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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 21, 2022
Longtime Election Observers Barred from Wake County, NC Count, Threatened with Arrest: 'BradCast' 5/20/22
Guests: Lynn Bernstein, John Brakey; Also: GA officials debunk 2000 Mules vote fraud claims...
GOP Sen. Candidates Used 'Replacement' Rhetoric of NY White Supremacist Shooter: 'BradCast' 5/19/22
Also: Cruz TX disbarment sought for 2020 steal effort; Young voters eager for 2022; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/19/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
New U.N. climate change warning; Fossil fuel air pollution kills 50,000 per year in U.S.; Bloomberg's new clean air initiative; PLUS: Wildfires force national forest closures...
Recent GNRs: 5/17/22 - 5/12/22 - Archives...
Did GOP Election Officials Facilitate Vote Software Theft in GA?: 'BradCast' 5/18/22
'The system has been breached' says Marilyn Marks; Also: Primary results in NC, KY, OR, ID, PA...
'Widespread' Primary Day Vote System Failures in PA Counties: 'BradCast' 5/17/22
Also: Biden in Buffalo condemns racist lies spread 'for power, political gain and profit'...
'Green News Report' 5/17/22
U.S. wildfire risk doubling over next 30 years; Russia's energy and now food war; California hits 100% renewable electricity, as Texas struggles to keep the lights on...
'A Movement Not a Moment': Rev. Barber Says 'Consistency' Needed to Restore America: 'BradCast' 5/17/22
Guests: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber; Kenia Alcocer of CA Poor People's Campaign...
Sunday 'Undesirable Outcomes' Toons
You can chalk up PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection to the rightwing radicalism still unmooring our nation from facts and reality...
Attempted Stolen Election, Stolen Docs, and Murder: 'BradCast' 5/12/22
McCarthy's J6 subpoena; Trump's new fed grand jury; Eastman advised 2020 PA election theft; Trump, meat-packers collusion; DeSantis FL gerrymander nixed...
'Green News Report' 5/12/22
Great Barrier Reef bleaching again; Global warming and new diseases; Interior cancels offshore lease sales; PLUS: AZ, CA move to enact more severe drought restrictions...
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...


'The system has been breached' says guest Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Primary results from NC, KY, OR, ID, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2022 6:30pm PT  

We've got an amazing --- and chilling --- story for you on today's BradCast, about what has turned into a wave of proprietary voting system software theft in several key swing-states since Trump pretended the election was stolen in 2020. But the most disturbing part is that many of these thefts having been carried out by or with the help of actual elected GOP election officials in several states! And there is one in particular, in Georgia, which has just come to light which we focus on today, because our quick-thinking guest actually recorded a damning phone call she received from someone who claims to have been a part of that scheme. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get there today, however, we've got a very (too) quick round-up of results from Tuesday's primary elections in North Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon, Idaho and Pennsylvania, and some news on several of them that you may not have heard elsewhere. Among the most noteworthy of those races...

  • The loss of North Carolina's insurrectionist U.S. House Rep. Madison Cawthorn in his GOP primary, and what will now happen to the federal court case regarding Free Speech for People's challenge to his eligibility to run at all under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." We've been covering that story closely in recent months and we've got comment today from the group's President on what may happen now in the federal case.
  • News on several apparent wins by progressive candidates for the U.S. House in PA and OR, including one that is set to result in the defeat of an incumbent establishment-backed Democratic Congressman and the other likely headed to a recount.
  • The good news for Democrats in the contest for PA Governor, as far-right Trump-endorsed insurrectionist wingnut state Sen. Doug Mastriano won the GOP nomination to run against state A.G. Josh Shapiro. Suffice to say for now, Republicans are not happy about their nominee.
  • And the critical race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey, where progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman easily won the Democratic contest and the battle for the Republican nomination is likely headed to a recount between Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz and pretty-much-just-as-Trumpy former hedge-fund CEO Dave McCormack. Both are now waiting on late arriving mail-in ballots to be tallied in the exceedingly close race, even though Republicans in 2020 argued that late arriving mail-in ballots in the Keystone State were all illegal and should have been tossed out. Not anymore, apparently. (And we wonder how long it'll be before they notice yesterday's BradCast rounding up several Republican-leaning counties where voters were turned away for hours after polls opened, thanks to voting system failures.)

THEN, it's on to the remarkable story of GOP election insiders in critical swing-states such as Michigan, Colorado, Ohio and Georgia, who, following the 2020 election, conspired with a cabal of election denying Team Trumpers to breach secure facilities in elections offices. They made illegal image copies of hard drives from key voting system computers containing sensitive, proprietary software and voter databases in at least 8 counties across the country...for some reason.

Part of this story is newly revealed evidence about one such a case in Coffee County, Georgia, which includes a damning recorded phone call received by our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance. The caller admits to an elaborate scheme to copy and analyze hard drive data from the county that Trump is said to have won by about 40 points. He also told Marks that he hacked into her legislative filings in her long-running lawsuit against the state, which seeks to replace Georgia's unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with simple, verifiable hand-marked paper ballots.

You'll need to tune in for the full details on this story. It's broad and, at times, complicated. And, yes, we share some of the disturbing audio from that phone call to Marks from an Atlanta bail bondsman by the name of Scott Hall who brags about chartering a jet to Coffee County with a group that "scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot" with "the entire elections committee there" who, he claims on the call, said "we give you the permission. Go for it."

We pull together a bunch of threads from a bunch of investigative news sources (as well as some of our own reporting) on all of this, on the broad scheme carried out by some of Trump's top "Stop the Steal" compatriots and the almost inconceivable lack of apparent investigation --- or worse, cover-up --- by GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger regarding the still mysterious incident in Coffee County.

As noted, you'll need to tune in for the full details, but among the stories and recent detailed investigative reports referenced and/or cited in our coverage today...

  • Mesa County Court Judge Removes Peters as Designated Election Official for the 2022 Election (CO SoS)
  • Trump allies breach U.S. voting systems in search of 2020 fraud ‘evidence’ (Reuters)
  • PRESIDENTIAL FINDINGS TO PRESERVE COLLECT AND ANALYZE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTION (Draft Executive Order)
  • Georgia county under scrutiny after claim of post-election breach (Washington Post)
  • Georgia’s Alleged Dominion Voting System Breach (Coalition for Good Governance)
  • Building the "Big Lie": Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth (ProPublica)
  • The Plot to Overturn the Election (PBS' Frontline and ProPublica)

Among the questions discussed with Marks: What the hell is going on here? Is it a violation of state and/or federal law to make discreet imaged copies of this software? Why was Team Trump doing it in the first place? Is Sec. Raffensperger's office investigating what happened in Coffee County, GA or not (they are offering conflicting statements, including in Marks' legal case challenging the use of the state's Dominion touchscreens)? What kind of threat does all of this pose to elections around the county in 2022 and 2024 in Georgia (their midterm primaries are next week) and in the many other states which use the very same software --- now stolen by these people --- to run their elections?

"Certainly they were violating state and federal laws," Marks tells me. "The difficult part of this is It puts virtually all states that are using the Dominion system --- without doing thorough audits and [using] hand-marked paper ballots --- it puts all of these at risk."

"If what Scott Hall and other have said happened truly happened, then there are people who have unauthorized copies of software off the server and off of all of the components," she explains. "These people can now craft and test malware and how to exploit the vulnerabilities in an election."

Marks believes the initial effort was meant "to try to find evidence or perhaps even fabricate evidence," regarding the 2020 election. But it has since gone far beyond that.

Raffensperger, she says, is offering "nothing but stonewalling" and "is telling different things to different people." She notes there is "no record of opening an investigation" in Coffee. That, as the Secretary's second-in-command, Gabe Sterling, seemed to suggest in a recent court deposition that there WAS an investigation of the server in Coffee, that it was actually quietly seized by the state, but that he "can't remember" the findings from the inquiry.

"There are many mysteries to unfold here. We don't know who has been in the system and how far any malware may have spread if it were implanted." She warns the Secretary's office and state Elections Board "want to hide their heads in the sand despite" the mounds of recent investigative reporting (as linked above) on what is going on here.

"The system has been breached," Marks cautions chillingly, before explaining what must be done now to safeguard our elections --- including from insider election officials who have now put our entire democracy at very serious risk. Even hand-marked paper ballots, she notes, are still tabulated by these same computer systems.

"Remember, the remedy we are seeking [in our suit] is not simply hand-marked paper ballots but hand-marked paper ballots with very thorough audits. IF we get the audits, yeah, there can be hacking but any outcome-changing hack will be detected and can be corrected," Marks argues. "While you can't get rid of the risk, you can remedy that risk."

Again, much more detail on today's show. It's a doozy. Please tune in...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and MUCH more; Also: Stone takes the 5th; Judge allows Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation case to proceed against Fox 'News' ...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2021 7:25pm PT  

It's been a rough close of the year for those of us fighting to preserve democracy in these United States against the rising authoritarian tide from the Right. But while it's has been a tough slog for passage of federal voting rights and election protection legislation in the U.S. Senate, there have been several critical victories for fans of democracy in federal court over this past week, as covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, some quick news on the continuing probe by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating Donald Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 election by inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. GOP dirty tricksters and longtime Trump pal Roger Stone invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination before the Committee today. While Stone is the first to admit to doing so publicly, he is the third Trump henchman to reportedly have done so to date. In 2019, Stone was convicted of seven criminal felonies, including lying to Congress and obstructing the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, before eventually being pardoned for all charges by Trump on his way out of office.

The House Committee appears to now be homing in on the question of, in Vice Chair Liz Cheney's words: "Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress's official proceedings to count Electoral Votes." If so, and if charged with and found guilty of said action or inaction, the former President could face as many as 20 years in prison under federal law.

