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Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
More from Greg Sergent at TPMCafe...
Doing twelve things at once today, so no time for analysis at this point. I'll just run CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's just released statement on her promised, unprecedented, first-of-its-kind in the nation, "top to bottom review" of all of California's electronic voting systems.
The review will include "red team" hack testing for the first time ever. Done as standard operating procedure for similar security-sensitive, mission-critical commercial systems, this sort of penetration testing has never been performed on America's voting systems. Until now.
The one page summary [PDF] of the plan states:
There are links within her statement below where you can find more details. For example, the State's review teams will include folks such as computer security expert "hacking" Harri Hursti, and blind technology expert Noel Runyan, who has been highly critical of unverifiable touch-screen DRE voting systems.
More on all of this, perhaps, later after I've had time to review the materials myself. But for now, see the statement below for some killer quotes from Bowen...
Will the Democrats in the U.S. Congress finally begin to realize their mistake in allowing for DRE touch-screen voting machines now that the Republican Governor of Florida has led the Republican-majority Florida legislature (along with every Democrat in it as well) to do the right thing and move to all paper ballots? Or will U.S. Congressional Dems continue to allow themselves to lose yet another issue that they should be owning?
We'll leave it to the Election Integrity advocates on the ground --- the coalition of GoAllTheWayFlorida.com --- who have worked so long and hard, to give you the great news...
FLORIDA VOTERS COALITION CONGRATULATES GOVERNOR CRIST AND THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE FOR ENDING PAPERLESS VOTING.
TALLAHASSEE: In a historic vote, the Florida House today unanimously passed CS/HB 537, already passed in the Senate, that provides almost all voters paper ballots in time for the 2008 Presidential election, and bans paperless DREs outright by 2012. The bill now goes to the Governor where he’s sure to sign it since it’s his initiative.
Counties will have the option to pitch DREs immediately and provide ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities. “FVC urges all 67 counties to convert to uniform paper ballot systems without delay and leave no voter behind voting on failed electronic voting machines,” said FVC Co-Founder, Dan McCrea.
The bill is funded with $27.9 million in HAVA funds and there’s plenty more money in that account should more be needed next year. Counties will get help from the state to purchase optical scan equipment to count the paper ballots; ballot-on-demand equipment to ease paper congestion problems in Early Voting; and ballot marking devices to serve the disabled.
While there was talk earlier in the legislative session about retrofitting printers to failed touchscreen DREs, that talk faded as legislators saw it would be throwing good money after bad...
The rest of the News Release is posted here [PDF]...
In still more very good FL news, a U.S. House panel has asked the non-partisan GAO to investigate the contested FL-13 election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan where 18,000 votes disappeared on the DRE touch-screen voting systems in Sarasota.
John Gideon has links to media coverage of both of those events in his Daily Voting News today.
Congratulations, Florida voters! And especially to the tireless patriots down there who have been fighting so hard, for so long! There are still many fights ahead down there before true Election Integrity returns to Florida, but there is no denying that this is an enormous victory. Let's hope it rubs off on the other 49 states...and the U.S. Congress!
50 seconds well spent...Click play on the video at left.
That terrific video is just out from CountAllVotes.com.
The FL House is currently in the throes of either adding poison pills to, or otherwise trying to fend off Gov. Charlie Crist's long-overdue and responsible plan to bring paper ballots to the beleaguered voters of the Sunshine State. His courageous plan would do away with all of the state's horrible, disenfranchising, touch-screen DRE voting machines in time for 2008, something which even Democrats in the U.S. House, so far, have been shamefully afraid to do.
Please go visit the site and take action --- whether you're from Florida or not, you can help their campaign...which will help us all.
Guest Blogged by Daniel Borchers of Citizens for Principled Conservatism
Controversialist Ann Coulter, legendary for her hate speech and elimination rhetoric (see just a few of her most notorious greatest "hits" in the chart below), is a featured speaker at tonight's New Jersey Right to Life (NJRTL) Banquet. That’s right, an advocate for death is a spokesman for life.
Presidential candidate Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), among others, will be sharing the dais with Coulter.
Despite Coulter controversies just last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC, and at the Reclaiming America for Christ (RAC) Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, NJRTL still prominently features conservatism’s most prominent polemicist.
