A conservative justice has weathered attempts to link him to Wisconsin's governor and a divisive union rights law and won re-election, according to county vote totals finalized Friday.
Tallies from each of the state's 72 counties show Justice David Prosser defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes. State election officials said they will wait to declare an official winner until the deadline for Kloppenburg to seek a recount passes. She has until Wednesday to call for one.
If Kloppenburg decides to opt for a "recount" the costs would be paid for by the state, since the canvassed results have her trailing by less than 0.5% statewide. Prosser's margin of victory, according to the currently reported numbers, should they become official, would be just 0.488%.
The official canvassing process in Milwaukee (and, indeed, the bulk of Wisconsin), is little more than a reconciliation of the number of voters who signed into poll books, plus the number of voters who registered at the polls on Election Day, plus any absentee ballots not scanned at the polling place (as in Milwaukee, where absentees are now scanned centrally, instead of at the polling place) plus a few provisional ballots later verified and counted, as matched against the number of votes reportedly cast, according to results tapes printed out by optical-scan computers such as those made by Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Populex.
Actual results reported by those computers are not verified by human beings as being accurate during the canvass process. Only the number of ballots cast is reconciled, not the actual votes for each candidate, in general. That, despite the fact that hand-marked paper ballots exist --- and could be counted for accuracy --- for the vast majority of the votes cast across the state on April 5th...
As several folks have requested, here is my "Special Comment" on "Democracy's Gold Standard" in the wake of Wisconsin's Supreme Election Debacle from my final night of the week guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show last Friday night. It's presented here in quick and dirty video form in hopes that it'll get a few more eyes and ears than just the audio would by itself...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
• UPDATED 2:59pm PT with additional reporting from Brad Friedman
With 100% of the precincts now reporting unofficial results, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg leads Justice David Prosser by a remarkably thin 204 votes out of some 1.5 million ballots cast in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race --- according to the computers that count votes in the state.
Despite Kloppenburg's tiny reported lead, the race is virtual dead heat in what might otherwise be a little-noticed state Supreme Court election. The race, however, has been turned into a proxy battle between supporters of the state's controversial new Republican Gov. Scott Walker (who Prosser has allied himself with) and union workers and their supporters who oppose Walker and the state GOP's attempt to legislate away the freedom of citizens to collectively bargain through public worker unions. Outside groups, according to NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, are said to have spent a record $3.5 million on so-called "issue ads" to support their favored candidate in the closing days of the election.
For proponents of Election Integrity, there is both good news and bad in the Badger State. The good news: most of the state's voters used verifiable hand-marked paper ballots to record their votes yesterday. The bad news: Those ballots are counted by easily-manipulated, oft-failed computers instead of human beings; 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines are used by some voters with disabilities across the state; and, given close results, even if a hand-count of paper ballots occurs, as is likely, the number of votes cast on unverifiable DREs could end up being larger than the final margin between the two candidates --- meaning that it will be, literally, impossible to know for certain who actually won the election...
100+ Diebold voting machines, known for how easily they can be hacked, available now on EBay
You really can get anything on EBay, even electronic voting machines proved to be easy to corrupt for purposes of voting fraud.
Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog first noticed that "more than 10" AccuVote-TS voting machines, built by Diebold, were being sold on the online auction site for the buy-it-now price of $1,200 (plus $50 shipping and handling).
The machines are used and don't come with user's manuals, power supplies, batteries or memory cards, which may explain their discounted price. However, for those who wish to rig elections, machines like these are priceless.
Friedman was contacted by the seller, who told him that he had more than 100 of the electronic voting machines that were originally used in Van Wert County, Ohio.
AccuVote-TS voting machines were also used in New Jersey, when a professor at Princeton demonstrated how easy the Diebold machines were to manipulate for nefarious means.
Long time readers of The BRAD BLOG likely recall the Princeton hack came about when VelvetRevolution.us (as co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) gave the Diebold touch-screen system to computer scientists there for the --- at the time --- highly secretive, first-of-its-kind examination, after we'd received the machine from a source of ours. We originally broke the story of that hack exclusively both here at The BRAD BLOG and in a slightly shorter version at Salon.
The alarming hack --- which demonstrated how a virus could be inserted into one of these systems and invisibly flip the results of an entire election --- received a great deal of attention from the mainstream media at the time, and was even covered in a live video demonstration on Fox "News". (See that video at right.)
Though the Princeton hack was on a Diebold AccuVote TS (with no so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" printer) versus the TSX model (with VVPAT) being sold now on eBay, the many ways available to game them in order to flip election results with very little possibility of detection are essentially the same...
P.S. I should probably come up with a name for this show. Anybody have any good ideas?
