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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 20, 2021
'A One-Way Ratchet': Biden's SCOTUS Comm. Does GOP's Bidding: 'BradCast' 10/20/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: 'Contempt' for Bannon; Manchin, Sanders in talks; GOP Senate blocks voting rights again...
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Guest: UCSB's Dr. Leah Stokes; Also: 'Mass homicide' allegations for Brazil's Bolsonaro...
'Green News Report' 10/19/21
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Manchin tosses hand grenade into Biden's climate agenda; EPA to crack down on PFAS; Million of polluting, abandoned U.S. wells; PLUS: McDonald's finally going beyond meat...
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Listeners Ring in on Whether Ds Should Gerrymander 'Blue' States: 'BradCast' 10/18/21
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PDiddie draws a few lines in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
Why Dems Should Now Gerrymander 'Blue' States (and Why They Shouldn't): 'BradCast' 10/15/21
Guest: FairVote's Dave Daley; Also: Freedom to Vote in the Senate; GOP physics in VA...
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'Green News Report' 10/14/21
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Supply chain disruptions spike global energy prices; Russia says they didn't do it!; CA bans gas-powered leaf blowers; PLUS: Biden Administration goes big on offshore wind...
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'Red' State Profs Fight for Masking at Universities: 'BradCast' 10/13/21
Guest: Dr. Matthew Boedy of UNG; Also: Shatner in space; Workers have had enough; Biden's big new off-shore wind plan...
'Green News Report' 10/12/21
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'Change the Whole Process': CA Rep on Ending Big Oil After State's Latest Offshore Spill: 'BradCast' 10/11/21
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Trump Didn't Try to 'Subvert Results', He Tried to Steal 2020!: 'BradCast' 10/7/21
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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...

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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...

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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2006 12:51pm PT  

An absolute mess on the ground.

In Ohio, Cuyahoga County's attempts to change the way poll workers are trained in light of their Primary Election Day disaster seem clear, from the startling USA Today coverage, to be a disaster in the making in and of themselves. Read it, and be amazed at the unbelievably complex gyrations now required to address the 300+ recommendations made to the county after their Primary Day meltdown. It's amazing. "Election Cliffhanger: Will it all Work?"

In Maryland, the Republican governor warns of a "crisis in the wake of Diebold revelations."

In Colorado, Sequoia has fucked up the Absentee Ballots so that 30,000 of them must be re-copied by hand by pollworkers.

UPDATE: By John Gideon 4:15PM: Today the county announced that they had awoken from their day dream of duplicating 30,000 ballots. They have decided to do the smart thing and just set up another machine to count the incorrect ballots.

I'm on the road, and haven't been able to follow closely for the last 12 or 24, so there is much more out there that is not covered here (keep an eye on John Gideon's 'Daily Voting News' each day for all the frightening stuff and the utter mess that we simply can't cover in detail), but clearly the links above are just the tippy-top of the tip of the iceberg.

Buckle up.




The November Train Wreck Begins To Pick-Up Steam...
UPDATE: Multi-Partisan Group of Maryland Candidates Call for Use of Emergency Paper Ballots instead of the Machines in Wake of 'Lack of Confidence' After Latest Reports of Diebold Touch-Screen Chaos!
By John Gideon on 10/25/2006 10:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

And so it begins! Today the Washington Post has revealed, in a superbly written and investigated story, that Diebold secretly made modifications to thousands of their voting machines in Maryland and that everyone involved seems to have forgotten to tell the State Board of Elections about it.

It seems that after the state bought machines in 2002 they began experiencing intermittent and wide-spread screen freezes. Finally in 2005 Diebold installed all new systems boards in all 4,700 machines.

And, oh by the way, they forgot to tell the State Board of Elections that they had done anything. The State Elections Administrator, Linda Lamone, and her staff seem to have known but members of the SBOE seem to have been left out of the discussion.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: This is a very detailed story with a duplicitous cast of characters and it is very well investigated and told. Kudos to WaPo's Cameron W. Barr for this coverage! We look forward to seeing much more of it!

Also see Baltimore Sun's coverage which offers still more damning details about the duplicity of both Diebold (who still has the MD contract and hasn't yet been sued) and the MD State Board of Elections as headed by the Democratic Diebold-apologist Linda Lamone (who still has a job, remarkably enough.)

