One of the more bizarre incidents we've come across this election...
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One of the more bizarre incidents we've come across this election...
Rachel Maddow did us the favor, last night, of rounding up the bulk of the "top-of-ticket" races from Tuesday which were still un-"called" as of last night...
There are still many more races undecided and going through calls for recounts, etc., around the country. Many of them are not "top-of-ticket" contests, so you may not yet have heard about many of them. I've been fielding calls and emails from representatives of many such campaigns over the last 24 hours or so while looking into various charges of irregularities, etc.
Also remember that in just about every race where you've heard a "winner" announced at this hour, those results are still un-official and un-canvassed for accuracy with virtually all of the ballots (where ballots actually exist) uncounted by nothing other than a computer tabulator. There has been virtually no human confirmation of accuracy of those (failure-prone and easily-manipulated) computer-reported results as of today.
Also remember that neither a media declaration of a "winner" nor a candidate's concession has any actual legal meaning on the official results of any race. Clearly, there are a number of races where counting, canvassing, and contesting will be continuing for quite a while.
Still plowing through tons of incoming problem reports from yesterday in trying to help separate wheat from chaff before I bore you with any chaff here, and looking at a number of still-uncalled elections. (If you'd like to poke around at a few such issues, please see Joyce McCloy's Voting News today). All the while I've been trying to keep up with various scheduled media appearances and wrapping up other odds and ends from yesterday. Here's one of those odds and ends. My appearance on Thom Hartmann's new TV Show, "The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann", via (not-very-good) Skype webcam yesterday.
The 5-minute interview we did yesterday afternoon begins at around the :38 minute mark...
Our buddy Greg Palast is also interviewed a bit earlier in the show, on issues of Voter Caging, beginning just after the :31 minute mark. Hartmann's TV show now airs on RT America weeknight's at 9p & 11p ET. Here's their Youtube page...
And a few other appearances I've done over the last 24 hours, at least the few I was able to get copies of, which you may find entertaining and/or informative (hopefully both!):
• From yesterday's WBAI News with Rebecca Myles in NY (where I appeared the day before as well to discuss Citizens United). This appearance discusses concerns about touch-screen e-voting systems in yesterday's elections...
Download MP3 or listen online below (appx 7.5 mins)...
• A very lively and combative "hour" of post-election decompression, wise-cracks, rants and related matters during my regular weekly appearance with Harrison earlier today on KPFK/Pacifica...
Download MP3 or listen online below (appx 50 mins)...
• A slightly more sober appearance on WSFR, New Mexico Pubic Radio, with Diego Mulligan this afternoon right after the above...
Download MP3 or listen online below (appx 20 mins)...
This is amusing. At least it would be, had not their entire phony, shameless, anti-democracy campaign been built on hopes of suppressing the legal votes of American minority voters.
But I guess that "epidemic" of "MASSIVE DEMOCRATIC VOTER FRAUD!!!" that Fox "News" and their easily duped viewers had been warning us all about for weeks/months/years (here's one recent example, and another, and another, and another) didn't exactly materialize yesterday. Who could have guessed it?
At least we know what Fox News was planning had the Senate race between Majority Leader Harry Reid and tea party darling Sharon Angle been tighter.
Media Matters' headline avers the segment was spiked due to "Angle's poor showing". There's another possible explanation for cancellation of the segment: No actual evidence of any such "voter fraud". Of course, that's never stopped Fox "News" from making a whole bunch of it up in the past. So perhaps Media Matters is more right than wrong there.
From last night's live Colbert Report, during which he used his "Action Midterm Outcome Prediction Verifier 2010 5400" to examine where "there have been reports of voting machine irregularities" across the country yesterday...
Running on fumes and about 3 hours sleep here tonight. So, as David Gregory says, "we'll have to leave it here for now."
While almost no votes have been counted by actual human beings anywhere in the country at this hour, most of the races have already been "called" by the media, for whatever that's worth. But a number of them are reported as being incredibly close at this hour. Among the "uncalled" top-of-ticket races as we wrap things up for tonight: U.S. Senate races in WA, CO, and AK; Gubernatorial races in OR, MN, and FL; and a number of U.S. Houses races.
We'll revisit the world with clearer eyes in the morning to see what sense, if any, can be made of any of it and what sort of light we may be able to help shed. Your thoughts and what you're seeing out there on any of the above races, or any others ("top-of-ticket" or otherwise) are, as ever, welcome in comments.
As we always remind on Election Nights, many of the problems of Election Day are not revealed until the days, weeks, and sometimes even months after elections. So your vigilance, as always, is welcome and appreciated...
[On/off the air all day today, so trying to keep up as I can. Feel free to leave your own problem reports, or those you're finding in the media, in comments in this thread. Most recent reports will be added to top of this item.]