Fox "News", on the other hand, is already in federal court, facing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by the Dominion Voting Systems company. On Thursday, a federal judge denied the Republican propaganda outlet's Motion to Dismiss the case. That is a major hurdle for the private voting system vendor to have cleared, allowing their case to move on to the discovery and trial phase. Both Dominion and another private election vendor, Smartmatic, have filed several defamation suits against Fox and other rightwing media outlets, as well as Trump lawyers and allies such as Rudy Giuliani [PDF], Sidney Powell [PDF] and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell [PDF], for their false claims that Dominion and Smartmatic stole the election for Joe Biden. Giuliani, Powell and Lindell's Motions to Dismiss in their similar defamation suits, in which the voting companies are seeking more than a billion dollars in each, were all rejected over the summer.

Next, more good court news came in late last week in the eight different lawsuits now filed challenging the state of Georgia's voter-suppression and election subversion law known as SB202. The measure was adopted by state Republicans earlier in the year on the heels of Trump's evidence-free claim that the 2020 election he lost to Biden in the Peach State was rigged, and after the elections of the state's Democratic U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the January runoff.

Late last week the Trump-appointed judge overseeing all eight challenges to SB202, allowed all of them to proceed in full, rejecting the Motions to Dismiss filed by the State and Republican groups that have joined the defendants. Seven of those suits, including those filed by the NAACP, ACLU, Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight organization and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, focus largely on race-based violations of the Voting Rights Act.

The eighth case, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance [PDF], in which I am a named plaintiff representing media, challenges SB202's election subversion clause and several others which, the suit contends, violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. SB202's election subversion clause allows the State Board of Elections to replace county elections officials with partisans, for virtually any reason they like, who can then overturn elections, also for virtually any reason they like. Other provisions of the law challenged by CGG prevent the public and media outlets like our own, from basic election oversight and reporting functions that have been in place for decades if not centuries, such as the right to photograph inside of polling places or during the tallying of absentee ballots.

Earlier this year, in August, U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee granted an injunction [PDF] on SB202's photography ban in advance of Georgia's November municipal elections. But his ruling last week [PDF] was much broader in allowing all eight challenges to the law to proceed in full toward the discovery and trial phases. It was, as my guest explains today, a major victory for all of the plaintiffs.

We're joined today by MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance, to discuss the good news in that case, new developments in her separate, longstanding case challenging the use of Georgia's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems and much MUCH more. We haven't spoken on air with Marks, usually a frequent guest, in about six months! So we've got a LOT to catch up with today!

Among the many points in our wide-ranging conversation...

  • Marks offers her reaction to Fox "News" losing its Motion to Dismiss in Dominion's defamation case against them; the conflicting emotions in supporting Dominion in their defamation cases, given that likely nobody in the nation has been tougher on Dominion's terrible voting systems than she has been; and why it is that, as unrelenting as she's been against Dominion for so many years (The Coalition's lawsuit seeks to ban their touchscreen systems across the entire state), the company has never sued her or her organization for defamation.
  • Speaking of the Coalition's case against GA's use of the Dominion touchscreens (which is separate from their SB202 challenge), Marks updates us on a report created for the court by plaintiff's expert Dr. Alex Halderman, finding vulnerabilities in Dominion's voting systems that are so disturbing the federal judge has sealed his report as for "Attorneys Eyes Only," meaning that even Marks has not been allowed to see it But, she notes, Dominion now has access to that report. If so, as we discuss, that means that, under California law (where several counties also use these same terrible systems), the company must now share the vulnerabilities in that sealed report with California's Sec. of State. In turn, CA must then report the vulnerabilities to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. (The report by Halderman and the vulnerabilities he allegedly found became an issue here in the Golden State earlier this year, just prior to the California Gubernatorial Recall election in September, after Dominon's central Election Management System software was apparently stolen and duplicated under the auspices of a rightwing Mesa County, Colorado election official and released to the Internet during Mike Lindell's failed "Cybersecurity Symposium" in South Dakota.) It is unknown if Dominion has yet to share Halderman's report with the CA Sec. of State, as per state law. Marks notes that Halderman has said the vulnerabilities are "even more serious" than those found in the older Diebold touchscreens GA used to use, before they were banned by this same lawsuit and replaced with the vulnerable Dominion systems. "Dominion has to inform the California Sec. of State within 30 days of getting reports of defects, failures, etc.," she explains, "So yes, it should be happening soon."
  • Marks details why "it was a big victory" that Judge Boulee allowed all of the SB202 cases to proceed, including the one filed by the Coalition. She details how her group's challenge to SBS202 is very different from the other seven that the judge allowed to proceed as well, while he suggested that some of the overlapping cases may be combined in the days ahead. She notes that, despite being a Trump appointee, he appears to be doing a very thorough job of overseeing all of the cases, including points made by both plaintiffs and defendants alike.
  • She clarifies how even if SB202 is struck down in full, state law in Georgia would still allow much of the recent purging of Black Democratic elections officials from county boards of elections, as we discussed with one of those purged, longtime county election officials and voting rights leaders Helen Butler of The People's Agenda on the show earlier in the week. "Unfortunately, you and Helen are right about that," Marks confirms.
  • We discuss --- and have a minor difference of opinion --- regarding a recently dismissed lawsuit in Georgia that challenged the state's 2020 election results. That case, filed by a group named VoterGA, alleged thousands of fraudulent ballots were included in the 2020 results. It was dismissed in recent weeks for reasons of standing that both Marks and I find questionable. Our small disagreement is related to my argument that the case should have been allowed to proceed because, even if VoterGA's complaint was based on false claims of fraud, those who question election results (even those conned by a lying, disgraced former President) ought to be able to examine election results and ballots for themselves, as long as they pay the costs for the exercise and ballots are taken out of the secure custody of elections officials. (That, in contrast to the what we saw earlier this year in the Cyber Ninjas' clown show "audit" in Maricopa County, Arizona.) Marks, a longtime, huge advocate for transparency and public oversight of elections supports that idea, but notes that VoterGA failed to seek such oversight during the period when they could have done so under state law. Further, she explains, the group failed to join earlier efforts to the election to change state law in order to declare paper ballots and digital ballot images to be official public records, fully reviewable by citizens and groups like VoterGA and the Coalition for Good Governance.
  • Finally, Marks also offers her reaction to the recently discovered news that Trump attorney and longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Cleta Mitchell, had been quietly named to an Advisory Board for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) earlier this year. Her appointment in April was not publicly reported until November. Mitchell participated from the White House on Trump's infamous January 2nd phone call with GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger when the desperate, outgoing President attempted to bully Raffensperger, urging him to "find" enough votes to steal the election for him in the Peach State. The EAC, meanwhile, which Mitchell is now advising, is responsible for certifying voting systems used in the U.S. and helps states and counties on regulations and best practices for federal elections.

There is a lot of important information about elections and election integrity in today's conversation with Marks. Though we better not wait another six months to do it again or we'll have to have a three hour show!...

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Guest: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Senate's 'Freedom to Vote Act' will mandate hand-marked paper ballots for all!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2021 6:19pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It takes a lot of chutzpah --- and plenty of confidence that corporate media is too cowed to call you out for it --- to continue calling your party a "conservative" one, after forcing state taxpayers to waste almost $300 million to run a special Recall Election that ends with almost the exact same results as the last time Republicans tried to defeat the popular Democratic Governor in an election. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, yeah, that's what happened on Tuesday. With about three quarters of the vote now tabulated in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has clearly crushed the GOP's attempted Recall Election in California --- by a mile. As of now, the vote to keep the Governor in office is ahead by about 28 points, or 64% to 36%. That's almost the same margin by which President Biden annihilated Donald Trump in the state in 2020, and slightly smaller than Newsom first term victory in 2018. (Though the results may still widen for Newsom before all is said and done with the processing of late Vote-by-Mail ballots and Provisionals over the next few weeks.)

The Governor, who will face a normal reelection contest in just over a year, offered brief remarks after media called the race on Tuesday night. "'No' is not the only thing that was expressed tonight," Newsom told supporters. "I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state: We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic."

Along with a laundry list of rights and freedoms that progressive California voters "said yes" to, in contrast to the rightwingers hoping to end public health mandates and more, Newsom also noted the state "said yes to people's right to vote without fake fraud or voter suppression."

On Monday, the day before the Recall --- before any results were known at all --- the GOP's top candidate, far-right radio talk show host Larry Elder, unveiled a "Stop CA Fraud" website demanding a special session of the state legislature be convened to "investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election." That would have been unknown results, at the time, which he disingenuously charged included "improperly formed ballots"; "instances of undocumented ballots"; and "statistical analyses [that] have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor." Without such a special session --- presumably at an even higher "conservative" cost to taxpayers --- Elder's campaign threatened use of the "ammo-box."

Hours after most media outlets had called the race for Newsom on Tuesday night --- after Fox "News" had quickly pulled down all of their Election Night incoming results numbers in order to pretend there had been no election at all that day --- Elder finally conceded and encouraged supporters to be "gracious in defeat". But, after lying about "fraud" in the election and threatening use of the "ammo-box", he should receive zero credit for those remarks. He then pledged that, though he "may have lost the battle, we are going to win the war."

We're joined today by longtime Editor of The American Prospect, former Editor of L.A. Weekly and frequent Los Angeles Times contributor HAROLD MEYERSON. We discuss whatever lessons may be learned from the Recall for both Democrats and Republicans in the state, as well as across the nation, as we head into next year's mid-term elections and, as Meyerson writes at The Prospect today, "the California GOP has gone down the same rathole as the rest of the Trumpified horde."

