w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
DAYTONA BEACH --- A maverick elections official made clear Saturday that two things remain constant: the state's flawed voting system and his passion for trying to fix it.
Eyes glinting, hands gesturing boldly, Ion Sancho, Leon County's elections supervisor, accused the state's political leaders of undermining democracy.
First, they forced counties to adopt electronic voting machines that can be tampered with, then, last year, they made it illegal to use paper ballots to recount close races
"We need more audits. We need recounts," Sancho said. "Trust no one. If it can't be verified, it can't be used."
John Conyers op/eds in tomorrow's WaPo on Impeachment. Or a lack thereof. Or otherwise responds to the strawman nonsense from the Republicans of late running on the notion that a vote for Dems this fall is a vote for impeachment of Bush by the incoming Judiciary Committee Chair, John Conyers.
While it may ultimately turn out to be a vote for impeachment, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will have only themselves to blame. Not John Conyers.
And, as one might expect, his response in WaPo to those sad charges and transparently desperate attempts to scare America, displays his usual grace, dignity and old-style statesmanship...in stark contrast to the nattering nabobs of fear-mongering that are today's disgraceful Congressional Republicans.
Not to give anything away, since we hope you'll read the whole thing, but the last line underscores why John Conyers is a hero for all times...
Bravo. And thank you, sir.
Yes, the wheels are wobbling on the locomotives. The vendors --- ES&S, Diebold, and the rest --- attempt to keep a stiff upper lip as they both fail to perform, yet continue collecting tax-payer dollars from the county election coffers. Meanwhile some elections officials have just turned a blind-eye to what is happening while they continue to make excuses for their vendors: The private corporate American Electronic Voting Machine behemoths that are being paid to take over America's Public Electoral system.
And the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was put in place by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), theoretically, to keep all of this from occurring? Well, all they do is raise their hands and shrug and tell anyone who asks, that they don't do voting systems certification so they just don't know anything. The Sergeant Schultz Defense, perhaps?
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Just hours ago Betty Ireland, the Secretary of State of West Virginia filed a formal complaint against ES&S with the federal Elections Assistance Commission. A story in the State Journal quotes Secretary Ireland:
"And, Ireland says, now that the election is over, strategy talks about the problems with Election Systems and Software will begin...but, "We will not and cannot discuss publicly our legal strategy. As before, we continue to work with the Attorney General's Office to address our options"."
"The state's selection committee chose ES&S because of it's past service in the state and it's knowledge of West Virginia election deadlines and procedures. Ireland says, "Unfortunately, we now feel ES&S let West Virginia down"."
There have been failures all over the state. A small sampling of problems gives us:
- and ?
The national media? Mums the word for them, it seems.
"Obsessively?" Me? (He says as he writes this at 4:39am) Well, maybe. But someone's gotta.
So begins the editor's intro to a piece I was invited to submit to the Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism's Watchdog site. The invitation came from Deputy Editor, and Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin, so I was honored to accept.
I was asked to submit questions for mainstream media folks to ask of Elections Officials about our current Electoral Train Wreck-in-Progress in hopes that someone in the MSM might actually do so. These are the tough questions which, frankly, ought to be asked of every damn Election Official in the country by every damn responsbile media person.
Several questions were edited out by Dan before posting for reasons that I don't completely understand. But as I consider him one of the good guys (who occassionally even links to BRAD BLOG from his WaPo page) I won't hold it against him.
So here's the piece as posted at Nieman Watchdog. (Including a swell pic of yours truly!)
And for the hard-cord Election Reform junkies, read on for the extra bonus questions which didn't make the cut. Who knows? Maybe someone in the MSM may one day want to know what they completely failed to ask about...
The word "glitch" takes a rest, as the AP uses "hiccups" instead to minimize what happened in Ohio's Primary Election mess last Tuesday.
Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who was on the Republican Primary ballot for the Governor's race, refuses to step down from the investigation which is just now beginning since manual hand-counting of ballots in Cuyahoga County was just completed yesterday (Sunday), after Diebold machines failed to be able to read 17,000 absentee ballots...
Our Electoral System Meltdown continues as more and more reports come in on epidemic Electronic Voting Machine failures around the country. It's neck and neck right now as Diebold and ES&S battle it out for the prize of Worst Company, Worst Service, Worst Technology and Best Excuse Maker. But we've got a long way to go in this Election Year, so it's still anyone's contest. (Anyone's but the voters, that is.)