NATIONAL: "Widespread Reports of Problems at Polls" (NYTimes):
Although most were general inquiries, nearly 2,100 involved reports of problems like polls opening late, machine malfunctions and confusion over voter registrations. More than 200 calls involved claims of voter intimidation.
REMINDER: If you had probs at the polls today (or are still having them, as polls are still open out here in the West), please remember to report them to 1-866-OUR-VOTE! It's very important to track records of all such probs, as the full extent of problem patterns often don't reveal themselves until the days, weeks (and sometimes, even months) after an election! Thank you...
TX: Collin County - E-pollbooks, networks fail at "vote centers" disenfranchising untold numbers of voters. (Collin County Observer)
According to our information, voting in many locations was interrupted due to the issues with electronic pollbooks and networks, and the resulting phone calls into the Elections Office overwhelmed their capacity to receive and handle calls.
Technicians in the field are working to correct the IT issues, but making changes to the software while voting is in process raises multiple security concerns.
We hate to say "I told you so..." but the Observer has been sounding the alarm on this issue for years.
We know how ya feel, Observer. Collin County, btw, is also where a voter reported a Diebold touch-screen flipping his vote from Democratic to Republican.
CA: Contra Costa County - Inspired by my own e-voting disasters in '08 (when the ES&S InkaVote Plus system here in L.A. County misprinted 4 out of 12 of my votes) and in '10 (when after two hours of failure with two of the same machines I finally had to give up and vote on a hand-marked paper ballot), a voter in Contra Costa tries to use the e-voting system for disabled voters as I did. After spending four hours trying to cast a vote on the counties ES&S AutoMark, he eventually had to give up. The shameful tale is detailed here. And remember, allowing disabled voters to vote privately and independently was one of the prime thrusts for the $4 billion federal "encouragement" for states to "upgrade" to these e-voting systems as per the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. Fail. Again.
National: Here's the lede from Joyce McCloy's Voting News tonight...
See her report for details and links for all of the above.
NJ: Warren County - Touch-screen machine flips GOP to Dem and Dem to a ballot initiative. Via OurVoteLive.org's problem report database...
MD: Diebold touch-screen votes flip from GOP to Dem... (Luterville-Timonium Patch))
MD was the first state in country, along with GA, to go to all Diebold touch-screen systems. The BRAD BLOG obtained and published a long redacted SAIC report on their systems in 2007, years after its secret 2003 publication. The report was described at the time as the "Pentagon Papers of E-Voting," showing all kinds of problems with the systems. The state was supposed to move to paper ballots by this year. So why didn't they?
MUCH MORE BELOW...
In 2008, Election Integrity of Velvet Revolution's Election Protection Strike Force experts put these bullet points together after reports began coming in of voters having problems on voting machines (e.g., votes flipping from one candidate to another, etc.) I believe they may be helpful again today.
Of course, as we've been urging (even with cartoons!), do all you can to vote on a paper ballot and not on an electronic touch-screen voting system! Check with your state and/or county before you go in to vote today to see if you have the right to request a hand-marked paper ballot at the polls.
But if you must vote on a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) system, and have problems in the process, here is...
What to do if it happens to you:
REMINDER: Please bring a video camera/cell phone camera when you go to vote so you can document these problems on video tape.
On Election eve, amidst the usual, absurd and evidence-free caterwauling about imaginary "VOTER FRAUD!!!!" (and, man, am I happy to see that there are now tons of other folks in the media finally out there covering that particular scam so I don't have to) a reminder of what real Election Integrity looks like...
Late last week, AOL News asked me to contribute an op-ed for their Election Eve coverage. That op-ed, which they've headlined "Cast Your Ballot Against Electronic Voting", is now posted here...
The upshot of its argument: If Republicans are set to take over the U.S. House, as predicted, and if they've suddenly found religion in regard to the dangers of electronic voting, as they seem to be asserting in North Carolina, in Nevada and in Texas, then it'll soon be their turn to take legislative action to once and for all ban the horrific, anti-democratic (small "d"), 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems plaguing our nation before they are again used to pervert results of the 2012 Presidential Election --- just as they have every year since they've been introduced into our electoral system (by a majority Republican Congress, by the way, in 2002.)
Please check it out and leave some nice (or not so nice) comments there, as you see fit. Lot's of disinformed bumpkins seem to currently be weighing in. Please free to straighten them out. Politely.
As you might imagine this time of year, I've been doing a lot of media appearances around the country to discuss this year's elections. Most have been in regard to the failed e-voting systems used in early voting and on Election Day tomorrow. But NY's WBAI ran an excellent piece this morning, on which I appeared, to discuss the ongoing disaster that is the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision asserting, again, that corporations are the same as "people" and thus deserve the "free speech" right to spend as much as they want to affect the outcomes of U.S. elections.
My contribution to the segment is heard near the beginning, in the background description of what the case was, what it means, and what has happened since it was decided last January. A lot of interesting discussion follows thereafter.