"They're saying Larry Elder is now the dominant figure in the California Republican Party," Meyerson observes, regarding GOP hopes for a rematch against Newsom next year. "If you want your party leader, your standard bearer, your best electoral prospect to come into the next race trailing by four to five million votes --- okay! Take it away!"

We also discuss why and how California's 100-year old, once well-intentioned progressive Recall and Ballot Initiative process needs to be overhauled in the state, where it should have been done by Democrats years ago.

Finally, in a BradCast with way more good news than we are accustomed to these days, more good news on the Senate Democrats' newly unveiled election reform compromise bill known as the "Freedom to Vote Act". We summarized the wildly encouraging key points of the new bill, crafted by eight Senate Dems including Joe Manchin, on yesterday's program. But, we didn't have the legislative text at the time to report on whether the summary's promise of "Voter-Verified Paper Ballots," would truly offer the long-overdue right to a hand-marked paper ballot for all voters across the country, or whether the legislation would offer gaping holes on that point, as the Dems' otherwise excellent For the People Act --- on which the Freedom to Vote Act is based --- currently does.

On that point, now that we've seen the actual text of the proposed 592-page bill [PDF], we can happily report the good news that the new legislation does, on page 318, appear to promise long-overdue HMPBs for all "at every in-person voting location" in the country! Passage of this bill --- if Dems can figure out how to get Manchin's permission to reform the filibuster to do it --- would be the most transformative legislation for American democracy since the Voting Rights Act of 1965...and could, arguably, even out do it!

Let's get the "Freedom to Vote Act" passed, ASAP!!!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Open letter to CA's Sec. of State calls for 'urgent mitigating action' with an immediate mandate for statewide post-election Risk-Limiting Audits...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2021 11:35pm PT  

Eight of the nation's top cybersecurity and voting systems experts warned in a letter sent to California's Secretary of State on Thursday night that "emergency action is warranted" in response to a recent leak of key voting system software used in nearly 60% of state jurisdictions amid CA's ongoing Gubernatorial recall election.

The bluntly --- and urgently --- worded, 3-page letter [PDF] from the longtime experts in this field to CA Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber calls for a specific type of public, post-election audit as the "one critical action" that should be announced immediately, in response to software recently stolen from Mesa County, Colorado and Antrim County, Michigan. The software in question, Dominion Voting's Election Management System (EMS), was released over the Internet for broad download during a so-called "Cyber Symposium" run by Trump supporter, conspiracy theorist and pillow impresario, Mike Lindell three weeks ago. The EMS software, used in both CO and MI and many other states, including CA, is used to manage virtually every aspect of elections, from ballot creation to tabulation. Forty of California's 58 counties, according to AP's coverage of this matter tonight, use a version of the Dominion EMS that, according to the experts' letter, while "not identical" is virtually the same with only "relatively minor" differences.

"The release materially elevates threats to the trustworthiness of the ongoing California recall election and to public trust in the election," the experts inform Weber, as they urge her to, in advance of the election, mandate a robust statewide post-election audit in each county in the state.

The computer scientists explain that "a statewide risk-limiting audit (RLA) of trustworthy paper ballots...can substantially mitigate these threats," as posed by the recent breach. They define "trustworthy" as hand-marked paper ballots with a secure chain of custody, and advise that Weber mandate RLA's to both to ensure accuracy of computer-tallied results of those ballots and to offer confidence to the public in the results, no matter the outcome of the September 14th GOP recall targeting Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

One of the letter's signatories, Prof. Philip B. Stark of UC-Berkeley, is the inventor of the well-regarded RLA protocol. It consists of a manual, public tally of a certain percentage of ballots as devised by the protocol to gain scientific certainty in the computer-tallied results. Stark recently discussed the alarming new security breach on The BradCast, comparing this release of proprietary election software into the wild as akin to having a life-sized, identical version of a bank and its vault with which to practice breaking into it...

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Guest: UC-Berkeley's Philip Stark; Also: Deadly edicts by FL, TX Guvs and Recall candidate circus in CA underscore importance of defeating GOP attempt to unseat Newsom amid pandemic, climate crisis...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2021 6:56pm PT  

California Republicans know they can't win normal statewide elections. Hence, the attempted Recall election of progressive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom amid several crises that the GOP candidates hoping to replace him will make considerably worse. But now, voting system and cybersecurity experts tell The BradCast there is reason to be very concerned about the voting and tabulation systems used in some 60 percent of the state, following the recent theft and release on the Internet of Election Management System software, allegedly by a far-right County Clerk in Colorado during the MyPillow CEO's so-called "Cyber Symposium" last week in South Dakota. One of those experts joins us to explain the concerns, and what can be done about it, today. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

But, first up, the circus of some 46 candidates on the ballot hoping to become Governor of the nation's most populous state, if Newsom is removed by the first question on the Recall ballot, serves as a reminder that this special election, while seemingly ridiculous, is also potentially deadly for residents of the Golden State. Nonetheless, recent polling suggests that it is currently a dead heat as to whether Newsom will be removed and then replaced by someone likely to get little more than 20% of the vote on the ballot's second question about who should take his place.

In the middle of a debate between several GOP "front-runners" on Tuesday in Sacramento, one of the candidates, multi-millionaire John Cox (the guy who actually campaigns with a grizzly bear), got served in a Court process as he was introducing himself, as "ordered" by a San Diego Superior Court Judge finding that he owes about $100,000 to a contractor the Republican businessman failed to pay during his failed run against Newsom in 2018.

While neither of the top Republican or Democratic candidates on question two of the ballot were at the debate (Trump-loving, climate change denying, woman-hating Rightwing radio talk-show host Larry Elder and Democratic real-estate millionaire Kevin Paffrath), both of them oppose Newsom's mask and vaccination mandates. The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning, in a "Progressive's Guide to the California Recall" published today, explains why CA voters must vote "NO" on the Recall's first question, before he goes on to explain who he believes progressives should support on question two.

Sky-rocketing rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths under GOP Governors like Florida's Ron DeSantis and Texas' Greg Abbott (who tested positive himself on Tuesday), should serve as another reminder of the importance of both elections and having Governors who do not place political ambition over science. Despite pleas to the contrary from health officials, both DeSantis and Abbott have issued edicts blocking local governments and school districts from instituting mask mandates, even as hospitals in both states are reaching or exceeding capacity, and children under 12 (unlike Abbott and DeSantis) are ineligible to become vaccinated. (Fortunately, President Biden reiterated today that the federal government will cover the salaries of school officials who chose to protect children, even if their paychecks are cut by the TX and FL Governors. And one school district in TX has come up with a very clever way of trying to get around Abbott's ban on mask mandates.)

Meanwhile, thanks to Newsom's various statewide mask and vaccine mandates here in California, infection, and death rates are all now coming back down once again.

Of course, facts such as these mean little to those pushing for the removal of Newsom, and many on the right have demonstrated of late that there is little they won't do in order to "win" an election. Thus, the theft and release of important voting system software by a far-right County Clerk in Mesa County, Colorado last week during Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" (at which he didn't release the promised "absolute proof" that China stole the 2020 election from Trump), has a number of actual cybersecurity and voting system experts very concerned today.

We've been covering this story in detail over the past week, as both the national media and California media haven't covered it at all. But they should. Colorado media finally jumped in, a bit, this week after their Sec. of State on Monday announced that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters --- who appeared on stage several times at Lindell's forum last week --- was behind the theft and copying of two hard drives at the Mesa County Election Division containing Dominion Voting's Election Management System (EMS) software.

Democratic CO Sec. of State Jenna Griswold's office, in a news release Monday night, explained how Peters pulled off the heist with two accomplices in the middle of the night back in May, before the software was released into the wild during last week's symposium. Since then, we have reported on this show about the concerns expressed by voting system and cybersecurity experts like Harri Hursti, who warns that the release of the critical software "lowers the barrier for attack planning and therefore increases the likelihood of future attacks." That, just after another top expert in the field, University of Michigan's J. Alex Halderman, filed a 50,000 word report in a long-running federal lawsuit in Georgia, which seeks to ban Dominion's unverifiable touchscreen voting systems. The report, which he says [PDF] details disturbing, newly discovered vulnerabilities in those systems, which reportedly could allow votes to be changed without detection, has now been sealed by the federal judge due to its sensitivity --- even from the plaintiffs and defendants in the case!

Dominion's vulnerable touchscreens are used in several large jurisdictions in California, even as the recall is now ongoing, including San Diego County, San Francisco and Riverside County. Their EMS software --- released to the Internet and downloaded by thousands just last week --- is used to tabulate votes, both hand-marked paper ballots and touchscreen votes, in every county where Dominion's systems are used. The software is used broadly in enough counties here that it could easily effect the computer-tallied results of the Recall election.

Another top expert who is worried about all of this joins us on today's program to explain why, and what can now be done about this serious security breach. University of California-Berkeley Professor PHILIP STARK is an expert witness in the Georgia case, the inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit protocol, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

He joined Hursti this week in telling me that they were both dubious about vague claims from the CO Sec. of State's office that the U.S. Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was not particularly concerned about the leak of the Dominion software.

"It is a serious risk," Stark makes clear today. "The best metaphor I've been able to come up with is, if I were trying to break into a bank, how helpful would it be to have blueprints of the bank and the bank vault? How helpful would it be for me to have an actual exact copy of the bank, completely at my disposal, to try different ways of breaking in and so forth? Not even a scale model, but literally the exact same thing, just in a different place. That's what having a copy of these disks amounts to."