P.P.S. It's no April Fools Joke! I'll be guest-hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show again for a week starting this Friday, weeknights through next Friday (4/1 - 4/8). We'll be running our live chat rooms right here each night while the show is live from 6pm - 9pm PT (9pm - Mid ET), so please stop on by and say hey!. We'll also have links to live listening streams right here if you're not lucky enough to get Mike's show on the public airwaves where you live! Don't miss one thrilling episode!
With 2012 just around the corner and these babies still in use at polling places all over the country, why not get one or more of them now for your very own?! With one of these future door stops, you too can learn all the ins and outs of "voting" before the pressure of Election Day, when that "vote" will really "count"!
Great for social clubs, like political parties, or even terrorist groups! Why wait? They're sure to disappear fast! Just like the 100% unverifiable "votes" cast on them!
Because they were made by Diebold, you know it comes from a company you "trust," whether you'd like to or not. And with bids starting as low as, well, anything you like, this tens-of-thousands-of-a-kind e-voting machine is sure to be a "steal"!
UPDATE: The seller tells The BRAD BLOG the systems, more than 100 of them, come from Van Wert County, Ohio! And from a state like Ohio, you know the machines work just as they are supposed to! Get yours now and become the life of the party!
UPDATE 3/31/11: Thanks to Tony Pierce, filling in for Andrew Malcom at the Los Angeles Times "Top of the Ticket" blog for picking up on this story, adding some helpful details to it (and for giving appropriate attribution in the bargain.)
After requiring Alaska's GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller to file his federal lawsuit by Monday (yesterday), the federal judge in the case has now dismissed it without even waiting for the reply from the state, which was ordered due by Wednesday (tomorrow).
A federal judge today dismissed Republican Joe Miller's federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the Nov. 2 election, clearing the way for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski to be officially declared the winner.
She's now scheduled to be sworn in for a new six-year term on Jan. 5.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline issued a 14-page order this afternoon in which he said Miller wasn't raising any federal issues that he needed to resolve. He ordered Miller's entire federal case dismissed.
Beistline wrote that he would not second guess the Alaska Supreme Court, which already had ruled against Miller.
Miller said in a statement that he was disappointed by today's ruling and thought the U.S. Constitution's election clause presented a significant federal issue.
"Specifically, should the courts be required to follow the legislature's standard for the selection of U.S. Senators or create their own?" Miller said in a written statement. "My legal team believes that the clear language of the Election Clause as well as precedent support our claims. Thus, we are evaluating the ruling and determining what our next step should be."
The judge said state lawyers didn't need to respond to Miller's latest filings in federal court. But he also said Miller's technical arguments were not frivolous.
"What we have before us is a poorly drafted state statute," Beistline wrote. "Wisdom would suggest that the Alaska Legislature act to clarify it to avoid similar disputes in the future. For now we have to work with what we have and that is what the Alaska Supreme Court has done."
Last night we published our detailed analysis of Joe Miller's federal complaint, in which he pointed out Constitutional questions about the way in which the Diebold optical-scan system was used to tally votes. We also pointed out what might have been a fatal flaw in his complaint. Whether Miller will appeal Beistline's decision remains to be seen.
"We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future," Alaska's "Tea Party"-supported, Sarah Palin-endorsed GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller said in a statement today calling for "fairness and transparency" in the election process, issued after filing an amended complaint in federal court. His statement concludes with the simple sentiment: "Election integrity is vital."
Miller has decided to press on in his election contest against the state's Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and their Division of Elections (DoE), as overseen by Treadwell, by filing a Substitute Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in U.S. District Court in Alaska today. The filing comes after resounding losses in state court and --- if the state's hand-count of write-in ballots and the Diebold optical-scanner tallies of all the other ballots are to be believed --- to Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in November's general election for the U.S. Senate. As the unofficial state count now stands, Murkowski reportedly defeated Miller (and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams) by more than 10,000 votes.
In the statement (posted in full at end of this article) Miller explains that his team has decided to forgo challenging Murkowski's official certification as the winner, allowing her to be seated in the U.S. Senate on January 5th.
"The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month." he said, "This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue."
But Miller's decision to drop his challenge to Murkowski's seating may prove to be a fatal blow to his case --- at least if precedent set by Republicans in Congress some years ago, ironically enough, is any indication. But more on that below.
After winning the GOP nomination against Murkowski, and then reportedly losing to her unprecedented write-in bid in November, Miller originally filed his election contest in federal court in November. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline subsequently responded by sending the case down to state court for initial adjudication on relevant issues of state law. Late last month, Beistline temporarily halted state certification of the race until those issues were decided, and last week the state's Supreme Court rejected Miller's appeal, siding with the state, on all counts.
