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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 20, 2018
Harvard Law Prof: Dems Must Pack SCOTUS or Face 'Political Suicide': 'BradCast' 10/19/18
Guest: Harvard's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist in MT, as Khashoggi murder roils...
GOPers Rethink Climate Change, Elections in NC, FL: 'BradCast' 10/18/18
Also: NC Election Board 'unconstitutional'; FL Guv 'bends' election rules after Michael; More Repubs endorse Dems for Guv in WI, KS...
'Green News Report' 10/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly flooding in TX and France; Death toll rising after Michael; Global warming coming for your beer; PLUS: O'Rourke, Cruz asked about climate in Texas U.S. Senate debate!...
Previous GNRs: 10/16/18 - 10/8/18 - Archives...
WV Smartphone Vote Scheme Threatens Midterms, Security: 'BradCast' 10/17/18
Guest: Dr. David Jefferson on myth of 'secure' blockchain voting; Also: More suppression in GA, ND, elsewhere...
Repubs Attempt State Supreme Court Coups in FL, WV: 'BradCast' 10/16/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: SCOTUS stealing Senate; GA Early Vote failure; Michael death toll rising...
'Green News Report' 10/16/18
Florida Panhandle facing catastrophe; Michael was 4th 'major' hurricane to make US landfall in 15 months; PLUS: GOP still denying science, economic impacts...
GA Rejecting Alarming Number of Mail-in Ballots: 'BradCast' 10/15/18
Guest: WhoWhatWhy's Jordan Wilkie; Also: Despite cost of recent hurricanes, Rubio, Trump offer false claim about economy to justify lack of climate action...
Sunday Category 5 Distraction Toons
Anything and everything to keep us looking away from stuff that matters, in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Ignoring Cries of Stranded Kids:
'BradCast' 10/12/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Tina Vasquez on ICE; Bill Browder on Khashoggi; Sarah Craft on the death penalty; Eliza Griswold on a family's fight against fracking...
Where is Khashoggi?: 'BradCast' 10/11/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro on Trump protecting Saudis; Also: Power of women's rage w Nelini Stamp, Soraya Chemaly...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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: Attorney, election integrity advocate, journalist Jennifer Cohn...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2018 6:20pm PT  

Well, it was one of those days again on today's BradCast, with an avalanche of huge, incoming breaking news which we do our best to cover --- even as we keep our eyes on the November prize on what may officially have been the worst day of Donald Trump's Presidency, to date. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Our first piece of breaking news: Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was convicted on 8 felony counts related to bank and tax fraud in his Virginia trial. The jury couldn't agree on 10 other counts brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, so the judge declared a mistrial on those counts. Manafort now faces another federal trial on felony charges, also brought by Mueller, in Washington D.C. next month, related to his undeclared work with a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Also, in arguably bigger and worse breaking news for Trump, his longtime personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 federal felonies related to bank and tax fraud, as well as campaign finance law violations related to a hush-money payoff of $130,000 made to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 Presidential election. The payment, Cohen admitted in a NY federal courtroom on Tuesday, was carried out "at the direction of" Trump "for the principal purpose of influencing the election". Now facing 4 to 5 years in federal prison, he may be inclined to cooperate with Mueller to receive a shorter sentence. With Cohen's plea deal ending that particular investigation in NY, it may also mean that Trump will now be forced to sit for an under-oath deposition in the lawsuit filed against Trump by Daniels.

All of that, after Microsoft announced last night it had discovered and shut down several fake Russian websites said to have targeted U.S. Senate offices and two conservative think tanks in advance of the November primary.

Then, as voters head to the primary polls in Alaska and Wyoming today, we're still working to make sense of two still-unexplained election night tabulation failures in both Michigan and Kansas during their August 7th primaries. We're joined today by JENNIFER COHN, attorney turned election integrity advocate and journalist, following her recent trip to Kansas to investigate the reported "computer glitch" in Johnson County, KS which crippled election night tabulation in the state's most populous county.

That "glitch" resulted in GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, Secretary of State, reportedly defeating KS Gov. Jeff Colyer to secure the GOP nomination for Governor by just over 100 votes out of 311,00 cast on Election Day. The still-unexplained failure occurred on the county's brand new, unverifiable ES&S ExpressVote touchscreen voting and tabulation system, approved just months ago by the county's election chief who was appointed by Kobach. The same unverifiable voting system will be used by voters in some 16 states and D.C. this November. (For the record, they will be used in AZ, D.C., FL, IA, ID, ME, MI, MO, MS, NV, OH, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI and WV.)

Her must-read article published by The BRAD BLOG in March on the dangers of such systems --- which produce barcoded "paper ballots" that can't be verified by voters after an election --- foretells many of the problems that occurred in Kansas on August 7. "All the problems that I predicted came to fruition, with the long lines, and machines failing, and then not having paper ballot backups," Cohn reports, noting that some voters were disenfranchised and others were given confusion instructions about whether or not they should try "to even verify those computer-marked, so-called paper ballot summary cards" produced by the systems.

During her short visit to Kansas, Cohn was denied an interview with the Kobach-appointed JoCo Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker and blocked from viewing the ES&S voting systems as well as the tabulation of provisional ballots. "We were just stonewalled, really, all day long, about everything," she tells me. "On the tabulating, they wouldn't even tell me if they were tabulating in the building."

She goes on to explain why we should all be very concerned about all of this, and what can possibly be done to try and oversee the validity of computer-marked paper ballots and electronically tabulated results on similar systems in use across the country this November.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the story which was supposed to have be Trump's great triumph today, the announcement of his EPA's new plan to replace Barack Obama's 'Clean Power Plan' with a scheme that will allow coal plants to keep polluting, global warming to worsen, and, as the documentation of the plan admits, result in the avoidable deaths and illness of tens of thousands of Americans each year...