"To the extent that these systems were not that secure in the first place, this doesn't make the systems more vulnerable. But it gives a would-be evil-doer lots of help and information to plan an attack, figure out what's going to work, which then can be conducted later by someone with less technical skill," Stark warns.

He explains that "these Election Management Systems are used, among other things, to configure the ballot marking devices" as well as "results from the precinct-based scanners" and the high-speed centralized scanners used to tabulate Vote-by-Mail ballots. "The release of the EMS code gives someone a blueprint for how to write malware to infect the ballot marking devices, etc., when they're configured using these systems."

We go on to discuss what can and should now be done by California in regards the ongoing Recall election (as well as other jurisdictions, with elections coming up in November, where Dominion systems are used in more than a dozen states) to ensure that results are accurately tabulated and reported, and can be known by the public, after the election, as such. His recommendations include the use of both hand-marked paper ballots and a far more robust post-election audit process than is currently mandated by CA state law.

Moreover, he cites a critical lesson that should be learned from Tina Peters, the Republican County Clerk in Mesa, CO who is alleged to have brought accomplices into the Elections Division in the middle of the night on May 23rd, and turned off the security cameras in order to steal the software and copy it for release into the wild. (She is now under criminal investigation and has been relieved of her duties by CO's Secretary Griswold.) "This is a very clear reminder that insider threats are real," observes Stark. "This is a wake-up call. It is very difficult to mitigate insider threats."

We are still waiting for a response from the CO Sec. of State's office, as to who they spoke with at CISA and what exactly that person said, given that the cybersecurity folks I've spoken with are quite dubious that the nation's top cybersecurity watchdog actually downplayed this voting system breach. Or, if they did, that they fully understood it. Meanwhile, CA's Sec. of State, to my knowledge, has said nothing about any of this publicly. But that may be because neither state nor national media --- other than us --- have bothered to connect the dots between California and these very serious concerns...

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Also: Juneteenth now a federal holiday! And SCOTUS allows religious discrimination against same-sex couples, but it could have been worse...
By Brad Friedman on 6/17/2021 6:43pm PT  

The news just isn't slowing down in these "slow news days of summer". At least not on today's BradCast. But at least much of that news is actually good, including more progress today toward protecting democracy in the U.S., as per the shifting whims of Lord and Senator Joe Manchin. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's news-chocked program...

  • Who says Congress can't move something quickly when they want to? Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. in 1865 --- albeit at least two and a half years after it was supposed to have ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, is now an official federal holiday. President Biden signed the new law for our nation's 12th federal holiday on Thursday, after the U.S. House overwhelmingly adopted the measure on Wednesday (with all but 14 shameful, white, male Republicans voting in favor), after unanimous passage in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Since June 19thfalls on a Saturday this year, the new holiday will officially be observed tomorrow! That was fast! See? Congress CAN move quickly when they try! Unless you consider the hundreds of years of slavery in this country and the more than 150 years it took for a holiday to commemorate its final end. Never mind that comment earlier about Congress moving "quickly."
  • The latest attempt by shameful white, male Republicans to kill the popular Affordable Care Act (better known as ObamaCare) was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court today. The law has helped tens of millions of Americans obtain access to heath care, and hundreds of millions more Americans by, among other things, making it unlawful for insurance companies to reject customers due to pre-existing conditions. The stupid attempt by a bunch of GOP-Controlled states to find the entire bill unconstitutional was rejected by SCOTUS today with a 7 to 2 vote, after finding the states represented by white, male Republicans were not harmed by the law and, therefore, had no standing to challenge it. That, after a series of white, male Republican lower court judges had used a ridiculous claim made by the GOP states --- and countered by the actions of REPUBLICANS in Congress themselves(!) --- to strike down the entirely of the landmark 2010 law as unconstitutional. We explain how this third attempt to have SCOTUS do what Congress would not, has gone down, yet again, in flames.
  • Meanwhile, the fight to pass federal voting rights protections to counter new GOP voter-suppression laws at the state level moved one small step forward again today. Yesterday, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin --- the only Dem in the Senate who is not a co-sponsor of the sweeping election and campaign reform bill known as the For the People Act (even though he co-sponsored the same legislation in 2019) --- offered a compromise proposal [PDF] for the bill that he recently declared that he opposed. As we discussed on yesterday's show, his compromise proposal is not horrible and Dems should work quickly to get some version of it to a floor vote! UC-Irvine's election law expert Rick Hasen last night penned a column at Slate which sounded almost exactly like our coverage yesterday, urging Dems to leap at this opportunity, with his first paragraph arguing: "Democrats should grab the deal, even though it is not perfect, is still unlikely to pass, and doesn’t yet address the greatest threat in upcoming elections: the danger of election subversion."

    As we discuss today, the original For the People Act, already passed by the House, doesn't "address...the danger of election subversion" either, as that danger is being baked into GOP voter suppression bills around the country, allowing Republican state Legislatures to reverse election results for virtually any reason they like. We explain why Hasen's argument --- at least on that one narrow point --- is a bit misleading, while he is otherwise right on the money.

    At the same time, Georgia's voting rights champion Stacey Abrams has also come out in favor of Manchin's compromise proposal and speaks, as we did yesterday, to the concerns that some may have about Manchin's inclusion of a "Voter ID" provision. She explains, as we did, that his provision on Voter ID is not really a huge concern --- as some Dems and/or voting rights advocates may view it --- in that Manchin's proposal allows other means for voters to identify themselves beyond a strict, small, very limited list of acceptable Photo IDs. He cites, for example, "utility bill, etc." as acceptable means of identification to vote, in line with the already-existing rules in a majority of states. Such reasonable requirements that do not prevent voters from voting are a far cry from the strict Photo ID restrictions adopted by some GOP states meant not to prevent fraud, but to prevent voting (by certain people who may lack the specific type of ID that Republicans are purposely requiring in hopes of disenfranchising them.)

    Of course, even if all 50 Senate Dems come to an agreement on a version of For the People that they can accept, it would still require 10 Republicans coming on board in the Senate to defeat a GOP filibuster. As that remains a virtual impossibility, reform of the filibuster would still be needed for passage of this bill, and, unfortunately Manchin leads the opposition on that as well. However, as a recording of a Zoom teleconference with the so-called "centrist" group No Labels (actually a big money conservative Dem and moderate-ish Republican business group) reveals, Manchin is not quite as against filibuster reform as he has made out publicly, at least when he is not speaking to big money business donors. Lee Fang and Ryan Grim from The Intercept obtained audio from that Zoom session, wherein Manchin suggests his potential openness to lowering the filibuster threshold from 60 to 55, or to force a 41 person minority to stand up and make their case against a bill they oppose and explain what they object to, rather than require those in favor of the bill to come up with 60 votes.

    Again, more progress. Too slow, to be sure --- especially with the dangers of the 2022 mid-terms looming --- but progress nonetheless, which those claiming to be progressives should certainly be in favor of!

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report which, like the rest of today's show, is simply chocked full of news, both good and bad, as the fight against our ongoing climate emergency continues...

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House passes H.R.1., so now what?; MI audits find 2020 results accurate, so now what?; AZ Senate finally gets ahold of Maricopa County's 2020 ballots, so now what?; GOP Congressman admits to three counts of felony voter fraud...so guess what?!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2021 6:31pm PT  

We've got mostly democracy-related stories to report on today's BradCast. Some good news, and some bad. But there's a whole bunch of anti-democracy GOP fraud throughout, because what democracy story in the U.S. these days doesn't include Republican fraud and/or attempted voter suppression? [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's show...

  • We start with one story that has little to do with democracy, though it should be enough to ensure these two idiot Governors are never elected to anything ever again. In case you are unclear just how idiotic the Governors of Texas and Mississippi are, after they lifted all COVID restrictions in each state this week in hopes that folks won't notice how horrifically they failed their own constituents following the winter storm there three weeks ago, Axios reports today that, while COVID infections rates are still falling in most states, the rate in Texas is up 27 percent over the past week and Mississippi's is up a nation-leading 62 percent! Luckily, both states are islands, so the idiocy of their Republican Governors won't effect everyone else's efforts to get beyond this pandemic once and for all, right?
  • House Democrats, as expected, passed H.R.1 --- the "For the People Act" --- on Wednesday night with zero Republican votes. The massive, landmark, once-in-a-generation voting rights, campaign finance reform and ethics reform bill now moves to the Senate. In that undemocratic body, however, where a simple majority is NOT enough to pass a democracy reform bill as of now, it will likely die, unless enough pressure is applied on Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to do the right thing, reform the filibuster, and allow this critical (if imperfect) measure to pass while Democrats have a brief opportunity right now to do so. The measure is long overdue and, according to new polling, wildly popular with the American people of all parties. 68% of likely voters favor the bill, and even a majority of Republicans (57%), back it as well.
  • The sad (and dangerous) Trump/GOP effort to con Americans into believing last November's election was stolen from the disgraced former President --- despite all evidence to the contrary --- continues.  And the massive evidence to the contrary continues to mount. This week, Michigan's Secretary of State announced that the results of a second statewide post-election audit once again confirms the initially reported results. "All of Michigan’s more than 250 election audits are now complete, and each and every one of them affirmed the integrity of the November election and the accuracy of the results," Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson said on Thursday. The audits were carried out by "More than 1,300 Republican, Democratic, and non-partisan election clerks...working across the aisle to review one another's procedures, ballots and machines in coordination with the state Bureau of Elections." Full hand-counts were carried out in some places, such as Antrim County, where Republicans pretended that Dominion Voting Systems machines were used to try and steal the election from Trump.  And, in heavily populated cities like Detroit, election officials determined that, of 174,000 absentee ballots tallied in the city, only 17 votes were ultimately "out of balance" (where the number of ballots cast in a precinct differed from the number of envelopes or signatures accounted for.)
  • But the most embarrassing state GOP idiocy of the week may belong to the Republican-controlled state Senate in Arizona. After months of subpoenas to elections officials, ordering them to turn over all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County (Phoenix) last year --- and even coming within one vote of throwing elections officials there in jail for following state law by securely retaining custody of the ballots cast in the County last November --- a state judge finally ordered Maricopa officials to obey the subpoena to deliver all ballots to the Senate, so they could count them themselves. They were all delivered, 73 pallets of them, this week. And guess what? Senate Republicans have no idea what to do with them now.  The story is even worse than it sounds, as we discuss today.
  • But at least officials in Kansas were finally able to find some voter fraud. Specifically, voter fraud by now-former Republican U.S. House Rep. Steve Watkins of Topeka. The one-term Congressman was defeated last year. But not before he lied about his residence, using the address of a UPS store on his voter registration, voted in an election he was not entitled to vote in, and then lied to state investigators about it all.  He was charged with three felonies related to voting. This week, however --- because, luckily, he is a white, male Republican from Kansas --- prosecutors are allowing him to enter a diversion agreement that delays his trial for six months, and drops the charges entirely if he's a good boy through September. We compare his treatment to that of Crystal Mason, an African-American mother of three in Texas, who, unlike the Kansas Congressman, had no idea she was violating the law when she cast a provisional ballot that was never counted in the 2016 election. She received a sentence of five years in prison for her "crime".
  • Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, as climate change has resulted in the weakest Gulf Stream in about 1,000 years; carbon emissions are rising again as COVID restrictions are loosened; Joe Biden raises U.S. targets under the Paris Climate Agreement; and another major carmaker announces plans to stop selling all gas burning, internal combustion engine vehicles in their line in very very short order...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on the critical H.R.1, 'For the People Act'; Also: GOP Rep. dies with COVID; Another GOP Senator to retire; GA SoS opens probe of Trump's attempted election theft...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2021 6:40pm PT  