UPDATE FROM JOHN 10/26 4:45am PT: A coalition of candidates in Maryland has now asked that only paper ballots be used in the upcoming election. The coalition, with candidates for different offices and representing different political parties, has joined together under the banner of the non-partisan Candidates Alliance for Recountable Elections (CARE). A media release explains their stance on this subject and is below...

NOTE: The coverage of the Hart Intercivic screen display problems in Virginia having been found now in other states such as Texas and California has been moved to it's own item here....

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




Courtesy of Diebold Spokeshole --- and Former Bush Adminstration Official! --- Mark Radke
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2006 10:58am PT  

In a WaPo article from Saturday (we were outta town, and are just now getting caught up with much) on the possible origins of the double-super-secret Diebold source code which showed up out of the blue in a Maryland candidate's office last week, Diebold's leading spokesliar Mark Radke is quoted as saying the following...apparently with a straight face...

Radke said the company was not averse to disclosing its code if the law were changed to require it. But he said disclosure would dampen innovation in the field.

Heheh..."dampen innovation in the field." Those Diebold spokesguys and their crazy sense of humor.

By the way, as we were looking for a nice photo of Diebold's top mouth-piece, we came across a new little factoid --- new to us anyway. Seems that before Radke came to his new post as Diebold's chief liar, he had been Chief of Staff to George W. Bush's crony SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. Small world. Go figure.

Diebold's chief obfuscator is a former Bush Administration official. Just one of those wacky coincidences, we guess.

CORRECTION 10/25/06: Good news! After digging around on this one, trying to figure out how it could possibly be that Radke was a former Bush Administration official and none of us knew about that until now, Russ Michaels, one of the filmmakers of HBO's Hacking Democracy writes to let us know that there is a different Mark Radke out there! The Diebold Radke is different from the Bush crony SEC Radke. Details on the other one, Mark S. Radke, right here...




ALSO: State Report Finds Sensitive Voter Registration Database Vulnerable to 'Across-the-Board Access'
Diebold, State Election Director Lamone Continue State of Denial...
By John Gideon on 10/19/2006 8:42pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon (with additional snark provided by Brad Friedman)

The Washington Post is reporting in Friday editions that the FBI is investigating the "possible theft" of Diebold electronic touch-screen voting system source code in Maryland.

While the Maryland State Board of Elections admits that the disks contained "the software...used in Maryland in the 2004 elections," Diebold denies everything. Of course. They gave their catch-all apologia --- the software is for "versions...that are no longer in use in Maryland" --- although they were forced to acknowledge "the version of one program apparently stored on the disks is still in use in 'a limited number of jurisdictions.'"

The disks feature logos from Ciber Inc. and Wyle Labratories, Inc., two labs that test voting machines and software (sort of) for Diebold. Both firms deny the disks are theirs.

According to the article...

The disks delivered to [ex-Delegate Cheryl C.] Kagan's office bear labels indicating that they hold "source code" --- the instructions that constitute the core of a software program --- for Diebold's Ballot Station and Global Election Management System (GEMS) programs. The former guides the operation of the company's touch-screen voting machines; the latter is in part a tabulation program used to tally votes after an election.

Three years ago, Diebold was embarrassed when an activist obtained some of its confidential software by searching the Internet. The company vowed to improve its security procedures to prevent another lapse.

The release of such software poses a risk, computer scientists say, because it could allow someone to discover security vulnerabilities or to write a virus that could be used to manipulate election results."

WaPo goes on to report...

The Washington Post obtained copies of the disks Wednesday and allowed Avi Rubin, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague and a graduate student, to review the software on the condition that they make no copies of it.

"I would be stunned if it's not real," Rubin said.

Rubin, who has said that electronic voting systems that do not produce a paper record of each vote cannot be secured, led a team that produced an analysis that pointed out security vulnerabilities in the Diebold software found on the Internet in 2003.

Sam Small, the graduate student, said the version of Ballot Station "was consistent with what we've seen previously." Small could not gain access to the GEMS software because the material on two of the disks was protected by a password."

...

The Diebold statement said "it would take years for a knowledgeable scientist" to break the encryption used on the software apparently contained on the disks delivered to Kagan. But Rubin said "the data and files were not encrypted" on the Ballot Station disk he reviewed.

So will Diebold just continue to deny that anything has happened or can happen? Will MD State Election Director Linda Lamone just pass on Diebold disinformation as she always does (despite knowing better...since she's seen the unredacted scientific reports on these systems from security organizations like SAIC and RABA?) Or will someone finally understand that this is a massive problem that needs immediate attention?