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

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Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: ES&S misleads officials after lie about remote access of election systems; Deadly storms slams Midwest...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2018 6:09pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, a follow-up to yesterday's important show on the wildly vulnerable remote access software installed with computerized election systems sold --- and lied about --- by the nation's top voting system vendor, Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), as well as by other U.S. vendors who have helped privatize our public election systems. [Audio link to show follows below.]

After Kim Zetter's report at VICE's Motherboard earlier in the week revealed the company had lied to her about their use of the dangerous software for her New York Times report earlier this year, ES&S apparently sent an extraordinarily misleading email to their "valued customers" (election officials in counties around the nation), hoping to minimize concerns over their ill-considered practices.

As they --- and the other corporate vendors who have taken over our public elections with poorly designed, oft-failed and easily-manipulated computer voting and tabulation systems --- have been doing for years, the letter misinforms their "customers" about the dangers of including remote access software on election management systems which program ballots for electronic voting machines and tabulate votes. We explain how the company --- and, sadly, most of the federal government --- continues to lie and mislead about the dangerous of such systems, all of which, despite claims to the contrary by many officials, are, in fact, vulnerable to both Internet hacking and insider manipulation.

Then, as a new federal court deadline looms in less than a week for the Trump Administration to reunite more than 2,500 children separated from their parents at the border, we're joined by Talking Points Memo reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN, who has been keeping up with a dizzying array of federal court motions, hearings and rulings in recent weeks.

The consequences of Trump's so-called "Zero Tolerance" policy at the border has somewhat fallen off the front pages over the past week of mind-bending Trump/Russia news, so Ollstein catches us up with much that we have missed, including one court loss after another for the Trump Administration and federal judges --- appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike --- quickly losing patience with them. Heartbreaking stories of thousands of separated families continue to come out, as the Administration, from all reports, appears nowhere close to meeting a July 26 deadline to reuinite thousands of children over 5 years of age with their parents.

"It's just a huge mess, and it has been for weeks," she tells me. "The administration has been saying things in court and in legal filings that are just blatantly untrue. They have made promises and not kept them. They've blown past the deadlines for the reunification. So these federal judges are losing their patience and stepping in."

Ollstein describes reports from legal groups and immigration advocates of kids still being snatched from their parents at the border and facing "deep, deep trauma" within government detention, while novel (and seemingly unlawful) new interpretations of asylum laws are challenged in court and Congressional Republicans refuse to take substantive action.

"This has been pushed off the front page by other crazy, breaking news in this crazy administration," she observes. "Obviously, people are still outraged, still upset about this and want to see a solution. But it seems Republicans are not feeling enough heat to take action."

Finally, with way too much heat in the Midwest, extreme weather turned deadly on Thursday, as 17 were killed when a sudden storm overtook an amphibious "duck boat" on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, and as a swarm of as many as 27(!) tornadoes seem to have appeared out of nowhere to devastate several towns in Iowa...

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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With Trump's own intel agencies warning of election hacks and the White House contradicting them, disturbing new revelations of voting system vulnerabilities may help explain a 2011 BRAD BLOG exclusive report...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2018 6:43pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, it's worth buckling up before listening. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We begin, gently enough, with the news of California's Supreme Court temporarily nixing a billionaire's statewide initiative from this November's ballot which, if adopted, would split the state into three. We explain why the Court removed the measure, for now, thanks to a challenge by an environmental group.

Then, with Donald Trump's own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, warning this past week that "the system is blinking red" in a way that hasn't been seen since just before the 9/11 attacks, the multiple and ever-changing positions by the President of the United States in recent days, regarding whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and is actively doing so in advance of the 2018 midterms, is all the more head-spinning. Coats was referencing warning signs being reported by U.S. intelligence agencies regarding ongoing attacks and intrusions on America's critical infrastructure --- including our wildly vulnerable electoral systems.

Moreover, new reporting on Trump being read into explicit source details weeks before he was inaugurated in early 2017 regarding Russia's alleged 2016 election intrusion measures, make his ongoing denials, ever-changing positions, and dizzying White House spin to explain them all following Monday's summit with Putin in Helsinki, all the more bewildering. Nonetheless, his own intelligence apparatus and appointees continue to contradict the President, even as the GOP-controlled Congress fails to take any substantive action to either place a check on Trump or even to help protect this November's crucial elections.

At the same time, after the FBI informed Maryland just days ago that its entire election system was being hosted on a private commercial server said to be owned by a Russian oligarch tied to Putin (as discussed in detail on yesterday's BradCast), we learn this week that the top U.S. election system vendor, ES&S, has been lying about remote access software and modems installed, for many years, on systems still used by a majority of U.S. voters.

The new revelations may help explain an exclusive special report published by The BRAD BLOG back in 2011, with an officially-commissioned independent analysis finding that, among other concerns, Venango County, Pennsylvania's ES&S election management system had been accessed by an unknown and unauthorized computer for "several hours" from a remote location. As we reported at the time, ES&S and the County's Board of Commissioners went to considerable lengths, after those revelations, to block a further, independent forensic analysis of the system.

And now, perhaps, we may know why. Kim Zetter reports this week at Vice's Motherboard that the company lied to her and New York Times' fact-checkers earlier this year in advance of her February article at the paper on the inclusion of modems and pcAnywhere remote access software included with the election management systems sold to customers from 2000 to 2006. After previously insisting the company had no "knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software", ES&S reversed itself in a letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, she reports. But they have refused to respond to the Senator's subsequent follow-up queries or to appear at recent Senate hearings on U.S. election system vulnerabilities.

As Zetter details, pcAnywhere was found to include multiple and serious vulnerabilities over the years, which would have allowed unauthorized intruders to change election results with little chance of detection. Moreover, she explains, many questions remain about why ES&S lied, which jurisdictions around the nation may still feature the same, easily-exploitable flaws, and about electronic voting and tabulation systems manufactured by the nation's other top vendors, believed by expert to likely have included similar remote-access vulnerabilities.

All of that (and more, including our latest Green News Report), just over three months out from this November's midterm elections. Told you to buckle up...