Among the many stories on today's busy BradCast: How Lou Dobbs' once formidable Election Integrity reporting at CNN turned into his own demise 15 years later at Fox "News"; Donald Trump's second Impeachment Trial begins this week with his attorneys making legally and Constitutionally indefensible claims; And Democrats offer a massive, much-needed measure to shore up our faltering system of democracy --- but it needs an important fix. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First up...following Smartmatic's $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit [PDF] filed against Fox "News" and three of its anchors --- Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro --- last Thursday, the rightwing propaganda network suddenly and unceremoniously cancelled Dobbs' show the very next day.

Ironically, when Dobbs' was at CNN more than a decade ago, his show was largely the only mainstream broadcast media outlet to offer real, investigative coverage of serious concerns about computerized voting and tabulation systems, and the private corporations who had taken over so much of our public elections. His show delved into legit concerns about Smartmatic's relationship to Venezuela, among other things, resulting in a Treasury Dept. investigation at the time. It ultimately helped lead to the sale of a company named Sequoia, which Smartmatic once owned.

Some of the material his CNN show intelligently covered in the mid-aughts informed some of my own exclusive investigative reporting at The BRAD BLOG from 2008 to 2010 detailing, among other things, Dominion Voting Systems purchase of Sequoia some years later. That deep-dive reporting from 2010, ten years on, was subsequently re-imagined and bastardized by Team Trump to become the basis for their irresponsible, inaccurate and evidence-free claims regarding Dominion and Smartmatic and Venezuela (and the late Hugo Chavez) having stolen the election from Trump. In turn, those false claims have now resulted in Dobbs' own demise at Fox, even though he's the one guy at the Republican misinformation outlet who should have known better. Perhaps he did, but as a dyed-in-the-wool Trump sycophant, he didn't care. We cover the irony (and stupidity).

Speaking of stupidity, Donald Trump's Impeachment Trial defense attorneys filed their final pre-trial brief [PDF] on Monday, falsely claiming, once again, that the Trial itself is in violation of the Constitution (which it isn't, even according to well known conservative Republican Constitutional law experts) and that the former President was merely exercising his First Amendment free speech when instructing his MAGA Mob supporters to "fight like hell" the day they took him up on it and attacked the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths. We discuss how the Trump argument fails in advance of his second Impeachment Trial beginning on Tuesday, and the Democratic House Managers response [PDF] to it.

In not-unrelated news, Reuters is reporting that the Georgia Secretary of State's office has opened an official investigation into Trump's attempts to steal the election in the Peach State.

Then, in the wake of Trump's failed attempt to steal the Presidential election with unfounded claims of mass voter fraud, Republicans in state legislatures across the country are attempting to institute hundreds of new restrictions on voters and voting. But Democrats at the federal level have an antidote to that predictable new wave of attempted suppression by GOPers.

We're joined today by BRAD BLOG legal analyst, attorney ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss his recent, deep-dive analysis of the Democrats' H.R.1. bill, known as the "For the People Act". The massive, 800-page bill, provides a lot of long-overdue reforms for voting and fair elections; ending dominance of big money and dark money in politics; and re-enforcing disclosure and ethics reform for members of Congress. On the voting front, it improves access to the voting booth by creating automatic voter registration across the country; restores voting rights for former felons; expands early voting; simplifies voting by mail; restores the Voting Rights Act gutted by the US Supreme Court in 2013; blocks mass voter roll purges like those seen in recent years in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere; bars partisan gerrymandering by instituting independent Redistricting Commissions to draw Congressional District maps, instead of the partisan gerrymandered State Legislatures who currently draw them; and includes a call to enfranchise some 700,000 currently unrepresented residents who live in our nation's Capitol by making Washington D.C. the 51st state.

The critical measure also mandates --- sort of --- something that we have called for for a very long time: The option for all voters to vote on verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. Unfortunately, as Canning explains, this one point where the current text of the bill fails. While it mandates that voters must have the option to vote on a hand-marked paper ballot, it does not require that option be made available to voters at the polling place! That means that Election Officials can easily follow the letter of the bill's mandate by saying: "Sure! We offer the option for voters to use a hand-marked paper ballot, instead of 100% unverifiable touchscreens. Voters who wish to do that can simply vote by mail if that's what they prefer!"

That is decidedly not good enough, as we discuss, leaving a gaping loophole to help assure we have unverifiable elections in this country for decades. But is it that a serious enough flaw for Election Integrity advocates to oppose the entire measure, in lieu of amended language to that portion of the bill? And, either way, is it even possible for a bill like this to ever be adopted in a 50/50 U.S. Senate without ending the anti-democratic legislative filibuster once and for all?

Finally, on a sad note, another Republican Congressman, Ron Wright of Texas, has died "from health complications following his COVID-19 diagnosis two weeks ago. The passing of the second-term Congressman follows the death of Rep.-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana, who died from COVID just days before the start of the new Congress. And another long-time Republican member of the U.S. Senate, 86-year old Richard Shelby of Alabama, has announced his intention to retire when his term ends in 2022. He is the fourth incumbent Republican in the upper chamber to bow out rather than run for re-election in the next mid-terms...

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Landmark bill would enact long-overdue voting reforms, but needs at least one key rewrite to close a loophole regarding hand-marked paper ballots...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2021 10:35am PT  

As their first official bills in each chamber of Congress --- H.R.1 in the House and S.1 in the Senate --- Democrats are proposing a remarkably ambitious election, campaign and ethics reform measure which would go a long way towards enhancing our system of democracy. At least one important rewrite is needed, however, in order to close a loophole in its mandate regarding hand-marked paper ballots.

H.R.1 or the For The People Act of 2021, was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) with hundreds of Democratic co-sponsors on January 4. It is supported by both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

With the exception of partisan gerrymandering as applied to State legislative offices --- which is out of the hands of federal lawmakers --- the bill would, for all intents and purposes, outlaw a wide array of voter suppression, intimidation and deceptive practices that have, for decades, been used to undermine American democracy.

The massive bill, clocking in at nearly 800 pages, also includes Congressional ethics reforms and other important measures, but we focus here on the statute's provisions to help outlaw suppressive measures and improve election security, transparency and the verifiability of results.

As presently written, the measure appears to mandate the use of "voter verified permanent paper ballots" in all federal elections. That aspect, however, must be improved with minor, but very important revisions to mandate the availability of hand-marked paper ballots --- the only type that can be known to be "voter verifiable" --- for all voters at the polling place for both early and Election Day voting.

H.R.1 also includes provisions for either hand-counting of paper ballots or the use of optical scanning computers accompanied by Risk Limiting Audits. It includes mechanisms to fund those post-election activities.

The bill provides for minimum periods during which States must make early voting available in federal elections and promotes, streamlines and secures mail-in voting. It tightens ethical standards and also takes a stab at reducing the role of dark money in campaigns, while prohibiting the presence of foreign money and interference in our elections. This includes a mandate that TV, radio and online platforms "make reasonable efforts to ensure that [election-related] communications...are not purchased by a foreign national".

The real question isn't whether H.R.1, if appropriately amended, should become law. The question is whether a sufficient number of Senators are willing and able to do what is necessary to ensure it becomes law...

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New Dem House majority will be perilously thin on Jan 6th; Pentagon halts Biden transition briefings; Also: Dominion threatens to sue Sidney Powell; Repub attorney calls for hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots(!)...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2020 7:41pm PT  

We're still in Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street mode on today's BradCast, with a reminder that there are still 33 long days before Inauguration Day. And even though Freddy Kruger (in Nightmare) and Jason (in Friday, which I manage to get mixed up on today's show, but you'll get the idea!) get killed in every movie, they always find a way to reappear once you think they are absolutely, positively dead. We've made it this far, let's not let our guard down until the credits have finished fully rolling! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

To that end, and beyond, we've got a number of stories worth your attention on today's show, including...

