From Saturday's Houston Chronicle [emphasis added]...
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
This from Harris County, Texas --- the third largest county in the US:
Guest blogged by Steven Rosenfeld of AlterNet
The electronic voting problems in the 2008 election are broader than recently-publicized snafus such as machines not turning on, voter databases omitting names, or touch screens not properly recording votes, according to an analysis of 1,700 incident reports from the nation's largest voter hotline.
Moreover, the voting machine issues and the confusion they caused among poll workers appear to have compounded the delays faced by untold thousands of voters this fall, a preliminary analysis of 1-800-OUR-VOTE reports by Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a researcher at Princeton University and the University of California, has found...
This is just getting worse and worse. Now it's happening in Texas. (And in MO, if you read to the end of the article). And the vaunted "thousands of attorneys" from the Obama campaign and the DNC are still nowhere to be found.
With every incident so far reported of touch-screen vote-flipping during early voting in this year's general election --- from county to county in WV and in Nashville, TN) --- it's been the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machine that has failed, flipping votes from one candidate to another not chosen by the voter. In
most every instance s [see update below], it's been an attempted Democratic vote, flipped to a Republican, or another party.
These are the same machines that lost 18,000 votes in Democratic-leaning Sarasota County in the 2006 U.S. House Race for Katherine Harris' old seat. The Democrat, Christine Jennings, was declared the loser to Republican Vern Buchanan (whose own wife had trouble voting for him that day), by just 369 votes. Several academic studies, and even the GAO, have been unable to rule out either tampering or hardware/software error for the disappeared 18,000 votes.
As we wrote earlier this week, after there was finally one report of a vote flipping from Democratic to Republican in TN (a very rare instance, btw), these machines need to be taken out of service now, impounded and quarantined immediately, and every voter needs to be given a paper ballot where these machines are currently being used. Voters who have such problems need to inform other voters waiting in line which machine should not be used (and we offer other tips below, as well).
[Update: The rare vote-flip from Republican to Democratic now seems to have been a hoax carried out by local Republicans, according to a TN election integrity activist who did some digging and reporting. Details here...]
The latest reports today of ES&S vote-flipping come from Palo Pinto County, TX, where two voters --- one of them an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters --- saw straight-ticket Democratic votes flipped to straight-ticket Republican votes. Two times for the first person, and three times for the alternate election judge!
The report is a doozy...
Guest Blogged By John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org
Misinformation being circulated, concerning straight-party voting in Texas (and elsewhere) is beginning to be a big problem, and will undoubtedly lead to voters deselecting their preferred Presidential candidate, and possibly flipping their own votes to another candidate. This from the Travis County today:
"He said... 'Let me tell you, make sure you vote straight ticket, then you also vote for Obama to make sure the vote counts,'" said Erica Prosser, who witnessed the incident at Randalls.
In reality, pressing the button for a candidate whose name is already highlighted deselects that candidate.
These "poll cats" should be stopped by local authorities. But, unfortunately, the above incident wasn't the only problem with straight-party voting in Texas, and even election officials, at least one in Williamson County, appear to have been circulating the same incorrect information to voters...
Guest Blogged by Dan Wallach of Rice University...
Ed Note: We recently ran an article covering vote-rigging software whistleblower Clint Curtis' testimony last week during a hearing before the Texas Legislature's House Committee on Elections. Curtis detailed for legislators how easy it is to flip an election electronically, without detection. Here is another perspective from that same hearing…
Last week, I testified before the Texas House Committee on Elections (you can read my testimony). I’ve done this many times before, but I figured this time would be different. This time, I was armed with the research from the California “Top to Bottom” reports and the Ohio EVEREST reports. I was part of the Hart InterCivic source code team for California’s analysis. I knew the problems. I was prepared to discuss them at length.
