballot were for Republicans, though the choice for the Republican candidate for Governor also appears to have a cross through it, with no other candidate selected by the voter in that race. (The full ballot in question can be viewed here [JPG].)

So, after a two hour court hearing on Wednesday, it was decided by a three-judge panel that the race was/is a tie instead, with 11,608 votes for each candidate. That means control of the VA House --- and the increased possibility of health care coverage via Medicaid expansion for nearly half a million Virginians --- will be left up to a random draw to see who wins the seat.

There are, of course, still many questions about this story, which was still breaking as we went to air today. The "losing" candidate after the random draw will also be able to ask for a second "recount". We discuss all of those questions, the ballot, the "recount" methods used in the state, the state's published guidelines [PDF] for counting various types of questionably hand-marked paper ballots in VA, and much more related to this remarkable episode, including whether digitally scanned "Ballot Images" from Election Night may exist to determine whether the cross-out on the ballot in question was there originally or added somehow during the post-Election Night chain of custody. (The city of Newport News, where this election in the 94th District was held, does appear to have the type of computer-scanners that create digital ballot images, though I've yet to hear back from the Registrar if those systems were set to retain the images after scanning them.)

It should also be noted here that Democrats received some 53% of the vote, compared to just 43% for Republicans across the state when the entire House was up for grabs in November. Nonetheless, as things currently stand, Democrats may only achieve a 50/50 split in the House. That should offer an idea of how badly the Republicans have gerrymandered the state.

Also, a separate recount for a separate very close VA House of Delegates race is still pending, though Democrats there are suing for a completely new election, since at least 100 voters were given the wrong ballot in a race currently decided for the Republican incumbent --- before the "recount" --- by just 82 votes.

Then, we're joined today by JEET HEER, Senior Editor at New Republic to discuss the final passage of the GOP's massive tax cuts, largely for the wealthy, how Democrats are responding to them, and whether or not they are over-relying on the possibility of impeachment to take down President Trump as they head into the 2018 mid-term election year. Heer argued as much in a recent article discussing "the Democrats' dangerous obsession with impeachment". It's a highly debatable subject, about which I am of at least two minds, as discussed in detail with Heer on today's show.

Finally, we close with Bernie Sanders' late-night response to the passage of the $1.5 trillion tax bill in the middle of the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in the U.S. Senate, and how the GOP is now planning to come for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to pay for it...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Election integrity advocate Lulu Friesdat; Also: One deadly disaster after another, the 'Corker Kickback', calls for Franken to un-resign...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2017 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yet another mind-blowing adventure in attempted election oversight. This time regarding the complete destruction of all paper ballots in the middle of a Florida lawsuit, following an election between two Democrats, one of them a powerful member of Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first: Deadly and costly disasters, natural and otherwise, top the news headlines on today's program. Among them: the catastrophic Amtrak train derailment on a brand-new line near Seattle, the second straight week for still-raging apocalyptic wildfires in Southern California, and the continuing disaster in Puerto Rico where, three months after Hurricane Maria came ashore, one-third of the island is still without power and the Governor has finally conceded that the official death toll of 64 may be off...by as much as 1,000!

All tolled, hundreds of billions will be needed to rebuild from those deadly disasters, and yet Republicans in Congress are still hoping to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut, largely for wealthy Americans, before Christmas. Their scheme took a troubling turn over the weekend, as a new provision was added to the legislation during reconciliation of the House- and Senate-passed versions late last week. The new provision, it was revealed by David Sirota at International Business Times, would give special tax breaks to owners of large real estate holding LLC's like President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and, most curiously, Sen. Bob Corker who, on Friday, mysteriously reversed his previous opposition to the bill after the new provision was tacked on, in what many are now calling the #CorkerKickBack.

Then, we're joined by journalist, documentarian and election integrity advocate LULU FRIESDAT to discuss the remarkable turn of events recently revealed in response to multiple public records requests she has made over the past year in hopes of reviewing hand-marked paper ballots from the Democratic primary election last year between Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her Bernie Sanders-endorsed challenger Tim Canova.

Just weeks after being forced to step down as chair of the DNC amidst the release of stolen emails from party officials, Wasserman-Schultz soundly defeated Canova in the first primary she'd faced in her six terms as a member of Congress. But, unexplained vote count numbers --- such as hundreds of more voted ballots than voters signed in to the poll books in the 23rd Congressional District race in Broward County, FL --- led to Friesdat's attempt to examine the paper ballots by hand, in hopes of determining if they were tallied correctly by the county's computer tabulators during the August 2016 Democratic primary. Eventually Canova himself filed a lawsuit against the county's Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, after Friesdat says she was continually denied access to the materials.

In November of this year, well over a year after Snipes certified the contest, both were finally invited to inspect the Broward County ballots only to learn upon arrival that all of them had actually been destroyed by the county in the middle of the lawsuit. Only digital images of what were purportedly the original ballots were available for examination, according to Snipes, in what appears to be, according to Politico's survey of election experts, a clear and stunning violation of federal election law requiring all such materials be retained for 22 months after an election.

Friesdat tells me that neither her nor Canova had any idea the ballots were destroyed before showing up to review them. "If you're looking at digital scans, and you don't have the original ballots to turn to, at that point you have no way of verifying that ballots haven't been switched out, that ballots haven't been added, that ballots haven't been taken away --- you don't have any verification that those are the original ballots."

Oddly enough, she explains, "in the very first public records request in November [of 2016], I requested all of the digital ballot scans for the election, and I was told that they didn't have them, that they didn't exist. And then it turned out that they did exist. So the county was duplicitous in regard to that information."

As to what's really going on here, Friesdat demures from speculation, but says, based only on what is already known on the public record, that "according to Politico, seven legal experts that they consulted all agreed that the ballots being destroyed was illegal."

It is of a piece, she observes, with the recent revelations in Racine County, WI, in November of this year, when multi-partisan election transparency advocates were finally allowed to review some of the computer-scanned paper ballots from the 2016 Presidential election. After months of similar public records request, they were allowed to view original paper ballots, only to find that, in the precincts they examined, anywhere from 2 to 6% of perfectly valid Presidential votes had been ignored by the computer tabulators entirely. That, in an election where Trump is said to have pulled off his shocking statewide victory by less than 1%.

