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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 19, 2024
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on Presidential politics after the shooting; Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's weird choice of Vance for VP; the RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Previous GNRs: 7/11/24 - 7/9/24 - Archives...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump Stolen Docs Case Dismissed; OH's J.D. Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in on all of the nightmares...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems (Actually!) in Disarray!: 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', And Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140m in U.S. under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
So, What Now?: 'BradCast' 7/8/24
Listeners have strong opinions about where we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and disastrous Presidential Debate...
Debunking MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
China flooding; Heatwave, crop failure in India; Disaster upon disaster in NM; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
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...


Also: Indicted Menendez applies for independent run in NJ; New 2020 Fake Elector plot indictments in WI; Biden will be on OH's ballot after all, convicted felon Trump may not be on WA's...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2024 6:34pm PT  

No matter how much Republicans repeatedly lie about "a justice system 'weaponized' by Joe Biden and the Democrats to go after Republicans", you should know by now how much of a lie that is. If you don't, I suspect Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX), both under federal indictment on corruption charges --- not to mention the President's son, Hunter Biden, on gun and tax charges --- should quickly rebut that nonsense to all but the brain-poisoned. Either way, today's BradCast has you covered. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Primary elections were held on Tuesday in Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and the District of Columbia. We'll have any noteworthy results or problem reports on tomorrow's show. But you can read more about the programming failure I referred to regarding ES&S touchscreen systems in Wildwood Crest, NJ (a state with a history of similar and much worse failures on their touchscreen systems) right here.
  • Speaking of New Jersey, on Monday, the state's longtime Democratic --- and now very strongly indicted (again) --- U.S. Senator, Bob Menendez, filed to run for re-election as an independent while federal criminal trial on bribery and corruption charges continues. If he remains on the ballot this Fall (which allows him to use campaign cash to pay legal bills for him and his wife, who is also charged) it could complicate things somewhat for Democrats hoping to see his seat filled by Congressman Andy Kim.
  • The House GOP loons held one of their ridiculous "Weaponization of Justice" hearings today, featuring testimony by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland who pushed back at their nonsense, even as they threaten him with a Contempt of Congress citation.
  • Meanwhile, in Wisconsin today, three of Donald Trump's 2020 lieutenants who architected the failed Fake Electors plot in hopes of stealing the election from Joe Biden in swingstates, were indicted on forgery charges. The freshly indicted trio includes former Trump attorney Ken Chesebro, former WI state judge James Troupis, and GOP operative Michael Roman who served as Trump's Director of Election Day Operations. Both Chesebro and Roman have been charged in several other battleground states previously. This is Troupis' first walk of shame. Overall, some 52 people (so far), including Trump, are now facing criminal charges in five battleground states (Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and now Wisconsin) for their parts in the attempted scheme to steal the 2020 election. More charges may still be on the way in several of those states.
  • Ohio's Republican lawmakers have finally passed --- and its Governor has signed --- a legislative fix to the deadline issue that would have prevented President Biden from appearing on this November's Presidential ballot in the Buckeye State. It took months, and a special session called by the Governor, to get done what they easily had done in years past for Republican Presidential candidates. But, in doing so, they also included a provision to change the definition of the phrase "foreign national" to include permanent U.S. residents --- green card holders --- born in a different country. All of which, as explained on today's show, is an effort by the state GOP to undermine popular ballot initiatives, like the wildly popular one adopted by voters last year to protect reproductive rights. In any event, and since the measure signed by Gov. Mike DeWine over the weekend could be found unconstitutional, the Democratic National Committee has decided to hold a virtual, online roll call vote to officially nominate Biden in advance of the OH state deadline.
  • PLOT TWIST! A Washington state law, on the books since it was a Territory in 1865 (and updated several times since), bars convicted felons from running for office. That could now be very bad news for 34-time convicted felony Donald Trump.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen --- still recovering from her second bout of COVID over the past two weeks alone --- joins us for our latest Green News Report, as India swelters under deadly record temperatures; power outages, mostly related to extreme weather, have doubled in the U.S. over the past two decades; Mexico elects a climate scientists as President amid a record heat wave; and Vermont enacts a first-in-the-nation law to make Big Oil pay up for climate damages...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Stormy takes the stand in NY; GA's Republican former Lt. Gov. endorses Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2024 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new cybersecurity incident has emerged in Coffee County, Georgia. That's the now-notorious rural enclave in the southeastern part of the Presidential battleground state where Donald Trump allies and operatives, in January of 2021, unlawfully breached, copied and distributed the state's proprietary touchscreen voting system software after the 2020 Presidential election. Five participants in that breach were charged with felonies as part of the broad racketeering conspiracy case against Trump filed in Fulton County, GA. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get there today, however, some quick news on Trump's New York criminal trial, where he stands accused of 34 felonies related to hush-money payments made just before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels. She took the stand today. We cover a few quick details, but will cover that and other related news in more depth on tomorrow's mid-week Trump Trial "Ketchup" program.

Also today, we're happy to announce another very rarely-bestowed BRAD BLOG Intellectually Honest Conservative Award. This one for Georgia's Republican former Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. The prestigious honor comes in response to his courageous op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week, in which he endorsed Joe Biden and encouraged fellow Never Trump Republicans to do the same, noting, "Unlike Trump, I’ve belonged to the GOP my entire life. This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass."

Then, it's back to Georgia, where the Coffee County Board of Commissioners released a notice [PDF] late last month that they'd been notified by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), 11 days earlier, about "unusual cyberactivity" on the County's local IT system. The terse statement from the County confirmed indications of "cyber-activity by an unknown malicious actor(s)". It claimed that "Steps have been taken to further secure the network and protect Coffee County's IT infrastructure", while noting that it had "informed Federal Authorities of the incident". (Yes, that would seemingly be the same incident that the very same press release says Federal Authorities, DHS and CISA, notified THEM about.)

We're joined today by longtime Election Integrity and Transparency champion MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). Marks was the one who first learned about Team Trump's unlawful breach of GA's statewide voting system hardware and software in Coffee County that first took place on January 7, 2021 (the day after Trump's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.) Her revelations resulted in the charges filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis against Trump attorney Sidney Powell (who pleaded guilty) and others involved in the Coffee County break in.

As Director of CGG, Marks is also the plaintiff in civil lawsuit in federal court, filed in 2017, seeking to ban GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's mandated use of the state's easily-hacked, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in favor of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. The trial in that long-running case, known as Curling v. Raffensperger, was finally held in January of this year. As Marks explains today, plaintiffs are still waiting on a verdict from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg who oversaw the trial, which included demonstrations from plaintiffs' experts revealing that Raffensperger's systems can be hacked by any voter at the polling place with nothing more than a ballpoint pen.

Today, Marks charges that Coffee County appears to have "hid and concealed" information about the new cybersecurity incident from the Sec. of State's office "for some number of days." Though little is still known publicly about the new hack, she is troubled by the news. "This cannot just be coincidence that there have been two such cyberattacks this year on counties, one in Fulton and one in Coffee. That's it. The two counties that have a lot of information challenging Trump and his allies related to [the earlier breach in Coffee] and the theft of the [voting] software to begin with."

We also get an update from Marks on the status of the Curling case, where it is getting very late in the election year for the judge to issue a ruling that would require Georgia to make hand-marked paper ballots available to voters at the polls this November. Marks, however, remains ever hopeful, noting that the move to hand-marked ballots would require no new equipment above and beyond what is already available at each GA precinct.

Marks also discusses a new Georgia law (signed by Gov. Brian Kemp this evening) that will eventually ban the use of tabulation via QRCodes on computer-marked ballots, requiring computer scanners to tabulate from the ballots' human-readable text that is supposedly verified by voters after it is printed and before its cast. Unfortunately, as she explains, that bill, even if implemented in 2026 as mandated by the legislation, will not make the state's touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices any less vulnerable to manipulation or any more verifiable by the public after an election.

Marks, whose organization found no evidence that Biden's 2020 victory in the Peach State was decided incorrectly, is also offering testimony this week to the GA State Board of Elections, advocating that recounts in the state must be carried out by hand, rather than by the same computerized scanners that tallied ballots in the first place.