Ann Coulter at CPAC 2006:
“I think our motto should be post-9-11, ‘raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'“
(Responding to a question from a Catholic University student about her biggest moral or ethical dilemma) “There was one time I had a shot at Clinton. I thought 'Ann, that's not going to help your career.'“
“If we find out someone [referring to a terrorist] is going to attack the Supreme Court next week, can't we tell Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalito?”
Ann Coulter at the Reclaiming America for Christ Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 3/3/07.
“I spoke at CPAC yesterday, and I [took questions] about Obama and Hillary and Gore and global warming, and I said I was going to also have a few remarks about the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but apparently you have to go to rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’”
“Those few abortionists were shot, or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure with a rifle performed on them. I'm not justifying it, but I do understand how it happened....The number of deaths attributed to Roe v. Wade - about 40 million aborted babies and seven abortion clinic workers; 40 million to seven is also a pretty good measure of how the political debate is going.”
I contacted both Sen. Brownback and Rep. Smith. Neither deigned to address, or even respond, to my concerns over their tacit endorsement of Ann Coulter’s views, despite my having written them to explain that…
A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.
Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.
Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:
The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:
If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.
The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).
On a related note... In the corporate media's misleading and self-created "two-person race" for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have each raised approximately $25 million in the first quarter of this year.
Neither, however, has gone on record in favor a paper ballot --- one that is actually tabulated --- for every vote cast in America.
Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson
BOSTON - Diebold Election Systems, Inc., the controversial voting machine supplier, won't be supplying Massachusetts with its machines in 2008 and the company is not happy about it. So they are suing the state over the lost contract bid. But the solemn tone of Diebold's lawyer, William Weisberg, speaking in a hushed voice almost swallowed up by the stately, high-ceilinged courtroom of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court this week, drew laughter from the jovial judge with a Cheshire cat grin and raised chuckles from the courtroom audience.
In a real upside-down, topsy-turvy presentation, Diebold was arguing on behalf of the state's taxpayers and kept talking about the "public interest" --- all while pitching to get its lucrative contract approved. In February, after a year-and-a half selection process, Secretary of State William Galvin picked rival company ES&S to supply the state with AutoMARK, accessible electronic voting equipment, as mandated by the Help America Vote Act.
He also said that disabled voters who tested all the machines preferred the AutoMARK machines.
The hearing in the recently filed lawsuit was over Diebold's three emergency motions for a temporary injunction to stop delivery of the ES&S equipment, an expedited discovery order, and a confidentiality order. The judge later ruled, after the hearing, against all three motions although he allowed the lawsuit to proceed on a regular schedule.
While laughing, the judge wondered aloud about admissions made by Weisberg in the news paper that seemed to wholly contradict his failed court room strategy...
Using often inaccurate characterizations of my position, and the position of those like me who are in favor of amending Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) to include a ban on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, often called "touch-screen") voting systems, my friend Steve Rosenfeld filed an article today at AlterNet titled "Are Voting Machine Purists Standing in the Way of Reform?" which is critical of my position.
The piece is in direct response to an article of mine published at AlterNet several weeks ago on the false arguments being put forward by supporters of Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) --- folks like PFAW, Common Cause, MoveOn, etc. --- in trying to see the bill passes as is and in opposition to an amendment that would ban dangerous, unverifiable, disenfranchising DRE voting systems.
In the editorial, Rosenfeld, describes folks like me, misleadingly, as "voting machine purists" and inaccurately suggest we have an "all or nothing approach" to Election Reform. Further, he goes on to mischaracterize a number of provisions of the Holt bill, as well as many of the arguments that have been made in favor of banning DREs.
I just spoke with Steve...
Just out from AP...
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said she called the four board members of Ohio's most populous county late Sunday, asking them to leave by close of business Wednesday.
Brunner, a Democrat, said new leadership is needed in the county before the 2008 presidential election. She said that if the board members don't resign by her deadline, they would face public hearings and removal.
The board's chairman, Robert Bennett, is also chairman of the state GOP in Ohio. His term on the board ends in 2010. The other board members are two Democrats and one Republican.
Bennett said Monday he plans to finish his term.