"What's going on here is actually just a representative sample of the problems that we have with our elections, and which you have been reporting on for over a decade," Friesdat says. "We're heading into the 2018 primaries. We at least now have a growing understanding and awareness that, in many cases, our election results may or may not be accurate, and that the protocols we are using in order to get those results are not secure." She offers many other troubling observations on all of this during our conversation today.

Finally, four U.S. Senators --- two of whom had previously called for Sen. Al Franken to resign amidst allegations of inappropriate conduct --- are now, according to a new report today, said to be hoping that he might reconsider his previously-announced plans to resign "in the coming weeks", before the Senate Ethics Committee has even investigated the charges against him...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Election recount expert Chris Sautter of American Univ.
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2017 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was an all too rare moment of good news, of late, for Democrats and, indeed, the nation on Tuesday, after what appears to have been a stunning upset by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's U.S. Senate Special Election. But Dems may not want to spend too much time celebrating. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Following Jones' apparent stunning victory on Tuesday, his highly controversial opponent has so far refused to concede or reportedly even speak to Jones. At the same time, despite Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's demand in 2010, when Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate, to wait to hold a vote on the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') until Republican Sen. Scott Brown could be seated after his special election in Massachusetts, the GOP appears to be barreling ahead with their plan to vote on their radical and wildly unpopular tax scheme in the coming days, before Jones can be seated. That, even after McConnell had held a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court open for almost a year, claiming that "the American people should have a voice" in who would be the next Supreme Court Justice during the 2016 Presidential election.

In the meantime, even after the voice of AL voters seems to have quite clearly said they want to be represented by a Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Moore suggested on Tuesday night that he may hold out for a "recount" of paper ballots processed by computer scanners across the state. AL's Sec. of State John Merrill told CNN Tuesday night that Moore has the right to do so, but election statutes in the state seem to say otherwise.

We're joined today by veteran recount expert, attorney, author and professor CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss all of this. Sautter, formerly an adviser to Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and many other Democrats, worked on the recount efforts by Al Gore in Florida in 2000 and Al Franken in Minnesota in 2008, among many other such efforts going back decades.

"I've been doing recounts now since the 1984 [U.S.] House recount in Indiana that was ultimately decided by 4 votes --- still the closest House race in modern times," Sautter tells me. "One thing I've observed is that in the heart of the narrowly-defeated candidate lies the belief that he actually won or at least the hope that a recount will somehow salvage a victory. It's another way of describing denial in an election that is close, heartbreakingly close, for the loser."

Sautter was also part of the team supporting the multi-partisan lawsuit recently filed in Alabama in hopes of forcing the state to retain digital "ballot images" created by their paper ballot computer scanners. Those images, many election integrity advocates argue, can be useful for public oversight of results, particularly in states like Alabama which make it virtually impossible for citizens to oversee tabulation of paper ballots, and which simply rescan them through the same computers a second time in the rare event of a "recount".

As we have been reporting, the transparency advocates who filed that lawsuit appeared to have won it on Monday afternoon, but by Monday evening, in a ruling that Sautter describes as "extraordinary" the night before the Election, the Sec. of State was successful in convincing the state Supreme Court to allow counties to destroy those "ballot images" altogether.

Sautter offers insight, among other things, as to Moore's chances of success in a potential "recount" (and of being allowed to have one at all under state law); on the bizarre circumstances under which the AL Supremes reversed the lower court's "ballot images" ruling at the last minute without input from the plaintiffs; and how he and other election integrity advocates hope to take their fight for transparency nationwide in 2018.

Finally, while Jones' apparent victory on Tuesday may have been good news for Democrats, Alabama, the nation as a whole (and even the Republican Party), we explain why what happened on Tuesday actually serves as a startling reminder of just how rigged against Democrats the electoral system is as they prepare to head into next year's crucial mid-term elections...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Also, guest David M. Rothschild on a new study finding real, not fake, news was the problem in the 2016 Presidential election...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2017 4:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A last minute ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court, without plaintiffs even present, will allow the state to destroy electronic "ballot images" created by the state's digital computer ballot scanners in Tuesday's special election. Also, was it the fake news or the real news that tipped last year's Presidential election? [Audio link to show follows below.]

In Alabama, computer tabulators determine the intent of voters (either correctly or incorrectly), as cast on hand-marked paper ballots from Tuesday's highly contentious U.S. Senate Special Election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. The state Supreme Court, in a late ruling on Monday, issued a stay [PDF] that effectively reversed a lower court order [PDF] on Monday. That order had required all digital scanners in the state to be set to retain all such images created by the system as ballots are scanned through it. The stay now means that only in the exceedingly rare event of a hand "recount" of paper ballots will the public be able to oversee elections results to determine if the computers got it right on Tuesday.

We've been covering this issue for some time. (My original interview last week with election integrity and transparency advocate John Brakey, who helped organize the AL lawsuit is here.) Yesterday, it looked like a win for Brakey and the multi-partisan plaintiffs who filed in court to demand the state's retention of all digital images for inspection by the public, as per federal law requiring all election materials be retained for 22 months. But late on Monday, Secretary of State John Merrill and Alabama's state Election Administrator Ed Packard argued their case [PDF] ex parte (in otherwords, alone, without the plaintiffs there or allowed to respond) and received a favorable ruling from Roy Moore's old colleagues on the court. (Moore was formerly a State Supreme Court Justice, until twice being removed for failing to follow federal court orders.)

I spoke with Brakey and attorney working on the case, Chris Sautter, earlier today, as well as other experts. I've got details on their comments, and from the court documents, on today's show. Essentially, the state argued that state election officials didn't have jurisdiction to order county election officials to turn on the software switch on the scanners to retain all ballot images, and that doing so at the last minute, as the Circuit Court ordered on Monday, would "cause confusion among elections officials and be disruptive to" the election on Tuesday. That, even though the Circuit Court judge found it wouldn't cost the state anything to do so and that failing to turn on the setting that retains the images would lead to irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. Sautter tells me the state did not make the case for last minute confusion during the lower court arguments.

I suspect we'll have much more on that and on other problems reported at the polls today, on tomorrow's BradCast, along with whatever results --- accurate or inaccurate (who knows?) --- that the computers may report by then.

