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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 19, 2024
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
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...


Debunking wingnut 'voter fraud' nonsense while welcoming them to the fight against private voting vendors and inviting them to join our call for hand-marked paper ballots in GA's upcoming U.S. Senate runoffs...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2020 7:44pm PT  

Well, it took long enough --- much longer than media usually wait --- but by Saturday morning, they finally recognized the obvious by calling Pennsylvania, and thus the Presidential election, for Joe Biden. The Right --- from the religious wacko Right to the non-religious wacko Right --- are in the midst of some pretty serious denial about it all, as we share at the top of today's BradCast, along with a few quick headlines, some serious debunkery, an invitation to Republicans to join the election integrity movement, and a bunch of gleeful calls from listeners. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

Among the quick headlines today: yet another rally on Wall Street in the wake of Biden's election; good news about a possible COVID vaccine (which Trump had nothing to do with!); Trump fires his Defense Secretary; more top Trump Administration officials test positive for the virus; and Biden's reported plans to issue a quick series of Executive Orders after being sworn in on January 20th to reverse some of the most egregious offenses of the Trump Era.

Then, we pick up today, somewhat, where we left off last week, debunking a number of the many absurd, evidence-free allegations of "voter fraud" being propagated by the deniers and conspiracy theorists on the Right --- from "SharpieGate" to false claims of "dead people" voting in Michigan to false claims (debunked by Fox "News"!) that Republicans were prevented from watching ballot tabulation --- as well as a look at one of the few legitimate concerns that have come to light since last Tuesday's Election Night. Namely, a concern about misreported vote tallies in Antrim County, Michigan, a small, heavily GOP-leaning area in the northern part of the state. According to the Democratic Sec. of State, the problem was due to a failure by Republican county officials to install a late update to their Election Management System software which is used to upload county results to the state at the end of the night. The problem resulted in Joe Biden momentarily appearing to have defeated Donald Trump by a landslide in the County. The error was quickly discovered, corrected and the posted results were properly reversed to reflect Trump's victory there.

But the incident (as well as the apparent losses of both MI and Georgia for the Republicans) has helped fuel a push from the Right toward demonizing Canadian-based Dominion Voting System --- the private voting system vendor in Antrim and other MI counties. While the Trumpers are falsely attacking the company as a tool of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton (even though Republican lobbyists work for the firm which has donated to Republicans), we're happy to join the critique in as much as no private company should have so much control over what are supposed to be our public elections. A call for an independent investigation and a hand-count of the county's paper ballots would be perfectly appropriate there.

Dominion is also the company which runs Georgia's elections, with a new $100+ million contract to supply 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems for in-person voting at the polls across the entire state and scanners for the state's hand-marked paper absentee ballots --- scanners which were found to have skipped counting many votes during the state's June primary.

While Biden appears to have won the state of Georgia by some 12,000 votes as of airtime (and, in Michigan, by about 150,000 votes), I invited Republicans via Twitter over the weekend (in a short threat that has gone mildly viral) to get rid of Dominion's influence over elections all together by joining me in demanding hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted, for the state's critical upcoming U.S. Senate runoff elections. Those two runoff elections will determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress for first two years of the Biden presidency.

If the GOPers --- including folks like Eric Trump --- are serious about their concerns that "software from hell!" as Eric called it, made by Dominion somehow stole the election for Biden, they will join those of us in the fight for real Election Integrity in that call. So far, they haven't. But we can still hope.

Finally today, we open the phones for listeners to ring in following this weekend's huge news --- to gloat, to express their joy, their concerns, and much more --- as we begin to see a glimmer of light at the end of our long, if still-ongoing, national nightmare...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton: Also: Trump Campaign caught in widespread systemic election fraud, calling Repubs in PA to unlawfully cast ballots AFTER Election Day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2020 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast: SLAP-SLAP! Wake up, people! Joe Biden is the next President of the United States! [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

But first, in not wholly unrelated news: Ya know that widespread systemic election fraud that Donald Trump has been lying about by falsely accusing Democrats of stealing the election from him by "casting votes after Election Day"? They aren't. But, as it turns out, we now have hard evidence that the Trump Campaign and Republican Party actually are doing exactly that! Or, at least trying to do so in Pennsylvania. We've got both the audio and email evidence to prove it today, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Beyond that: Hey, Media! Hey, Democrats! Wake up! Yes, Joe Biden should have already been declared the winner of Tuesday election!!! By the standards the corporate media usually apply to such things, the state of Pennsylvania should already have been called by the media, as of Friday morning, for Biden (if not sooner), based on the unofficial vote counts there, where the former Veep has now surpassed Trump and continues to increase his totals over the soon-to-be-former President at this point. Biden continues to do so today at a similar rate to that which we've seen in the Keystone State since the day after Election Day.

With Pennsylvania's 20 electors, that means --- very conservatively speaking, even without the other currently uncalled states where Biden is also leading, including Nevada, Arizona and Georgia (where Biden also overtook Trump in the vote count on Friday morning) --- the former Vice President now has 273 electoral college votes under his belt. Only 270 are needed to win the Presidency.

In any other Presidential election in any other year, all of the media would already have banner graphics up describing Joe Biden as the "PRESIDENT-ELECT" and characterizing him as the 46th President of the United States! We know why Fox "News" is not doing so (thanks to CNN's Brian Stelter), and while there may be (weak, pathetic) reasons for the media to pull their punches (because they are cowards who kowtow to fear of Republicans), what is the Democratic Party's excuse at the point?!