Wow, was I disappointed. Here’s a quote from Peter Lichtenheld, speaking on behalf of Hart InterCivic:
You can find the whole hearing online (via RealAudio streaming), where you will hear the Diebold/Premier representative, as well as David Beirne, the director of their trade organization, saying essentially the same thing. Since this seems to be the voting system vendors’ party line, let’s spend some time analyzing it.
Blogged by Brad from the road...
Clint Curtis touched a hidden button on the screen of a simulated electronic voting machine as onlookers witnessed votes switch from one candidate to another.
The House Committee on Elections invited Curtis, a computer programmer from Florida, to testify Wednesday on the accuracy, risks, benefits and security of electronic voting technology. The committee also heard from other expert witnesses, election officials and the Texas secretary of state.
Curtis said a Florida representative approached him in 2000 to design "vote-flipping" software to help the congressman win an election. Requesting a fraudulent program for a machine is not illegal in Florida, but using one is.
"You cannot trust electronic machines, no matter how many honest people you have. It only takes one person with access to the machine," said Curtis, an advocate for hand-counted paper ballots. "Programmers can be bought."
The committee watched as Curtis clicked on an invisible button that suddenly placed the losing candidate of his mock election safely in the lead.
"24 lines of code can flip an election," Curtis said.
He offered to write a new code from scratch in less than three minutes, emphasizing the ease of creating a "flipping" code.
On Wednesday, coverage of his testimony by the Dayton-Beach News-Journal (who endorsed Curtis during his 2006 run against Tom Feeney, the Republican U.S. House Rep who Curtis alleges asked him to create vote-rigging software) included this:
For those who don't know Curtis, where have you been? You can read his remarkable story, first broken by The BRAD BLOG back in late 2004, summarized here. He is now hoping to run against Feeney again in Florida again this year, though he must first win his Primary against a Democratic Party-backed candidate. If you'd like to help him beat the millionaire chosen by the short-sighted Dem insiders, please stop by (and feel free to donate!!!) at www.ClintCurtis.com.
DISCLOSURE: We were invited, by the Republican who heads the committee, to testify at the hearing this week as well. Due to prior travel plans, unfortunately, we were unable to be there, but happy that Curtis, and several others who we recommended, were able to show up and speak truth to power.
(Hat-tip to John Gideon's "Daily Voting News" from yesterday.)
We're fairly certain the following video, shown at the recent TX GOP convention (where they were selling racist Obama buttons, incidentally), isn't meant as a joke. It just plays that way, for those of us who happen to live on Planet Earth...
Between this and some of McCain's ads, and the lack of actual issues for Republicans to run on this year, perhaps the plan this year is to out macho the Democrats. It's all they've got, perhaps. Even if it comes across kinda gay. But maybe that's just us...
(Hat-tip Mark Crispin Miller)
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review
Updating a story The BRAD BLOG reported on Monday, the Texas Republican Party has now moved to distance itself from a vendor who sold buttons at the party's state convention that bore a racist message about Barack Obama: "If Obama is president ... will we still call it The White House?"
According to The Conservative Voice, the Texas GOP says it will donate $1,500 in rent paid by the button's vendor, Republicanmarket.com, to victims of the flooding in the Midwest.
Said Texas GOP spokesman Hans Klingle, "This vendor need not apply to another Texas GOP state convention. We will neither tolerate nor profit from bigotry."
How "conservative" is the Texas GOP? The Conservative Voice notes that in "1998, the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization of gay Republicans, was denied a booth at the GOP state convention in Fort Worth and likened to the Ku Klux Klan by a Texas Republican Party spokesman. 'We don't allow pedophiles, transvestites or cross-dressers, either,' then-GOP spokesman Robert Black said at the time."
The fact that the Texas GOP has shifted to the left on an issue like this backs up assertions by Arianna Huffington and others that liberal positions are increasingly becoming mainstream.
Who says Republicans don't have class? From the Dallas Morning News blog's report on the Texas GOP state convention...
At the Republican state convention, a booth hosted by Republicanmarket was selling a pin Saturday that says: If Obama is President will we still call it the White House.