Then, after a flurry of fake news over the weekend during the final run-up to Tuesday's U.S. Senate election in Alabama, we discuss an alarming new study analyzing the effect of both real and fake news during the run-up to last year's Presidential election. Was it so-called fake news and Russian Facebook ads that gave Donald Trump the edge to defeat Hillary Clinton last year? Or, was it a failure by the mainstream corporate media --- the "real news" --- to responsibly cover important issues that the electorate needed before casting their vote? DAVID M. ROTHSCHILD, co-author of the new study published by Columbia Journalism Review, joins us today to discuss their --- at times, remarkable --- findings.

I'd strongly urge you to read their full damning report --- particularly if you are of the mind that fake news and ads said to have come from Russia, turned this election --- because there are too many detailed and troubling findings in it for me to adequately summarize either here or during today's program.

But, to cite just one aspect of my conversation with Rothschild about the report's analysis of 150 front-page articles in the New York Times over the 69 days prior to last year's November election, he tells me: "150 stories. And of that, there were just 10 stories where they actually really touched on a specific policy initiative of either of the candidates, the ideal thing that you would want the 'paper of record' to be supplying to people. The vast majority of stories were miscellaneous campaign stories. Over 50% of them talked about the horse race. Very small percentages, 15% or less, actually talked anything about policy, with even smaller percentages actually talking about the policies themselves. It was all about the horse race, all about the scandals, not about the impact of the election itself on policy, which is ultimately why we have elections and ultimately defines the impact of these elections."

His study notes that in just six days right before the election, "The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election." That said, ironically enough, as Rothschild notes, even the MSM coverage of the purported scandals was terrible, misleading and inaccurate as well! They, and we, never seem to learn.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green New Report, as unprecedented winter wildfires continue to ravage Southern California and as the Trump Administration continues to ravage the environment...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow transgender enlistment, despite Trump's ban; SoCal fire update; A big election integrity court win and deep dive into the mad state of Alabama's U.S. Senate election as voters head to the polls...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we take a deep dive into the insane state of play in the final days before voters finally head to the polls in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election between the Republican, twice-removed-from-the-bench judge Roy Moore and Democratic former US Attorney Doug Jones.

But first, a few quick news items today, including an update on the still-out-of-control Southern California wildfires; The mostly-failed terror bombing by an alleged ISIS sympathizer in the subway near Times Square today; news in the case of three white rightwing "militiamen" on trial for an alleged scheme to bomb a community of Muslim Somali refugees in Kansas. Their motion seeks to get more Trump-supporters from elsewhere in the state on their terror trial jury; New details on the school shooting (by another white guy) in New Mexico last week that took three lives, including that of the shooter. Despite FBI investigators interviewing the man last year after he is said to have left online comments seeking information on weapons to use in a mass shooting, he was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic pistol and high-capacity magazines last month anyway.

And then it's onto our deep dive into "deep red" Alabama and the state of the important Moore/Jones U.S. Senate election before Election Day on Tuesday. Among the issues covered on that front today:

  • Election Integrity advocates obtained a big win on Monday morning, when receiving an order [PDF] from a state court requiring state election officials retain digital ballot images created by computer scanners tabulating the paper ballots used across much of the state. (My interview last week with John Brakey, the election integrity advocate who organized the court action, explaining why its necessary, is here.)
    UPDATE 12/12/2017: After a private ex parte motion (meaning, the opposition was not present) later in the day, by the defendants, AL's Sec. of State and State Election Director, the Alabama Supreme Court stayed the earlier Circuit Court ruling and set a hearing on the matter for later this month. That, effectively, means that ballot images will not be preserved after all. More on this remarkable late ruling on today's BradCast...
  • Some last minute news on the anti-gay, anti-Muslim Moore, who has been accused by 9 different women of inappropriate sexual contact with them when they were teenagers (including one who was 14-years old at the time), on his belief that Constitutional Amendments which came after the ten in the Bill of Rights --- including those that ended slavery and gave voting rights to African-Americans and woman --- somehow violated the intentions of the nation's Founders;
  • New polling from Fox "News" claiming to find the Democrat Jones up by 10 points over Moore on the eve of the election, and another new poll from Emerson finding Moore up over Jones by 9 points;
  • How the entire race will come down to turnout, particularly in the African-American community, and whether they are allowed to vote and to have their votes counted as cast, given the state's Photo ID voting restrictions and other practices which Republican state lawmakers have been caught admitting to having designed specifically to suppress black and Latino voting;
  • AL's senior Senator Richard Shelby, a fellow Republican, announces he could not vote for Moore, based on the allegations against him;
  • And, finally, a remarkable focus group led by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for VICE News with so-called "conservative" Alabamians explaining why they plan to vote for Moore despite the allegations by nine different women against him...

Buckle up!...

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Guest: Election integrity advocate John Brakey; Also: Conyers resigns, Farenthold skates, RNC and Trump go all-in for Roy Moore...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If Donald Trump and fellow Republicans have their way, an accused child molester will become the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. But, in advance of next Tuesday's election, election integrity advocates are fighting to assure the possibility of oversight of the state's computerized election results. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first up today, new wildfires exploded across parts of Southern California on Tuesday, in Ventura County and near Los Angeles, mirroring some of record fires that engulfed Northern California win country in October. Those fires killed more than 40 people and destroyed thousands of structures. While no deaths have yet been reported in the new blazes, tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee in the middle of the night and scores of houses have burned with thousands remaining threatened, as dry conditions and record winds are predicted to continue for several days.

Meanwhile, in Congress, allegations of sexual harassment continue to take a toll, as civil rights champion Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the longest serving member in the U.S. House, announced his resignation on Tuesday, following multiple allegations against him. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) says he will repay the $84,000 Congress paid out to settle a 2014 sexual harassment claim against him. Unlike in Conyers' case, no members of Farenthold's own party caucus have publicly called on him to resign.

And, following Donald Trump's full-throated endorsement of Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore on Monday, the Republican National Committee has now restored funding and other resources for Moore, after previously pulling support in response to well-sourced allegations of sexual impropriety with a number of teenage girls, as young as 14, when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Sitting GOP Senators --- like Utah's Orrin Hatch and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- have also walked back their initial condemnations of Moore, particularly as final passage of a massive Republican redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the rich still relies on a thin partisan majority in the U.S. Senate. That, even as new evidence emerges to buttress the allegations against Moore.