Hell, Donald Trump and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, have already declared that Trump "won", even though he absolutely hasn't! Meanwhile, all available evidence shows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Biden actually has won. Dems should be dancing in the streets at this point, but they aren't. Lord knows, had the tables been turned, they would have conceded as of Friday morning.

(Note: As an election integrity advocate, I have historically objected to the media or any candidate declaring victory --- or even conceding a loss --- before all votes are counted and, where possible, votes counts are verified as accurate. But, the cowardly double-standard being displayed by the media in this case and the political malpractice being exercised by Dems right now is a separate matter.)

So, what's actually going on here and why? Well, for answers on that we turn first to a few words of wisdom from Josh Marshall at TPM and, for many more such words, to our guest today, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo, who --- at least since the day Trump descended that escalator at Trump Tower to call Mexicans rapists and announce his candidacy for President --- we have been checking in with at landmark moments during his Presidency. Today, as Trump should be declared a loser by everyone, is certainly such a moment.

Is it still PTSD from 2016 that is keeping Democrats in their stupor today? Is it because Trump has some completely unknown, but super-genius scheme to overturn the Electoral College somehow? Or is it because, no matter the results of the Presidential race, Dems appear to have under-performed expectations when it comes to both U.S. Senate and House races this year?

Beyond all of that, we also discuss with Digby what all Democrats should be spending their time working on and discussing right now, including how Dems and Joe Biden will have to figure out how to govern even if they are unable to win a still-possible longshot bid to pick up enough Senate seats to win back a majority there. And how best to begin processing whatever lessons, so far, can be gleaned from what happened on Tuesday and from the last four years of the Trump Era.

Lots to talk about today! But, hey people! You WON! Start acting like it! Cause you know Republicans certainly would be in the exact same scenario and, in fact, they LOST, but are still acting like they won anyway! Snap out of it, people!!!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

* * *
UPDATE: Just posting tonight's show, I'm happy to see that at least a few media outlets called the race for Biden earlier today, including Vox and Business Insider, if not AP and the other big media outlets. As former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer apparently pointed out earlier today on Twitter: "Every single person that works at the networks and the AP knows that Joe Biden has won the election. Their reticence is creating a vacuum that Trump is filling with dangerous misinformation." And election forecaster Nate Silver offered a similar sentiment: "I don't know, but it sure seems to me like not calling the race when the outcome is obvious in states like PA and NV gives the president more time to spout misinformation."

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Guest: Univ. of KY election law professor Joshua A. Douglas on the President's desperate strategy as PA, GA, NV and probably AZ are all set to give the former Veep his Electoral College victory...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2020 7:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: it's all over but the desperate Donald Trump tantrums. Though don't try and tell our own Desi Doyen that today! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

As the stock market numbers rally on increasingly certain news that Joe Biden will become the next President (despite Trump's lies that the market would crash if the former Veep won), the U.S. coronavirus numbers also continue to skyrocket to all time records (thanks to Trump's disastrous denial and lies there as well.) For today, though, it's the vote count numbers we're again focused on, as Biden will almost certainly be called the unofficial winner in several remaining uncalled states --- including Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada --- very soon.

If he takes Pennsylvania alone it's over for Trump. But, as we went to air today, with Biden so far, according to media calls, having won a conservative 253 electoral votes of the 270 he ultimately needs to be declared the President-elect (that 253 total doesn't include Arizona's electors, which both AP and Fox "News" have already called for him), it's now likely that Biden will end up with at least 306 electoral college votes when all is said and done.

At the same time, Trump is filing every unsupported, nonsensical legal lawsuit in every state that his two-bit lawyers can figure out how to spell in hopes that something, anything, will actually help --- or even just turn out to be vaguely true. While the President's supporters in Michigan chant "STOP THE COUNT! STOP THE COUNT!", his equally gullible cult followers in Arizona are busy shouting "COUNT THOSE VOTES! COUNT THOSE VOTES!" That should give you an idea of the ingenously coordinated strategy of Trump and the Republican Party's election law geniuses at this point.

We're joined today by an actual legal professional, University of Kentucky College of Law's election and Constiutional law professor JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, author of Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting to find out what we must be missing in reviewing Trump's woefully pathetic legal strategy to try and win this election or unring its bell.

"There's not really a coherent legal strategy to speak of. He's throwing as much spaghetti at the wall as he can and seeing what sticks," Douglas confirms. "The real problem I have is we're reporting on these lawsuits as if they have any merit whatsoever. And they don't. I don't think we should even be giving them airtime. Because in my view, the real goal here is to undermine people's faith in the integrity of the election."

"They are making wild allegations of voter fraud, but without having any evidence that it actually occurred. And then they're spreading misinformation on social media about anecdotes that, when you look into them, turn out to be" anything but what they are alleging, he explains.

Nonetheless, we press the good professor for how he would make the case for Trump, were he unfortunate enough to be representing him in this matter, and we discuss the actual looming legal danger awaiting decades of election law precedent at the now packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court. Will Trump's newest stolen Justice Amy Coney Barrett actually deliver for her President if and when any actionable case on the 2020 election somehow makes its way to SCOTUS? Or will it only be later that she and four other compliant rightwing Justices will decide to undermine the affirmative Right to Vote found in almost every state Constitution?

We discuss all of that and more today, even if none of it seems to help our own Desi Doyen rest any easier about the Presidential election results just yet. (She has very good reason, in the meantime, to be concerned indeed about the results at the Senate and House level.) Nonetheless, we close today with her latest Green News Report with an eye on Hurricane Eta, now aiming for Florida, and what we should expect when it comes to U.S. climate action after the dust settles on the 2020 election...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: WI favorite progressive son, John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Trump falsely claims victory, declares fraud, seeks recount, promises lawsuits to stop counting of legally cast votes...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2020 7:48pm PT  

On the day after what was a harrowing and very very late Election Night for many Democrats, it is now fairly clear, as of today's BradCast, that --- barring some sort of tabulation surprise or failure (they do happen) --- Joe Biden is set to win at least 270 electoral college votes to become the nation's next President. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

This will likely happen even if Biden doesn't end up winning Pennsylvania (or even Georgia or North Carolina) with the many still-untabulated, largely Democratic votes left to count in the state. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, election officials were barred by gerrymandered, GOP-controlled state legislatures from counting any mail-in ballots until Election Day, so unofficial results on Election Night were much slower coming in. (In Pennsylvania, as we explained with a PA election official last week, it is even worse, because officials in the state are barred from even pre-processing mail-in ballots by opening, verifying them, etc., before Election Day.)

Nonetheless, faced with his likely crushing defeat at the ballot box, Donald Trump did what he does, and precisely what we warned you, very specifically in recent weeks, that he would do. He attempted to gaslight the American people via his Twitter account and a 2:30am "news conference" with supporters at the White House, where he tried to super-spread the lie that counting legally cast ballots after Election Day was somehow "a fraud on our nation" and a "sad" attempt by Democrats to "STEAL the election" from him. After falsely declaring victory, he vowed that "we are going to the Supreme Court" to, presumably, try to stop the counting of votes, though it remains unclear whether he has any cause of action whatsoever to try and do that.

Trump's late-night lie and threat fest did not go over well. Even Republicans of all stripes condemned the remarks --- from Chris Wallace of Fox "News" to Trump's debate prep ally Chris Christie to the RNC's top election attorney Ben Ginsberg --- all of whom declared Trump's announced plans to stop the counting of lawfully cast votes to be shameful, anti-democratic and counter-productive to his case, not to mention an embarrassment to the nation. We share a number of those responses on today's show.

In short, Trump's desperate scheme is unlikely to work, barring evidence of some sort of actual fraud or mistabulation. Before media outlets called both Wisconsin and Michigan for Biden today, Team Trump vowed to seek a "recount" in Wisconsin, and announced plans to file suit in those states and Pennsylvania in hopes of stopping perfectly legal on-going vote tallies. In an effort to recreate the magic of 2000's infamous "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Florida, Trump supporters in Detroit on Wednesday attempted, unsuccessfully, to storm the counting room.

That is by way of contrast with Biden's own late-night statement to supporters on Tuesday night, noting that "it's not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare the winner of this election. It's the voters' place," and that "every vote must be counted." He vowed that "nobody is going to take our democracy away from us, not now, not ever."

We shall see. But it is looking very good for Democrats today, at least on the Presidential level as of air time today. As to their hopes of winning back a much-needed majority in the U.S. Senate, that hope appears dim at this hour, if still a long-shot possibility. Combined with the reported loss, so far, of five Democratic seats in the U.S. House and the results on several ballot initiatives across the nation, it was certainly a confusing verdict from the American people --- presuming the reported, unverified and unofficial results to date prove to be accurate.

What to make of all of this? We are joined today by our old friend and Wisconsin favorite son, progressive journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation and Madison's Capitol Times. As usual, Nichols has helpful insight into all of this, both for progressives and establishment Democrats, as well as a unique perspective from a state which barely went to Donald Trump in 2016 for the first time in decades, and which now appears to have flipped back to Democrats by a similarly small margin. His body of knowledge also comes from a longtime progressive state that took a very similar right turn over the past couple of decades as the nation now appears to have taken, with the rise (and fall) of former Gov. Scott Walker.

"I like the fact that the people [Trump] attacked the most, the people he threatened to send federal forces in to squash their protests and minimize their outcry --- they pushed back against him," Nichols says, noting his optimism after last night. "I see something very positive in that. I would even dare say there was something delicious, or at least appealing in the poetic justice of it." On the other hand, he tells me, noting the "blunt reality" of the situation, "Democrats shouldn't be overly enthusiastic about a situation where, it appears, the prospect they have taken the Presidency without a Senate. Because, I've argued throughout this year, that if Joe Biden is elected President with Mitch McConnell still in charge of the Senate, Joe Biden begins his Presidency as a lame-duck."

Finally, we share an audio clip of our nominee today for the hands-down most optimistic take on whatever the hell happened yesterday, from a noted Presidential historian...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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'Poll Pad' systems made by KNOWiNK shut down, slow voting in several states; USPS ordered to sweep for undelivered ballots; Houston voters win again; World awaits election results...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2020 6:01pm PT  

I've got to be quick about this today, as polls are now closing on the nightmarish hellscape that is Election Day 2020. But, on today's BradCast, we cover some of the reported problems voters had around the country on Tuesday, thanks to failed voting systems in battleground states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Happily --- perhaps due to so many voters having already voted during Early Voting or by-mail --- there were far fewer problem reports today than in recent Presidential elections. At least as of air time. Frequently, problems don't reveal themselves until later. But, for now, we focus on a few places where voting systems went down entirely, preventing voters from voting in those states.

In almost every case it was related to the failure of electronic pollbooks made by a company named KNOWiNK, which produce the devices called "Poll Pads". Those systems seem to be behind the countywide shutdown of voting for the first several hours of Election Day in Spalding County, GA and in Morgan County, GA. Despite months of warnings from voting systems experts --- and a federal court order --- and the systems failing during the state's June primaries --- Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger did not make sure that backup paper pollbooks were in place. That meant that voters in Spalding could not vote at all for hours on Election Day. In Morgan, election officials were a bit more prepared, it seems. They were able to keep the process going, even if lines were a bit longer than hoped.

Similarly, when the Poll Pads failed in Ohio's Franklin County (Columbus), officials had backup paper pollbooks on hand, as ordered by Ohio Sec. of State Frank LaRose.

Early reports, overall, were that voting went largely smoothly in Philadelphia, in the battleground state of Pennsylvania that both Joe Biden and Donald Trump consider to be critical for their respective hopes of a victory.

But down in Texas, which is now also a battleground state, problems with the e-pollbooks in Upshur County prevented precincts from opening for several hours on Tuesday morning. That could not only affect the Presidential race, but the contest against loony incumbent Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert by Democrat Hank Gilbert in the state's 1st Congressional District. He spent hours in court today, helping to extend polling hours to try and make up for the early morning vote system failure.

Also in Texas, overnight, the far-right 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower far-right lower court judge's ruling that dismissed a challenge to Harris County (Houston)'s ingenious drive-thru polling places, meant to help voters stay safe during the pandemic. The Republican plaintiffs in that case are hoping to reject more than 127,000 legal votes cast from cars in the state's largest county, a Democratic stronghold in the previously very "red" state.

MANY more details on ALL of the above and more on today's show, which closes with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report on the record-setting Hurricane Eta, now smashing into Nicaragua and possibly headed our way, and the stakes for humanity and the planet itself in today's Presidential Election....as the world anxiously watches and waits along with us...

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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Also: Judge nixes GOP attempt to toss 127k votes in Houston; Power outages plague southern states with computer voting systems following hurricanes; Trump Camp operative gives away plan to steal the election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2020 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, on the final day before the deadline for casting a ballot in this year's elections (previously known as Election Day), we open the phones to listeners with their questions and concerns about this remarkable election, in which the President of the United and his party are actively filing lawsuit after lawsuit to try and have legally cast ballots thrown out. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

The Republican Party and Trump Campaign are hoping those cases make it all the way to Donald Trump's packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court, where four Justices have already indicated they are willing to buy into a radical extremist legal theory that only state legislatures may create any rule or law when it comes to voting.

Thus, Republicans have filed in federal court in Texas to toss some 127,000 ballots already legally cast via drive-thru sites in Harris County (Houston), despite previous approval for this innovate voting plan (during a pandemic!) from the Republican Sec. of State and from several challenges heard by the state's all-Republican state Supreme Court. Nonetheless, the federal lawsuit filed by GOP activists late last week, seeking to toss those ballots, was dismissed today by a very rightwing U.S. District Court judge. The Republicans who filed the case, however, have announced they are appealing to the very rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

This comes as top Trump Campaign spokesperson Jason Miller over the weekend, lied on ABC's This Week on Sunday about how electoral votes worked, and declared that Democrats plan to "steal" the election after Election Day. We explain his brazen lie and how even a number of his fellow Republicans are calling him out for it.

Also today, power outages following Hurricanes Zeta and Laura are still imperiling voting in a number of vote centers across the southern U.S., including in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Sadly other than in Alabama, the vast majority of voters in those states (and in LA and GA, all of them, shamefully) are forced to use 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer voting systems when voting at the polling place, which require power in order for voters to vote at all. Just another reason why using computers instead of hand-marked paper ballots at the polls is idiotic.

After that, we open the phones to callers with questions about problems voting, concerns about the electoral college, and explanations as to why some of them are either planning to not vote at all or have decided to vote third-party this year (which also seems insane, given the situation this country, and planet along with it, are now in.)

And we also share one comment from this weekend from longtime, non-partisan Election Integrity champion Jim Soper of CountedAsCast.org and the National Voting Rights Task Force that is worth taking note of: "If you are finding it difficult to vote, vote on behalf of the 225,000 who can no longer vote. Or vote on behalf of our murdered brothers and sisters. Or vote on behalf of the billions of people world-wide who would love to have your American privilege, but don't. Or vote on behalf of Mother Earth. She's dying. ... Vote in their place. Think of it as their vote. A proxy vote, not your vote. Ask, how would they vote? Then honor them. Please vote, because they can't."

Well said, Jim. Thank you...Please vote. And don't fall for Trump's gaslighting about results at the end of Election Night. Thank you.

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Guest: Armstrong County, PA Election Director and longtime Election Integrity advocate Marybeth Kuznik on chaos, segregated ballots and unverifiable touchscreens in the critical battleground state...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2020 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Election 2020 is coming down to the wire, with the deadline for voting just days away and no small amount of chaos unleashed on the entire process by federal courts over the past several days. While the U.S. Supreme Court has invoked their so-called "Purcell Principle" in recent years, to prevent last-minute changes to even bad, suppressive election laws in order to avoid chaos, both SCOTUS and lower federal courts have been busy this week invoking invoking election chaos in several key battleground states. [Audio link to full show posted at bottom of summary.]

On Thursday night, two Republican federal appellate court judges reversed a rule enacted with a Minnesota state court's approval in July, in a radical ruling that follows on the heels of another decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in a Pennsylvania case that has resulted in elections officials in both states now being forced to segregate late arriving mail-in ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day, but that don't arrive until the days following it. We explain the reason for the extraordinary disruption and the potential invalidation of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of lawfully cast ballots in both states --- and maybe others --- based on a radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause that has never been blessed by a majority on the Supreme Court, but which could be very soon, depending on the vote of Donald Trump's newest appointment to the GOP's stolen Court, Amy Coney Barrett.

We try to make sense of the chaos that has now been unleashed by...

  • that late Thursday night ruling by two Republican judges on the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals --- just five days before Election Day --- finding it unconstitutional for MN to count late arriving ballots lawfully cast and postmarked on time, despite a months-old state court-blessed settlement between MN's Sec. of State, voting advocates and even agreed to by the Trump Campaign;
  • the SCOTUS decision to wait until after Election Day to decide if similar ballots in PA will be discarded as well;
  • and a seemingly counter-intuitive SCOTUS decision to allow late-arriving ballots in North Carolina to be counted following a state court blessed settlement nearly identical to the one just struck down on Thursday night by the appeals court judges for MN.

As noted, chaos now reigns in several of the most important battleground states in the most critical election in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, in the new battleground state of Texas, where early voting numbers have now surpassed the total turnout for all of the 2016 election, officials in Tarrant County (Fort Worth) are dealing with chaos caused by what they describe as a printing error by their absentee ballot contractor. Roughly one-third of mail-in ballots cast in the County are being seen as unreadable by their computer optical-scan tabulation system. Rather than count those hand-marked paper ballots publicly by hand, state law calls for the potentially tens of thousands of unscannable ballots to be "remade" by elections officials by hand onto new, scannable ballot pages.

All of this should serve as a reminder of the necessity of citizen-based public oversight of our elections, which are not owned by unelected judges or elections officials or private vendors or contractors, but by we the people. If you've already voted and are now looking for a way to help between now and Election Day (and, as importantly, beyond), there are many opportunities! Check out some of them at Scrutineers.org, ProtectOurVotes.com, SmartElections.us and ValidateTheVoteUSA.org.

Our guest today is, herself, a longtime champion of public oversight of elections. MARYBETH KUZNIK is the founder of the election integrity group, VotePA.us and, as of September, also the Election Director in Armstrong County, PA, a somewhat rural, Republican-leaning county just north of Pittsburgh. She is kind enough to offer us some time amid the mayhem of her new job today, where she concedes "it's pretty crazy here."

Among the many topics we discuss...

  • the new order to segregate late-arriving absentee ballots in PA so they can, potentially, be nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court after the election;
  • the fact that the state legislature does not allow pre-processing, much less tabulation, of mail-in ballots until Election Day;
  • How many days it is likely to take her county and the state as a whole to tabulate them ("We are in unchartered water here...But, we're not going to know Election Night, that's for sure." She is still looking for volunteers to help! Though they must be from Armstrong!);
  • the type of voting systems in use in Armstrong (Optically-scanned hand-marked paper ballots. "I wouldn't be working here --- I would not be administering unverifiable touchscreen ballot-marking devices. You know that, Brad!");
  • her concerns about voting in Philadelphia this year amid both civil unrest and the strongly Dem-leaning County's foolish decision to use new, unverifiable, computer touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices which failed spectacularly during their first use last year. ("Philly worries me," she says, adding that she has "zero confidence" in the systems which she describes as "the most expensive and the most wasteful voting system ever developed. Every voter does not need a $9,000 touchscreen to cast a ballot.";
  • and some of the lessons she's learned in her transition from longtime Election Integrity advocate to Election Director...

Don't forget to exhale between now and Tuesday!...

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Guest: 28-year former Leon County, FL Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho; Also: Coronavirus begins third U.S. peak; Ransomware attack hits GA county's election infrastructure...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2020 6:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We're now just one week from Election Day. But as today's guest underscores, we may be much farther away from knowing who actually won it, given disturbing vulnerabilities that remain in our nation's voting system, beginning --- if not ending --- in the battleground state of Florida. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

But first, the Trump Administration announced over the weekend, via White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, that it is no longer even trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with Meadows telling CNN that "we aren't going to control the pandemic." Rather, he said, they'll work on mitigating its effects, eventually, through the development of therapies and vaccines.

That, as the U.S. hit its third peak of infections over the weekend, with new daily records that outpaced those from the June-July peak, which previously outpaced those from the original March-April peak. The pandemic is getting far worse, not better, and it's now being super-spread by the President of the United States himself at maskless rallies around the country. The virus which has now killed almost a quarter of a million Americans in the past six months is also being similarly spread by Vice President Mike Pence at rallies, even after five of his top staffers and advisers, including his Chief of Staff Marc Short, were revealed over the weekend to have tested positive.

On Monday morning, Trump actually tweeted that reporting on COVID numbers should now be outlawed. At the same time, talks on a new emergency relief package for the American people, between the White House and Democrats in the U.S. House, collapsed yet again. And, in response to all of the above, the Dow plummeted 650 points on Monday.

Things are not going well, just one week out from Election Day, even after some 60 million Americans have already cast their vote this year, outpacing all early voting from 2016.

But, if you think Election Day will be the answer to all of our woes --- while I pray you are right --- you may want to hedge that bet. One of my greatest fears about the election, a ransomware attack, appears to already be playing out in one county in the battleground state of Georgia. In Hall County, a ransomware attack has hit the county's elections infrastructure by taking out its voter signature database and a precinct map hosted on its website. If a similar attack were to occur on or before Election Day, in any one of the thousands of counties which now rely on the Internet or networked computers to allow voters to cast a vote at all, we could see absolute chaos. This President, of course, is all to ready to exploit such a case to his advantage with the help of gerrymandered Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country and a compliant (and stolen) U.S. Supreme Court (made even more stolen today by the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett in the U.S. Senate.)

Down in the critical battleground of Florida, as my guest explains today, voters may never even know if the election is stolen from them. That guest today is the legendary, former 28-year Supervisor of Elections in Leon County (Tallahassee), Florida, ION SANCHO, who was so well-respected by his peers on both the right and left he was appointed to oversee the eventually-aborted year 2000 recount between Al Gore and George W. Bush in the Sunshine State.

On Friday, Sancho sent an urgent letter [PDF] to the Supervisors of Elections in 47 of Florida's 67 counties which use wireless cellular modems to transmit precinct election results to county headquarters after the close of polls on Election Night. The letter warns that those modems --- and the Internet connections to them at the counties' central tabulators --- can be easily hacked "from anywhere in the world." If they are, he explains on today's program, it's very likely that such a hack, changing election results, would never be noticed by election officials.

"The issue is that we’re using equipment that is not secure," Sancho tells me. "To quote Sen. Marco Rubio, 'Many Florida election officials are arrogant over their belief that they can’t be touched, that they are secure.' And this is a state that does not compare the numbers that we generate on those electrical optical scanners to the actual, physical votes on the piece of paper. We’re completely dependent upon those electronic totals on Election Night."

Manual examination of hand-marked paper ballots in Florida, to make sure the reported computer tabulation was correct, is prohibited by state law. Sancho details his concerns about those modems --- which are not federally certified for use in elections --- and how the state's election officials can avoid the threat posed by this very serious vulnerability to the state's election infrastructure. Making matters worse, he notes, "We do not audit the paper ballots to confirm that the election totals are correct. And that’s a huge, huge problem – not just in Florida, but everywhere in the country."

"Most of the election officials were not even aware that their systems were connected [to the Internet], because the vendor [in this case, ES&S, the nation's largest] never told them. You’re almost 100% dependent upon the vendor for the information about your system. So our most public process – our elections process, which is public – really are controlled by private entities."

"The worst-case scenario," with the modems now used in the systems in Florida, "is that a man-in-the-middle attack could actually intercept the totals that are being electronically-transmitted over the Internet, and manipulate them --- not only to the central tabulator, but re-routing back into the actual digital voting machine and altering the results in that device," he warns. "You could have a complete disaster here."

Sancho may be familiar to some listeners from his landmark appearance in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, in which he allows an experiment by "white hat" Finnish hacker Harri Hursti. In the film's climactic scene, we see an actual hack of one of Leon County's optical scan systems, as carried out by Hursti in a mock election. The hack flips the results of the election in a way that would never be noticed by elections officials, save for a manual examination of the hand-marked paper ballots cast.

Sancho also offers his concerns today about whether the 2020 Presidential election could become a redux of what played out in Florida in 2000, when a weeks-long battle to determine who would be President of the United States was kicked off on Election Night, after an optical-scan tabulator --- for reasons still unknown to this day --- recorded negative 16,022 votes for Al Gore in Volusia County. The election was ultimately decided in favor of Bush by an "official" margin of just 527 votes, thanks to a right-wing U.S. Supreme Court which stopped Sancho's statewide hand recount from ever being completed...

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Guest: Attorney Ron Fein of Free Speech for People; Also: Biden's plan for SCOTUS expansion; Graham breaks rules to approve Barrett w/out Dems; SCOTUS blocks AL curbside voting; Admin claims Iran (not Russia, not Proud Boys) behind email threats to Dem voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2020 5:17pm PT  

Last week, Trump's new "sham" nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to not know if voter intimidation was even a violation of federal law. This week, as we report on today's BradCast, Trump and his henchmen find themselves facing a federal lawsuit over exactly that. [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

  • First up, Joe Biden has finally stated his position on expanding the U.S. Supreme Court. That position? A bi-partisan commission to study reforms for the federal court system, to offer recommendations after six months...if Biden wins the White House and Dems take the Senate. We discuss what is probably a pretty smart political position for the former VP to take right now, considering that corporate media can't stop using the words "court packing" to describe long-overdue reforms after years of actual court packing by the GOP.
  • Speaking of which, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, led by South Carolina's increasingly vulnerable Sen. Lindsey Graham, broke their own rules today to ram through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett without a single Democrat present, after Dems refused to allow a quorum for today's vote. If she is confirmed by the full Senate on Monday, as Republicans currently plan, it will be one of the shortest confirmation processes and the closest to a Presidential Election Day for the seating of a Supreme Court Justice in the nation's history. That, after just 4 years ago Republicans blocked a Democratic SCOTUS nominee entirely for a full year, while vowing that a new Justice should never be seated during a Presidential election year. Republicans also changed the rules in the middle of that game as well, when they killed the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees after failing to get enough votes to pack Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first nominee, onto the Court. Over the past five years, Republicans have succeeded at completely delegitimizing the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The GOP's already-stolen Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with Alabama's dishonest, lying, somewhat deranged, unlawfully Twitter-blocking, Republican Sec. of State John Merrill to nix curbside voting in counties that wished to use it to help keep disabled voters safe during the COVID crisis, as recommended by the CDC and approved the U.S. Dept. of Justice as a way to prevent violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All three remaining Democratic appointees on the Court dissented, siding with the U.S. District Court and federal appeals court which, after a three day trial, found the now-scrapped accommodation to be a "modest" and "reasonable" way to avoid a potentially fatal illness for some voters.
  • In recent days, Democratic voters in Florida and several other battleground states have been receiving threatening warnings via email, instructing them to "Vote for Trump or else!" The body of the emails, which appear to come from a Trump-supporting extremist group, cite the recipient's name and addresses and promise to "come after you" if they do not change their party affiliation to Republican and vote as instructed. Incredibly, and with zero supporting evidence, Trump's "partisan hack" Director of National Intelligence John Ratclifffe hastily convened an absurd press conference on Wednesday night to declare that Iran was actually behind the threatening emails to Democrats. He claimed they were designed to "damage President Trump". He also muttered something about Russia. But, again, no actual specifics and no actual supporting evidence for his claim that both countries accessed voter registrations systems to obtain the data (most of which is publicly available without actually hacking into election-related systems). Suffice to say, I believe absolutely nothing from this Administration at this point, about any of it, and, short of independently verifiable information, neither should you.
  • Then, we are joined by the Legal Director at Free Speech for People, RON FEIN, to explain the federal lawsuit his non-partisan good government organization filed on Wednesday on behalf of the Latino civic engagement group Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and several voters, charging that Donald Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr and Acting Sec. of Homeland Security Chad Wolf are violating federal laws against voter intimidation.

    The complaint [PDF] and accompanying request for a preliminary injunction, as Fein details, alleges defendants have exhibited a pattern of intimidation against voters that violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, and the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

    As FSFP explains in their announcement of the suit, the complaint is "based on the defendants’ violent suppression of public protests opposing police brutality, the encouragement of white supremacist 'vigilantes,' threats to send 'sheriffs' and other law enforcement to the polls, the undermining of mail-in voting, and the rejection of the peaceful transfer of power, which, the complaint alleges, constitute illegal voter intimidation."

    Fein offers more details on what he describes as a "threatening pattern of conduct stretching over the past few months," that has resulted in the suit. "People understand what it means when the President talks about sending law enforcement...When he tells the Proud Boys to 'stand by,' people understand what that means...This is not one piece of conduct, one isolated statement. This is a months-long pattern that the President and his top officials have been involved in, that has the purpose and effect --- hopefully not successfully --- but it certainly has that effect, of intimidating people from voting either in person or by mail."

    Explaining the relief sought by the complaint, he tells me: "First of all, we want relief prohibiting the defendants from deploying armed federal agents at or near polling places; from ordering federal agents to block the delivery of ballots or interfere in the counting of ballots; from taking any actions that could limit with the speed or reliability of mail delivery. And specifically to Trump, prohibiting him from encouraging his supporters to bring weapons to polling places, block access to polling places, to question voters, or from using official government public communications channels --- which now includes his Twitter account --- to suggest that lawful votes will be scrutinized or challenged."

    He also discusses a somewhat related federal case also filed this week by FSFP on behalf of the Minnesota chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and League of Women Voters against a private mercenary contractor who has posted job listings, reported recently by the Washington Post, seeking to hire and deploy armed former special ops troops to patrol polling sites in the state.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on yet another record hurricane in an already-record season; the death of half of Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the return of the Hummer, this time as an all-electric "supertruck"...

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Guest: Author and 'REDMAP' gerrymandering expert David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Dems to boycott Barrett vote?; Federal court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots without contacting voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2020 6:56pm PT  

There's a lot to digest on today's BradCast, so I'll try to keep this teaser brief so you can just listen. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, it turns out lawyers really don't like Donald Trump, even the ones he actually pays millions to work for him. In Congress, Dems vow "no more business as usual" on Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, but how much are they actually able to do about it? We may be about to find out.

And, as if it wasn't difficult enough to vote safely --- or at all --- in Texas amid the pandemic (or even before the pandemic!), still more vote suppression has just been ordered there by the radical rightwing judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

A ruling like the one they've just issued to allow mail-in ballots to be rejected based on perceived signature mismatches (as adjudicated by non-handwriting experts) without contacting voters first to allow them to cure any perceived problems, is the type of voter suppression that might have been blocked in advance by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before it was gutted by the GOP-majority U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, in the infamous Shelby County case.

That ruling of a piece of with Karl Rove and the GOP's "Plot for Permanent Minority Rule", as expertly detailed by our guest today, author and FairVote.org Senior Fellow DAVID DALEY in his new must-read cover story for The New Republic this month. Daley unspools the full story of how the unlikely Republican voting rights hero, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), partnered with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and voting rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in 2006 to ensure the re-authorization of the VRA in full for 25 more years. Sensenbrenner held a dozen hearings with nearly 50 witnesses as Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, in order to compile some 12,000 pages of recent, compelling evidence of racially-based voter suppression that supported the need to extend the then 40-year old landmark civil rights law.