"We are making progress on our major goal, which is to restore voter confidence in Cuyahoga County elections," he said at a news conference
The issue comes in the wake of two Cuyahoga County Election Officials recently found guilty of rigging the 2004 Presidential Election recount and subsequently sentenced to the maximum 18 months in prison after they refused to cooperate with the state's special prosecutor, Kevin Baxter.
Both Baxter and the district court judge, Peter J. Corrigan, indicated they believed the conspiracy to game the recount was part of a larger, higher-reaching conspiracy. "It seems unlikely that your superiors wouldn't know what you were doing," Corrigan declared during the sentencing.
Brunner told the Plain-Dealer this morning that the convictions were "so serious that I don't think I had any alternative" but to request the resignations of the entire board. "It has to do with public confidence and perception," she said.
In a news conference this morning, Bennett vowed to fight Brunner in court rather than leave on his own accord.
Cuyahoga County's then-Election Director, Michael Vu, who was not charged in the incident but has since resigned, had previously admitted that sealed ballot boxes were opened and secretly counted prior to the state-mandated recount in order to assure the recount would not reveal any inconsistencies with the officially reported results. He has since recanted his original story.
After the recent sentencing, Bennett, who was ultimately responsible for overseeing the convicted elections officials --- supposedly one Republican and one Democrat --- who rigged a presidential election recount in his county said, incredibly enough, "the convictions are a travesty of justice."
The issue also underscores an important point we've been trying to make for years: Despite the claims by disgraced former Buckeye State SoS J. Kenneth Blackwell and his operatives (including Bennett) for the travesty that occurred in 2004, which suggest that Ohio's supposedly "bi-partisan" structure of county elections boards --- theoretically all comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats each --- prevents any partisan malfeasance, those boards and the officials who work under them have always served ultimately at the pleasure of the state SoS. That power and pressure were wielded frequently by Blackwell during his tenure, resulting in a host of not-so-bipartisan decisions and oversight from Ohio elections officials in 2004 and beyond.
UPDATE: We heartily recommend "OhioRebel's" superb citizen journalist coverage at ePluribus Media, with many useful additional details. Would that the non-citizen journalists were as thorough!
While it's unlikely to get as much attention as Ann Coulter calling him a "faggot" during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last night, The BRAD BLOG has learned that John Edwards is the first Presidential Candidate to announce his support for a growing movement calling for a ban on the use of all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in American elections.
The BRAD BLOG was contacted late last night by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Board Chair Mimi Kennedy with the news that during a campaign event in Los Angeles Edwards agreed to join her organization in calling for an end to electronic ballots in American elections.
PDA has been one of many groups calling for the ban and other important amendments to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new Election Reform bill (HR 811), recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kennedy, an activist and actress well known for her role as Dharma's mother on ABC's Dharma and Greg, told The BRAD BLOG that during a Q & A period following his address last night, she asked Edwards whether he would join PDA in their campaign calling for "the complete removal of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting machines from U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail."
Drawing an "X" in the air as the question was being asked, Edwards --- who was reportedly upset at Sen. John Kerry's decision not to contest the 2004 Presidential Election count, or lack thereof, in Ohio --- answered with a definitive "Yes!"
"Yes!" echoed Kennedy in response as the audience reportedly cheered and applauded.
Edwards's public support for a ban on DRE voting systems follows just over a week after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was asked a related question by an Election Integrity advocate at a public event at the University of California/Santa Cruz. Waters announced, in response to the query, that she would be withdrawing her co-sponsorship of the Holt bill in the wake of the growing concerns about several troubling shortcomings in the proposed legislation.
Kennedy attended the event, sponsored by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, with friend and former TAXI co-star Rhea Perlman, who unsuccessfully tried to video tape the Q & A session on her cell phone. The BRAD BLOG is attempting to locate a complete video of the event and we'll update this item if and when we do.
Before an audience estimated at 400, Kennedy rose and said to the former Vice-Presidential candidate...
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
From Presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee referencing Ashton Kutcher's classic movie to a lot of hating on John McCain, this year's anxiety-filled Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) looks to be worth the price of admission and then some. Also included in this CNN clip is a look at conservative blogger reaction to the conference.
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
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