Then, in advance of that December 12th U.S. Senate Special Election between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones next Tuesday in Alabama, election integrity advocates are eying concerns about the state's paper ballot computer tabulators.

I'm joined today by longtime election integrity champion JOHN BRAKEY of AUDIT-AZ to discuss his lawsuit and other efforts to force Alabama election officials to turn on digital "ballot imaging" functionality for all ballots on the state's computer ballot scanners, most of which offer the feature. Brakey explains how such images, in lieu of actual human examination of hand-marked paper ballots, can be helpful for public attempts at oversight of results following next week's race, particularly given the historic obstacles citizens have been met with in attempting to verify computer tabulated results.

(See, by way of just one example, my recent interview with Wisconsin's Karen McKim, whose public records request finally allowed, just weeks ago, a multi-partisan group of observers to examine paper ballots from the 2016 President election. That audit of several precincts in Racine County, paid for by the residents themselves, revealed up to 6% of perfectly valid Presidential votes went untallied, thanks to flawed optical scan systems used across the state on Election Night and, in much of the state, even during even during Green Party candidate Jill Stein's attempted "recount". Other wards which tallied by hand instead during that "recount" discovered as many as 30% of valid votes went untallied originally!)

Brakey explains that some 80% of Alabama counties now use newer digital scanners which would allow ballot images to be retained and shared with citizens to examine after the election, to help ensure an accurate count. But, he tells me, relaying his recent conversations with the state's Election Director, "the reality is that it doesn't work unless you turn that feature on." Right now, he says, it is only turned on for write-in votes only. Brakey charges, however, that automatically deleting images that are taken of every ballot as they are tallied by the digital systems, is a violation of federal law. "It's a federal election, and under federal law, you must save everything for 22 months," he says. He is heading to Alabama today and says he will file suit to force the state to retain all such images.

Why not just fight to view the actual paper ballots? Brakey explains: "You cannot get at the original ballots. They will not let you touch them. In order to get to them, you have to prove fraud first. And how are you going to prove fraud if you can't get to the ballots? That's the Catch-22. The ballot images are a tool to get us to the originals."

You can watch the colorful and inspirational Brakey in the film Fatally Flawed, documenting his years-long transpartisan fight in Tucson, Arizona, in hopes of examining the ballots from and verifying results of a controversial 2006 election. And you can donate to help Brakey's fight for Ballot Images in Alabama (and elsewhere) right here.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Trump's unprecedented (and Orwellian) roll back of protected national monument designations by former Presidents, and much more...

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Guest: Karen McKim of Wisconsin Election Integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The three stories we cover at the top of today's show --- another long-range missile launch by North Korea, GOP tax cuts for the wealthy moving forward in Congress, and a Trump-appointed federal judge who just decided in favor of Trump (and seemingly, against the rule of law) in an unprecedented battle for leadership of a federal agency --- all underscore the importance of the rest of today's disturbing program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

An effort just before the Thanksgiving holiday by citizen volunteers at WisconsinElectionIntegrity.org (WIE) finds that inaccurate results were certified in Wisconsin's 2016 Presidential election, which Donald Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes over Hillary Clinton, out of some 3 million ballots cast.

Wisconsin was one of three states, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Green Party candidate Jill Stein had filed for "recounts" and forensic audits of voting systems, after the Clinton Campaign declined to heed the pleas for such an audit by computer scientists and voting systems experts who begged her campaign to do so. Stein's post-election effort was largely stymied by Team Trump and various statutes in each of those states. A statewide tally was allowed to move forward in Wisconsin, however only about half of the state's ballots were hand-counted, as municipalities were allowed to carry out their choice of either manual- or machine-tallied "recounts".

After finding an alarming number of uncounted ballots in Racine County precincts during last year's machine "recount" (see documentary filmmaker Lulu Friesdat's alarming coverage of election officials refusing to hand-tally clearly valid votes there during Stein's attempted "recount") the volunteers at WIE filed, and paid for, a public records request to examine the hand-marked paper ballots in a number of those wards.

Recently, they were allowed to review those ballots and, as they feared, many perfectly valid votes had gone uncounted by the optical-scan systems both during the original Election Night tally and the so-called "recount" in counties that used the same faulty computer scanners for the second count, after they had similarly mistallied ballots on Election Night.

I'm joined on today's show by longtime election integrity advocate and WIE's statewide coordinator KAREN McKIM to discuss the group's findings, revealing that the ballot scanning computers used in some 57 municipalities across the state had failed to tally anywhere from 2% to 6% of the ballots with valid Presidential votes in each of the Racine precincts they were allowed to examine a week or so ago. In other WI cities which chose to count by hand during Stein's "recount", McKim tells me, those same scanners had originally missed anywhere from 9% to 30% of valid Presidential votes! All of that in a state which Donald Trump is said to have won last year by less than 1%.

"They were ignored by the voting system entirely," says McKim, "and that's what made the miscount - or should have made the miscount obvious to the election officials even before they certified. You could look at those election results that the voting machines spit out on their face and you could see that hundreds of votes were just missing. If you compared the total number of ballots cast to the total number of presidential votes counted, you should have known --- they should have known --- that two percent of the voters didn't go to the polls so that they could cast a blank ballot. The miscounts were obvious at the time of the canvas, and the county officials did nothing about it."

Nearly a year after the election, in late September of this year, the state Election Commission finally decertified the 20-year old Optech Eagle computer tabulators, after finding that the systems fail to tally votes at all if the "wrong" type of ink is used to make selections by the voter. The same systems are still used, according to Verified Voting, in other states, such as Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia, and may be used again in Wisconsin next year, as the state decertification allows municipalities to wait until after the November 2018 mid-term elections to replace them.

McKim, however, tells me that those faulty machines don't necessarily explain "the really widely varying error rates from precinct to precinct. ... Why the city of Racine machines were missing more votes than the suburban machines? I don't know. You'd really have to do a forensic investigation to figure that out." But, of course, Stein was not allowed such an investigation in any of the states where she sought them.