  • The Democrats' majority in the new House of Representatives will be perilously thin --- just four votes --- when the new Congress is sworn in on January 3rd, warns Norm Ornstein at WaPo. That could very much come in to play when Biden's Electoral College victory is scheduled to be affirmed by Congress on January 6th, if all members are unable to be sworn in, in person, due to COVID. We discuss that short term concern as well as longer term ones for Dems in the House, where every single Dem vote will now likely be needed to pass absolutely anything --- especially once three members now tapped to serve in the Biden Administration vacate their seats and Dems are left with a slim one vote majority for a time. We discuss both those long and short ramifications today, as you need to know about both.
  • But, before we even get to January 6th --- much less Inauguration Day on January 20th --- why did the Pentagon's Acting Defense Secretary, who was just appointed by Trump, call off all transition briefings with the Biden Transition Team last night? AXIOS reports Defense Department officials are "shocked" and the Biden team is very concerned. (Does Freddy still live?)
  • We've got a bit of good news today, at least out of Georgia, where some rightwingers attempted to challenge the eligibility of some 50,000 registered voters who they claim have moved out of the formerly right-leaning Cobb County. They had hoped to keep them all from voting in the two, ongoing U.S. Senate runoff elections that will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate on January 5th. The lame duck 3 to 1 GOP majority county Board of Elections heard the challenges today. Happily, the the Republicans members, who were all voted out and replaced by a Democratic majority on November 3rd, did the right thing. We explain.
  • Meanwhile, a couple of days ago on the show, I was in the uncomfortable position of having to defend voting machine company Smartmatic, as part of a pretty epic rant, thanks to Team Trump and the MAGA Mob's bastardized use of some of my decade-old investigative reports at BRAD BLOG that were twisted and used to falsely attack the company for somehow working with Venezuela and its dead President Hugo Chavez to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump. The private voting system vendor is now threatening to sue rightwing propaganda outlets Fox "News", Newsmax and OANN for defamation if they do not retract what the company describes as defamatory claims about the company that had absolutely nothing to do with the 2020 election in ANY swing-state.

    But now, yet another voting machine company, Dominion Voting Systems --- which actually DOES have contracts in a number of swing-states and has also been falsely targeted by the MAGA Mob for allegedly flipping votes from Trump to Biden --- is threatening to sue Team Trump attorney Sidney Powell for her false, outrageous, and arguably defamatory claims.

  • Yet maybe --- just maybe --- something good can ultimately come from all of these nightmares. For that, ironically enough, we turn today to the rightwing propaganda outlet called The Epoch Times for evidence. A new article in the paper which is widely read, cited and shared by wingnuts, including the President of the United States, highlights a far-right attorney who has been involved in a number of the failed legal attempts to overthrow Biden's victory. He is now calling for a return to hand-marked and even hand-counted paper ballots!

    Decrying "the vulnerability of our digital footprint in elections," he argues: "We can keep the paper, and we can audit the paper, and we can do so with efficiency. But the primary aim should not be efficiency behind closed doors. It should be transparency and accuracy. Paper gives it to you." The article makes clear (if you read it, you can skip the middle section with a bunch of grievance nonsense regarding Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg --- told you it was a propaganda rag!) that he is calling for HAND-MARKED and HAND-COUNTED paper ballots!

    I have long argued that we'd likely never get rid of these god-forsaken computer voting and tabulation systems and restore public oversight to our elections until a high-profile Republican got thoroughly screwed by those systems or even feared that they got screwed by them. That's because it has largely been Republicans who have been defending their use for so many years. I guess I should have also noted that a Republican who pretended he was screwed by one of those systems might do the trick as well. Well, at this point, we'll take what we can get.

    Once the dust settles on 2020, let's hope there are enough Republicans who still have serious concerns about computer voting and tabulation that they are willing to work with other Election Integrity advocates, many of them from the Left, to end the obscene --- and often impossible to oversee --- computerized corporate control that has been allowed to takeover our public elections in the United States.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Biden focuses on jobs and climate in several recently reported key nominations to his Administration; Trump continues trashing the planet on his way out the door; and Washington state's Governor unveils an ambitious new clean energy jobs plan...

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Guest: Voting system expert, federal plaintiff Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2020 8:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some real facts on the real concerns about Dominion Voting Systems' unverifiable computerized voting machines in Georgia --- what we know (and don't) about what happened with them during the 2020 Presidential election in November; what concerns that voters of all parties should have about them before the two critical U.S. Senate runoffs in the Peach State in January which will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate; and what all Americans can do about it. [Audio link to full show is posted beneath summary.]

But, first up today, a few quick --- and somewhat related --- news items today. On Wednesday, the U.S. tallied a heartbreaking record 3,124 COVID deaths, making it the fourth most deadly day in U.S. history after the Galveston Storm of 1900, and the Civil War battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. Wednesday saw more Americans die from COVID than those killed on September 11, 2001, which had previously been the nation's fourth most deadly day. The next most deadly single days in the U.S. thereafter are now, in order, last Thursday, last Wednesday, last Friday, last Tuesday and Pearl Harbor.

At the same time this week, Donald Trump has been throwing crowded, indoor, holiday parties at the White House, lying to guests, without a mask, that his election was stolen, and the Texas lawsuit filed this week would prove it to his stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court, somehow. It's as if the worst pandemic in more than a hundred years doesn't even exist because, after all, there's an election to be stolen and several centuries of American democracy to be undermined during the holidays.

As to that absurd Texas case filed by the criminally indicted Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, (which we explained in great detail on yesterday's BradCast), 18 GOP controlled states have now joined the Lone Star State in support of tossing out the election results in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, despite any evidence of fraud in those states that could possible overturn Joe Biden's certified win in each of them. But, much less reported today, is the fact that more than 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have joined those four targeted states in opposing the corrupt Paxton's transparent effort to win a pardon from the corrupt Trump, before the FBI drops new federal charges for bribery and abuse of power on the Texas AG.

Yes, the Texas case is absurd and offers an unprecedented, radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution in hopes of stealing the election for Trump. As Pennsylvania's Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, has correctly argued, "The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process." But we also now have an unprecedented, radical bunch of Justices sitting on the bench at SCOTUS. Anyone who tells you they know how those Justices will rule on this case is simply making things up.

In the meantime, there remain very real concerns about Georgia's voting system, just not the phony ones that Team Trump and the MAGA Mob have decided to focus on (read: lie about.)

Today, for the first time since before the November 3rd election, we're joined by voting systems expert MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of the nonpartisan, good government watchdog group, Coalition for Good Governance. As a plaintiff in the long-running federal lawsuit seeking to bar Dominion Voting Systems' new, unverifiable touchscreen systems from use in the state, Marks has been one of the longest and loudest critics of both the private Canadian-based voting system vendor and the state's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger who contracted them. (Her same federal suit already resulted in a federal judge, last year, banning the use of the state's 20-year old, unverifiable Diebold touchscreen systems.) Raffensperger defied both election integrity and cybersecurity experts by purchasing Dominion's unverifiable $100+ million systems instead of a hand-marked paper ballot system as recommended by the experts. And now, Team Trump is exploiting Raffensperger's ill-considered decision to make all sorts of unfounded claims about them.

That said, because these systems are unverifiable, it's next to impossible to know that they accurately recorded the intent of any of the voters who are forced to use them at polling places across the state --- something that Marks (and us) warned about long before Republicans decided to pretend they were concerned about "election integrity" and invented a ridiculous worldwide conspiracy led by Dominion to steal the election from Trump.

In addition to cribbing from and bastardizing some of The BRAD BLOG's decade-old, independently verifiable investigative reporting about Dominion to create their ridiculous conspiracy regarding Venezuela's dead President Hugo Chavez helping to steal the election from Trump, the same MAGA Mob has been stealing from and lying about Marks' long-running federal law suit to try and make their case in court.

"We have seen, in Sidney Powell's lawsuits, fabrication after fabrication," Marks tells me. "I sit there and read these documents, cringing at the lack of facts. They even take things from our documents, like experts' reports, then add craziness to them, literally change facts that were attested to by our experts and make them completely false."

In light of all of that, among the question Marks speaks to today: Is there any evidence that Dominion Voting Systems touchscreens or tabulators were, in fact, used to flip votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden in Georgia? Her answer may surprise you! If you've listened to The BradCast while we've covered this issue with Marks and others for years, it may not surprise you.

We have covered Georgia on this program and at BradBlog.com so long and in so much detail for a reason. The state, she notes "has been the poster-child for all that is wrong with US elections. It's all concentrated here. And now it's the center of the universe."

Marks also speaks to whether Americans and residents of Georgia should have confidence in the reported results from the November election, and what if anything, can be done to ensure confidence in the results of the critical January 5th U.S. Senate runoffs in the state.

For those with actual concerns about those runoff elections --- which doesn't actually seem to include many of the Republican sore losers complaining about the November results and an evidence-free "Dominion Conspiracy" --- Marks asks listeners to urgently, and politely, email both the Speaker of the GA House, David Ralston, and GA's Sec. of State Raffensperger to urge them to allow HAND-MARKED paper ballots for all voters at the polls in the upcoming runoffs. She argues that there is still time for that to happen in every county, even as Early Voting begins on Monday. "They can make a quick switch to hand-marked paper ballots. All they need are a few thousand black ballpoint pens. They just need to hear from the nation that this time we want a non-controversial election."