"The state law is quite clear, a recount is to be done by hand, for obvious reasons such as the machine [used to tally ballots] is coded wrong," she explains. Otherwise, she adds, you're going to get the same incorrect results "if you just run the ballot back through the machine that is miscoded."

The reason that Trump supporters are still arguing over the 2020 tally in the state, she believes, is thanks to the lack of a public hand-count after that very close election. Raffensperger insisted on a machine tally instead. "All of that could have been solved if they had done a manual recount, as the law required. Which would have allowed Trump to appoint a counter at every table, handle every single ballot. And they would have had a hard time arguing then about counterfeit ballots, wrong counts, no transparency," Marks tells me. "A lot of the problems that we've lived with now over three years would have been solved if they had just followed the law and done a manual recount."

Finally today, we close with our latest Green News Report, with Desi Doyen's coverage of relentless rain and deadly flooding in both Brazil and Houston; the hottest April ever recorded on Planet Earth; and President Biden's unveiling of billions of dollars to spur clean energy production in rural areas and the removal and replacement of toxic lead water pipes across the nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Kelly Sampson of the Brady Center; Also: Biden, Trump clinch noms; Judge nixes 6 counts in Trump's GA conspiracy indictment...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2024 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The most powerful pro-gun lobbying group in the nation --- along with its wildly corrupt leadership --- has finally been held to account for years of massive fraud. So what comes next for the NRA, for the firearms industry's ironclad death grip on the Republican Party, and for the continuing battle to enact popular gun safety reforms in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've got some answers to those questions but, first up, a bit of news today...

Both the disgraced former President Donald Trump and the current President Joe Biden each notched the number of delegates needed in their respective parties to clinch the 2024 nominations for President as of Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington state, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands. (And, of course, there was some trouble on Tuesday regarding GA's unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting system.) Based on the results in each state last night, Biden is clearly favored by more of his party's primary voters than Trump. Though we have a few noteworthy observations today.

And, also in Georgia, where Trump and 18 co-conspirators are facing criminal indictment in Fulton County for their multiple failed attempts to steal the state's 2020 election, the judge overseeing the case tossed six of the 41 felony counts brought against, though he allowed 35 others to move forward. In his 9-page order [PDF] on Wednesday, Judge Scott McAfee wrote that Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis will be able refile those six charges, though she'll have to add additional specificity if she does. Refiling the charges would also likely further delay the state's currently scheduled August trial date. Of course, many court watchers are on pins and needles this week waiting for McAfee's ruling, expected by Friday, on whether Willis, accused by one of Trump's co-defendants of inappropriately hiring one of her prosecutors, will be allowed to remain on the case.

Then, we're joined by KELLY SAMPSON Senior Counsel at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's oldest gun violence prevention organization, to discuss the fate of the beleaguered National Rifle Association, the group that began as a non-profit gun safety organization 150 years ago in New York City, only to become the nation's most powerful firearms industry lobbying group, opposing any and all gun safety reforms.

Late last month, a New York jury determined the NRA's longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, had unlawfully misallocated millions of dollars of member money for years on his extravagant personal lifestyle, which included private plane travel and exotic vacations for himself and his family, among with many other luxuries. He also authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in NRA contracts in exchange for free trips and access to a 108-foot superyacht. In addition, the jury also ruled that the NRA engaged in years of fraudulent tax filings and violated whistleblower protections under NY law. LaPierre, who resigned in disgrace on the eve of the trial late last year --- brought by state A.G. Letitia James --- was ordered to repay nearly $5.5 million to the NRA. The group had attempted, after James' filing, to seek federal bankruptcy protection, but was blocked after a federal court determined it was only doing so in hopes of moving the organization to Texas to avoid accountability in NY.

So, what now? "Wayne LaPierre is indicative of a particular type of corruption, taking advantage of people and basically grifting," Sampson explains today. "He's not concerned with people's safety. He's concerned with enriching himself. This is a win in terms of accountability for that."

But, she says, there are other pro-gun groups that are now filling the gaps left by the faltering NRA in blocking gun safety reforms at both the state and federal level, despite support from broad, bipartisan majorities of Americans --- if not from Republican lawmakers captured by the gun lobby. "There are organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, which is the gun industry's almost corporate wing," she warns. "Regardless of what happens with the NRA, we still have to deal with the rhetoric, the false information, and the fact that, yes, there are some politicians who feel beholden to what the NRA wants."

We discuss the broad popularity of policies such as universal background checks for gun purchases, which GOP lawmakers have long stymied, as well as cases now before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court which seek to block the ban on bumpstocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, and on a federal law designed to help keep guns out of the hands of those under domestic violence restraining orders.

Also, Sampson discusses a number of landmark initiatives by the Biden-Harris Administration to address the nation's ever-worsening gun violence epidemic, including "the first White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which is really using the power of the Executive to have a 'whole of government' approach" to the continuing scourge.

There is much to discuss, as you may imagine, in our conversation today with Sampson, the Brady Center's Director of Racial Justice and co-host of their Red, Blue and Brady podcast. Happily, today's discussion does not take place, for a change, just hours after another high-profile gun massacre...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GOP chaos, faceplants and dysfunction in House, Senate, everywhere else; Also: Haley loses to 'none' in NV; O'Keefe forced to admit to fake 2020 'fraud' story; Listener mail on hand-marked ballots and Taylor Swift...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2024 6:31pm PT  

I'd say Tuesday was a high (or low?) watermark for GOP failure, but on The BradCast, we think it wise to never under (or over?) estimate them. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • Nikki Haley lost the one-person Republican Presidential Primary in Nevada by more than 30 points. (To be fair, it's not entirely her fault. Donald Trump rigged it. And he's setting up Republicans in the state for failure this November regarding the state's voting systems.) Joe Biden reportedly won his mostly one-person Democratic Primary in the state on Tuesday with nearly 90% of the vote.
  • With three different swing-state GOP state Chairs (in Florida, Arizona and Michigan) ousted in recent weeks in scandals related to allegations of rape, bribery, or financial impropriety (and Nevada's GOP Chair heading to criminal trial in a few weeks for forgery as a fake 2020 elector), Trump's once-favored Chair of the RNC, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is being pushed out in the middle of a Presidential election year. Why? Trump's MAGA faithful are trying to find someone, anyone ... anyone but him ... to blame for their repeated, post-2016 election humiliations. Why not Ronna?
  • But the humiliation continued on Tuesday, as newly tapped and freshly failed GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson engineered what Wall Street Journal described as "an embarrassment for the party", Punchbowl called "one of the most embarrassing days in recent House GOP history" (which is saying quite a lot!), and WaPo raved: "a stunning rebuke" for a months-long impeachment probe by Republicans hoping to identify "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Dept. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Turns out, they couldn't even convince their full caucus that he'd committed any, and one heroic Dem showed up from his hospital bed amidst chaos on the House Floor to deliver Johnson and Marjorie Taylor Green's phony impeachment scheme an embarrassing final blow. At least for Tuesday night, in the first impeachment vote ever against a sitting member of the Executive Branch.
  • Actually, it wasn't the final blow on Tuesday night for House Republicans. Johnson held a subsequent vote for aid to Israel. It also went down in humiliating flames.
  • All of that comes on the heels of Congressional GOP insistence that they would block any aid package for Ukraine --- now facing a very real existential crisis and invasion from a hostile neighbor --- unless the bill included a massive amount of money for the U.S. southern border, where Trump and Republicans pretend there is an ongoing "existential crisis" and "invasion". So, Dems gave in and agreed with Senate Republicans to add a very hard-right border deal to the aid package --- only to see Trump throw a fit at a possible real solution for the only real(ish) election year issue he seems to have left. So now House Republicans are vowing they will only consider an aid bill for Ukraine (and Israel and Taiwan) if it doesn't include money for the U.S. southern border. Seriously. It's as insane and stupid and dysfunctional and embarrassing as it sounds. And, it might even be hilarious, but for the fact that democracy remains on the brink in Europe, as the near-entirety of the Republican Party now cowers to the personal whims of their four-time indicted cult leader.
  • Popular Republican criminal, pretend fake "pimp", and definitely fake "journalist" James O'Keefe quietly issued a tweet on Monday night, admitting that his reporting on 2020 election fraud in Pennsylvania was "wrong" and that he is "aware of no evidence or other allegation that election fraud occurred in the Erie [Pennsylvania] Post Office during the 2020 Presidential Election.” It took him four years and a begrudging lawsuit settlement to "correct" his false story about supposed massive mail ballot fraud by the USPS. Trump continues to fraudulently pimp that nonsense to this day. All of this on the heels of O'Keefe being pushed out of his own fake news organization, called Project Veritas, last year amid allegations of financial malfeasance and abuse of employees. Or, as his partner in the 2010 fake ACORN "pimp" hoax videos described it when quitting the group herself in December: "an unsalvageable mess --- one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and financial improprieties."
  • Finally today, some listener mail with an important coda to our mind-blowing interview on Tuesday with Susan Greenhalgh, election integrity advocate and consultant on the just-completed civil suit trial by Marilyn Marks and the Coalition of Good Governance against the State of Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. The suit seeks to move the state from easily-hackable, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots; And, some email on Taylor Swift and the Superbowl, which I thought we decided we wouldn't be discussing this week on The BradCast?!!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Plaintiff advisor Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Trump case delays; U.S. retaliation in Middle East; Deluge in SoCal...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2024 6:28pm PT  