If it weren't for Stein's attempted audit, she says, the problems may have gone completely ignored. "The poll workers noticed the missing votes when they closed the polls that night. They noted it on their inspector's reports. The municipal canvas looked at it, and I talked to the Municipal Clerk, and she said, 'I didn't know what we were supposed to do about this, so I certified it and sent it to the County Clerk.' And then the County Clerk looked at those results. She too --- and again, you could not ignore a miscount of that size --- and she just said, 'Well, it's the municipality's job to send me the accurate results. Whatever they send me, it's not my job to correct it.'"

"There is not a county in the state of Wisconsin where the county election officials check accuracy of the vote totals. They all just certify by looking at the computer tape and saying, 'Oh, look who won.'"

McKim, who is a retired quality-assurance manager, says "Every other manager that uses computers, from your grocery store to the bank to the city treasurers, they all know and accept that their computers are going to miscount from time to time. So they have routine procedures in place to check and correct before it's too late. Election administrators are the only computer-dependent managers we allow to get away with not checking the computer output for accuracy. It's insane."

"The county canvass procedures clearly allowed massive miscounts, obvious miscounts, just to go undetected and uncorrected. And that's unacceptable," she added, going on to detail what the group plans to do next, and how computer tabulation systems other than the Optech Eagle, "new or old", should never be trusted for use without citizen oversight.

We also discuss what such oversight should look like, if public Election Night hand-counts are possible in Wisconsin, how citizens elsewhere can carry out similar audits, and much more during today's show...

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Guest: John Ziegler of 'A Voice for All Georgia'; Also: Keystone Pipeline oil spill in SD; Tax bill passed by U.S. House; Menendez mistrial in NJ; Moore tanking in AL...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2017 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we head back to Georgia on today's show, to cover the recall effort that is now under way against the state's top election official. But first... [Audio link to show follow below.]

We've got a lot of breaking news as we go to air, including a new spill of some 210,00 gallons of dirty tar sands oil in South Dakota on the Keystone Pipeline. Details were scarce as we went to air, and that number is based on pipeline owner TransCanada's own estimate, but the new spill is likely to affect Nebraska's upcoming decision on the proposed route for TransCanada's controversial KeystoneXL pipeline, which was previously rejected by President Obama, but later approved by President Trump.

The Republican tax cut plan narrowly passed today in the U.S. House on a nearly-party line vote. The scheme, according to non-partisan analysts, would add $1.5 trillion to the national deficit and cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, while actually resulting in a tax increase for many low- and middle-income Americans. Passage of the unpopular measure is still far from certain, meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate.

Also today, a mistrial was declared in the federal bribery trial against New Jersey's Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez, after the jury was found to be hopelessly deadlocked, with 10 jurors insisting on full acquittal on all charges and two favoring conviction.

The situation for Senate Republicans has not improved following allegations of sexual assault on several teenagers by Roy Moore, Alabama's GOP nominee for next month's US Senate Special Election. An internal GOP poll, according to Politico, finds Moore's numbers tanking against Democratic challenger Doug Jones since the charges came to light. Moore had been up by 16 points in the poll last month. He is now said to be trailing Jones by 12!

And, next door in Georgia, following a massive, covered-up security breach on the state's election server last year, a US House Special Election with questionable results earlier this year in GA's 6th Congressional District, a multi-partisan lawsuit filed to challenge those results and force the state to move away from its wildly-hackable, 100% unverifiable, 15-year old Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and recent blockbuster news revealing that the election server in question was "wiped clean" in the middle of the lawsuit (which the Republican state AG's office now refuses to defend), an official recall petition effort is now underway to demand the removal from office of GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp.

We're joined today by JOHN ZIEGLER, chair of A Voice for All Georgia, the organization heading up a herculean effort to gather the more than 778,000 signatures of registered GA voters that are required to trigger a recall election (which, he tells me, would be run on the very same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems at the heart of this entire mess!)

Ziegler explains why his group has launched the effort, the obstacles created by the state for successfully obtaining what would be the first recall anywhere in the country of a sitting Sec. of State, and how folks both inside and out of Georgia can help with what HuffPo recently described as "The Biggest Story Nobody's Talking About".

"Kemp and other individuals associated with him have mislabeled our group," Ziegler tells me. "A Voice For All Georgia is a non-partisan group. We have Democrats, we have Republicans, we have Constitutionalists, we have Tea Party members, we have independents. The thing I found very refreshing is that we all share the same common goal, we want to have a secure vote, and we want to have a fair vote, and we want to make sure that all votes count.

"Whether it's gender, ethnicity, religion, values, or beliefs, we all have different opinions, but we've all united together to believe that there should be [a] secure vote, which, in our opinion is to have paper ballots and to have it hand-counted," he says.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a very busy Green News Report, and an update on Thursday's Keystone Pipeline oil spill...

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Guest: Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The bloodbath for Republicans in Tuesday's off-year elections and a great idea for how Democratic states can take action against real bloodbaths immediately by helping victims of gun violence with a tax against the industry that works around both the 2nd Amendment and federal immunity from lawsuits granted by Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

One year to the day after Donald Trump was named the winner of the Presidency in 2016 (while losing the national vote by 3 million), we review what appears to be the remarkable 'blue tidal wave' that swept across much of the country in Tuesday's contests in about one-third of the states. From big races to small, from high office to city councils and boards of education, voters turned out in impressive numbers and Democratic candidates reportedly performed very well in the bargain wherever they ran.

Democratic candidate Ralph Northam walloped the Trump-supported GOP candidate Ed Gillespie by some 9 points for Governor in Virginia, a clear rebuke to both the President and the racially-based scare campaign both he and Gillespie ran on. Democrats also won for Lt. Governor (only the second African-American to win statewide since the Civil War) and for Attorney General. In perhaps the biggest surprise in the state, voters also turned out at least 15 Republicans from the state's House of Delegates which, depending on some challenges and "recounts", may result in a stunning Democratic takeover of the state's lower chamber that had a 66 to 34 GOP majority before last night. (VA also moved from 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems to optically-scanned hand-marked paper ballots this year. So, at least there will be something to count in "recounts" there this year.) Minorities of all sorts --- including the first openly transgender candidate who replaced a homophobic hard right incumbent --- won in the VA House, where Dems out-voted the GOP by more than 200,000 votes. Nonetheless, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, they may still end up in a slim minority there.