Maryland, along with Georgia, was one of Diebold's original "showcase states," implementing Diebold's hackable paperless touch-screen voting across virtually the entire state since 2002. With failure after failure, we might add.

If it's all not bad enough, in what is reported by WaPo as "an unrelated development" in the same article, a new report from Maryland state auditors revealed that the state's new voter registration database does not have proper security controls in place for access to the data...

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




By John Gideon on 9/23/2006 11:17am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

On last night's Lou Dobbs Kitty Pilgrim reported on what the media is just awakening to, problems with e-voting machines are nationwide and a threat to our democracy. Some of us have been telling all who would listen that this was the fact for years now. Finally some state's are listening and acting.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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




Republican Head of State Calls for Paper Ballots this November!
By John Gideon on 9/22/2006 11:06am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Last night Lou and Kitty tackled the argument in Maryland over whether Linda Lamone should just let Diebold do an investigation of what went wrong last week or whether Gov. Ehrlich should get his way and have the voters vote on paper ballots.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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




Votes Written on 'Scraps of Paper' in MD With Machines Down and No Paper Ballots Available!
WaPo Columnist Says 'Switch to Paper', Repub Gov Wants Paper, Dem Election Director in Denial, Congress Needed to Step in Immediately!
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 5:59pm PT  
At Piney Branch Elementary School in Takoma Park, officials quickly ran out of paper ballots and began telling voters to use scraps of paper after electronic balloting ended at 8 p.m., said Dennis Desmond, who voted with an ersatz paper ballot.

Officials, he said, were calling out the names on the ballot while people wrote down their choices on blank paper. Desmond estimated that 50 people voted that way. Voters also were asked to provide biographical information about themselves as election officials attempted to make the ballots legal.

He said that election officials dispatched a worker to a nearby store to buy envelopes and masking tape so the ersatz ballots could be enclosed and sealed.

-- From Washington Post coverage of Maryland's Sept. 12 Primary Election Meltdown

In addition to the front-pager we reported on last night from today's Washington Post covering Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich's call for a return to paper ballots in the state this November, WaPo has two additional stories today underscoring the desperate need for the LET AMERICA VOTE ACT to be passed immediately by the U.S. Congress. The simple proposal I've made calls for Emergency Paper Ballots to be mandated at every polling place this November in the face of machine breakdowns from coast to coast all primary season long.

One of the other two WaPo stories on this today, this one by Marc Fisher, on the front page of the Metro Section headlined is "If Paper Ballots Restore Trust In Elections, Let's Switch." It includes this information in response to last week Primary Election Meltdown:

The obvious solution, as Gov. Bob Ehrlich said yesterday, is to put the machines in the closet (actually, returning them to the store is an even better idea; does anybody in Annapolis still have that receipt for $106 million?) and go back to paper ballots. The governor bemoaned flaws in the Diebold electronic poll books that Maryland used for the first time last week to check in voters: "Technology is a wonderful thing, but clearly, given their apparent inability to function appropriately --- when in doubt, go paper, go lower technology."

...As well as this extraordinary exchange from MD's embattled Democratic State Elections Director and Diebold apologist, the not-yet-resigned, Linda Lamone...

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




BRAD BLOG SOURCES, STORIES COVERED EXTENSIVELY...
EXTENDED EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 12:08pm PT  


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who filed a landmark article last June in Rolling Stone concerning evidence of a stolen 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, is set to rock the country again in tomorrow's Rolling Stone, The BRAD BLOG can now report.

The issue is currently on the stands in some sections of LA and NY, and will be available across the nation tomorrow.

Through interviews with a number of BRAD BLOG insider sources over the past several months, Kennedy, along with co-writer Dick Russell, will expose a plethora of new details concerning the scandalous and outrageous overtaking of our public election system by private companies such Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and others.

The article is titled: "Will The Next Election Be Hacked? - Fresh disasters at the polls --- and new evidence from an industry insider --- prove that electronic voting machines can't be trusted".

Many of the items covered may be familiar to readers here, as a good number of them were originally broken on these very pages over the last year or so. We worked closely with Kennedy and Russell on this story during its development over the past several months.

The article, however, covers several new and sometimes explosive details of Diebold's rollouts in both Georgia and Maryland dating back to 2002, as well as Florida, Ohio and Texas in 2004.

Characterizing the unchecked spread of electronic voting as "insane," Kennedy and Russell conclude, "It is time for Americans to reclaim our democracy from private interests."