The long-awaited trial over Georgia's vulnerable voting systems has finally come to a close. As reported on today's BradCast: Last month, one of the plaintiffs' experts demonstrated in court that the state's vulnerable touchscreen voting systems can be hacked in about 5 seconds by one person, with nothing more than a ballpoint pen. And the state, for its part, defended itself by demonstrating that apparently nobody --- nobody! --- is in charge of cybersecurity for the statewide computerized voting systems used by every voter at every polling place in the critical battleground state. [Audio link to full story follows below this summary.]

After a few quick news updates at the top of the show --- including on the climate change-fueled atmospheric river raining down on us out here in Southern California today --- we're joined LIVE in studio by Free Speech for People's Senior Advisor on Election Security, SUSAN GREENHALGH, on the heels of the three-week civil trial in federal court that finally wrapped up late last month.

The case, originally filed way back in 2017, is called Curling v. Raffensperger. Plaintiffs are election integrity experts (real ones, not pretend Trump ones) challenging the use of Georgia's touchscreen voting systems, hoping to force the state to move from vulnerable, unverifiable touchscreens to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots before the 2024 Presidential election. Greenhalgh has been advising plaintiffs in the case for a number of years. She was in the courtroom in Atlanta last month for much of the trial which began on January 9 and ended just over a week ago. (Daily court transcripts for each day of the trial are now posted here.)

The suit is led by the Coalition for Good Governance, a non-partisan election watchdog group headed up by frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks. It was during the course of pre-trial discovery that Marks discovered that Trump-lawyer Sidney Powell, and others on Team Trump, actually organized a scheme to breach the statewide voting systems in the Coffee County, GA elections office beginning on January 7th, 2021. The were given access to the systems by the local elections supervisor at the time and proceeded to copy its sensitive software before distributing it to parts unknown across the Internet. The unprecedented breach of GA's touchscreen voting systems and the central Election Management System (EMS), was never actually investigated by Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's office. It did, however, result in criminal charges against five co-conspirators among the 18 others charged along with Donald Trump in Fulton County, GA's broad felony indictment for his failed attempt to steal the state's 2020 Presidential election.

This civil case, however --- filed in federal court long before Trump pretended to have won the 2020 election --- seeks only to end the use of the state's vulnerable Dominion touchscreen systems. During the course of the trial, the plaintiff's expert, Dr. Alex Halderman, long time cybersecurity and voting system expert from the University of Michigan, demonstrated how he could take over control of one of the voting machines with little more than a ballpoint pen, without violating any of Georgia's security protocols or so-called "tamper evident security seals." In just seconds, Halderman revealed to the court how he could achieve "Super User Access" on the machines, allowing a bad guy to insert malware or take over any other number of system functions in that administrative mode. (Halderman has made clear he has found no evidence of fraud in GA's 2020 election.)

During the course of the trial, as Greenhalgh reports today, the state's Election Director conceded he didn't even know such a hack was possible, despite a detailed report Halderman submitted in the case several years ago. The State Election Director, apparently, never bothered to read it.

The State, however, for its part, maintains their systems are completely secure, despite a mountain of expert evidence to the contrary. Sec. of State Raffensperger is responsible for mandating the use of these machines for every voter at every polling place in the state. That, after the same judge in the same case, back in 2019, banned the use of the state's 20-year old touchscreens made by Diebold. Rather than move to hand-marked paper ballots, Raffensperger ignored the advise of cybersecurity and voting system experts and replaced the old Diebold touchscreens with new ones made by Dominion, with many of the same (and additional!) security flaws as the old systems.

During the course of the trial, as Greenhalgh breaks down today, nobody from the Office of Sec. of State was willing to identify who was in charge of cybersecurity for the 35,000 voting machines used across Georgia. "There was a bit of a 'Who's On First' routine" during the trial, she explains. The State Election Director, for example, testified that cybersecurity was the job of the State's Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO, however, testified that wasn't part of his portfolio, pointing back at the State Election Director. Raffensperger's office finally seemed to have settled on Dominion as the ones who were in charge of cybersecurity for Dominion voting systems in GA, the same company who created the vulnerable systems in the first place. "The Fox guarding the hen-house," quipped Greenhalgh.

Nobody from Dominion testified during the trial, she explained. And Raffensperger was similarly allowed to avoid testimony after appealing the District Court's mandate to do so up to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed him off the hook just days before the trial finally got underway. That, as his offices refuses to apply security patches urgently recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) based on the information in Halderman's report on GA's voting systems.

During the course of the trial, the judge, says Greenhalgh, cited "inconsistent candor" of state officials. As to the Coffee County Breach, she notes, the Sec. of State's "investigator got up on the stand and, under oath, said, 'I was told to hold off and not investigate.' He was asked specifically: 'So, did you perform any investigation activities?' 'No.' 'Did anyone else?' 'No, not to my knowledge...No, there was no investigation.'"

As you can tell, there is much to discuss with Greenhalgh on today's sorta mind-blowing edition of The BradCast, after the State's Defense rested and we now await a verdict from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg. That ruling could finally come...well, whenever. No rush. The Presidential Primary in Georgia is on Super Tuesday, March 5, exactly one month from today. Is it possible a ruling could come in time to save the 2024 general election this November?

We discuss all of that and much more with Greenhalgh on today's program. Buckle up...

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Guest: Voting system expert Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Our COVID chronicles continue; Biden charges Trump an 'insurrectionist', tried to 'steal' 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2024 6:05pm PT  

We're still fighting COVID, but we think we're almost over the hump on today's BradCast, just as a long awaited voting system trial in a critical swing-state is finally set to begin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, just as Desi had days earlier, I too tested positive for COVID. After avoiding it for four years, we both finally got hit. But, thanks to keeping up with our boosters, free rapid home tests and the miracle anti-viral drug Paxlovid, both she and I are almost back to normal this week. She is now testing negative and I am, very faintly, still positive, but suspect I'll be fully clear by tomorrow. Most of our symptoms are gone and, most importantly --- because we were both positive --- we're able to be in the same room again! So, I think we're finally back to our usual schedule after an unexpectedly long holiday break and a bumpy start to what is likely to be a very bumpy new year.

As it turns out, we're not the only ones swept up among the largest spate of cases in the U.S. since the initial Omicron wave back in late 2021. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise. If you haven't already, please get your COVID and flu shots this year, as that is also seeing a big bump right now. And, if you want to get over COVID quickly, ask your doctor for Paxlovid as soon as you test positive, because it must be taken right away. It has certainly worked wonders, so far, for us.