If you're interested in their items, their website is here. Their slogan: "Patriotic and Republican Products at Republican Market." I guess the above is an example of one of the Republican products. No clue if they've actually got any patriotic ones.
(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG reader GM)
UPDATE: Our friend Mike Rogers points out that Republicanmarket doesn't bother to show that particular button on the buttons page at their slimy website for some reason. Go figure. Not sure why, since, as commenter Creid points out, they aren't embarrassed about running this sexist garbage. Again, very very classy stuff.
UPDATE 6/19/08: The Texas GOP distances themselves from Republicanmarket.com, bans vendor from future events. Details now here...
What's a Grand Ol' Party to do when they wish to disenfranchise Democratic voters via the specious specter of "voter fraud" when they can't actually find any evidence to make their case? Why, call their media wing at Fox "News" of course!
Fox picks up today where the DoJ and Republican Party have had no luck so far, but not for lack of trying. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, publicize 'em, and make it sound like you're beating 'em, at least.
David Edwards and Muriel Kane report at RAW STORY today that Fox is running a "special investigation" into non-citizens throwing elections:
Since 2005, the Bush administration has been pushing the idea that "voter fraud" is a widespread problem, even firing US Attorneys who did not make the investigation of claims of fraud a priority. However, investigations have never found more than a handful of votes being cast illegally, while requiring proof of citizenship seems likely to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, mostly the poor and elderly who may not be able to secure required documentation.
Fox News has now set out to find the evidence of fraud that the Bush Department of Justice could not, whipping up their audience with the threat of non-citizens "getting a fake ID, a driver's license, or a social security card and voting in this year's election."
"If you think there's voter fraud where you live, or there are other election problems, we at Fox News want to know about it," Shawn told viewers. "You can email us. ... firstname.lastname@example.org."
RAW has the amusing video from this morning as well.
Well, you heard 'em, kids. Fox is looking for voter fraud! Feel free to email them this link: https://bradblog.com/CoulterFraud documenting the no-uncertain-terms case of Ann Coulter having committed voter fraud in Palm Beach County, Florida!
Fox would love to hear from you at: email@example.com. Feel free to let 'em know I sent you, in case they have any further questions. I'll be happy to speak to them, and help 'em root out those voter fraud criminals!
BTW, Fox & Friends, at least, already knows about Coulter's voter fraud, since they called me last year to ask me to appear on their morning show to talk about it after Liz Smith ran an item on the matter in Murdoch's NY Post pointing to BRAD BLOG's coverage...
Texas' Republican Attorney General has found that there's little or no "voter fraud" of note down there either, despite a promise two years ago, according to the Dallas Morning News, to "root out what he called an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas," and his creation of a special unit which "tapped a $1.4 million federal crime-fighting grant" to expose the election stealing rascals.
For all of his crime-fighting in those two years, across the big Lonestar State, TX AG Greg Abbott has prosecuted just 26 cases, "all against Democrats, and almost all involving blacks or Hispanics," according to the Morning News, most of which resulted in "small fines and little or no jail time."
Additionally, almost all of them (18 of 26) involved mail-in absentee ballots where elderly voters were "illegally" given assistance in mailing their ballots, versus in-person voter impersonation of the type that cynical GOP attempts to mandate draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions are purportedly meant to deter. (In reality, they are meant to deter Democrats from being able to cast their legal ballots, so Republicans can more easily "win" elections.)
Just eight of the 26 prosecuted cases, the Morning News found, out of Abbott's two-year effort, involved any kind of ineligible or manufactured votes --- only 2 actually involved individuals casting fraudulent ballots at the polls, the rest were registration fraud issues --- and none of them revealed any larger conspiratorial scheme meant to effect the results of an election.
In the meantime, critics charge Abbott has been ignoring complaints about Republican election skulduggery, and we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that nobody has bothered to prosecute Republicanist Ann Coulter, for her several demonstrable voter fraud-related felony crimes in Florida despite, dead-to-rights evidence as published by The BRAD BLOG since early 2006.
We'd also like to point out, that in addition to there not being "an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas," there is similarly no such epidemic among space aliens either. Though Ted Rall suggests we may wish to implement some new measures there too...just in case...
Miller-McCune's David Rosenfeld files a good story on the dreadful state of the hackable, insecure, error-prone machinery --- both DRE/touch-screen and paper-based optical scan --- still used across our electoral landscape in 2008.
Despite a few small-ish errors, Rosenfeld succeeds where so many before him have been unable: Properly quoting both the scientists and Election Integrity experts who know what they're talking about, while giving fair opportunity to respond from voting machine company and elected officials who are either in denial, uninformed, or simply willing to lie.
Folks like Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org, Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, computer scientist David Wagner of UC Berkley, and yours truly (from The BRAD BLOG) are quoted from the truth-telling side.
On the misleading and/or state of denial and/or lying side, we hear from a Diebold spokesman, and officials from both the NH and TX Secretaries of State offices.
The latters' comments --- particularly those from the SoS offices, where one would think they have a duty to both be informed and tell the truth about their voting systems (unlike Diebold, where we might expect them to continue their long, unfettered, and desperation-built reputation for lying) --- are simply stunning.
Diebold spokesperson Chris Riggall (yes, an unfortunate name for a voting machine spokesperson) offers the usual nonsense in response to all of the many independent tests around the country which have found the company's voting systems --- both paper-based and touch-screen --- to have been easily hacked in seconds. "In some cases the studies have been lacking in appropriate perspective and balance," Riggall misleads in response.
But the TX and NH SoS officials quoted were even more outrageous in their outright states of denial, and/or the ease with which they are willing to simply mislead (okay, lie to) the reporter...
Singer's futile July 2004 efforts, attempting to notify the Secretaries of State in both Texas and Ohio, were originally reported in exclusive detail by The BRAD BLOG in March of 2006.
Following discussions we had with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after our report, he and his radio co-host, Florida attorney Mike Papantonio, filed a federal qui tam whistleblower suit [PDF] on behalf of Singer.
The complaint charges fraud and other violations of the False Claims Act by Hart, including allegations the company failed to test its products properly, and frequently at all; withheld information from prospective clients about the potential loss of votes in its voting systems; dummied-up machines, reports, and test results presented to clients in sales presentations; and much more in an attempt to win state and county contracts and the federal money that came with them...
-- By Brad Friedman
In a statement given to the media last week, in response to a federal fraud/false claims act qui tam suit finally unsealed last week, a representative from the defendant, voting machine company, Hart InterCivic, alleged the suit's whistleblower, William Singer, was a "disgruntled employee."
Employee "Performance Evaluation" records written by company management, included in the complaint itself, however, would seem to strongly contradict the claims of company spokesperson Pete Lichtenheld, as given to a reporter last week.
Additional claims by Lichtenheld, as reported by Kim Zetter at Wired's Threat Level blog on Thursday, are also dispelled by a document from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, obtained by The BRAD BLOG. The DoJ, after requesting and receiving extensions for two years, has finally decided against joining the federal qui tam suit, for the time being, allowing it to become unsealed last week, so that it may now move forward in federal district court.
The lawsuit, posted in full by The BRAD BLOG after it became unsealed last Thursday, details an extraordinary list of fraudulent behavior by Hart InterCivic, as related by one-time employee Singer, who alleges the company deceived Election Officials in Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and elsewhere in hopes of receiving federal monies as distributed via the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Allegations made in the suit include stunning revelations that Hart failed to test its products properly, and frequently at all, withheld information from prospective clients about the potential loss of votes in its voting systems, dummied-up machines, reports, and test results presented to clients in sales presentations, and much more in an attempt to win state and county contracts.
Much of the response to the suit by company spokesperson Lichtenheld, however, is easily dismissed upon examination of the evidence so far available in the case...
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