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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Guests: SC GOP activist Frank Heindel and attorney Larry Schwartzol; Also: New Senate bill finally calls for HAND-MARKED paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2018 6:44pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: On the eve of Donald Trump's scheduled Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought eleven new felony charges against twelve Russian military intelligence officials on Friday. They were charged with various crimes related to cyber-interference in the 2016 Presidential election. And, a bi-partisan federal lawsuit is filed in South Carolina in hopes of finally terminating the state's easily-hacked, repeatedly-failed, 100% unverifiable voting system. [Audio link to show follows at end of article.]

The Russian military officials cited in today's indictment [PDF] relates to hacking into and stealing documents from the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, and releasing them to the public in hopes of manipulating the election. The charges also relate to attacks against state and county election officials and a voter registration company where email spearphishing schemes are said to have implanted malware onto the computer networks in question.

The new indictment does not allege any Americans knew of the hacking scheme detailed by Mueller, though it notes that Trump's public July 2016 call for Russia to find and release "missing" personal Hillary Clinton emails was followed by attacks, "for the first time", on an Internet domain used by her personal office.

While the filing details at least one state voter registration system where some 500,000 private records were accessed, it does not allege that voting results were manipulated (although the DHS admitted last year they never examined either ballots or voting systems.) During Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's announcement of the new charges, he also excoriated partisan and media speculation regarding the probe, as well as attacks (presumably by Congressional GOPers and Trump) on the FBI itself.

Meanwhile, much media coverage was given on Thursday to the insanely chaotic ten-hour long U.S. House hearing featuring testimony by Peter Strzok, the top FBI counter-intelligence specialist who initially led the investigation into Russian interference back in 2016. At the same time, a hearing in the U.S. Senate this week on safeguarding our election infrastructure received little or not coverage. Today, we try to correct that a bit, with some of the testimony offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sponsor of a new election reform bill in the Senate --- the Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act --- which is the only one that would require a HAND-MARKED paper ballot for every voter in the U.S. His testimony calls out ES&S, the nation's largest computer voting system vendor, for failing to show up for the hearing or answer any of his basic cyber-security questions he's sent to the company over the past year.

Then, after more than a decade of failed elections on the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used across the state of South Carolina --- including the still-remarkable and still-unexplained story of Alvin Greene, the completely unknown, unemployed man who somehow managed to win the state's 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary without campaigning at all, against a longtime, well-known state legislator and circuit court judge --- a lawsuit was filed this week in federal court to force the state to offer a secure system to voters.

The complaint [PDF] was filed on behalf of two plaintiffs. One, a former eight-term Democratic state legislator, the other a longtime Republican Freedom of Information Act champion and election critic in the Palmetto State. The Republican plaintiff, FRANK HEINDEL, and attorney LARRY SCHWARTZTOL, of the non-partisan, non-profit ProtectDemocracy.org, join me to explain the lawsuit, Heindel's years of work attempting to oversee state elections (and their accompanying disasters), and whether the new complaint might make any difference in the state before this year's crucial 2018 midterms.

"I've just always been skeptical of the 'black box' mentality where you go in and you just trust the machine, and there's no way to verify the results," Heindel explains. "I've just never really trusted that system. I've tried to push us towards a more paper-based way to vote, and it's taken many years here, but I'm starting to get a little optimistic that the worm has turned and we're going to make some progress."

"You need a system where the winner knows that he won, the loser knows that he lost, and everybody knows that their votes were cast and counted directly. We don't have that today," he tells me. The longtime businessman has spent the last decade or more filing some 47 FOIA requests attempting to personally investigate election results and related problems in the state. (We've been following Heindel's efforts for years. You can watch part of Dan Rather's 2010 report on Heindel, right here.)

The longtime litigator Schwartztol, for his part, explains: "What we're arguing for in the lawsuit is to replace that system with one that meets basic, common-sense principles. Secure in its basic architecture against cyber-attacks. The main way to do that, most people agree, is a pretty simple one. And that's building a system around paper ballots, that can be verified, that can be audited, that can be the subject of a recount if that's necessary."

"What we describe in the lawsuit is a voting system that contains unnecessary vulnerabilities and that is not sufficiently reliable to do the work," he adds. "The work of ensuring that votes are accurately recorded and counted."

He lauds the state's election commission chair, Marci Andino (one of the suits defendants), for stating her desire to move to a new system, but is critical of the claim that it would require $50 million to do so. A paper ballot system he says, citing a recent report from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, would cost much less. He also tells me that one of the solutions they hope to pursue in the case, potentially before November, is the use of the state's absentee paper ballot system that could be used for all voters this year.

"You saw today where Rosenstein was saying that the Russians had sent phishing emails to various state and county folks," notes Heindel. "Our county election people, they're hard-working and they mean well, but I can get tricked on a phishing email. The idea that we have state and county election people that are trying to fend off sophisticated attacks from foreign adversaries, it's crucial that we get our arms around this thing, and get to paper sooner rather than later."

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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Alabama's election chief lashes out in advance of midterm primaries, after previously blocking journalists, election law experts on Twitter...
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2018 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Just days from Alabama's mid-term primaries next week --- in which Sec. of State John Merrill (R) will be on the ballot himself --- we share a wild, and often inexplicable, string of bizarre emails sent sent to me over the past week by the state's chief election official. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The weird story begins late last year, with the contentious and closely watched December U.S. Senate special election in Alabama between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. On election night, following the state's computer-tallied results reported a narrow victory for Jones, Merrill inaccurately stated on CNN that "any candidate can ask for a recount and if they pay for it, they can receive a recount."

After UC Irvine's highly-regarded election law expert, Rick Hasen, noted on Twitter that Merrill appeared to be in error, that AL's state election code appeared to allow only candidates in NON-federal races to request and pay for a recount if the margin was larger than 0.5%, Merrill blocked him, rather than correct his own error or cite a different section of the state law to support his assertions. That pattern would be repeated as Merrill blocked other election law experts on Twitter.