Beistline had given Miller until today to re-file his amended complaint in federal court. His filing now includes just three counts asserting violations of the U.S. Constitution's "Election Clause" and "Equal Protection Clause" as based on both the DoE's liberal interpretation of state law in counting write-in ballots, as well as the disparate weight the hand-count of those ballots was afforded, versus those tallied by Diebold optical-scanners in the case of "pre-printed" candidates...
[Update 12/22/10: Alaska Supreme Court decides against Joe Miller on all counts. Details here...]
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Having paper ballots is one thing. Seeing them actually be counted, unfortunately, continues to be quite another matter.
For those of you who may not understand why it's not enough to merely have hand-marked paper ballots that are tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computers --- even if those paper ballots could be counted by human beings "in the event there are questions about the results", as supporters of such systems like to say --- need look no further than the extraordinary finding on Monday from New York's highest court, its Court of Appeals.
And, for that matter, what is likely to happen in Alaska very soon, where Republican Joe Miller continues to wait for a similar decision from that state's Supreme Court in his fight for a hand-count of all paper ballots in his still-uncertified U.S. Senate race against Republican write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams...
Another big show tonight as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show this week. (Note: We're off tomorrow, but back on Friday!)
We'll be BradCasting again LIVE tonight from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). Please join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Commercial free audio archives are below (and the chat room archive is below them.) Lots of interest stuff tonight, some great calls, and plenty to be thankful for...somehow...including my thanks to Mike and Kathy for allowing me to fill in. My favorite call tonight: Curtis in the third hour. Mike is back tomorrow with a Thanksgiving "Best Of" and then I'll be back again Friday night! See ya then! Happy holidays and enjoy the archives until then...
JUNEAU, Alaska — An Alaska federal judge ruled Friday that Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller's challenge to the counting of write-in ballots raises "serious" legal issues but is a matter for a state, not federal, court to decide.
Yet in deferring to an Alaska state court for a final decision, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said he would grant a temporary injunction to halt official certification of the Nov. 2 election – an action Miller is seeking – so long as Miller takes his case to the state court by Monday. Miller told The Associated Press late Friday that he intended to do so.
Beistline's unusual action was intended to "ensure that these serious state law issues are resolved prior to certification of the election," the ruling said.
Earlier this week AP called the election in favor of incumbent Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski. But, as we described, there are a number of reasons --- including Alaska's recent history of impossible election results as reported by their flawed, oft-failed, easily-manipulated and non-transparent Diebold optical-scan system --- which suggest that Miller would be performing a service to the voters of Alaska and the rest of the country if he used his standing to insist on a full, public hand-count. By the way, Democratic candidate Scott McAdams would be performing a similar service if he used his standing to join Miller in that pursuit...
After a week of hand-counting paper write-in ballots in Alaska's three-way U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (who ran as an independent write-in candidate), Republican candidate Joe Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams, the Associate Press called the race this afternoon for Murkowski.
Trailing by some 10,000 votes behind Murkowski, however, and with several lawsuits concerning the tabulation of ballots still pending, Miller is suggesting it's likely that his campaign will call for a "hand count" of all of the ballots cast in the race, not just those in contention during the counting of write-in ballots over the last week.
Given Alaska's years-long record of often-inexplicable election results, going back at least as far as the 2004 Presidential Election (and the first election as Senator for Murkowski who had previously been named by her father to replace him in the U.S. Senate when he became Governor in 2002); the repeated failure and insecurity of the state's Diebold election system; and the AK Division of Elections' truly remarkable history of blocking citizen oversight of election results --- much of which has been documented at The BRAD BLOG since late 2005 --- a thorough reconciliation of results by the Miller team would be both appropriate and helpful for all future elections in the state (and even for other states, where similar nearly-impossible-to-oversee optical-scan ballot systems are similarly used.)
We have no particular dog in this race, as our coverage of issues of Election Integrity is, as always, non-partisan. Our only concern is for the voters, that they get to vote if they wish, that their votes are counted accurately if they do, and that the counts are performed transparently so that all citizens can know that the results are, indeed, accurate.
To that end, though we haven't consulted directly with any of the campaigns in the Alaska race, we have been following the tabulation closely since Election Day two weeks ago, and have been speaking with a number of sources in the state who have, we're told, been sharing various thoughts we've offered with both the McAdams and Miller campaigns. The advise we've offered --- as we would to anyone who asked, including Murkowski's campaign --- appears to have been taken to heart by the Miller team, at least if one of their lawsuits, and a number of their public statements given over the last week are any indication.