With that medical sidebar out of the way, for now, we're back to the grind of the 2024 elections and the former President's threat to American democracy itself on today's program. Last week, Donald Trump failed to sign a pledge against advocating for the overthrow of the government in his Illinois candidacy paperwork, despite signing the optional pledge when he ran in both 2016 and 2020.

And, on Friday, President Biden, in his campaign launch in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, called out Trump, by name (44 times), including as an "insurrectionist". During his remarks, marking the third anniversary of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, Biden also finally took our advice in calling out Trump in plain language for what he tried to do in 2020: "In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election."

Thank you, Mr. President.

As to helping to prevent another attempted election theft in 2024, the long-awaited federal trial finally begins in Georgia this week in Curling v. Raffensperger, the 2017 lawsuit led by our friend Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance. The suit seeks to the block the use of Georgia's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion and see them replaced with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots in the battleground state.

In 2019, the federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, blocked the further use of the state's old touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold, finding them to have unconstitutional security infirmities. Unfortunately, against the advice of cybersecurity and voting system experts, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger then moved the entire state to touchscreens made by a different manufacturer with many of the same problems featured in the old systems.

This is also the case which uncovered, during the discovery phase in 2022, the now-notorious Coffee County, GA voting system software breach by Team Trump. That unprecedented theft and distribution of sensitive voting system software resulted in the indictment [PDF] of Trump attorney and breach organizer Sidney Powell as part of Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis' criminal conspiracy charges against the disgraced former President and 18 co-conspirators.

As Washington Post detailed in its own lengthy preview on Sunday, the trial, set to begin this week, has already resulted in MAGA election deniers and conspiracists like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell pretending to be vindicated by one of the judge's earlier rulings finding that the Curling plaintiffs, unlike Lindell, are not "conspiracy theorists of any variety" and that, as Judge Totenberg found, they have the support of "some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists."

Those scientists and experts have documented how the touchscreen systems used across the entirety of Georgia (and in jurisdictions in more than a dozen states) are wildly "vulnerable" to hacking and system failure, even as no evidence has been found that the 2020 or 2022 elections were actually hacked. As Judge Totenberg noted in a 2020 ruling, the plaintiffs "convincingly present evidence that this is not a question of 'might this actually ever happen?' - but 'when it will happen,' especially if further protective measures are not taken."

We're joined today by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech for People. She has worked very closely on this case with the plaintiffs from Coalition for Good Governance and has joined us on the program many times to discuss it since it was initially filed seven years ago.

Among the details discussed in today's "curtain raiser" before trial: How Democrats have become frightened of challenging unverifiable voting systems in the wake of the MAGA election denial movement. The gob-smacking ruling on Friday from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that Raffensperger does not have to testify as a witness, despite the lower court judge ordering him to do so, and Raffensberger's insistence [PDF] in his own recent book, amusingly titled Integrity Counts, that "the ultimate fact-check in the United States...occurs in courts of law, where witnesses swear to tell the truth or risk imprisonment and where lawyers must also tell the truth or risk disbarment. If you want to know the truth, watch what happens in court."

Sadly, we won't be able to watch Raffensperger in court. He fought tooth and nail up to the appellate level to avoid 75 minutes of testimony as a witness in the Curling case.

Also, as Greenhalgh explains today, Raffensperger has now ordered the election security reviewer at the Sec. of State Office's "not to provide any reports in writing any longer, to only give them orally." She describes the order as "really strange," begging the question, yet again, as to why the rightwing 11th Circuit would allow Raffensperger to avoid testifying.

"There are a lot of questions that Raffensperger should be answering," she argues, while noting that despite the absence of the guy who, in defiance of experts, ordered the use of these machines in the first place --- and then failed to investigate the 2021 MAGA breach and distribution of statewide voting system software in Coffee County for more than a year --- there is still plenty of evidence for plaintiffs to make their case against these godforsaken, unreliable, unnecessary voting computers in advance of the 2024 general election.

"There are a lot of questions that really should have been answered by Raffensperger," Greenhalgh laments, before adding : "But they still have overwhelming evidence."

The trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday...

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Guest: Election technology expert Kevin Skoglund on why ES&S Ballot Marking Devices printed out the OPPOSITE of some voters' votes...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2023 6:09pm PT  

After a number of headlines on today's BradCast --- a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke last week --- we're on to our main story today. And it's a doozy.

Last month, during off-year elections in several states, touchscreen voting systems in Northampton County, Pennsylvania made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting system vendor, were discovered to be printing out the opposite of what voters had selected on their screens in two different statewide contests.

The so-called touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) used in Northampton, a suburban swing-county just outside of Philly in the critical battleground state, are supposed to print a ballot summary card, in human-readable language, based on selection made on the touchscreens, allowing voters to confirm their choices before those cards are then tabulated by an optical-scan computer. Similar systems are (shamefully) still used by about a fifth of the nation's voters on Election Day across the county, including in every precinct in the critical battleground state of Georgia and here in the nation's most populace County in Los Angeles.

But last month, on November 7th, there were two statewide retention elections for Judges, one Democratic and one Republican. If voters selected either YES or NO for both judges, everything printed out on the ballot cards as expected. But if they selected YES in one race and NO for the other, the system would flip their votes on the summary print-out. But here's the catch. It only flipped the votes on the human-readable portion of the ballot. The barcodes also printed on the ballot summary --- which humans cannot read --- as used for tabulation, recorded the votes correctly as cast.

As you can imagine, all of this resulted in chaos on Election Day. Some voters --- once precincts even noticed the problem --- began voting on hand-marked Emergency Paper Ballots instead. In PA, however, there are only about 20 such emergency ballots available at each precinct. They ran out very quickly.

After explanations by election officials and employees at ES&S (which did the programming of the computers for the election) on Election Day, a County judge ordered voters to begin using the touchscreen systems again. Some officials tried to ease voters worries by telling them they would just FLIP the votes after polls closed! In other precincts, voters were reportedly instructed to simply vote the opposite of what they actually wanted in those two contests.

This is the same County where, back in 2019, the first time these ES&S ExpressVoteXL systems were first deployed, the systems recorded zero votes for some races in certain precincts. One of those races, believe it or not, was for the County Judge who, this year, gave the okay to start using the misprogrammed systems again. He didn't receive zero votes in those precincts in 2019. In fact, he won the race for County Judge, as a post-election investigation would reveal.

So, what actually happened on November 7th last month? Longtime election technologist KEVIN SKOGLUND of Pennsylvania's nonpartisan Citizens for Better Elections, investigated to find out. He recently published a detailed report breaking down exactly what wrong. He was able to confirm that while the printed, human-readable text appeared to flip the votes in those two races, the human-unreadable barcode version of the ballot correctly reflected the intent of voters. In short, the votes were right, but the labels next to the two contests in question had been reversed.

As he explains on today's program, this is a programming error that, frankly, should never have been able to happen. Election Officials have long told skeptics of unverifiable touchscreen BMD systems that there was nothing to worry about, because the systems printed out a paper record of voters votes that they could approve before casting, and that the computer-printed barcodes or QRCodes would always match that human-readable text. In Northampton County last month, clearly they did not.

Skoglund also discusses the terrifying danger posed by a programming error like this --- whether it actually happens or voters simply claim that it did --- to next year's Presidential election in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and elsewhere where voters at the polls are forced to use the same or similar touchscreen systems to cast their ballots.

Describing BMDs like those used in Northampton as "a $9,000 pencil," Skoglund warns today that "events like this shake people's trust, with good reason."

"One of the core cybersecurity concerns is resilience," he tells me. "You want to have systems that can recover from problems. One of the reasons that we like hand-marked paper ballots is not just that the voter marks their ballot and verifies it all at the same time --- so there's not this extra step of checking if the machines works --- one of the other properties of them is their resilience. Because even if the power goes out, even if the machines all stop working, as long as you have a pen, you can mark the ovals on your ballot. But with these [BMD] machines, your 'pen' may just stop working. And you have to have a backup plan if that happens."