Days later, the Secretary of State injected himself into a Twitter exchange I was having with others, to insist, repeatedly and inaccurately that Alabama's computerized paper ballot scanners "do not capture or preserve digital ballot images." In fact, they do, as made clear during a successful state court action just before the election. (My interview at the time with one of the organizers of the lawsuit is here). Merrill, however, was able to have the ruling stayed by the AL Supreme Court the night before the election. (My election day interview, with one of the plaintiff attorneys is here.)

Rather than cite evidence during the, extremely bizarre Twitter conversation [PDF], Merrill ended up blocking me there as well.

All of which brings us to last week, when a federal court in New York determined that public officials --- in that case, the President of the United States --- was in violation of the Constitution's First Amendment for blocking perceived "political opponents" on Twitter. (My interview with one of the plaintiffs in that case is here.)

Before we covered the ruling on a BradCast last week with University of Kentucky College of Law constitutional expert Joshua A. Douglas, who had also been blocked by Merrill (my interview with him on that earlier last year is here), I sought comment from the Secretary as to whether he intended to restore those he'd blocked, given the federal court ruling.

The subsequent string of bizarre emails [PDF] and phone calls I then received from the state's top election official is remarkable, and we share those on today's show, in the interest of Alabama voters who head to the polls next week.

In addition to steadfastly refusing to unblock the election law experts and journalists he's blocked on Twitter, Merrill unleashes a number of unhinged and often inexplicable rants in response to polite queries about both the Twitter blocks and whether Merrill has asked county election officials to set their vote tabulation computers to preserve scanned ballot images in the upcoming primary, in order to make public oversight of results somewhat easier.

At several points, Merrill's Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director John Bennett attempted to intercede via both email and phone. As I explain on the show today, the call from Bennett was very pleasant and he seemed to me, in truth, somewhat embarrassed by his boss' behavior. But he promised to get back to me after looking into both the Twitter ruling and the issue of Alabama's ES&S computer tabulation systems capturing digital ballot images. A note he sent shortly thereafter confirmed that they do. (See the PDF linked above for details.)

But, then Merrill blew things up again, with another string of emailed rants. Among the odd attacks from the emails in which the first term Sec. of State describes himself as "a nationally recognized expert in the field of elections", Merrill charges that I have a "problem...bigger than one that I have the ability to solve" (but refuses to specify what that "problem" might be), that I live with my mother (I don't), "has absolutely no idea what [I'm] talking about" (despite some 15 years of covering elections and voting systems as a journalist), and should try to "get a job with an elections program system" so I can "contribute to the discussion as an expert in the field". That's just a taste.

As noted today, I didn't even want to cover this at all, in truth, because it's largely just embarrassing for Merrill. But when I realized he was actually on the ballot next week, it seemed this was information that voters in Alabama deserved to know before making their decision. For the record, Merrill is being challenged in the Republican primary by Michael Johnson. On the Democratic side, two candidates, Heather Milam and Lula Albert-Kaigler. (She ran unsuccessfully against Merrill in 2014, though I can't find an official campaign website for her now.)

Also today: A new book by a longtime senior adviser to President Obama reportedly reveals that he feared sanctions against Russia before the 2016 election might have resulted in hacked computer tabulation systems (despite public assertions by the Administration before and after that Presidential results could not be easily manipulated by foreign attack), and election officials in a number of states are now reportedly very concerned about hacking --- or the perception that results were tampered with --- in advance of the crucial 2018 midterm elections (just as we've been warning, non-stop, for more than a decade.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as climate change wreaks havoc with a number of deadly storms over the Memorial Day weekend...

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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Guest: Teacher, writer Dina Leygerman; Also: New Mueller indictments; GOP EAC Chair pushed out; MO's new GOP Guv indicted in sex scandal...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, the kids are alright. And, if this past week has been any indication --- along with the results of a fascinating social experiment by my guest today --- they may well save us all. I hope they hurry. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

First up, however, a boatload of news broke shortly before air today, and we scramble to cover as much of it as we can. Among those stories...

  • New indictments are filed by Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe against two former Donald Trump campaign officials. His former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, who also served on the Trump transition team saw 32 counts added to the 17 felony counts leveled against them in October. The new charges relate to some $30 million in money laundering and tax fraud, based on funds said to have been received while Manafort worked for a Russian-backed Ukrainian President prior to joining the Trump campaign;
  • U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have reportedly pushed out, Matthew Masterson, the Republican Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for reasons that remain unknown The EAC, formed by Congress after the 2000 election debacle to help state election officials with e-voting system standards, has failed in many ways over the years, as we discuss (and as we've reported at The BRAD BLOG for many years.) Still, they remain the only federal agency tasked with that role, even while Republicans have been attempting, for years, to shutter the Commission entirely. Masterson, said to be highly regarded by state election officials, was overseeing cyber-security standards for new voting systems before the 2018 mid-terms, in light of concerns of foreign manipulation of U.S. voting, registration and tabulation systems;
  • And, also breaking just before air, Missouri's new "family values" Republican Governor Eric Greitens was indicted late Thursday on a felony charge related to allegations that threatened to blackmail a woman he had tied up and photographed nude in his basement during an affair in 2015, prior to his 2016 election.

Then, with the incredibly impressive students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida speaking up, marching, organizing and protesting unapologetically to demand new legislation on guns after a former student killed 17 at their school last week with a legally-purchased semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, President Trump unleashed a Twitter rant on Thursday morning calling for teachers across the country to be armed in response. That call has not gone over well with the Stoneman Douglas students, though many Republican officials and their paymasters at the National Rifle Association (NRA) support the measure to place even more guns into our nations schools.

But, as my guest today, Philadelphia area high school teacher and writer DINA LEYGERMAN argues, the current generation of high schoolers across the country are fierce, a force to be reckoned with and not to be underestimated.