A "glitch" --- that's the magical word that was used no less than three times in WOOD-TV's coverage --- in the Diebold optical-scan system used for the first time in Barry County, Michigan's election yesterday forced Elections Officials to count all ballots by hand. Since it was an optical-scan system --- which uses paper ballots --- they were able to do so. That would have been next to impossible had a similar disaster befallen a touch-screen system with "paper trails" and completely impossible on a paperless touch-screen machine.
All seemed fine throughout the day on Barry County's new voting machines until the optical scanner printed out the final results at the close of the election. The report was found to have had all matter of inexplicable totals including 0 votes for some candidates and no YES votes for any of the bond issues on the ballot.
The Barry County mess, as it's being reported by WOOD-TV, sounds almost identical to the situation in Leon County, FL last December where "hackers" had exploited a security vulnerability in Diebold's optical scanner memory card causing it to print results that were virtually the opposite of the true results on the paper ballots. The "hackers", who were computer security experts, had hidden all traces of their "crime" in that mock election test, so it would likely never have been discovered.
The problem affected 15 out of 16 townships in Barry County on machines which cost $4000 a piece and were purchased because County Officials claim the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) forced them to do so.
WOOD-TV covers the story, "glitch" after "glitch", with both text and a video reports. Here's a few details from their text report...
Cuyahoga County Election Director (and former Diebold proponent), Michael Vu, described Diebold's performance yesterday as "unacceptable" after problems were revealed all across the county in the state's Primary Election.
The panoply of problems included failed Diebold machines, lack of working power outlets and three-prong adapters for them, machines unable to start up, voters unable to vote, paper jams on the "paper trail" printers, and 17,000 absentee ballots that must now be counted by hand because they don't work with the Diebold optical scanners.
All of it now leading to investigations, as called for by Elections Officials. And, of course, there was the 61-year old voter who destroyed two Diebold machines out of apparent frustration.
With all of that, who even knows yet if the tallies acquired by the machines that did "work" are actually accurate?
WKYC covers with a video report here.
Below is just some of the extraordinary litany of problems revealed during elections in just that one county yesterday according to WKYC. We wish someone had warned them of the possibility of such problems in advance...
After his major role in the theft of the 2004 Presidential Election, Secretary of State Kenneth J. Blackwell should be in jail instead of on today's primary ticket for Ohio Governor. If Blackwell wins in the primary today it will largely be because of the illegal use of religious organizations to manipulate the opinion of voters.
The latest edition of PBS Now maps out how the Republican National Committee and Republican operatives are using "patriot pastors", mega-churches, polarizing rhetoric and tax exemptions to create an illegal and unfair advantage against their competitors.
Due to complaints from more established liberal churches, the Internal Revenue Service is now investigating the illegal activities being conducted by the Republicans who have hijacked the beliefs of many Christian's for corrupt political purposes. The IRS has promised to step up its' prosecution of these abuses.
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
On top of Brad's earlier report today on the ES&S meltdown in Texas, and loads of other states, we find out that still more problems with ES&S have been encountered in West Virginia.
On Thursday the Associated Press reported that a software "glitch" has delayed testing in 11 counties. The reason?
Though electronic ballots on the ES&S iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines are programmed and seem to recorde votes accurately during testing, it's taking six hours or more to tabulate all the results. That is a huge problem for machines sold on the premise of accuracy and speed.
But the larger concern? "Version control". Apparently an ES&S engineer programmed the machines using outdated software. The company seems to not bother to ensure the correct version of software is being used and installed on the machines. And counties are not watching to ensure ES&S is keeping their machines current.
Ben Beakes, the chief of staff for WV Sec. of State Betty Ireland, explained:
That said, was the software version used federally qualified with the hardware and firmware version being used by those 11 counties? Do the states or counties even care? Maybe not but they should because not all versions of software will work with all versions of firmware. That's why there are version numbers.
And that's just one more reason why we're headed for an electoral train wreck.
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
If you recall The BRAD BLOG has reported on the Summit County memory card failures in the recent past; most recently on April 4. Summit County's memory card (PCMCIA) failures have not gotten any better according to an article in this morning's Akron Beacon Journal...