Dems also took over the gubernatorial mansion in NJ from the wildly unpopular Chris Christie and won re-election for mayor in NYC by a landslide. African-American candidates won mayoral victories for the first time in cities from North Carolina to South Carolina to Georgia to Montana to Minnesota. Topeka, KS picked up its first Hispanic mayor and Hoboken, NJ now has its first Sikh mayor. And, in Maine, voters overwhelmingly approved the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which will result in health care for some 80,000 Mainers if the dumbest Governor in the nation, Paul LePage, stops blocking it. (It is also likely to inspire similar ballot initiatives in 2018 in other states where Republicans are denying federally-funded health care to their own residents.) It also appears that the last Republican-controlled legislature on the West Coast, the Washington state Senate, has fallen to Democratic-control, creating a "Blue Wall" of states in the West from Canada to Mexico. So it was a good day for Dems, and seemingly a very troubling omen for Trump and the GOP in 2018.

Meanwhile, it's been just days since 26 were massacred and 20 others shot by a man with a semi-automatic rifle in Sutherland Springs, TX. But Republicans have already made clear they intend to take no legislative action in response. Our guest today, however, legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate, has a fantastic idea that Democratic-controlled states could implement almost immediately. It's one that works around the NRA's 2nd Amendment challenges, as well as the outrageous federal "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (PLCAA) of 2005, which largely granted total immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits filed by victims.

"PLCAA is an entirely unique law. There is literally nothing else like it in the federal code," Sterns explains. "This law literally erased hundreds of years of laws and statutes, and jury verdicts, and forced all states to comply with this federal statute that basically prevents anybody from successfully suing a gun manufacturer or a gun seller, and gives them complete immunity to be as negligent as they want."

Stern's idea, as he explains, would result in help for victims of gun violence (more than 300 per day across the country) and their families, who often face bankruptcy after such incidents, as gun violence costs some $2.8 billion each year in health care costs alone. The measure would also force the gun industry to finally pay up for at least a small part of the unspeakable damage, pain, suffering and injury that they help to inflict every day on Americans.

State's "need to propose a special tax on the income of gun manufacturers and gun sellers that is high without being exorbitant. Tax their profits at every stage. They make a huge amount of money, so this would not burden them. This would not shutter manufacturers. But it would force them to pay a lot more, millions more, every year in taxes. What the legislature needs to do is take this extra revenue and place it in a fund that is explicitly designated to be paid out to victims of gun violence. When people are shot, and it is not at all their fault, they should be able to draw money from this fund to pay for their medical expenses and other care. There should be no cap, no limit on it. And no one would be able to raise a Constitutional objection. This is perfectly compliant with the Second Amendment and PLCAA."

Listen to today's show and please see Stern's excellent piece at Slate this week as well. Then get your state legislators busy! Many already have similar funds for victims of all sorts, like those harmed by the vaccine industry. This, Stern argues, should be a no-brainer for states like California and, perhaps now, even Virginia.

Finally, we close today with a few comments from Stephen Colbert that help bring all of the topics discussed on today's show together and into stark perspective...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks, Republican election integrity advocate of Coalition for Good Governance and Georgia election lawsuit plaintiff...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2017 6:21pm PT  

The fallout --- and disturbing mysteries --- following a lawsuit filed in Georgia after its U.S. House Special Election last June get curiouser and curiouser, as we learned late last night that the state Attorney General's office has now quit its defense of the Secretary of State and the state's other top election official defendants in the case. We discuss all of those bombshells and still-dropping shoes with one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's must-listen show follows below.]

We've been covering this entire mess for months now (years, really), but particularly since the lawsuit [PDF] was filed in July, after the somewhat surprising results from June's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, where GA's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel reportedly defeated Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, but only on the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems. (He defeated her nearly 2 to 1 on the only verifiable ballots in the race, the mail-in paper votes. Everything else regarding the results is unverifiable speculation.)

Late last week, we learned via Frank Bajak at the Associated Press, that technicians at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which has been contracted to program all of Georgia's computer voting and tabulation systems systems for some 15 years, "wiped clean" the election server that was used to program the elections, ballots and tabulators, just days after the suit was filed in July. Its two backup servers were also subsequently wiped and "degaussed three times" in August, the day after the suit was moved from state to federal court.

GA's chief election official, Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp, claims he knew nothing of the server deletions until AP's report last week. Previously, a huge fan of the Center for Elections at Kennesaw, Kemp cited the "gross incompetence" and "undeniable ineptitude" of the folks at KSU for whatever happened. Nobody has yet to take credit, however, for giving the instructions to delete the servers which held critical evidence that plaintiffs had hoped to have forensically investigated as part of the lawsuit. And then yesterday, in another flip-flop, Kemp called the entire matter "#fakenews".

All of that is disturbing on its own, but even more so in light of revelations earlier this year that the election server in question --- which stored personal data for all of GA's 6.7 million voters and the electronic ballot programming and administrative passwords for the state's voting and tabulation systems --- was left completely accessible online, no password necessary, for at least 6 months. Kennesaw was notified about the vulnerability by a data security researcher in August of 2016 (months before last year's Presidential election), but they failed to secure the server until after Politico's Kim Zetter revealed the vulnerability just prior to the GA-06 U.S. House race this year. (Samantha Bee's Full Frontal covered much of the story up to this point on her show last night, posted here.)

Then, on Wednesday evening, AP's Bajak offered another bombshell in reporting that the Republican state Attorney General's office, which had been defending Kemp, Kennesaw and the state Elections Board in the matter, has now pulled out from defending them. The reasons offered by the state AG and Kemp's campaign for Governor (he's running in 2018) have conflicted with each other or with known evidence obtained during the multi-partisan lawsuit, which a Kemp campaign spokesperson describes to AP yesterday as "a tasteless nothingburger cooked up by liberal activists who know their lawsuit is nothing short of stupid."

One of those "liberal activist" plaintiffs, Republican MARILYN MARKS, a longtime Election Integrity advocate and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, joins me today to try and help us all figure out just what the hell is actually going on in this increasingly disturbing case.