In her recent article headlined "The Teens Will Save Us", Leygerman documents a fascinating social experiment that she has run for a number of years while teaching George Orwell's 1984 to her English class. After similar results of the experiment year after year --- in which, without informing the students, she basically turns her classroom into an Orwellian totalitarian regime over a matter of days, with her as the dictator turning students against each other --- she says that this year, for reasons she discusses, the response by the students was completely different from previous years. The students, she explains, were having none of it, and actually stood up, organized with their classmates and other students in rebellion against her. As she wrote, "For the first time since I've done this experiment, the students 'won.'"

Leygerman joins us for what turns out to be a very hopeful segment, as she explains what happened, why, and how this generation may be very different from the slacker image many have painted them with. "They are participating in marches. They are participating in their student government. They are listening to the news. They're reading the news more, everyday. They are involved. And I think in our current political climate, where everything is so hostile and divisive, they are learning. I walk around and, even in the cafeteria, I'll listen to them talk about DACA, they'll talk about issues that I don't ever remember discussing when I was a kid," she tells me.

It's a fascinating conversation that I hope you'll tune in for. I also get her thoughts on Trump and the NRA's proposal for arming teachers, which she describes as "insane and dangerous" and a "diversion and deflection" from the actual conversation of what should be done about our nation's gun epidemic. Leygerman, who also writes for parenting website Romper, wonders: "Where's the funding coming from? And if it's coming from the government or from the state, why can't we have basic supplies instead?"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as a chemical giant settles a decades-long water contamination lawsuit, global temperatures continue to sky-rocket, sea levels rise at an ever-quickening pace, and another western state becomes the latest to block Donald Trump's scheme to expand off-shore oil drilling...

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Guest: Orange County, CA Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley, member of new DHS Election Infrastructure Coordinating Council...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2017 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Accurate reporting matters. So do accurately tabulated elections. So does accurately reporting about elections and their results and allegations made about attempts to "hack" American elections. [Audio link to show follow below.]

While the U.S. corporate media have ever-so-slightly improved since they fell hook, line and sinker for the George W. Bush Administration's government propaganda following 9/11 --- resulting in the Iraq War and all that has come, and is still coming ever since --- they're not doing much better when it comes to Trump's saber rattling over Iran's non-existent "nuclear weapons program", or their coverage of the government's claims concerning Russia's alleged "hacking" of election systems in 2016. (Or, as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow unhelpfully describes it over and over, "Russia's attack on our election!")

We try, today, to help clarify what the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the corporate media did not, when it came to DHS' erroneous allegation in late September that the "Russian government" attempted to hack voter registration systems in 21 states and that "no votes were manipulated or changed" in the 2016 election. (For example, as we noted at the time, days later, DHS admitted they were wrong about Wisconsin, and California's Democratic Sec. of State said further investigation revealed that claims "turned out to be bad information from DHS." As to whther any votes were changed in 2016, the DHS admitted over the Summer that they don't know, because they never actually checked!)

But, hey, if it takes concerns, accurate or otherwise, about "Russia hacking" our elections to wake up the nation and its government to the very real threats posed by electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems we'll take it! We've worked for nearly 15 years here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast to warn about that threat --- whether it comes from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, ISIS, France, Germany, some guy in Little Rock, Arkansas or any election official or insider anywhere in the nation!

So, on related matters, and what we will all look forward to as the 2018 election cycle begins, we're joined by longtime Orange County, CA Registrar of Voters NEAL KELLEY, following the first meeting of the new DHS Election Infrastructure Coordinating Council, created after President Obama's Directive in January declaring the nation's election systems, in all 50 states, to be recognized as "Critical Infrastructure" by the U.S. Government.

Kelley, a member of the new 27-member council which convened in D.C. over the weekend for the first time, joins us to explain what this panel actually is; what the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually means in practical terms for the nation's voting, tabulation and registration systems; how this commission was set up, who appointed its members, and how it differs from Trump's phony "Election Integrity" Commission; whether the "critical infrastructure" designation intrudes on states' Constitutional independence in running their own elections; whether the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (or EAC, on which Kelley is also an Advisory Board member) should be defunded, as Republicans in Congress have long sought; how DHS dropped the ball on 2016 and its aftermath; and, while we have him here, whether or not Orange County will ever replace its 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems with a verifiable paper ballot system. (See my own disastrous experience with the OC's voting system back in 2011 here.)

We also get Kelley's reaction to a newly-signed CA law (AB-840), supported by Democrats and virulently opposed by many Election Integrity advocates, that allows County Registrars to completely ignore millions of provisional and Vote-by-Mail ballots when conducting their state-mandated 1% post-election manual "audits".

Finally, speaking of Trump's phony voter fraud commission (which is decidedly distinct from the DHS panel that Kelley now sits on!), we've got several pieces of troubling news today, including the recently reported child pornography arrest of one of its researchers, and the sudden death on Monday of one of the Commission's very few Democratic appointees...

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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!... ---




Plus: 2016 election hack attempts even worse than previously known, Kobach voter fraud commission's suppression efforts already a success...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2017 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans' attempt to govern continue to fall apart. Also, the assault on our nation's elections continue as well, both from without and within. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

After new defections by two more GOP Senators late Monday night led to the stunning collapse of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), his subsequent plan, to repeal ObamaCare now and replace it later, also collapsed within hours, after the number of Republican Senators needed to kill the measure almost immediately vowed to vote against it. Cue Donald Trump's blame game, avoidance of responsibility and lies about the entire matter.

So what's next on the Republican agenda? A budget resolution must be passed to avoid a Government shutdown by the end of September and a major tax cut effort has long been promised. Evidence suggests both items may run into a similar inability of Congressional Republicans to even agree amongst themselves. Such is the danger of radicalized, illegitimate political enterprises. They may work for winning elections, but not so much when it comes to actually governing.

Also today: New and startling revelations (even to me) of hundreds of thousands of attempts to hack South Carolina's general election system last November offer a dark omen and yet another much-needed reminder regarding election systems in the rest of the country, as well as the need for the public to be able to oversee results; Thousands of legitimate Colorado voters un-register in response to the massive data request for private information by Trump's "Election Integrity" Commission headed up by "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach; and new details about the hack last year of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission --- the federal agency tasked with overseeing electronic voting and tabulation systems in the U.S. --- highlight, yet again, why it's so disturbing that the GOP is attempting to shut down the agency entirely. (No matter how many times over the past decade The BRAD BLOG has found the EAC to be both corrupt and a failure.)