Summit County Board of Elections Director Bryan Williams is predicting Election Day failures with the memory cards in the county's new optical scan voting system.
``I don't think we can assume anything else,'' Williams said at a meeting Tuesday, where the elections board reviewed the latest list of troubles.
This seems to be a complete melt-down of everything provided to the county by ES&S. The Beacon-Journal goes on to report the problems...
The E-Voting Train Wreck continues...
This from a statement released today by the Indiana Secretary of State (to get just a tiny idea of what this statement is in reference to see the "Train Wreck" article linked above...and just about every other damn thing we've been running here at BRAD BLOG for the last God-knows-how-many weeks/months/years)...
The Indianapolis Star begins their coverage this way:
"To protect the voices of Hoosier voters, I intend to hold hearings on these matters to determine whether Indiana law has been violated, and if so, to hold the appropriate parties accountable," Secretary of State Todd Rokita said in a statement today.
"Hoosier taxpayers, voters and county officials deserve voting systems that comply with the high standards mandated by Indiana law."
Rokita said his office, which administers elections across the state, would bring an "enforcement action" to determined whether Election Systems and Software, a Nebraska voting system company, should be fined.
NOTE TO NATIONAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Please pay no attention whatsoever to any of the above. It's just a small local story. Nothing of interest. No pattern here here that effects our country as a whole in any way. All is well. Please enjoy your Easter Holiday break! Thank you.
By John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org and VoteTrustUSA.Org
Normally this space is taken with my ideas of what are the "Top 5" voting news stories for the week. Today I am going to use this space to talk about what I see as the beginning of a disaster in the making with our elections. This isn't the election fraud that some point to when they talk about the vendors and some elections officials. It's not about recounts or audits. This is a real, get your hands around it, happening problem that will disrupt our election process if we do not do something about it now. While we have been involved in all of our issues about Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or "touch-screen") voting machines or paper ballots the electronic voting machine vendors have been wreaking complete havoc across the country.
So far this year two states have conducted primary elections. In Texas there is at least one candidate who has stepped forward and has challenged the election because of anomalies in vote counts and known voting machine failures. One county's machines counted some votes up to 6 times which resulted in approximately 100,000 more votes being counted than were cast. Though the vendor, Hart Intercivic, initially blamed the problem on human error, they finally had to admit that it was a programming error and not poll workers or voters who had erred. In Illinois some county officials are threatening to withhold final payment of funds on contracts with Sequoia Voting Systems because of failures with their machines that ended with results in the primary not being known for over a week after the voters went to the polls. In both states the involved vendors were very successful in the media with deflecting the blame from their machines to "human errors" or "glitches". However, when you listen to people who were there and who saw and worked through the problems you get a very different picture...
We haven't been able to cover it at all until now with so much going on, but the latest ad by VelvetRevolution.us which ran a couple of weeks ago in the Op/Ed section of WaPo hit such a chord we were able to raise the money to run a similar version of the ad in last week's NY Times.
(DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR)
The ad, which focuses on Bush's recent drumbeating and chest thumping for a War on Iran in light of his plummeting poll ratings (haven't we seen this bad movie before?), brought still more interesting reaction in it's second incarnation. More on that in a second.
We're kind of tired, at VR, of being out in front of so many of these issues (Election Reform, Media Reform, Downing Street Memos, getting Out of Iraq, Accountability for Bush/Cheney) before the media and the politicians figure it out. But now it seems that's where we are again. For an example, see Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article just out, which reports the Bush Administration "has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack."
As if that's not disturbing enough, Hersh's article, as well as another report today from WaPo points out such an air attack is being planned to include the use of tactical nuclear weapons! Hello?!
Rather than waiting until after it's a done deal, as with Iraq, the time to push back is now. Especially since Fox "News", as David Edwards reported this morning, is already back in their reliable embedded position for the Bush Administration and this morning were all too happy to smear Hersch on the air.
Most of the reaction to VR's ads on Iran have been extremely supportive. And then there was this postcard we received late last week...
Oh, well. Can't please 'em all. (And we're still trying to figure out that "ADL ISLAMIC" comment which seems a tad oxymoronic to us, but what do we know about Christianity?)
If you'd like to piss off other good "Christians" like our big fan above, please donate generously to VR so we can continuing spreading the love --- and getting the word out to the public about what's really going on here! --- through more such campaigns in the future.
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