We also ask Marks (a now former Republican herself), whether or not there are at least a few Republicans who might end up finding legitimate interest in joining the fight for real Election Integrity after their current partisan interests in Trump's election eventually fade away. While a private company like Dominion should never have the type of control they now have over our public elections, neither should the much larger ES&S firm or the smaller Hart-Intercivic, just to mention the three largest corporations who have arguably been allowed to usurp our public elections with unsecure, poorly designed, easily manipulated, non-transparent, computerized voting and tabulation systems.

"I hope that maybe one piece of good is that the Republicans are now suddenly concerned about software, and they are concerned about transparency of other processes," she observers. "They're suddenly interested in election administration that before, they seemed to have assumed was just going to work for them. So, hopefully we will get better transparency out of this. But we're going to have to go through the crazy period first, I'm afraid."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with mostly disturbing news, as usual, on the state of our climate and environment, but some really really encouraging news at the end, that we'll use to make ourselves feel much better on another insane day like today...

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Guest: Former National Security Council member, William Tobey of Harvard's Belfer Center...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2020 7:58pm PT  

Everything and everybody seem to be on edge. It feels like we're near a breaking point. At home and abroad, as detailed throughout today's harrowing BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

"It's all gone too far," Georgia's top voting systems chief made clear during powerful unscripted remarks at an emotional press conference on Tuesday night. "All of it!" Gabe Sterling's impassioned comments came after learning of new death threats against a young elections worker in his state. He is right to be infuriated. Things have now become damned dangerous thanks to our deranged President who seems to be turning more unhinged by the hour as his days in the White House wane.

We share an extended cut of the Republican Sterling's tirade today, as he called out both the Republican President and the state's two Republican Senators for failing to condemn the increasing hostility and threats against election officials in Georgia, as well those directed to its Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. "Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence," Sterling implored the President. "Someone's gonna get hurt. Someone's gonna get shot. Someone's gonna get killled...All of this is wrong!"

Both of Georgia's U.S. Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, face tough election re-election runoffs against Rafeael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, on January 5. The contests will determine partisan control of the Senate. Both GOPers have decided to support Trump and his false claims about the state's election being stolen for Joe Biden with the aid, absurdly enough, of Kemp and Raffensperger. The President is currently scheduled to travel to the Peach State on Saturday to campaign with Loeffler and Perdue. We'll see if he makes it...and whether they both come to regret it.

It is, of course, insane that we find ourselves in support of Sterling, Raffensperger and Kemp, at least on these points. We have been vocally and justifiably critical of all three for a very long time on this program regarding the way they run elections in the state and undermine voter confidence in the bargain. But we'd never even consider the type of rhetoric that the President of the United States and his followers --- including Loeffler and Perdue --- are now using because Trump is too cowardly to concede that he lost and the two Senators are too cowardly to run without him.

None have any actual interest in cleaning up Georgia's elections. If they did, they'd have joined my weeks-old call to get the Dominion Voting Systems company out of the state entirely for the January elections by demanding hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots for all during the runoff. None of them, of course, have done so.

Rather than take Sterling's concerns to heart, Trump doubled down on Twitter thereafter to falsely declare a "Rigged Election" and "massive voter fraud in Georgia," charging the very Trumpy Governor Kemp is "afraid" of "what we'll find". And then, as released by the White House just before airtime, Trump delivered even more dangerously incendiary and deluded remarks in a fact-free 46-minute pre-taped video rant, asserting that "our election system is now under coordinated assault and siege."

But this is what is happening. And if all of it sounds insane, you'll be shocked to learn that top Trumpers, like his recently pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, are now literally calling for sedition by encouraging the President "to immediately declare a limited form of Martial Law and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote."

Several weeks ago, I was uncertain about covering Trump's baseless claims of "massive fraud" in the election at all, back when he first began lying about all of this. Given where we are now, I'm glad we did. We all need to be informed about what is actually going on right now in this nation, no matter how twisted, and depressing, and damned dangerous it is now becoming.

But, for some "lighter" news today...We then turn to the recent assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and the latest fallout following both that, Trump's undermining and violation of the landmark Obama era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran which had successfully blocked the Islamic Republican from the ability to create a nuclear weapon for at least ten years, and Trump's drone assassination earlier this year of Iran's revered General Qassam Soleimani. (Yes, that also took place in 2020!)

We're joined today for a great deal of insight on all of this --- as well as the history of targeting nuclear scientists, both in Iran in recent years and elsewhere since the dawn of the nuclear age, and whether the strategy actually works --- by someone who knows a great deal about all of it. WILLIAM TOBEY served on the White House National Security Council staff under three presidents, and as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2006-2009, where he managed the U.S. government's largest program to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism. He is now a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism.

Among the many related topics discussed with Tobey today: How difficult it may be for the incoming Biden Administration to strike a new deal with Iran after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA and the assassinations of both Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh, as Iran now vows both revenge and an increase in nuclear production; Whether the JCPOA, which Tobey was critical of, made us safer and why "we are in a more dangerous position today than we were in 2018"; And, why nations like North Korea and Iran justifiably see the development of nuclear weapons as an existential issue.

And with all of those pretty heavy topics, listeners who make it all the way to the end of today's BradCast may be richly rewarded with the concession speech that we all should have heard long ago...

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Guest: Redistricting expert Dan Vicuña; Also: Why Krebs is almost right, but wrong, as Trump attorney says former CISA chief should be 'shot'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2020 8:05pm PT  

Attorney General Bill Barr may now be in big trouble with Donald Trump at the DoJ. One of Trump's personal attorneys may be in big trouble with the D.C. Bar. And Trump's attempt to game the Census and Apportionment of Congressional seats for the next 10 years may be in big trouble at his stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court. All of that big trouble and more on today's BradCast! [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, Attorney General Barr has undoubtedly infuriated his boss today by admitting to The Associated Press that "to date," the Justice Dept. has "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election."

Uh, oh. The last senior Administration official who said something similar --- Chris Krebs, Trump's Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the new DHS agency that oversees elections infrastructure --- was fired just days later after his federal agency and others (along with several voting machine vendors, so take it with a grain of salt) announced that the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history."

Speaking of Krebs, he was interviewed by CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, where he stood by that assessment and chalked the success of the 2020 election up to "paper ballots."

"Paper ballots give you the ability to audit," he told CBS' Scott Pelley, "to go back and check the tape and make sure you got the count right. That's really one of the keys to success for a secure 2020 election. That gives you the ability to prove that there was no malicious algorithm or hacked software that adjusted the tally of the vote."

Well, he was so close. "Paper ballots" don't protect elections, HAND-MARKED paper ballots protect elections. And there is a big difference. Krebs goes on to cite, for example, Georgia's terrible new Dominion Voting Systems touchscreen computers that voters are forced to vote on at the polls, and the subsequent statewide hand-count of ballots to make his case. But Georgia's systems, as we've long reported in great detail, print out computer-marked paper ballot summaries which can never be known after an election to reflect the intent of any voter. As we explain yet again today, studies show that the vast majority of voters do not check their computer-printed summary, and that 93%(!) of them do not notice if the computer has changed one of their votes. We offer much more detail --- yet again --- on today's show.

But Krebs, a lifelong Republican who has been bravely outspoken in attempting to debunk false claims about fraud both before and after the election, is certainly a hero for his efforts. The fact that Joe diGenova, one of Donald Trump's personal lawyers, took to the air on Monday to call for Krebs to be murdered --- literally --- is a chilling sign of our times and should result in disbarment for Trump's latest Fox "News" TV attorney for hire. "Anybody who thinks this election went well like that idiot Krebs," diGenova said on a wingnut radio program yesterday, "that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot."

Krebs suggested to NBC News today that he is likely to take legal action. But you know who else "thinks this election went well," apparently? Bill Barr! We'll see if diGenova calls for him to be executed now as well, or which of the two Trump lackeys will be fired by Trump first.

Next up, we're joined by DAN VICUÑA, National Redistricting Manager at Common Cause, one of the good-government immigration advocacy groups that sued the Trump Administration after a Presidential Memorandum from Trump last year directed U.S. Census apportionment data to leave out "illegal aliens" despite the Constitution's mandate to include the "whole number of persons in each State" for purposes of determining how many U.S. Congressmembers each state shall have for ten years following each decennial Census.

Four different lower courts largely agreed with the plaintiffs challenging Trump's decree --- which would increase political power for rural, white, Republican-leaning districts and take it away from more urban, Democratic-leaning, minority heavy jurisdictions --- finding it to be illegal and/or unconstitutional. On Monday, Trump's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the matter, and Vicuña reports today on how things went. In short, it appears to have not gone well for the Administration, even with three Trump-appointed Justices now packed onto the bench.

Vicuña, notes that "citizenship status has never been used as a determining factor in whether a person will be counted." He also explains the dangers of Trump's unprecedented decree and how his attempt to bastardize the "plain language" of the U.S. Constitution and "two centuries of precedent" to instead use only "voter-eligible" citizens in counts to determine apportionment in the U.S. House, endangers not only the immigrant population, but everyone else in America, even in so-called "red" states.

"The Administration's lawyers are dancing a strange dance," he tells me while describing Monday's hearing. "The President's memo very clearly states what the President wants, which is to exclude every undocumented person living in the United States --- undocumented people who contribute billions to the economy, who pay taxes on things that they may never see [like] Social Security. The President's attorneys are going into court and saying, 'Well, we're only going to do this within the strictures of what's allowable by law, so for that reason, you shouldn't even rule on this case now. There's no need to address the plaintiffs' challenge, because we don't exactly know how we're going to implement the President's goals' --- even though the President states them clearly --- 'so you should punt.'"

Whether the Court will go along with the Administration on this, and how the incoming Biden Administration may make all of this moot anyway, is all discussed on today's program.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report, in which the Trump Administration actually does something that is not only NOT horrible, but very very good for folks in Alaska who have been challenging the creation of the controversial Pebble Mine for more than a decade. Other than that, however, the final days of Trump's environmental smash and grab continue apace...

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Guest: Const'l attorney John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People on Trump's failed election coup and the need for accountablity from the new Administration; Also: Biden victories certified in PA, NV; A few overdue corrections; And several things we're thankful for before the holiday...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2020 7:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we see some light at the end of America's dark tunnel. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Tuesday, the swing-states of both Pennsylvania and Nevada certified Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump, joining Michigan from Monday. In Arizona, which certifies next week, its very Trumpy Republican Governor Doug Ducey conceded that "Joe Biden did win". And, despite Trump's repeated lie that the stock market would crash if Biden was elected, it continued to soar today, with the Dow closing above 30,000 for the first time. Trump stayed largely inside his White House bunker while continuing to falsely tweet that he won the election, though he did come out long enough to "pardon" a couple of turkeys. He's probably warming up for what is to come during the last desperate days of his failed Presidency.

We're joined today to discuss all of that and much more by Constitutional attorney and election law expert JOHN BONIFAZ, co-founder and President of the nonpartisan, non-profit good government group Free Speech for People (FSFP). His organization won several important victories in key voting rights cases prior to the election. One of them helped extend Arizona's registration deadline during the pandemic, allowing for 35,000 new registrations in the state that Democrats now appear to have won, for the first time in decades, by about 10,000 votes.

Our conversation today focuses largely on accountability, and the need for the President-elect to assure the criminal Administration of the previous four years does not escape it, as the Obama Administration allowed the George W. Bush Administration to do in their ill-considered effort to "look forward not back". Biden has reportedly been uttering similar thoughts of late. Bonifaz argues that would be a fatal mistake. "You can draw a straight line from the decision that President Obama made to only look forward, not to look back at the war crimes, the torture that had taken place during the Bush Administration --- you can draw a straight line from that decision, that strategic error, to the rise of Donald Trump. And I do think that we cannot make that mistake again," he tells me.

Among the areas of accountability that await the outgoing President, as Bonifaz sees it and hopes to ensure with FSFP: Crimes that were not included in Trump's impeachment for attempted extortion of the Ukrainian President (Bonifaz co-wrote a book on those crimes); obstruction of justice and other crimes touched on by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that remain unpunished; horrors carried out by the current administration at our nation's borders, including the "kidnapping" of children; the ongoing attempted coup to overthrow the results of the 2020 election; and even crimes against humanity for Trump's unforgivable failure to help avoid the unnecessary deaths of more than a quarter of a million Americans (to date) thanks to his criminal lies about the COVID pandemic --- just to name a few.

"What we've been left with now, since the election is perhaps the worst abuse of power of them all," explains Bonifaz, who is also founder of the National Voting Rights Institute. "His effort to subvert the Constitution, to disenfranchise millions of voters based on this falsehood that mail-in voting has been fraudulent, and to effectively overturn the Presidential election results, and engage in an attempted coup. All of that is not only an abuse of power, but it's a broad criminal conspiracy for which this President should be held accountable once he is out of office."

We also discuss whether Trump has the Constitutional power to pardon himself for any of those crimes before leaving office, and whether the Republican claims at having newfound concerns about election integrity (based in no small part on years of my own investigative reports, though bastardized by the cretinous lawyers currently representing Trump in his attempt to reverse his reelection loss by both hook and crook), might result in a new reason for hope for the real, decades-old Election Integrity movement. Longtime advocates like Bonifaz and myself have fought for years in that movement against the privatization of our elections by corporate voting system vendors and their proprietary computer voting and tabulation systems. Perhaps after the partisan opportunists have peeled off from the GOP's current false claims about "Dominion!" and "Smartmatic!" and "Hugo Chavez!", we'll find new legitimate allies from the Right.

"We have to reach for the gold standard of election integrity, which are hand-marked paper ballots for all of our jurisdictions across the country, with assistive devices for those who need it," Bonifaz tells me. "But we cannot have the private voting systems industry be in charge of counting our votes, because it leads to this distrust. It leads to this lack of verifiability. The reality here is that because so many people voted by mail this year, we actually had an ability to verify the election even more so than previous cycle. Hand-marked paper ballots are the gold standard."

Also today: A few overdue corrections before the holiday and several things that I am exceedingly grateful for, even in these dark days. And Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before Thanksgiving, which includes several items to be thankful for as well...for a happy change...

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P.S. Guest-host Nicole Sandler is in for us tomorrow! We'll see you next week after the holiday! Please stay safe and HEALTHY!

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MI certifies Biden win; Conservative judge tosses Team Trump's PA suit; GSA begins transition, Trump's vows to 'prevail'; 'Dominion/Venezuela' conspiracy lawyer tossed under bus after attacking GA Repubs...
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2020 7:41pm PT  

It's been a weekend and more of The Crazy since we last spoke. On today's BradCast we get you all up to date on the last several days of The Crazy as Donald Trump's attempted coup to steal back the Presidency continues to fall apart with each passing hour, and as the Republican Party decides to distance themselves from Trump's loony conspiracy attorney Sidney Powell while she turns the MAGA crowd against her own party before the critical January U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia to determine control of the upper chamber of Congress. [Audio link to full show follows summary.]

The biggest news today broke mid-show, as Trump finally relented in allowing the General Services Administration to officially begin the transition to a Joe Biden Administration, even as he vowed he would "prevail" in his fight to overturn the will of the American voters and says his "case STRONGLY continues."

Well, about that case. It may be continuing, but it has never been anywhere close to strong. Among the related stories covered on today's show that prove it, before we turn to the phone for listener calls on all of this...

  • First, a follow-up to Friday's show in which we debunked the insane case that Powell, Giuliani and now all of MAGA are making regarding an international conspiracy --- somehow led by the Dominion Voting System company, along with the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela --- to steal the election for Biden. The conspiracy originates with the bastardization of an exclusive investigative report I published at The BRAD BLOG in 2010. Powell et al aren't even close in their twisted version of the story that now includes all sorts of false charges about voting machine companies and more. The bottom line, as we noted on Friday, but which warrants underscoring again today, because I've been trying to make the case for so long and now we're seeing what I warned about finally come to pass...
  1. Simply because a computerized voting and tabulation system is vulnerable to fraud and manipulation does not mean that any particular election run on it has been defrauded or manipulated, and;
  2. Even if an election is 100% secure and accurate, if it can't be known by the public to have been 100% secure and accurate, it is every bit as much of a threat to confidence in our democratic system as it would be if the election had actually been stolen on such a system.
  • Other than that...Catching us all up from Friday....Trump loses another lawsuit in Nevada as a state judge rejects an attempt to block certification of Biden's victory, by more than 33,000 votes, in the state.
  • Trump loses in Arizona as a state judge rejects a move for yet another audit of votes in Maricopa County (Phoenix), and the County's Board of Supervisors (4 Rs, 1 D) unanimously voted on Friday to certify Biden's victory in the state's largest county. Also, the final "SharpieGate" lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in the state where Biden appears to have won by more than 10,000 votes.
  • In Wisconsin, Team Trump is said to be obstructing the ongoing recounts requested by Trump in the two counties with the largest minority vote, Milwaukee and Dane, after apparently losing the state to Biden by more than 20,000 votes.
  • Trump lost bigly in Michigan on Monday, where the state Board of Canvassers voted unanimously (with one abstention) to certify Biden's victory by nearly 160,000 votes. That, after Trump's attempt to twist the arms of the GOP leadership of the state's gerrymandered House and Senate on Friday appears to have gone nowhere. (But we'll soon find out for sure.)
  • In Pennsylvania, Trump lost his attempt to toss out nearly seven million ballots and was excoriated by a conservative federal judge on Saturday for attempting to do so in the nation's sixth largest state where Biden appears to have prevailed by more than 80,000 votes. The brutal court loss led Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to become just the second GOP Senator to concede (where Trump won't) by declaring [PDF] that "Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race" in the state. Trump's team of pathetic lawyers have since filed an emergency appeal to the 3rd Circuit, but failed to deliver their motion before the Court's deadline for doing so. This is the (likely doomed) case Trump hopes may reach SCOTUS where he believes he can win after packing the stolen GOP majority on the Court in his favor. He'd have to win a verdict there that somehow allowed legislatures in at least three states to reverse the will of their voters to appoint Trump electors instead of Biden's by December 8th.
  • Down in Georgia, where Trump lost by about 13,000 votes following a statewide hand "audit" of all ballots last week, the Trumpy Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and even Trumpier Republican Governor Brian Kemp both certified Biden's victory on Friday. Over the weekend, MAGA "Stop the Steal" rallies in the state included verbal attacks on both Kemp and Raffensperger, along with vows to destroy the GOP and promises to boycott the critical January U.S. Senate runoffs in the state. We wish them nothing but luck in their endeavor! That came as Powell was taking to far-far right wingnut Newsmax TV over the weekend to allege that Raffensperger and Kemp were paid off by Dominion to steal the election for the Democrats' Presidential candidate. She offered no evidence for her claims. After years of critically reporting on both Kemp and Raffensperger --- including his ill-advised decision to spend $100+ million on Dominion's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems this year --- we are unaware of any such evidence to support her claims. But we wish her nothing but luck in her endeavor to prove it! For now, the thanks she received was being tossed under the bus by Trump late on Sunday night.
  • There was a whole lot more along the way today, but you'll have tune it for it all, along with some great calls we responded to near the end of the show today, as The Crazy continues to continue...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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