Download MP3 (appx 40 mins), or listen online below...
• Ernest Hancock covered the Citizens United decision at The BRAD BLOG here...
• I wrote a piece on the same case, "The End of Democracy", for Hustler here...
• Velvet Revolution's StopTheChamber.org campaign has been trying for highlight concerns for nearly a year about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who is, perhaps, the number one recipient of millions in undisclosed corporate funds as now being spent to influence elections around the country this year --- in support of Republicans by a factor of 7 to 1, by the way --- in the wake of Citizens United. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]
A video of a computer animated "debate" between a Tea Partier and a non-Tea Partier, which has gone insanely viral over the last few days, inspired me to try creating one of my own.
Here my first quick effort. Hope you'll enjoy it and will help spread the word, because while computer generated animations are great, computer generated, unverifiable e-voting ain't. Vote on a paper ballot this year (not on a touch-screen system with or without a so-called "paper trail"), if you can. Here's why...
P.S. I've been asked how voters can make the decision to vote on paper ballots this late in the game. Many states and counties which offer touch-screen systems on Election Day also allow the voter to request a paper ballot at the polls. Others offer voters a choice when voting between "paper or plastic" (touch-screen or paper ballot). For example, in CA, every voter has the right to vote on a paper ballot, even as some jurisdictions tend to simply point voters towards the touch-screens. Check with your state and/or county before voting to find out your rights and if you're allowed to vote on paper on Election Day! The unverifiable vote you cast may otherwise be your own!
North Carolina counties which use touch-screen voting systems will now have to post a "Voter Alert" at precincts warning voters about potential problems with the machines following a complaint [PDF] filed in federal court by the state's Republican Party on Friday. The lawsuit, heard today on an expedited basis, was filed after voters in several counties had reported to party officials that their attempts to vote for straight-ticket Republican ballots were flipping on the screen to straight-ticket Democratic ballots.
Those reports of vote-flipping led to the NC GOP issuing a threat late this week to sue the State Board of Elections (BoE) if their demands were not met to order certain precautions be taken at polling places which used the 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems. After the Executive Director for the BoE sent a letter in response to the GOP's demands, downplaying the reported incidents as "isolated" and "no different than ones that must be addressed in every election," the Republican complaint was filed in federal court on Friday afternoon. (The sharp letters back and forth between the state GOP and BoE can be read in our previous report on the NC situation.)
Judge Malcolm Howard tonight also ordered that pollworkers must tell voters to read the printed alert, and that memory cards and other programming materials, records and audit logs from the oft-failed ES&S iVotronic touch-screen DREs must be preserved for examination after the election. Late today, the BoE Executive Director Gary O. Bartlett sent a notice [PDF] to the County Boards of Elections detailing the changes ordered by the federal judge.
The "Voter Alert" to be posted in all precincts using the touch-screen voting systems must read as follows...
I received an email this afternoon from a PR person for CNN, letting me know about their new "Tea Party Documentary" to air tonight, as based on the work of one of their reporters who, she says, has "followed the movement for the past 18 months" in order to offer what is described as "an hour of revealing interviews from their leadership and fascinating profiles of the impact of their energy on the 2010 midterms, their financial supporters and their campaigns."
The documentary, the PR rep's original email went on to say, comes after their reporter "spent considerable time with Lisa Murkowski, Christine O'Donnell, in California with Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express (rode the bus), Dick Armey with FreedomWorks, etc."
You may recall a few weeks ago that CNN ran another documentary with a similar theme, called Right on the Edge following the work of Rightwing media activists. (That one resulted in Republican scam-artist and federal criminal James O'Keefe making an ass of himself, as well as possibly violating the requirements of his federal probation, as we detailed at the time.)
As CNN has yet to run even one such documentary on non-Rightwing media activists or on the non-Rightwing politicians who have struggled over those same 18 months to clean up the unprecedented disaster they were left with when the Bush regime came to a close, I thought I'd point that out --- in my own, snarky-ish (me? snarky?) way --- to the PR person in respones to her email.
The email exchange that ensued follows below, as posted with her permission. I have removed her name as I feel she was only doing her job here, and she appeared to both appreciate the message I was hoping to send, and offered to pass it along to the folks who actually help with programming decisions at CNN...
Unlike Jan Brewer, who was elevated from Arizona's Sec. of State to Governor by Obama's ill-considered selection of Janet Napolitano from AZ Governor to Director of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, the state's newly appointed Republican SoS, Ken Bennett seems to have the ability to tell the truth every now and again --- even in the days just prior to a hotly-contested election...
In related previous coverage, we outlined this year's 'GOP War on Democracy' here a few weeks ago, reporting on the various fraudulent "voter fraud" campaigns of Rightwing groups who were busy gearing and ginning them up at the time, by noting, among many other things...
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