Some of the damning details covered in the extensive piece include: the now-infamous and mysterious patch applied to the paperless touch-screen systems in GA just prior to the Chambliss/Cleland election; the presence of Diebold elections division president Bob Urosevich in the tabulation room in MD in 2002; Diebold's interest in downplaying, hiding the significance of several scientific reports in 2004 warning of the vulnerabilities in their machines; Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) involvement with former staffers and Diebold lobbyists in passing the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) through congress; ES&S shenanigans in Texas in 2004; E-Voting anomalies in Ohio and Florida may have given the election to George W. Bush; the Diebold electronic voting machine which kicked off the 2000 Presidential Election debacle...

The article is now posted in full at the RS website. Extended excerpts from the article follow below...

###

...TROUBLE COMING THIS NOVEMBER...

[A]s midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election – and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries. In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for unsupervised “sleepovers” before the vote, leaving the equipment vulnerable to tampering.
...
“Every board of election has staff members with the technological ability to fix an election,” Ion Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. “Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I’d ever find out about it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to throw a presidential election.”

Much more now below...

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




Democratic Election Administrator Still in Denial!
DIEB-THROAT Says 'We Put Out Junk' in Maryland in 2002
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 12:27am PT  

From Page 1 of Thursday's WaPo:

A week after the primary election was plagued by human error and technical glitches, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) called yesterday for the state to scrap its $106 million electronic voting apparatus and revert to a paper ballot system for the November election.

"When in doubt, go paper, go low-tech," he said.

Ehrlich said that, if necessary, he would call a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to change the law to allow paper ballots.

The Republican Governor's call comes after hearings today to investigate Maryland's primary election meltdown on September 12th.

Ehrlich had called for paper ballots last February. The Democratic MD House supported the initiative in a 137 to 0 vote. The Democratic Senate let the bill die without a vote before ending their session.

As BRAD BLOG readers know well, Maryland was one of Diebold's original showcase states and implemented paperless Diebold touch-screens back in 2002. They've had more experience with them than any other state. Yet they still couldn't manage to get them to work correctly in a sparsely attended primary for a mid-term election.

Democratic Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. is against the idea of using paper ballots. He told WaPo, "We paid millions. These are state-of-the-art machines"

Miller clearly doesn't read The BRAD BLOG.

As DIEB-THROAT, our currently-anonymous Diebold insider source, who had a great deal of personal experience helping to roll out the systems in Maryland in 2002 told us recently: "We put junk out when HAVA [the Help America Vote Act] came out...We had no plans for paper trails, nothing."

According to WaPo, Gene Raynor, Baltimore's election director had the decency to resign. Diebold apologist and Maryland State Board of Elections administrator, Linda Lamone ought to do the same.

But Lamone, ever in denial, said Ehrlich's call for paper ballots was "crazy" and vowed that "her staff would 'work around the clock' to correct the problems that plagued the primary" according to WaPo.

Like you've been "working around the clock" to get it right since 2002, Ms. Lamone? Got anymore lipstick for that pig?




Primary Election Results All Zeroed Out!
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2006 3:39pm PT  

Results from last Tuesday's Primary Election in Maryland (which was in and of itself a debacle), have apparently been scrubbed from the Maryland Board of Elections website! As of right now, 6:36pm ET, no election totals are currently available on the site after they've previously been there all week as counting has continued.

I'm currently on the air and thus not able to look into it further, so I've not been able to get any explanation for this. But I thought you should know. A screenshot from one of the pages (they are all currently zeroed out!) is below...

UPDATE 7:23pm ET: Courtesy of HuffCrimeBlog.com's Steve Huff, here's a screenshot from the Google archives of the same page above as it was seen on 9/14/06 with all of the unofficial results still being added...

I've tried to contact the MD Board of Elections by phone, but it's after hours and nobody is currently answering. Just FYI. If anybody has any luck in the morning or additional info on any of this, please let me know!

UPDATE 9/20/06 11:20am ET: Website numbers are currently back up. Will try to learn what happened and report back when I do. No idea if the numbers now restored will synch up with what was there before they were zeroed out. We've seen similar computer drop-outs, only to be restored later with races flipped (in the 2004 Ohio Presidential and in the 2005 Ohio Hackett/Schmidt race, for example) but never this late after Election Day. We'll keep our eye on it and try to get more for you later today.