Clearly in Northampton, PA last month, there was no real backup plan. If something like this happens next year --- either real or manufactured by nefarious voters --- in even one precinct in PA or any of the other swing-states where similar systems are insanely still used by millions of voters, I shudder to think of what may happen next in this nation.

Incredibly enough, even after the failures in 2019 and 2023, Northampton plans to use the same systems again next year. We discuss that and much more related to all of this on today's show, before we receive phone calls near the end of the program from a few other election experts --- Susan Greenhalgh of FreeSpeechForPeople.org and Dr. Philip Stark, UC-Berkeley election expert and inventor of the post-election Risk Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol. Both have long warned of exactly this kind of election nightmare and have long urged all election officials to move to reliable, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots for all voters, other than for disabled voters who may choose to vote with an assistive technology.

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also in GA: Who leaked the Fulton County tapes?; Jail time for a Trump co-defendant?; Defamed Atlanta election workers seek millions from Rudy...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2023 6:57pm PT  

You may have noticed the nation is a bit of a tinder box right now. If the currently presumptive 2024 GOP nominee loses in Georgia again next year and just one precinct, out of thousands in the state, experiences something akin to what happened last week during elections in Northampton County, Pennsylvania... well, I don't even wanna think about the likely ramifications. Though we do discuss that today as part of our BradCast, which focuses almost exclusively on election-related lawsuits and criminal cases in the Peach State. Our guest is one of the plaintiffs in one of the most important cases you probably haven't heard about on your favorite cable news station. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The long-awaited Curling v. Raffensperger voting system trial is finally set to begin in Atlanta in January, just after the start of the new Presidential election year in the critical battleground state Originally filed in 2017, the long-running federal lawsuit has already been extraordinarily consequential.

Among other things, it resulted in the 2019 banning of Georgia's then nearly 20-year old, unverifiable, insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold after the judge still overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg, found the systems so deficient that their use was determined to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In response, and ignoring the advice of voting system and cybersecurity experts, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger replaced the Diebold systems with newer, similarly unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion. The plaintiffs challenged the use of those systems on similar Constitutional grounds, hoping to see the state move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots at all polling places, where voters are now forced to vote on the unverifiable touchscreen systems. Raffensperger has refused.

As AP noted last weekend, the case also "spawned a landmark expert report that identified vulnerabilities in the election system used in Georgia that led [the US Dept. of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA)] to issue an advisory" to all jurisdictions around the nation that use the same equipment, recommending they immediately apply security patches produced by Dominion to mitigate at least some of the systems' known insecurities. Raffensperger stunned the federal court in Atlanta earlier this year when his office announced they do not plan to apply the recommended security patches until after the 2024 Presidential election in the highly contested swing-state.

Perhaps most famously (or infamously?) the Curling case also resulted in the revelation of the January 7, 2021 statewide voting system software breach in Coffee County, GA. That led to the criminal indictment of Sidney Powell and four others, with Donald Trump, in Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy case against the former President and 18 alleged co-conspirators. The revelation of the unprecedented Coffee County breach, copying and Internet distribution of Dominion's sensitive software occurred when Atlanta bail bondsman, Scott Hall (who, along with Powell, has since pleaded guilty in the indictment), called and essentially confessed the entire plot to one of the plaintiffs in the 'Curling' case, who was smart enough to record the phone call. That call was originally aired by The BradCast in May of 2022.

That plaintiff, MARILYN MARKS, longtime, indefatigable election integrity champion and Executive Director of the non-profit good government group, Coalition for Good Governance, is once again our guest on today's program, as she and her team prepare for trial against Raffensperger and GA, now set by Judge Totenberg to begin on January 9th.

Late last week, Totenberg released a 135-page Opinion and Order [PDF], denying the State's attempt to dismiss the case and setting a trial date. For clarity, she took pains to note: "the record evidence does not suggest that the Plaintiffs are conspiracy theorists of any variety. Indeed, some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists have provided testimony and affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs' case in the long course of this litigation."

In the Order's conclusion, the federal judge emphasized: "The importance of the security, reliability, and functionality of state election systems, classified by the U.S. Homeland Security Department as critical national infrastructure, cannot be overstated in a world where cybersecurity challenges have exponentially increased in the last decade. The dynamics of how a breach in one part of a cyber system may potentially carry cybersecurity reverberations for the entire system for years to come exemplifies the important concerns raised in this case."

But, Totenberg also writes in her ruling that she is unable to order the use of a new voting system for the State, asserting that only the Legislature may do that. Thus, she urges the parties to find a compromise resolution. Nonetheless, as Marks explains today, this same judge, who will oversee a bench trial without a jury, found the old Diebold systems so dangerously deficient nearly five years ago, that she not only found them unconstitutional, she barred their use in any further Georgia elections.

"We've never asked for her to order hand-marked paper ballots," Marks clarifies today. "That ultimately just becomes the default, because state law already says that if the electronic system is not working, hand-marked paper ballots is what you go to. That's what the law says." She notes that Judge Totenberg "has the power to enjoin unconstitutional behavior, and that's what we are asking her to do."

"No amount of software patching is going to fix this Constitutional problem. No amount of so-called auditing. You can't do a real audit with those machine-printed ballots," argues Marks. After an election, only hand-marked paper ballots can be known to have been verified by the voter. Studies have found that voters didn't notice more than 93% of the time when a touchscreen voting system flipped their vote on a computer-printed paper ballot summary.

Last week, in Northampton, PA's elections, similar touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices to those used all across GA were showing voter selections one way on the screen in two different contests, in some cases, but printing the opposite on the paper that gets tallied. Imagine if that occurred in even one precinct next year in GA with Trump on the ballot. That is among the nightmare scenarios Marks is hoping to side-step by forcing the state to finally dump their insane --- and insanely expensive --- statewide system.

She says the solution is simple and inexpensive and can be done immediately. Emergency hand-markable paper ballots are already required at every precinct in the state. Just print more of them, and use the existing scanners in each polling location to tally them. "70% of Americans vote this way. This is not hard," Marks asserts. "Of course, the State pretends that it would take rocket science to make this happen."

There is, to say the least, much at stake in this upcoming trial, even as it is not receiving nearly the amount of attention of the other election-related case underway in GA right now, the Fulton County criminal case against Trump and his co-defendants. On that, we have some news as well on today's program, including...

  • An attorney for defendant Misty Hampton, the former Coffee County Elections Director, claims he is the one who leaked video proffers of Powell, Hall, and Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis to the media. But is he really?
  • Willis is seeking the jailing of co-defendant Harrison Floyd for attempted witness intimidation. He is among those indicted in the conspiracy for threatening Atlanta election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss over false claims that they carried out ballot fraud in 2020.
  • And Freeman and Moss are now seeking between $15 and $43 million from former NYC Mayor and Fulton County co-defendant Rudy Giuliani in their civil defamation trial against him in federal court. The Judge in that case has already found Giuliani liable. The D.C. trial set to begin in December against him will now determine how much he'll have to pay to the two women.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before our Thanksgiving break! We will be off --- from both The BradCast and GNR next week. So we send our best and thanks to everyone! We will return after the holiday...

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Public interest would be served if Sec. of State Raffensperger agreed to move to hand-marked paper ballots before 2024's Presidential elections...
By Marilyn Marks on 11/13/2023 10:15am PT  

(Additional reporting by Brad Friedman.)

All parties to the litigation received U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg's 135-page order [PDF] on Friday, in response to Georgia's Motion for Summary Judgement in the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG)'s years-long Constitutional challenge to the state's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems.

CGG will be going to trial as she denied the State's motion to dismiss our core claims regarding the critical battleground state's Ballot Marking Device (BMD) touchscreens. Trial is set to begin on January 9.

The Court described the inherent security flaws in Georgia's touchscreen voting system as well as the State's lack of response to the statewide system breaches emanating from the Coffee County breach activities we unearthed last year. That matter has now become infamous through Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' racketeering indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, four of whom she charged for their involvement in the unprecedented copying and distribution of the state's voting system software after breaching the machines at the elections office in the rural, southeastern Georgia county. Two of the alleged co-conspirators specifically involved in the Coffee County plot, Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall, have pleaded guilty in the matter.