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with huge wildfires in Canada, Trump giving away more tax-payer dollars to fossil fuel companies and much more...including, yes, some heroic nuns and a small, disorganized Tropical Storm named Don...

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After concerns of a 'hacked' 2016 Presidential race and an unverifiable 'loss' in Georgia that again defied pre-election polling, Dems, the media and the American people are still missing the verifiable facts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/26/2017 10:08am PT  

There are several basic election integrity truths that have escaped the attention of most Americans, even as they confront the scope of alleged Russian cyber intrusions into America's disparately run, local elections systems.

[Despite repeated assurances from U.S. officials that hackers didn't go so far as to alter vote counts, Department of Homeland Security officials concede that they failed to run an audit in order to determine whether the 2016 vote count had been manipulated by anyone, be they hackers, foreign or domestic, from Russia or anywhere else, or by election insiders whose direct access could facilitate a malicious, or even accidental, manipulation of vote totals. The mainstream U.S. media has also raised concerns that the United States, under the Donald Trump administration, is not doing enough to prevent hacking or manipulation of the 2018 and 2020 elections.]

The first basic election integrity truth is that, as The BRAD BLOG reported in 2009, following a stark presentation by a U.S. intelligence officer to the nation's only federal agency devoted to overseeing the use of electronic voting and tabulation systems, all electronically stored and/or processed data --- registration records, poll books, ballot definition scripts and, most importantly, computerized vote tabulators --- are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

"I follow the vote," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall warned members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in a 2009 field hearing in Florida. "And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to…make bad things happen."

The second basic truth is that election system vulnerability is not confined only to malicious hackers, who may or may not be Russian. All electronic vote tabulation systems are vulnerable to election insider manipulation.

The third is that paper registration forms, poll books and hand-marked paper ballots are not, in and of themselves, vulnerable to electronic manipulation. (Paper ballots, of course, are not entirely risk free. Even before the advent of e-voting, there had been cases of ballot box stuffing. But it was the advent of central computerized/electronic tabulation that created a vulnerability to wholesale electoral theft by a "conspiracy" as large as one person, with little possibility of detection.)

The fourth is that the only way to ensure a transparent and verifiable count, one that can be overseen and confirmed the public, is to deploy what Brad Friedman aptly describes as "Democracy's Gold Standard": hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted with the verifiable results posted at each precinct on Election Night before ballots are moved to any other location.

The fifth is that the core issue in election integrity is not whether a given result is or is not the product of election fraud. Instead, as recently observed by Austria's Supreme Court, the issue is whether election officials have complied with procedures that are designed to ensure the integrity of a transparent and verifiable result.

Unfortunately, these basic democracy-sustaining truths, which have been judicially recognized in other nations, have been largely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media, the political leadership of both major U.S. political parties, and, critically, by our courts --- a point that truly came into focus with respect to the recent U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District...

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




Guest: Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the release of a leaked NSA analysis of alleged cyberattacks on voter registration systems and attempted intrusions into the computers of local elections officials just before last year's Presidential election underscore, once again, just about every warning regarding U.S. electronic voting, computer tabulation and voter registration systems that we've been yelling about for some 15 years on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Today, we break down the specific details found in the leaked NSA documents published by The Intercept on Monday, how they highlight a much broader problem with the U.S. electoral system, and what the answer, at long last, must ultimately be in response to concerns about manipulated election results, no matter who the alleged or attempted culprit. (In this case, the U.S. intelligence services blame Russian military intelligence, which they deny. Either way, as detailed on today's show, it doesn't actually matter!)

On a not-at-all unrelated note, we are then joined by Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation to discuss her lawsuit, filed with members of Georgians for Verified Voting, demanding hand-counted paper ballots for all voters in the upcoming, highly contested U.S. House Special Election runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Marks, a former Republican mayoral candidate turned long-time Election Integrity expert, details some of the many concerns spelled out in her suit (Complaint here [PDF], TRO Motion here [PDF]) regarding the state of GA's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and the known cyberhacks, e-pollbook thefts and computer tabulator failures that have already plagued the most expensive U.S. House race in history, where early voting is already underway in advance of the bellwether June 20 contest.

"There were so many things that have happened since March 1st," Marks explains, describing many of the problems that have already undermined this election. "As you've pointed out, these systems --- when you say they are 'unverifiable', what people need to understand by that, of course, is that there is no way to assure that the voter's intent is recorded. We know what the machines want to report. But there is no way to know what the voter intended to vote. We do know that with the evidence of a paper ballot. So, that is what we are telling the court, that this system has gone through so many problems. It was unverifiable to begin with. And now we have seen the instances of several problems, just in the last 60 days, that tell us there is no way that the Sec. of State and the county election officials should assume that the system is safe to vote on. They must presume the system is unsafe."

The plaintiffs request, she says, "is a simple one. And that is: let voters vote on paper ballots."

"The only practical answer is to go to paper ballots [and] hand count them," Marks tells me. "It would be very easy to do. We've had a professional estimate how long it would take --- less than an hour per precinct. It would actually be faster, cheaper, more efficient and far more transparent to vote on paper ballots in this simple election than it is to use the machines." Indeed, with just one contest on most of the ballots in this Special Election, hand-counting would amount to little more than separating ballots into two stacks, one for each candidate, and then counting each stack. It is what we have long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard."

Marks goes on to cite the concerns illustrated, once again, by yesterday's leaked NSA documents and argues: "You talk to any computer scientist, regardless of what party they are, you talk to any voting systems expert, I don't think you'll find a single expert, a single computer scientist who would say these machines even approach the point of being safe to vote on. And it has nothing to do with their politics."