Diebold's Showcase State Has Been Using the Machines Since 2002...and Still Can't Get Anything Right!
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2006 4:53pm PT  

We covered it on the day it happened, and again a day or so later. But here's more.

Consider this your preview of what will likely be happening everywhere this November 7th. Everywhere.

Alhough the Maryland Meltdown has received more notice because it occurred where the DC media and politicos live, it mirrors just about every other primary in just about every other state so far this year. Disasters in almost every one of them.

And remember, along with Georgia, the state of Maryland was Diebold's "showcase state." They've used these shitty, hackable, failed Diebold machines in more elections and for a longer time than any other state in the union.

From Saturday's Washington Post... [emphasis added]

2 Candidates Question Vote In Pr. George's

Congressional candidate Donna Edwards announced plans yesterday to file a lawsuit over apparent voting irregularities in Tuesday's primary election in Prince George's County, while defeated county executive challenger Rushern L. Baker III demanded an independent investigation of the process.

The separate announcements signaled that Tuesday's voting, a flawed process by many accounts, may not conclude the close primary contests for a seat in Congress and the county executive's office. The election itself was "horrendous," the Prince George's elections administrator said yesterday. And the victorious Democratic county executive candidate, incumbent Jack B. Johnson, said it warranted investigation.

"The integrity of the election is at stake," said Edwards, who ran against Rep. Albert R. Wynn in the 4th District Democratic primary and is waiting for the race to be decided when provisional ballots are counted next week in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Jonathan S. Shurberg, a lawyer working with Edwards, said they will ask a judge to take possession of voting machine memory cards in two, possibly three, precincts in Chillum. The request will be made either in Prince George's Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro or U.S. District Court in Greenbelt over the next several days.

Edwards said her legal complaint will focus on the security of voting machines that contained voting cards and were not delivered to the county Board of Elections until late Wednesday. "When we read reports about how easy it is to hack into these machines, there has to be concern," Edwards said.
...
"We're not doing this for the campaign," Perry said. "We're doing this as a duty. Voters have been disenfranchised."
...
The county's interim election administrator, Robert J. Antonetti Sr., acknowledged yesterday that the primary was the most troubled election he has overseen during 34 years in the field. "This was horrendous," Antonetti said.

Much more to read in the full article...But as to those memory cards which we now know can be hacked undetectably in a minute's time:

According to Baker's campaign, only 60 of 206 precincts managed to transmit their results electronically. Election workers at the remaining polling places had to remove voter memory cards from each machine and drive them to Board of Elections headquarters in Upper Marlboro.
...
Antonetti said that a number of cards were accidentally left in voting machines and that the last of those cards --- close to three dozen in as many machines --- were expected to be delivered to his office late yesterday [ed note: Friday after the Tuesday election!]. On Wednesday, election officials said data were not received from 81 of the county's 2,056 voting machines. The numbers represented two whole precincts --- in Chillum and Landover --- as well as cards from machines at 34 polling stations.

American democracy is in big trouble. But BRAD BLOG readers have known that for some time. Wish everyone else did.




By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2006 6:53pm PT  

John Gideon covered the mess for us as things unfolded last Tuesday. Johns Hopkins computer science professor Avi Rubin was, once again, a poll worker on Election Day during last Tuesday's primary in the state. As BRAD BLOG readers know, Maryland was/is one of Diebold's original "showcase states" along with Georgia.

Rubin's post, detailing his experiences at his one polling place alone last Tuesday, gives a crystal clear picture of what a fucking mess we've got on our hands. A. Fucking. Mess.

Train wreck ahead. Big time. Please don't say you weren't warned.




By John Gideon on 9/14/2006 6:36am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Lou reported on the complete failure of the Maryland primary. Thousands of voters were forced to vote on 'provisional' ballots instead of the state's vaunted Diebold Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. At least those voters have a paper trail of their votes, but will they actually be counted? What a failure and it should all be laid at the feet of state Director of Elections Linda Lamone and Governor Ehrlich who both share responsibility for this failure.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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




Polls across the state opened late due to missing equipment or missing poll workers
The state hired voting machine technical 'rovers' from Monster.Com ad...Some had only one train of training...on Monday!
By John Gideon on 9/12/2006 9:06am PT  

Blogged by John Gideon

This morning voters in much of Maryland awoke with plans to go to the polls early and then head off to a normal day. Unfortunately when they got to their polling places they only found locked doors.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun many poll workers did not show up for work this morning and when they did they many had no idea how to operate new voting technology called "e-poll books" which are a necessary part of the voting process in Maryland and many other Diebold states. The workers were not trained to use that technology because Diebold did not provide the technology to the state until it was too late to properly train the pollworkers.