Marks confirms that nobody still knows who ordered the server deletion, nor why the state AG has dropped out of the case. "It's an enormous mystery, and the mysteries continue to increase every day," she says.

"I think that Brian Kemp is --- and rightfully so --- getting a black eye here," Marks tells me. "What he has done is shameful. There's no way to explain it. So I'm sure his defenders and campaign managers are doing everything they can to go on the offensive and try to make other people look like they are to blame, and that their candidate is innocent. But I think when people step back and say, wait a minute, if they erased the servers --- and they did it twice --- they did it for some reason. And it wasn't because our lawsuit was stupid."

She goes on to explain the "number of conflicting stories that Brian Kemp's people are telling" about when and why the compromised servers were deleted and why the AG's office is no longer willing to defend the case. She also details whether any of the information plaintiffs had hoped to examine from the servers might still be available in what is believed to be a partial copy of the servers obtained by the FBI when they came in to examine the reported data breach that occurred earlier this year, when the servers were discovered to have been left vulnerable online.

Marks' appearance on today's show comes just days before Georgia voters head to the polls for municipal elections being held next Tuesday, which will also be overseen by Kemp, programmed by Kennesaw, and run on the same wildly-hackable, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems that lead to this entire mess in the first place. She recently wrote [PDF] to Kemp and other election officials to ask them to make paper ballots available to voters since, as she tells me today, if the system was contaminated during the months it had been left vulnerable on the Internet, "They wouldn't have had time, even within the last year, to have cleaned up everything. Because, as you know, that malware can travel down to the memory cards, the voting machines, the optical scanners, and the jump servers down in the counties. Things could have traveled there in the last six months, year, two years --- and there's been no effort to try to disinfect all of the various components. I mean, there are 27,000 of these touch-screen voting machines in Georgia. There's no way that they should be in use when we know that this system was subject to a high degree of risk."

There is much more today in my conversation with Marks than I can adequately summarize here. So please give today's show a listen for the full story --- or, as much as we know about it to date --- along with many other mind-blowing details.

Also on today's show, a few other items, including Trump's non-scientist nominee for the USDA's chief scientist post, rightwing talk radio host Sam Clovis, withdrawing his nomination after becoming entangled in the Special Counsel's investigation of Team Trump (as you might have been able to predict, had you listened to Tuesday's BradCast with guest Marcy Wheeler); Clovis' fellow climate science denier Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the U.S. House Science Committee announcing he will not run for re-election; and, in the latest Green News Report, Desi Doyen reports on, among many other things, EPA chief Scott Pruitt removing all of the scientists from the EPA's scientific advisory panels...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Highlights unprotected, now-deleted server, lawsuit after GA-06, calls for hand-marked paper ballots to replace state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2017 11:47am PT  

We have been covering, in some detail of late, the disturbing case of the election server in the state of Georgia being "wiped clean", as AP was first to report, just days after the filing of a lawsuit [PDF] following concerns about the veracity of election results in the highly-contested June U.S. House Special Election in GA's 6th Congressional District, as well as last year's Presidential race in the state.

The deletion of the server and its two backups, remains a bit of a mystery for the moment, in that we still do not know who ordered it or why. And, last night, AP followed up with a new report that the state Attorney General who had previously served as the attorney in the case for defendant Brian Kemp, GA's Republican Secretary of State, has quit the case for some unknown reason.

All of that comes on the heels of revelations by Kim Zetter at Politico that the server itself, run by Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which has been contracted for some 15 years to program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting and tabulator systems, was left open and completely vulnerable on the Internet for at least six months, as of August 2016, when Kennesaw was initially warned about it by data researcher Logan Lamb. Nonetheless, Kennesaw did nothing to protect that server from outside manipulation, even after beingn warned that the personal voter registration data for 6.7 million GA voters was available to anyone, along with the ballot definition programming files for the state's easily-hacked voting machines and the administrative passwords to access all of those systems!

We'll be discussing these new details and more on today's BradCast with one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. But I was really happy to see Samantha Bee's Full Frontal last night cover the issue as well, along with the desperate need for hand-marked paper ballots in the state of Georgia! (And everywhere else!) So I want to post it in full here.

Here's Sam Bee's segment, which, I suspect, long-time BRAD BLOG readers and BradCast listeners will particularly appreciate...

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Plus: Trump deflects on Puerto Rico disaster; DHS wrong on 'Russia hacking'; Callers ring in on all of that and more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2017 5:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open the phone to callers to discuss another very busy news week, though most want to talk about election integrity. That's good. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories we cover before we get to listener calls: The Trump Administration is blocking members of Congress --- both Democratic and Republican --- from taking military flights down to Puerto Rico, for some reason, where the disaster for 3.5 million U.S. citizens following Hurricane Maria is said to be quickly deteriorating. Meanwhile, Trump continues to sing his own praises for his handling of the disaster, while using his Twitter account to tweet about the NFL instead of offering help or support for the storm victims.

Then, the state of Wisconsin finally decertifies its terrible, two-decade old Optech Eagle paper ballot tabulators which will only read marks in pencil (not pen). That, despite many WI municipalities which used those same machines to both tally and then 'recount' the 2016 Presidential election, rather than ever count ballots by hand. Those machines may well be replaced by 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. Also, though the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security informed the state late last week that Russia attempted to hack their voting system last year, it turns out DHS now admits has no such evidence.

Here in California, where DHS told the state the same thing last week (and apparently got it wrong there as well), Democrats in the state assembly recently passed a bill, AB-840, that will make stealing elections easier, by removing nearly half of the ballots cast from the state's 1% post-election hand 'audit'. Governor Jerry Brown (D) is now deciding whether to sign the bill, which election integrity advocates and voting system experts are begging him to veto instead, describing AB-840 as a "roadmap to fraud". You can contact the Governor with your opinion on whether he should sign or veto right here.

Callers ring in on all of that today, and challenge me on a point or two regarding voting and election fraud, before Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the rapidly devolving humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, and even some good news about coal for the Pacific Northwest (and for all of us, in truth)...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Sandy Morganstein on 8/21/2017 9:35am PT  

During the process of building support for turning my novel Cassandra, Chanting into a movie (working title Ballot Holes), several have asked me why I published Cassandra anonymously in 2008. In Cassandra, I imagined foreign powers infiltrating voting machine companies to steal a presidential election…not because they care who won, but because they know this is the clearest shot at undermining American democracy.