"We must have transparent elections where the public can oversee the counting of the ballots. And in Georgia, there is no oversight. No one --- not the election official, not the public, not the campaign, not the candidate --- no one can figure out whether or not the ballots are counted right."

But does her lawsuit have a chance this late in the game, with early voting already under way? Tune in for her response to that and much more, including her thoughts on how GA's Sec. of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, has responded so far to both Marks' complaint, and an earlier request, prior to the GA-06 primary, from dozens of the world's top computer security and electronic voting systems experts.

Yes, elections still matter. But, as computer security expert Bruce Schneier told The Intercept yesterday: "To the extent the elections are vulnerable to hacking, we risk the legitimacy of the voting process, even if there is no actual hacking at the time. It's not just that it has to be fair, it has to be demonstrably fair, so that the loser says, 'Yep, I lost fair and square.' If you can't do that, you're screwed."

We're screwed.

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Guest: Washington Monthly's D.R. Tucker at the 'nexus of science, politics and media' | Also: Trump's Iran flip-floppery and court karma; Arkansas' killing spree; Lighting up Capitol Hill on 4/20...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we find Fox 'News' and its twisted wingnut agenda at the center of just about all of the stories and issues we cover today, from the remarkable need for scientists to stand up for science-based facts, to a continuingly clueless President, to a disgraced Bill O'Reilly and more. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

The Trump administration is now seemingly both for and against the Iran Nuclear Deal, apparently. At least they seem to be taking every side of the issue this week, despite Trump's repeated campaign vows to rip up or renegotiate the deal and his 2015 charge that it "will go down as one of the dumbest and most dangerous misjudgments ever entered into in history of our country". But that's what happens when everything your President seems to know about policy comes pretty much directly from the scam artists and friends of sexual harassers known as Fox "News".

Which brings us to my conversation today with my guest, D.R. Tucker of Washington Monthly (and too-occasional BRAD BLOG contributor). As a former rightwinger turned climate change hawk and avid media critic, he has some strong opinions and smart thoughts in advance of this weekend's March for Science and next weekend's People's Climate March.

"For a long, long time in this country, there has been this sort of anti-intellectual, anti-science mentality. It's been monetized, as people like [Fox 'News' owner] Rupert Murdoch have proven. And it has to be resisted," he tells me. But, he adds, while "these marches are a long overdue attempt, I would argue, to resist it, marching alone is not going to accomplish it. The march has to continue right to the ballot box to throw out people who are anti-science, and elect those who are pro-science."

He does not reserve his ire only for FNC, however. The "false gods of false balance" at other news outlets are also to blame, he charges, for the intensifying climate crisis, much of its collateral damage and the fact that Americans remain so woefully uninformed about so much of it.

We also discuss the firing of disgraced Fox "News" star and alleged serial sexual harasser Bill O'Reilly, as he is reportedly set to receive a parting gift of as much as $25 million from his longtime enablers at FNC on the way out the door. Tucker also has some thoughts on the pretend rightwing "outrage" over the successful campaign to encourage corporations to pull their sponsorship from O'Reilly's show (a trick, he explains, learned from those "outraged" rightwingers themselves), as well as idea on where O'Reilly may find welcome employment next. (No, not in hell, but close.)

Finally today: Another prisoner receives a stay in Arkansas' unprecedented attempted killing spree; Some ironic federal court karma that may be about to bite Donald Trump (again); And pot activists in D.C. on 4/20 come up with a clever way to spark up interest for their issue among Congressional staffers and media on Capitol Hill...

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Guest: Computer science and e-voting systems expert Barbara Simons...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2017 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a story out of Georgia serves as a jarring reminder that we'd better not wait until 2018 to be concerned about the integrity and public oversight of our electronically tabulated elections. Also, the political blame game is underway regarding the Republicans' planned use of the "nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute's time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection.

The recent hack at Georgia's KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration.

One of those special elections is in Georgia on April 18, where the contest to fill GOP Rep. Tom Price's seat in CD-6 (he's now Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services) is drawing both national attention and a lot of money from both Democrats and Republicans. With a suprisingly popular 30-year old Democrat, Jon Ossoff, poised to potentially upset a splintered GOP field in the otherwise solidly Republican district, the race is being regarded as a potential bellwether for the 2018 elections.

Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting's effort to get answers about it from GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group's request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported "massive data breach"; and this weekend's similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.

As we discuss what we know, and don't, about the GA hack, Simons, co-author of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? and a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's Board of Advisers since 2008, tells me that "it's a national scandal" that the state is still using those unverifiable systems for all elections.

Simons had also joined a number of renowned voting systems experts to plea with the Hillary Clinton campaign last year to seek a public hand-count of the Presidential election in several states, given questions about the exceedingly close race and the surprising results in a number of them. When Clinton declined to file for that common sense oversight, Green Party candidate Jill Stein responded affirmatively to the same plea. Nonetheless, as we also discuss today, hand-counts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were largely blocked, thanks to efforts by Team Trump, state Republicans and even some Democrats.

We discuss all of that, the years-long effort to institute legislative safeguards against electronic voting and computerized tabulation systems; and why even paper ballots tallied by computers leave the public uncertain about the accurate results of elections. "Paper ballots in and of themselves are not sufficient. That lesson was very clear from the 2016 election," she tells me, as I ask about what I see as the need to publicly hand-count hand-marked paper ballots on election night in order to restore public confidence and oversight of results. "The problem is we have some very bad laws," she responds, offering her thoughts on legislative changes that are needed, short of ditching the computers entirely, in order to respond to what she sees as "a national security issue" in our elections.

Also on today's show: Republican Senators lament the idea of killing the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominees...as they prepare to vote to kill it anyway; The NCAA falls for North Carolina's "repeal" scam of its anti-LGBT law; and Trump repeals an Obama-era rule seeking to keep bears from being hunted and killed during hibernation in Alaska...

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Yemen raid debacle; Drumbeat for war in Iran; DeVos confirmed; Dakota Access approved; Repubs move to scrap U.S. election protection agency...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2017 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If those friendly to America are rising up against Donald Trump's disastrous Presidency, imagine what our actual enemies think! Well, we don't have to imagine quite as much as of today, even as Republicans in Congress continue their work to undermine American democracy. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Donald Trump's Yemen raid last week --- the first special ops mission he approved after becoming President --- was an unmitigated disaster during which a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed along with a number civilians, including an 8-year old American girl. The target was reportedly meant to be the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who is still alive and well and mocking Trump this week, even as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer ridiculously declared the failed mission "a successful operation by all standards."

Also mocking Trump today is the Supreme Leader of Iran, who thanked the new President for "showing the real face of America" after Trump banned Iranian travelers and put the country "on notice" in a Tweet last week, threatening military action and emboldening Iran's hardliners in the process of an increasing alarming drumbeat toward war. (Corporate media chasing all of Trump's idiotic statements may want to start paying much closer attention to this. Please?)

Back at home, the President's wildly controversial and wholly unqualified nominee for Education Secretary, billionaire Betsy DeVos, became the first cabinet nominee in history to be approved by the U.S. Senate after a tie vote in which the Vice President had to cast the decisive vote. At least this time the Democrats finally stood unified in voting against DeVos, along with two Republican Senators who joined them.

In the meantime, while The Netherlands announces that, due to hacking fears, they will do away with computer tabulation machines in favor of hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots ("Democracy's Gold Standard") for their upcoming election, Republicans in the U.S. House moved to abolish the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the only federal agency tasked with setting standards for our nation's oft-failed, easily-hacked electronic voting and tabulation systems.

As explained in detail on today program, the EAC has been a disaster on several levels since its creation following the 2000 Presidential election debacle in Florida. Among countless BradBlog.com stories highlighting their failures over the years, was our 2006 exclusive on the un-aired network interview with the EAC's first Chair, the Bush-appointed Rev. DeForest Soaries. He described the agency in the interview as a "charade" and warned that our computerized voting and tabulation system is "ripe for stealing elections and for fraud." (Also, as mentioned today, see the chapter I contributed with Michael Richardson and John Gideon to Mark Crispin Miller's Loser Take All, revealing how, in 2004, Nevada's then Sec. of State, now U.S. Senator Dean Heller illegally certified and lied about his state's touch-screen voting systems, which are still in use today, with an assist from the corrupt EAC.)

Nonetheless, despite its many failures, the answer to the EAC's problems is not to abolish the agency, but to fund it properly and make it work. That the GOP is prepared to eliminate it entirely --- even amidst Trump's false claims of millions of fraudulent votes cast in the 2016 election --- is quite telling.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, along with today's late breaking news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced in court papers that it plans to grant the final permit needed to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, despite former President Obama's order to conduct a full environmental impact study before construction is completed on the $3.8 billion pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota...

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

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Guests: Election integrity filmmaker Lulu Friesdat, advocate Emily Levy
Plus: Few defectors, as Electoral College majority casts their votes for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2016 5:50pm PT  

It's another very busy day today on The BradCast with terror attacks in Europe, the Electoral College vote in the U.S., and our continuing attempt to figure out if the votes in Election 2016 were actually tallied as per voter intent. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Despite thousands of protesters at state capitols around the nation today, there were only a few defectors (so-called "faithless electors") for both for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as the Electoral College finally cast its votes today in 50 states and the District of Columbia. As of airtime, despite receiving a almost 3 million fewer votes than Clinton nationally, Trump had just received the requisite 270 votes, a majority of the Electoral College, needed to win the Presidency today. Presuming all state totals are certified by the U.S. Congress on January 6th (and I see no reason they wouldn't be), Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20th.

In the meantime, late last week, we learned that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- the federal agency responsible for certifying the accuracy and security of electronic voting and tabulation systems used across the U.S. --- was, itself, recently hacked, with about 100 user names and passwords put up for sale on the black market. The well known vulnerability exploited was one that experts say could have been easily patched (it has now been) and would have allowed access to a database of vulnerabilities in the nation's voting and tabulation systems.

The Commission might have patched its own system earlier, but its Commissioners were very busy before the election and after, ensuring the nation (in an op-ed that was incorrect and misleading on innumerable levels) that "election officials have been working to secure our voting systems for years," so concerns about any such manipulation of results "are overstated".

Then, my guests today are Lulu Friesdat, filmmaker of the award-winning election integrity documentary Holler Back: [not] Voting in American Town (which I am in, but it is excellent anyway) and longtime election integrity advocate Emily Levy of RecountNow.org. Both are just back from attempting to help oversee the statewide Presidential election "recount" in Wisconsin, as requested (and paid for) by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Friesdat shares her short, disturbing new video released on Friday, revealing what appear to be machine mistallies noted by observers during the statewide "recount" of ballots by computer optical-scanners in Racine County, WI, and a stymied attempt by one observer there, Liz Whitlock, to get a hand-count of the paper ballots in question. Citing the 5% error rate by the machines that observers tallied in one small precinct in WI, Friesdat notes: "A similar error rate applied across all of Wisconsin’s 2,976,150 votes --- could produce an error of 140,000 votes. Trump won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes."

Levy explains a troubling report from the attempted Presidential "recount" in Nevada (yes, there was one there too!), as filed by independent candidate "Rocky" De La Fuente. There, in the state said to have been won by Hillary Clinton, Clark County Clerk Joe Gloria appears to have admitted to secretly "recounting" votes prior to the lawful, public count of votes cast on the county's absentee paper ballots and completely unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. (In the 2004 Presidential "recount" in Ohio, two election officials were convicted and sentenced to the max for doing something similar in that state.)

As both explain on today's program, the long list of failures in the "recount" cases (and they describe many more such failures) have left both Friesdat and Levy even more concerned about the accuracy, security, reliability and ability to oversee our own election system than they were even prior to Election 2016. So, what can we all do about it? How can the system be improved to allow more transparency and oversight? We discuss all of that on today's show as well --- and it starts with you...

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

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