According to the Sun...

Tardy election judges in Baltimore caused delays at dozens of polling places this morning, prompting some candidates to call for extended hours at affected polls in the city and Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties.
...
Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., president of the Baltimore Board of Elections, said that in addition to late arrivals, poll workers are unfamiliar with several pieces of new voting equipment debuting today, which is causing additional delays.

"Poll workers go through a class that's three hours long, but some of the technology wasn't available to us in time for everyone to be trained on it," Jones said, referring to the new electronic check-in system, called e-poll books. "This is not unusual for an election morning when you're dealing with brand new equipment."

Not unusual? What an unbelievable statement to make when talking about elections. It's his job as the president of the Board of Elections to ensure that every poll worker is trained and that no equipment is new to them. What should be unusual is that Mr. Jones keep his job.

And this is not the whole story. Added to a lack of trained poll workers to open the polls and operate the equipment we also learn that when the supplies were sent out to the polls in Montgomery County someone forgot to include the smart cards. These are the cards that have the ballot definition and the machines will not work without them.

The Sun says:

In Montgomery County, electronic voting at most polling locations did not start until after 8 a.m. because local election organizers forgot to include a critical start-up card for the machines in precinct supply kits, said Margaret A. Jurgensen, the county's election director.

The Washington Post is reporting that voters in Montgomery County are being given provisional ballots by poll workers until the smart cards are received. Unfortunately many polling sites ran out of provisional ballots which kept voters from voting until workers could scramble to get copies made. Even more unfortunate is the fact that these provisional ballots require inspection before they can be counted. The county should have required 'emergency ballots' to be used. These ballots would just be handled as if they were received in the mail as absentee ballots.

As this is being written candidates and political parties are beginning to ask that the polls be kept open longer this evening to make up for the late start this morning. We are also getting reports that local radio and TV station switchboards are being filled with complaints from voters who have had problems this morning. The Baltimore Sun has three people taking handling a constant flood of calls from voters with complaints.

Added to all of this is information that Diebold and the state are using technicians ("rovers") who were just hired from a technical services company, PDS Technical Services, that advertised for help on Monster.com and the only technical qualification for these people who were to provide technical oversight is that they have "some high school course work".

This post will be updated throughout the day as more information comes out.

UPDATE More information from the "Train Wreck":
Poll workers arrived at work this morning to face new "E Poll Books" which they had never seen before and on which they had gotten only a minimum of training. This technology ties in with the state's new voter registration data base. Due to these two issues some voters are arriving for the first time at the polls only to be told that they had 'already voted'.

Also being reported are "Candidate selections missing from review screens, machine crashes requiring multiple re-boots, lots of precincts running out of the paper ballot back-ups, and battery problems.

UPDATED LATE THIS AFTERNOON Fox News reports that a judge has found that polls can stay open for an extra hour this evening. This will now keep the polls open until 9PM tonight. However, the county says that only paper ballots can be used during that time.

This leads to a concern about the handling of the paper ballots that many, many voters have been forced to use. Historically provisional ballots have not always been counted and handling of those ballots takes a bit more work in that each voter who cast a provisional ballot must be checked to ensure they are truly eligible to vote. Now officials are concerned that these thousands of ballots cast today due to failures in the election administration process and with technology will be handled differently than normal ballots and may not be counted at all.

According to Fox:

Mike Morrill, a spokesman for attorney general candidate Douglas Gansler, said the results could be skewed if provisional votes aren't counted until later, given the possibility that a large number of people were forced by the glitches to use the ballots.

"To treat them as if they were provisional, as if they may or may not count, continues the disenfranchisement of Montgomery County voters," he said.

Morrill said Gansler's legal advisers were reviewing the decision.

It will be a surprise if there are not more than one lawsuits after this debacle is done.

Also an issue is that when polling places ran out of ballots they made copies of the ballots. However, because the ballot was bigger than a normal sheet of copy paper the printed ballots were pages long. Are these new ballots legal and will they be counted? Only time will tell.




By John Gideon on 8/24/2006 5:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Kitty compares the paperless Direct Recording Electronic voting in Maryland to the potentially auditable and verified electronic voting in California. Guests were Dan Wallach of Rice University and California State Senator and Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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




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