The Court noted the misleading and conflicting claims by the defendant in our case, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, regarding the Coffee breaches (see p. 66 of the ruling) and his delayed and ineffective response. The Order notes how the breaches have grave implications for the security of future elections. Nonetheless, the Secretary and State Election Board have continued to bury their heads in the sand, not wanting to second guess the Secretary's 2019 purchase of the highly flawed system that experts have concluded is less secure than the old paperless Diebold touchscreen system Judge Totenberg ordered to be replaced in 2019....

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Huge ES&S touchscreen fail in PA county; Missing VBM ballots at OSU; Also: WI GOP advances impeachment against state Election Director; Meadows sued by own book publisher for lying about 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 5:55pm PT  

Today was Election Day in a bunch of states across the U.S. Important contests and ballot measures were before voters in this off-year election, including in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, parts of California and elsewhere. And, as covered on today's BradCast, things did not go well for voters in parts of at least two of those states on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • As we reported at The BRAD BLOG earlier today in some detail, new, unverifiable touchscreen voting machines made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. This wasn't the type of "flipping" that we've seen many times in the past, where the screens on the voting system are not calibrated correctly and when one tries to select a candidate, a different one gets highlighted instead. This was quite different.

    At a number of precincts across Northampton, a largely suburban enclave outside of Philly, when voters selected either "Yes" or "No" in a statewide retention election for each of two judges (one D and one R), everything presumably worked as expected. But if voters chose "Yes" for one of the judges and "No" for the other, their votes would get reversed to the opposite selections. Making matters worse, the computer printout of those votes would be reversed, while the screen itself would show the voters' actual selections.

    Back in 2019, as we reported at the time, just after the ES&S ExpressVote XL systems --- wildly expensive computerized electronic pencils --- were first purchased for use in Northampton, there were a number of candidates who learned after the election they had received ZERO votes on them. That, of course, was not true, and the paper printouts from the systems were eventually used to discern what were believed to be the correct results of the elections. But, of course, there is no way of knowing if the printed paper records were actually accurate, whether voters bothered to verify them, or if they did so correctly even if they tried to. That's just a few of the problems with every touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) used across the country. (For example, every voter at every polling place in the entire state of Georgia is still forced to use similarly unverifiable BMD systems made by Dominion Voting Systems.)

    Shamefully, after the 2019 disaster, PA's Northampton County didn't dump the machines then and there and move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots instead. Today, those same systems melted down for voters again. And, perhaps even more shamefully, the County officials who approved them for use in the first place were blaming everybody but themselves for it, including election officials and ES&S. Perhaps most shameful of all, one of the candidates who, in 2019, was reported to have received "zero" votes in his election at the time for Northampton County Judge, but later found that he had actually won the election, presided over what to do about today's mess. After the problems came to light, he was the Northampton County Judge who, rather than ordering a move to hand-marked provisional paper ballots, instructed election officials to continue using the machines despite the fact that they were reversing votes.

    One local outlet reporting on the mess described today's "solution" to the problem this way: "In cases where the error would pop up for the retention question, the county would flip the results during the post-election canvass." (!!!)

    As noted, this is just a mess. Much more on all of this on today's show. And, I suspect, we'll be covering it more in the days ahead. Let's hope there are no close elections either statewide or in Northampton when PA results are tabulated tonight.

  • Also today, it is being reported that, according to several nonpartisan voting rights groups, "an extraordinarily high number" of voters in the zip code of Ohio State University never received their requested absentee ballots by mail. The state held a critical election for a Constitutional measure today to protect abortion rights, as Republicans in the state, including its Sec. of State Frank LaRose, have pulled out all the stops to block the Amendment from passage (including recently purging 26,000 voters quietly from the rolls after the election had already begun.) There is also a proposal to approve recreational marijuana on Tuesday's ballot. Once again, the results, whatever they may be, better not be close, or there will be some hell to pay in the Buckeye State, I suspect.
  • In Wisconsin, Republicans appear to be working hard to ensure chaos for next year's critical Presidential election in the Badger State. State Assembly speaker Robin Vos, last week, advanced 15 articles of impeachment against the state's top election official, as part of their years long effort to blame someone --- anyone! --- for Donald Trump's 2020 loss in the battleground state.
  • And, speaking of 2020, Mark Meadows, Trump's former Chief of Staff and current co-defendant in the conspiracy case against them and 17 others for attempting to steal the Presidential election in Georgia, is being sued by his own book publisher. The publisher, All Seasons Press, claims that Meadows' reported cooperation in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment against Trump for his attempt to steal the 2020 election, contradicts Meadows claims in his book that the election was "rigged" and "stolen". ASP is now suing Meadows for millions. And it's hilarious.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Australia braces for another record bushfire season amid an El Nino; October 2023 is officially declared the hottest October ever recorded on the planet; Michigan enacts sweeping climate and environmental legislation; and President Biden unveils the nation's largest investment in rail travel in 50 years...

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In 2019, same machines recorded ZERO votes for some candidates
NOW UPDATED WITH MORE DETAILS...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 11:46am PT  

Unfortunately, this "programming error" being reported during today's off-year elections in Pennsylvania is hardly the first time that these terrible touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S and shamefully still used in Northampton County --- just outside of Philly --- have failed during a critical election day.

As reported this morning by the Lehigh Valley News...

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A flaw in Northampton County's voting machines forced multiple polling places to turn to provisional ballots Tuesday morning.

A programming error with the county's ES&S ExpressVote XL machines is causing votes to flip when voters split their votes on [statewide] retention questions for Superior Court judges Jack Panella and Victor P. Stabile. Panella, of Palmer Township, is a Democrat while Stabile is a former chair of the Cumberland County Republican Committee.

If a voter cast a "Yes" vote for one of the incumbents, but a "No" vote for the other, the votes come out flipped, Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said.

McClure characterized the error as relatively minor and stressed all votes will be counted. But he expressed his frustration that the mistake wasn't caught during pre-election testing.

"I'm livid at the election folks and ES&S," McClure said.

This is only "relatively minor" for those who continue to support using unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting systems rather than simple, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots, which appear to have saved the day here (hopefully), in any case...

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

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Bad news for Trump in second rape, defamation suit and on his Constitutional eligibility for the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2023 6:31pm PT  

It's been a few months since she's been on BradCast, but she returns today, for the first time since the sprawling RICO indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators for attempting to steal Georgia's 2020 Presidential election. The indictment includes charges based on a phone call she received --- and was smart enough to have recorded --- from a Team Trumper who essentially confessed to the now-notorious breach of the state's voting system software in Coffee County. She deserves, and receives, a bit of a victory lap today, while breaking still more news about the breach which, she warns, has yet to be investigated by the state's Secretary of State or its Board of Elections in advance of 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first up today, a few somewhat related items...

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that E. Jean Carroll's upcoming civil trial against Trump will only be on damages --- how much he will have to pay the former magazine columnist who accused him of raping her in the 1990's and then lying about her years later. A civil trial that ended in May found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamatory remarks made about Carroll in 2022. Today, the judge found that the previous finding of assault and defamation already establish Trump's liability regarding defamatory comments he made about her in 2019, while serving as President and, therefore, the only question to be resolved in this separate suit is how much he will have to pay her. She is seeking not less than $10 million in this case and the judge has allowed her to add defamatory comments Trump made about Carroll on a CNN Townhall the day after he was found liable in the earlier case.

Picking up on our detailed coverage on yesterday's show of the various chief election officials around the country now grappling with whether Trump is even eligible for the 2024 ballot next year, based on his violation of the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3), the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's eligibility for the ballot in Colorado on Wednesday on behalf of six Republican and unaffiliated voters there. The matter is likely to move quickly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, given that the state must settle its 2024 Primary ballot by January 5th!