As mentioned, Alaska's history of election results that seem to defy mathematical explanation, along with (understating the problem here) less than transparent processes and a failure to make recommended changes to their election system and procedures, leads to a case where a full, manual, reconciliation of all ballots cast and counted --- as called for by the Miller camp, or any other --- would provide a valuable service to the state and all of its voters...
I'm prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show which I will be, once again, guest hosting this evening (9-Mid ET / 6-9p PT, with listen links and live chat right here at BradBlog.com later), but took a short break to chat with Shannyn Moore on Alaska's KUDO about the state of the state's elections right now as the Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski campaign's duke it out in regard to counting (or not counting) write-in ballots from the U.S. Senate race.
As predicted, the fight for oversight and reconciliation of the results is on right now, and the Miller camp has brought in one of the great Rightwing extremists, Floyd Brown (he of the Willie Horton ads, Obama "birtherism" and much more) to take the lead in the campaign's fight for oversight.
Where Brown is inappropriately suggesting "voter fraud" without evidence to back it up, he is exactly right in calling for the right for the campaign to be allowed to reconcile the poll rosters to determine if the lower-than-expected number of ballots so far tabulated are, indeed, accurate. To that, I'm more than happy to support his efforts or any other citizens who want to fight to try to ensure their elections are being counted accurately and transparently.
Shannyn and I discussed all of the above and more for about 30 mins or so. Here's that discussion:
UPDATE 11/13/10: Jeanne "AKMuckraker" Devon has more on the developing sitch up there, all the strange bedfellows tucking themselves in, and this hilarious admission: "So, it is with a whiplash-addled heart that I commend…. (pauses for a shot of vodka)… that I say kudos to (mops brow)… that I agree with (deep breath)… Joe Miller."
UPDATE 11/17/10: Joe Miller now suggests his campaign may call for a complete 'hand count' of all ballots. A detailed analysis of Alaska's recent history of impossible election results and it's oft-failed Diebold tabulators suggest Miller would be performing a service to all voters with such a full, transparent reconciliation. Details now here...
No worries. The election officials in Stark County, OH say the Diebold touch-screen vote-flipping, as captured on iPhone video by voter and University of Akron freshman Ian Sanderson on Election Day last week, was just "an isolated incident"...
In 2007, Ohio's current Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, commissioned the largest independent scientific review of electronic voting systems the nation has ever seen. That report, known as EVEREST, resulted in her recommendation that use of all touch-screen voting systems be discontinued in every county in the state. Nonetheless, election officials in counties like Stark have so much contempt for voters that they persist in forcing them to use these 100% unverifiable, oft-failed, easily-manipulated systems a full three years later.
Last Tuesday, the Buckeye State reportedly elected Republicans once more to the offices of both Governor and Secretary of State. Should be another fun Presidential Election there in 2012, eh? Unless, of course, the Republicans were serious about the concerns they expressed, largely for the very first time this year, about e-voting systems like the one seen flipping votes above.
Prior to Election Day we saw reports in Texas, in Nevada and in North Carolina of Republican votes flipping to Democrats or other candidates during the early voting period. The NC GOP claimed to be so outraged by the reports that they filed (and won) a lawsuit suit after one of their attorneys even went so far as to suggest "the touch screen systems should be been banned."
Well, good news for Republicans! As of January, they will be the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives! If they really want to ban unverifiable touch-screen voting systems like the ones that failed this year in NC, TX, NV, OH and elsewhere, they've got their big chance! Democrats failed to do so over the last four years, so we'll be looking forward to the Republican legislation calling for exactly that come January, right?
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Video coverage of the incident from Akron's ABC affiliate WEWS 5 follows below...
Well, it's a good thing last Tuesday wasn't a Presidential Election with really huge crowds of voters in Utah County, UT. As polls opened at 7am, digitally encoded cards used by voters to begin the voting process on the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated, 100% unverifiable Diebold AccuVote touch-screen voting systems didn't work at all 110 polling locations across the county. A programming error was blamed.
Voters were forced to wait in line for up to an hour while technicians struggled to figure out how to correct the failure. Many voters simply gave up, walking away and becoming disenfranchised in the bargain when they couldn't hang around to wait that long to vote on a work day. As usual, the wide-spread failure (county-wide, in this case) was marginalized by the media as little more than a "glitch". Of course, had the county used paper ballots, nobody would have been disenfranchised, or had to wait on line for an hour to cast their vote. Voters across the entire state are now forced to vote on the Diebold touch-screen systems on Election Day.
Separately, and to make matters worse, the Vote.Utah.gov website for looking up voter polling locations crashed, multiple times, throughout the day. Here's Tuesday's report on those "glitches" from KSL TV 5: