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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By John Gideon on 11/7/2008 4:38pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today we have reports that ES&S software actually flipped votes in three races at one polling place in Crawford Co., Kansas. We also have reports that ES&S software incorrectly reported results in one race in Polk Co., North Carolina.

The long count of votes in Hillsborough Co., Florida, seems to be over with the blame for problems being put, where else, on “human error.” It seems that Premier/Diebold had warned Florida users of their high-speed OSX voting machines that those machines could not take a high-volume of ballots without bogging down and causing problems. Hillsborough ignored that warning. However, why would a vendor put out a system for use in elections that cannot be used in a high-volume of ballots. King Co., Washington, wanted badly to use that system. If they had it would have been a disaster....

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




End of Year Letter Describes Plan to Identify, Challenge Voters in 2008...
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2007 12:15pm PT  

"To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!" brags Kansas GOP chairman Kris Kobach in his end-of-year letter.

Blue Tide Rising has the scoop, along with details on what "vote caging" is, for those who don't know by now. We should note, however, it's not immediately clear from Kobach's letter what exactly he means by his use of the term, and if he's referring to the illegal type of caging or not.

In any case, it's clear that the undemocratic (small "d") practice of working to keep Democratic (large "D") voters off the rolls, through any means necessary, in order to keep them from voting, through any means necessary, has been mainlined as perhaps the top strategy for the GOP in 2008. Even Bush's Dept. of Justice, under the hand of John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, has now been officially mobilized to direct such practices on behalf of the Republican States of America.

For more, see PBS's long-overdue video report from last summer, on the GOP's sordid history of vote caging and the corporate American mainstream media's failure to cover it when it might have mattered.

Plus, Crooks & Liars has details on the piece of work that is this Kris Kobach, a former counsel to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.




Since the EAC Refuses to Notify Them, We Hope You Will...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2007 4:32pm PT  

A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.

Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.

Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:

The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.

The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).




The First Amendment Wins Again...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2007 6:35pm PT  

Still more good news today! The appellate court in Missouri agrees with The BRAD BLOG!

The stories that were censored in Kansas over the weekend, regarding allegations of wrongdoing by the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, have now been un-censored:

On Friday, a Jackson County judge barred The Kansas City Star from publishing an article based on the document and ordered the newspaper to remove an article from its Web sites Friday night.

But on Tuesday the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District ruled that the Friday action was unenforceable, and that had the effect of allowing publication.

Late Sunday night, The BRAD BLOG exclusively ran the censored stories in full --- in First Amendment solidarity with the two censored papers --- in the belief that the stories are in the public interest. Looks like the appellate court agrees with us.

As we've got our hands more than full, we'll leave it to the folks in Kansas now to deal with the substance of the story itself (which was/is quite troubling). In any case, we'll consider this a happy ending. For a change.




In Support of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America...
[NOW UPDATED: To Include 'The Pitch' Version of the Story in full, along with the Kansas City Star's]
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2007 12:40am PT  

UPDATE 3/6/06: Appellate judge overturns ruling! Story now un-censored! Glad we were right on this one from the get-go! Details...

===

Ed Note: Since running this story originally, the Google cache has also now been purged of the censored documents. Fortunately, we screen-captured and ran the text in full for each story below, as we believe them to be in the public interest. We have retained all of the original links to the locations of the story, despite their having been scrubbed.

A judge in Kansas City, Kansas, on Friday issued a temporary restraining order requiring that two area newspapers remove articles from their website which reported on alleged malfeasance by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Moorhouse found in a 3-page order [PDF] that the stories were based on privileged attorney-client information, which was leaked to the newspapers, and that publication of any portion of it would cause "irreparable harm" to the BPU.

The Kansas City Star and The Pitch, a local news weekly, both reported about the forced removal of the material and their intention to appeal the rare judicial decision to censor their reporting. A story was also run about the matter by AP.

At the end of this article The BRAD BLOG will run the Kansas City Star's short article in full since it has been ordered removed --- foolishly in our opinion, particularly in the Internet age when such stories are instantly archived, as was this one, by Google's cache engine --- and appears clearly to be in the best interest of the public and their right to know about how their public utilities are being run...

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




While 150,000 Votes Already Miscounted or Lost!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 11:50am PT  

Yesterday Bev Harris' BlackBoxVoting.org site began issuing "Bandwidth Exceeded" messages to users attempting to access the site. Such a message generally occurs when more users are attempting to access the site than the server can comfortably handle or when the bandwidth allocated by the domain's Internet Provider is exceeded.

Today, attempts to access the site now simply return a "Cannot Find Server" page, leading me to believe that hack attempts and/or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been successful for the time being. [UPDATE: BlackBoxVoting.org is now finally back online. At least for now.]

We have had such attacks here at the BRAD BLOG for the last three days which have taken us similarly down and/or greatly slowed page retrieval at various times. Given the much higher profile BBV has had, it's little surprise that folks who'd rather see patriotic efforts like theirs discontinued would work feverishly to disrupt it.

Ms. Harris and BBV has been spearheading a huge "Freedom of Information Act" filing to collect and review audit logs and other materials from the election in some 3,000 US counties, and thus, her group has attracted quite a bit of attention in the past week. BBV has been attempting to warn Americans for at least the past year about the ticking time-bombs of unregulated, unauditable, and privately owned Electronic Voting machines and their corporate owners (the vast majority of them very closely tied to the Republican party).

Attempts to silence and/or disrupt sites like hers and ours, I believe, speak volumes in support of the underlying charges that we've been making. If there was nothing to fear in examining the inner-workings of these companies, and the way that our votes our counted --- specifically in last week's election --- there would be no reason to attempt to silence and disrupt those who are attempting to do so.

In other words, if the election was clean and fair, what's the fear of giving it a close inspection?

Now perhaps the problem at BBV really is simply related to an overage of bandwidth demand, however, given past attacks the site has received, similar attacks here, and the message changing from "Bandwidth Exceeded" to "Cannot Find Server", I'm inclined to believe that the problem is hostile attacks.

To those who claim that the roughly 150,000 (so far) documented votes that have been reported and confirmed by Election Officials as being mis-allocated would not have changed any election results, I'd point out:

1) Those are just the numbers reported by a mainstream media which by and large went "on vacation" after Kerry's "concession" last Wednesday.

2) Many of those mistabulated and/or lost votes discovered were due to software errors that likely exist on many other identical computers in many other counties in America where they may not yet have been noticed and/or reported.

3) The results of at least one ballot initiative last Tuesday has already been reversed when 70,000 previously mis-counted votes due to "software error" were "discovered" in Broward County, FL!

4) There has been a long record of elections in this country being mis-tabulated and/or reversed due to Electronic Voting Machine error in recent history.

Chapter 2 of Bev Harris' book, Black Box Voting outlines tons of those recently overturned elections. Here's the PDF version of Chapter 2, but since it's currently offline as of this posting, here's a summary of just a few such recent incidents summarized courtesy of Hunter over at DailyKos:

In the 2002 general election, a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina. Incorrect programming caused machines to skip several thousand partyline votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election for state representative.
...
Voting machines failed to tally "yes" votes on the 2002 school bond issue in Gretna, Nebraska. This error gave the false impression that the measure had failed miserably, but it actually passed by a 2 to 1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that had provided the ballots and the machines.
...
An Orange County, California, election computer made a 100 percent error during the April 1998 school bond referendum. The Registrar of Voters Office initially announced that the bond issue had lost by a wide margin; in fact, it was supported by a majority of the ballots cast. The error was attributed to a programmer's reversing the "yes" and "no" answers in the software used to count the votes.
...
Software programming errors, sorry. Oh, and reverse that election, we announced the wrong winner. In the 2002 Clay County, Kansas, commissioner primary, voting machines said Jerry Mayo ran a close race but lost, garnering 48 percent of the vote, but a hand recount revealed Mayo had won by a landslide, receiving 76 percent of the vote.
...
In the November 2002 general election in Scurry County, Texas, poll workers got suspicious about a landslide victory for two Republican commissioner candidates. Told that a "bad chip" was to blame, they had a new computer chip flown in and also counted the votes by hand --- and found out that Democrats actually had won by wide margins, overturning the election.
...
In 1986 the wrong candidate was declared the winner in Georgia. Incumbent Democrat Donn Peevy was running for state senator in District 48. The machines said he lost the election. After an investigation revealed that a Republican elections official had kept uncounted ballots in the trunk of his car, officials also admitted that a computerized voting program had miscounted. Peevy insisted on a recount. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "When the count finished around 1 a.m., they [the elections board] walked into a room and shut the door," recalls Peevy. "When they came out, they said, `Mr. Peevy, you won.' That was it. They never apologized. They never explained."
...
A software programming error gave the election to the wrong candidate in November 1999 in Onondaga County, New York. Bob Faulkner, a political newcomer, went to bed on election night confident he had helped complete a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel. Just a few hours later, election officials discovered that a software programming error had given too many absentee ballot votes to Lytel. Faulkner took the lead.
...
In a 1998 Salt Lake City election, 1,413 votes never showed up in the total. A programming error caused a batch of ballots not to count, though they had been run through the machine like all the others. When the 1,413 missing votes were counted, they reversed the election.

If an official investigation doesn't take place immediately, there is little hope of determing the correct winner of any number of races from last week's election. Not the least of which is the race for President of the United States. And I would think, especially after four years of questions about George W. Bush's legitimacy as "President" that even the Right Wingnuts would like to be able to demonstrate once and for all to the American People that he was, in fact, legitimately elected this time.

For more on the suddenly silent Right Wingers, see my recent BuzzFlash Editorial. And be sure to sign this Online Petition calling for an immediate investigation!




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