A hearing was held on Wednesday in Fulton County, Georgia in Fanni Willis' RICO case [PDF] against Trump with co-defendant attorneys Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors plot) and Sidney Powell (alleged organizer of the Coffee County voting system software breach) each seeking to be tried quickly and alone. The judge appears to have agreed on "quickly", setting a trial date for both beginning on October 23. But he he denied their motion to have their cases severed from each other. Still to be determined, however: the question of whether all 19 co-defendants must be tried at the same time, as Willis' team argues, given that guilt for any one defendant in the covert actions listed in the RICO charge (Count 1 of 41) means that all co-conspirators are guilty under state law. Prosecutors told the judge today that they expect the trial to take at least four months and will include more than 150 witnesses. (One of whom might be our guest on today's show!)

At the same time, a filing last week in the case by Powell claims she had nothing at all to do with the scheme to unlawfully breach, copy and distribute Georgia's state voting system software in the rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. A report last week at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, however, which (literally) has the receipts, suggests otherwise.

But all of that --- including the receipts --- is only known publicly thanks to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the small, critical non-profit, Coalition for Good Governance. As first aired on this program in May of last year, Marks received a phone call from an Atlanta bail bondsman named Scott Hall, who, essentially, confessed to the entire Coffee County scheme. That is how we even know that the breach happened at all, and why four people involved with it --- one of whom is Powell, another of whom is Hall --- were charged last month in the scheme that still endangers elections both across the entire state of Georgia, where the same systems will be used again next year, and in more than a dozen other states.

Marks explains today how Hall originally "confessed" to the breach after calling out of the blue to bully her into turning over documents from her long-running civil lawsuit which is challenging the use of GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's unverifiable, wildly insecure touchscreen voting systems. Hall claimed he had actually "hacked" into her group's legal documents.

"Instead of slamming the phone down, which was my first inclination, I instead decided to go into playing the sweet little old lady mode," Marks explains today, noting that she "kept him on the phone for about an hour" before he "just blurted out" the fact that he and other MAGA folks were allowed in to the Coffee County elections building to scan, image and copy everything. Two local officials, Coffee's then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and the County's GOP chair Cathy Latham, have also been indicted in the same RICO conspiracy. (In addition to helping facilitate the software breach, Latham is also charged for her role as a fake elector in Georgia.)

Marks quipped that Hall has likely by now "realized that he, unlike Trump, had not made a 'perfect phone call."

In the meantime, Marks warns that, despite the indictments, the threat posed by the breach has still not been fully investigated by either federal or state officials. Two and a half years since the breach, which she believes Raffensperger learned of almost immediately afterward and has been covering up, "the Secretary and State Election Board have not even begun an investigation of Coffee County," Marks emphasized, telling me that "there are so many people that were involved in the Coffee County Breach that have not been held to any kind of accountability."

"What they did was just turn the criminal aspects of this over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation," she asserts. "But they are doing nothing at all. They have not even conducted one interview. They have not picked up the first piece of paper. They have not done anything to consider what are the impacts on the voting system? What are the impacts for future elections? How did this go wrong? What kind of better rules should have been in place? What kind of reporting structure should we have had? They have still not put in a single rule or requirement for reporting a security incident. If Coffee happened today, they would not have to report it."

That, Marks warns, remains a serious threat moving forward, especially since the software still remains in the wild and Raffensperger has refused to install Dominion touchscreen voting system security patches certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and strongly recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the wake of the January 7th, 2021 breach in Coffee County until after the 2024 elections.

Marks' long-running lawsuit seeking to replace Raffensperger's Dominion touchscreens with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots is finally set to go on trial in January. "We are really looking forward to putting on all of this evidence," she tells me, after explaining why the Coffee County breach is so key to her case. "And, certainly we are hoping for a decision that will at least protect the November elections for 2024. After all, these breaches that happened in Coffee County --- they are still ongoing."

"Remember, all that software was posted on the Internet. Lots of people took it. Nothing has been done to mitigate it. So, if you think about it, every day that people have their hands on that software, sharing it with others, the breach continues."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Critics charge state laws block him from doing so, even if he wanted to...
By Douglas Lucas on 7/5/2023 11:24am PT  

Despite newly revealed cybersecurity flaws in Georgia's statewide touchscreen voting systems; a weeks-long breach by right-wing operatives of the sensitive voting and tabulation software used across the state; and a growing clamor by both the public and state officials for decisive action to try to plug some of these vulnerabilities before next year's Presidential election, all evidence obtained by The BRAD BLOG to date suggests Georgia's Secretary of State has little interest in taking any action at all. At least not before next year's critical contests in the battleground state.

Even if Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger did want to take action, we have learned, he has yet to even begin necessary steps toward state certification of Dominion Voting Systems' newly created software said to remedy some of the recently disclosed cybersecurity flaws. Moreover, well-informed critics argue any software upgrades to the state's touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) would still result in violations of fundamental legal requirements for the state's voting systems.

The path toward nailing down what Raffensperger's office is or isn't doing; what they may or may not do under state law; and what they are or aren't telling the public about all of it has been an odyssey over the past days, amid misleading discussion with a representative of the Secretary's office, contrary information from an official at one of the country's few certified independent voting system test labs, and a curious admission by a representative for Dominion, the state's election system vendor.

The only thing fully clear as of now: Despite calls from cybersecurity and elections experts to mend Georgia's insecure, unverifiable voting systems before next year's Presidential contest, the state insists they will not be upgrading the Dominion voting software until 2025. What has become clearer to us in recent days is that the Secretary of State cannot upgrade the systems legally, at this point, even if he wanted to --- which, evidently, he does not...

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

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Guest: Election expert Dr. Philip Stark of UC-Berkeley; Also: More Alito corruption; More on the 'single most important constitutional case for American Democracy since the Nation's Founding'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2023 6:40pm PT  

Yup. We're heading back to the critical battleground state of Georgia again on today's BradCast, as their ridiculous Sec. of State gets ridiculouser in his indefensible defenses of his ridiculously vulnerable, brand-new touchscreen voting systems which he is still refusing to upgrade, despite warnings from the federal government and increasing urging from voting system and cybersecurity experts. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST, a few more quick words on yesterday's landmark U.S. Supreme Court opinion [PDF] in Moore v. Harper, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and two Trump-appointed Justices joined with the Court's three liberals to put the kibosh, hopefully once and for all, on the bonkers, so-called Independent State Legislature theory pushed by far-rightwingers. Had SCOTUS given a majority blessing to the fringe Constitutional theory giving complete, unreviewable say over all federal election laws to State Legislatures, it would have wreaked indescribable havoc on some 250 years of election laws across all 50 states. It would also have given authority to those State Legislatures to overturn Presidential elections by selecting slates of electors not chosen by state voters!

As one of the nation's most conservative and respected former federal judges, Michael Luttig, tweeted today: "It would be impossible to overstate the [enormousness] of yesterday's seminal decision in Moore v. Harper. Not only is it now the single most important constitutional case for American Democracy since the Nation's Founding almost 250 years ago. ... It is also now one of the most important constitutional cases for representative government in America. ... Today, it takes its deserved place in the pantheon of great Supreme Court cases that give meaning to the Constitution's genius of a separation of powers --- among the national Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary, and also between the national government and the governments of the respective 50 states of the United States."

But there were three Justices who voted in the minority in that case. As it turns out, all three of them were recently highlighted by investigate journalists for their, shall we say, dubious ethics practices. Clarence Thomas (see here, here, here and here), Neil Gorsuch (see here), and Sam Alito (see here).

In addition to Alito's undisclosed, luxury fishing trip to Alaska on the private jet (and dime) of GOP megadonor and vulture capitalist billionaire Paul Singer, as revealed by ProPublica last week, this week The Intercept offers a new story shedding some fresh light on Alito's years of climate change-denialism and his Court decisions on behalf of the oil and gas industry.

NEXT UP, it's back to Georgia, where Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger is reportedly giving testimony in Atlanta today to prosecutors working on Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe of the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the other myriad ways in which Team Trump attempted to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. (One of those ways included Donald Trump's now-infamous phone call to Raffensperger, attempting to strongarm him to "find" the 11,780 votes he would have needed to flip the state's results from the winner, Joe Biden.)