In Greek mythology, as I detail in the book, Cassandra was the Trojan beauty with the gift of prophecy. She was eventually cursed by Apollo to make certain that her prophesies would fall only on deaf ears. (More about the novel, Cassandra, below. Read The BRAD BLOG's 2008 review by Ellen Theisen here.)

The decision to publish near-future prophecy anonymously was not hard at the time. As an insider at a voting machine company and someone who is critical of the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), I didn't want the challenges with respect to EAC certification to become more difficult. The EAC creates the rules by which electronic voting and tabulation systems must comply in order to be used in states which require federally certified machines. In some cases, the rules are onerous and do not result in better voting systems. At the time, I was an executive and major shareholder in the Populex Corporation. We had developed a voting system that allowed voters to use a computer to mark a paper ballot, to then be tabulated by an optical-scan system, or even by hand. (Similar so-called "Ballot Marking Devices" or BMDs are currently in development in places like Los Angeles County in California.)

Complying with the EAC rules (and they change them from time to time) is a very expensive proposition. A book about the dangers posed by our then current (and, mostly still-in-use) electronic voting systems, many of which had previously received EAC approval, might have been seen as a slight to the EAC. Although our company had received EAC approval, it was best not to do anything that they might consider tweaking them...

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




Guest: Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and Verified Voting | Also: 'The Mooch' is fired, and the health care wars continue...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How hackers in Las Vegas over the weekend confirmed what we've been yelling and screaming about for nearly 15 years. Namely, every single computer voting, tabulation and registration system used in the U.S. is absurdly vulnerable to manipulation that would likely go undetected unless hand-marked paper ballots exist and are actually counted, by hand, by human beings. [Audio link to full show posted below at end of article.]

At the annual hackers convention in Vegas known as DefCon, thirty voting system computers (both voting machines and electronic pollbooks) were made available to attendees to crack at will! And, boy howdy, did they! Every single system was reportedly compromised in some fashion by the end of the weekend --- several of them fell within just minutes of opening DefCon's so-called "Voting Machine Hacking Village".

We're joined today for some of the amazing details on what happened in Vegas (in hopes that it doesn't just stay there!) by DR. DAVID JEFFERSON, a longtime computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors at VerifiedVoting.org. Jefferson, who has a been a pioneer in the field of voting system security for some 20 years, serving as an advisor to five successive Secretaries of State in California (both Republican and Democratic) also presented at the wildly popular DefCon "Voting Village".

"It was a wild time, I have to tell ya. This hacking village was set up --- really, in just six weeks it came together --- and in that short a time, they managed to gather all these voting machines," he says. It was quite a contrast from the "cloak and dagger" days when folks like us had to obtain voting machines from secret sources to share with independent investigators in order to have any kind of independent analysis of system vulnerabilities.

"That room was just crowded from morning to night," Jefferson says, describing the room at DefCon. "And the amazing thing is that all of those successful hacks, these were by people who, most of them, had never seen a voting machine before, and certainly not the system sitting in front of them, and they had not met each other before. They didn't come with a full set of tools that were tailored toward attacking these machines. They just started with a piece of hardware in front of them and their own laptops and ingenuity, attacking the various systems. And it was amazing how quickly they did it!"

Jefferson tells me, after all of these years, he is now seeing a major difference among the public, as well as election and elected officials (a number of whom were also in attendance), regarding the decades-long concerns by experts about electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems.

"I am seeing a kind of sea change here. For the first time, I am sensing that election officials, and the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI, and the intelligence community, and Congress, and the press, are suddenly, after the 2016 election experience, receptive to our message that these systems are extremely vulnerable and it's a serious national security issue. As you know, in a democracy, the legitimacy of government depends on free and fair and secure elections. And people are beginning to realize that we haven't had those for a long time."

He explains how hacking methods attributed by many to Russians following the 2016 elections "are the same methods that anyone on Earth could use --- insiders, criminal syndicates, nation-states other than Russia, as well, or our own political partisans. The fear, of course, is that these hacking attempts will be totally undetectable. But even if they are detectable, it's difficult often to determine who did it, whether it's an insider, or a domestic partisan, or some foreign organization."

He also confirms what I've been trying to point out since the 2016 election, that despite officials continuously claiming that no voting results were changed by anyone, be it Russia or anybody else, "they cannot know that. They simply can't know. Certainly in those states where there are no paper ballots, such as in Georgia, for example, it's impossible for them to know. And even in states where there are, if they don't go back and either recount the paper ballots, or at least recount a random sample of them, no, they can't know either."

"Election officials have fooled themselves into believing the claims of their [private voting machine] vendors that the systems are secure from all kinds of attack. And it's just never been true," Jefferson argues.

But will the weekend's short order hacks of every voting system presented at DefCon actually help the U.S. to finally move toward systems that are overseeable by the public? And what does that mean, exactly? Is replacing old computer election systems --- many of which still run on no-longer-supported software like Windows 2000 --- with new ones the answer? Are paper ballots, which voting systems experts call for, enough? Particularly given that we saw, after the 2016 election, how it's nearly impossible, even for a Presidential candidate, to see those ballots publicly hand-counted ("Democracy's Gold Standard") in order to confirm results?

"We have to change the way we think about securing elections. Instead of trying to harden the voting systems themselves against all forms of attack --- I think that is going to be a hopeless task for as far into the future as computer scientists can see. Instead of hardening those systems themselves, we need to design systems so that after the election is over we can verify that the results were correct. And then if they're not, we have to be able to change the results accordingly. So the emphasis is on detection and correction, not prevention."

I hash all of that out and much more with my friend Dr. Jefferson today, who also details DefCon's plans to make the "Voting Village" a permanent fixture of its annual convention, which just spectacularly wrapped up its 25th year.

Also on today's show: Trump fires his incoming White House Communications Director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci before he even officially begins in his new role, and the mop-up from last week's health care repeal disaster for Republicans in the Senate continues, as the White House demands the U.S. Senate vote on nothing else until they can vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite a new poll finding Americans want Congress to move on, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vowing to introduce a single-payer healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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