But where Raffy has been seen as a hero by some for refusing to roll over to Trump after the 2020 election, we have explained for years that he is anything but. Now, he's under fire for the massive vulnerabilities discovered by cybersecurity and voting system experts in his new, $150 million Dominion touchscreen voting systems, and for his refusal, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG in mid-May, to install Dominion's security patches to them before the 2024 Presidential election. That, despite urgent warnings from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and many longtime election experts and computer scientists.

Now, Raffensperger's office is going on the offensive, attacking those experts as "paranoiacs and conspiracists", attempting to conflate them with the rightwing, Sidney Powell-organized MAGA loons who tried to steal the election in 2020 and breached the state's voting systems in Coffee County, GA on January 7th, 2021, the day after the Trump-insighted insurrection in D.C.

"The paranoiacs and conspiracists of the world have their beliefs reinforced when they read reports of theoretical 'vulnerabilities' that fail to mention the real-world security measures already in place," sniped Mike Hassinger, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, to Politico last week. "If the PhDs don’t like being put in the same category as the Pillow salesman, tough noogies," he actually said. "They should stop saying similar things."

We're joined today by one of those paranoiac conspiracist PhD's on today's program. Our guest is DR. PHILIP STARK, Professor at University of California, Berkeley; inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit protocol; Advisory Board member at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) and advisor to plaintiffs in the long-running Curling v. Raffensperger lawsuit in Georgia seeking to replace the state's new vulnerable and unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. (The same plaintiffs in the same federal lawsuit were able to win an order from the judge in 2019 that banned the state's previous touchscreen systems made by Diebold after they were found to be so vulnerable and unverifiable as to be unconstitutional.)

Stark has a few choice words of his own in response to both the obnoxious and un-scientific remarks from the Sec. of State's office as well as Dominion, both of whom have been blasting the damning Halderman Report, as created on behalf of plaintiffs in Curling and finding at least nine alarming vulnerabilities confirmed by CISA in the Dominion systems. Both the State and private voting system vendor claim that the Univ. of MI's Dr. Alex Halderman failed to take into account, in his report, the physical protections of the state's 70,000 vote system devices. They believe that will adequately protect next year's Presidential election in the battleground state. In doing so, they seem to be pretending that the Coffee County breach by Team Trump in 2021 didn't already run roughshod over the state's voting systems, including by copying and distributing its sensitive, proprietary software over the Internet.

"If [Raffensperger's] spokesperson can't tell the difference between what we're saying and what the [MAGA] group is saying, then they are not competent to do their job," charges Stark.

"There is a world of difference between 'This system is Swiss cheese from a perspective of security, it's really vulnerable and you need to harden it,' and 'The election was rigged and the wrong person was announced to have won.' That's just not the same claim at all. Secondly, the idea that we should stop pointing out vulnerabilities and trying to improve the trustworthiness of voting systems because someone might twist our words --- the argument seems to be 'You should lie to people in order to increase their trust in you' --- that seems to be perverse. What we want is justified public trust in the outcome of elections."

He summarizes some of the most noteworthy concerns from the Halderman Report --- detailing the ease by which malware can be implanted into the system by a single voter via any one of the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines or by one person at the County level who can infect every machine in the jurisdiction --- before explaining how inadequate and naive the Secretary's responses have been.

Both Raff's office and Dominion cite a competing study to Halderman's commissioned by Dominion from a group named MITRE. Their unsigned report was created without access to the Dominion machines, unlike Halderman's report, and offers the misleading claim that physical security of the voting systems is likely adequate to prevent exploitation of the vulnerabilities meticulously documented by Halderman. Stark is among nearly 30 election experts now calling on MITRE to retract their report on that basis and others.

"First of all, they're just wrong," Stark charges, wondering what their instructions may have been from Dominion. "I conjecture that they were told to assume that those [physical] protections were in place. I doubt that they did any independent research to determine whether in fact there were effective protections in place."

"I liken this to saying it's completely fine to drive a car on bald tires, as long as you have a policy of only driving straight on dry pavement and never turning sharply, or applying the brakes. Except that's not how it actually works in practice. And here, it's very, very clear that the assumption that there is rigorous physical security around these devices is just not true."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and new fake electors news; Also: Santos charged with 13 federal felonies...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2023 6:27pm PT  

It's been quite the GOP crime wave this week on The BradCast. But today, in addition to that we've got some disturbing --- if not entirely unrelated --- kinda mind-blowing exclusive news out of a federal courtroom in the great state of Georgia. [Audio link to full show follows at the bottom of this summary.]

After quickly covering today's news on the 13-count federal indictment [PDF] filed in New York against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress, it's back to Georgia.

We have, for years now, been covering the long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of the state's expensive, unverifiable, and --- according to one of the nation's top experts --- wildly vulnerable and insecure touchscreen voting systems.

The touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) systems made by Dominion Voting, currently in use in Georgia, were selected for use in 2020 by Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. He did so against the strong recommendations of cybersecurity and voting system experts following a ruling by a federal judge, in 2019, barring the further use of the state's previous touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg found the previous systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, thus, unconstitutional. Unfortunately, instead of moving to a hand-marked paper ballot system at the time, as strongly recommended by experts, Raffensperger chose new touchscreen systems that had many of the same problems as the old ones.

The plaintiffs in the original federal case, Curling v. Raffensperger, quickly moved to bar the Dominion systems from being forced on every voter at every polling place in the state, as Raffensperger demanded. That suit continues. As part of it, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, an expert for the plaintiffs, was allowed to examine the Dominion touchscreen systems and found vulnerabilities so serious that Judge Totenberg sealed his complete findings, even from the plaintiffs! The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however, was allowed to review Halderman's sealed report and made a list of critical software and physical security recommendations for the continued use of those systems in the battleground state.

Now, according to the transcript [PDF] from a hearing in Judge Totenberg's court last week in the Curling case, an attorney for the Sec. of State's office explained that while Dominion has completed CISA's recommended upgrades to the software and has had them certified for use by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) in late March, the state will not be installing those software upgrades until after the 2024 Presidential election.

As explained to the judge by the State's attorney Bryan Tyson, after spending hours "with the technical staff in the Secretary's office" and "hearing from folks with Dominion", it was determined that upgrades to the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines would be delayed until 2025.

"No jurisdiction has yet installed that upgrade...It has not been used in any election yet," Tyson told Judge Totenberg. "The upgrade process is a very intensive multistep process that involves multiple pieces of media, multiple components, and it involves touching every piece of the election system."

He explained that "every ballot-marking device has to have three different pieces of media installed on it to complete the upgrade. Every precinct scanner has to be upgraded. Every central count scanner has to be upgraded. And every election management server also has to either be replaced or upgraded. So, the implementation process for doing that is very involved."

According to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the Curling case, plaintiffs were stunned by the news. "You could hear gasps in the courtroom," she tells us today. "2025?! Immediately everyone thought, 'Presidential election, Georgia swing state.' We will have no way of knowing who won. And let's don't forget how much of a tinderbox Georgia was after the 2020 election. I believe it was a key part of the tinderbox that led to the insurrection. We're asking for it again."

There is, obviously, a lot to discuss on this matter with Marks today, including the most obvious point that, had Raffensperger listened to the experts and gone with hand-marked paper ballots, upgrading just one scanner per precinct for security reasons would have been a hell of a lot easier, faster, and cheaper, than upgrading every single voting machine --- 35,000 of them --- across the state.

"And we're not even beginning to talk about all of the warranty costs, maintenance costs, and printer costs and all that this system involves, when we're talking about just being a substitute for a ball-point pen," laments Marks. In addition to the time the State claims it will now take, she estimates the cost for upgrading the otherwise brand-new, $150 million system just purchased for first-time use in 2020 is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. "I don't think that $50 million and upwards is going to surprise anyone."

So, there is much more to discuss about all of this with Marks. Please tune in for the full conversation. But there was one more stunning bit of related breaking news from Marks today...

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

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