But that was before Karl Rove's successful scheme to gain GOP control of state legislatures in 2010 after that year's Census, in order to gerrymander "democracy" within an inch of its life for the entire next decade. And it was before the Republican SCOTUS majority ignored Sensenbrenner's work on the VRA entirely --- and a bipartisan 98-0 vote in the U.S. Senate to extend the Act --- in order to gut it.

The nation has been paying a very steep price ever since. Republicans in gerrymandered districts in Congress and state legislatures no longer worry about working and compromising with Democrats. Their only concern became primary challenges from the Right. So the party moved ever farther in that direction until arriving where we are today, when the idea of fixing the now-gutted VRA has become unthinkable --- just a few short years after it was re-authorized by a Republican House, Senate and President. The scheme also allowed opportunists like Donald Trump to take advantage of the lost protections for voting rights in gerrymandered state after gerrymandered state, which continues to haunt America's hobbled democracy today.

Daley discusses how all of this came about, how --- and if --- it can be corrected, and how he was able to get so many Republicans who now regret building the "Frankenstein monster that has devoured our politics" to speak on the record about those regrets --- as regular Americans pay an unspeakable price for it all.

"This was not caused by Donald Trump. It did not start with him," Daley tells me. "The fight over the vote has been deeply entwined in this nation ever since the founding of this nation. But these battles did not start in 2016. They will not end on Election Day 2020. And there is a real, deeply embedded, [GOP] minority rule that has been built atop a system that already advantaged Republicans geographically in the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College."

"This has been baked in to our politics for a long time. It's going to take a lot of time for us to get it out. This is a Census year. This is a redistricting year. So state legislatures and the next decade of maps are on the line again," he cautions. So, please VOTE and remember to vote ALL THE WAY DOWN THE BALLOT THIS YEAR! "There are more of us than there are of them," Daley notes, "but there are more of them on the Supreme Court than us, and that's a big, big problem."

And if that sounds like a heavy show, don't worry! Mel Brooks is here at the end to help calm your anxiety --- and mine --- just a little bit...

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Guest: Emily Levy of Scrutineers.org; Also: Repub judges block MI mail-in vote extension; FL County website fails on first day of Early Voting...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2020 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: You thought your work was done after you vote? Think again! [Audio link to show is posted in full below summary.]

But, first up, a quick rundown of today's disturbing headlines to serve as a reminder that the only thing that matters between now and November 3rd is the general election now already under way, in which more than 26 million have already voted. Have you? We've got some useful tips on how to maximize the chances of your ballot being counted as cast in this pandemic year.

Then, a 3-judge panel of Republican appointees to the Michigan state Court of Appeals has overruled a lower court judge who had extended the deadline for mail-in ballots to arrive in the key battleground state, given U.S. Postal Service slowdowns. The lower court judge had previously determined that ballots postmarked by November 2 (the day before Election Day ) should still be counted if they were received by election officials up to two weeks after Election Day. The 3-judge panel, however, overturned that ruling and says that ballots must now arrive by Election Day. That's disturbing, given that some 6,400 ballots were tossed for arriving late after the state's August primary, in a state that is said to have elected Donald Trump by fewer about 11,000 votes in 2016.

Meanwhile, after technical problems with the voting systems caused hours-long lines for voters in parts of Georgia and Texas last week during their first days of Early Voting, the website for the Supervisor of Elections in Orange County, Florida --- yes, another key battleground state --- was not available today during the first day of Early Voting in the Sunshine State. The SOE's office blames a private vendor for incorrectly renewing the office's website domain.

With all of the problems expected in this election --- even more than we usually see (and that is saying a lot!) --- public oversight of the election, before, during and after Election Day, will be critical this year. To that end, we're joined today by EMILY LEVY, longtime election protection advocate and now founder of Scrutineers.org, a nonpartisan online community of people working to protect US elections.

Levy details how you can get involved with the group and help oversee our election processes from many different angles in your own community. The courts, clearly, cannot be counted on to protect our votes and, as the best elections officials in the nation will tell you, elections officials are not to be trusted! Only public oversight by the citizenry can guarantee a fair election.

Levy explains a number of the groups ongoing projects, including a (free!) Zoom training session this Friday for their "Poll Tapes Project", detailing how citizens can photograph and/or video tape the voting system results tapes that are printed out at the end of the night at polling places when they close. Reviews of those tapes are often helpful in discovering anomalies in the results eventually reported by county headquarters or the state.

She also discusses the group's "Candidate Caution Letter" campaign, requesting that candidates do not concede their races until all votes are tabulated and confirmed to have been done so accurately; an effort to train poll workers to keep an eye out for certain concerns that regular poll worker training generally does not cover; and how to be a polling place election monitor on Election Day and an observer at county headquarters as votes are being tallied and/or examined during post-election "audits" (at least in the very few jurisdictions that do any sort of post-election spot check of ballots to make sure that tabulation computers were counting accurately.)

Scrutineers is "a place where people can learn about the issues starting from scratch, if that's their beginning place, or get more advanced help if they've been working on these issues for awhile, and talk to each other, coordinate with each other to set up projects in their local communities, find the resources they need and ask questions of people who have been doing this work for a long time," Levy tells me.

"There's quite a wide variety of things to choose from," she says, including things that can be done from home. "Everybody can do something, and I hope that everybody will."

While campaigning and GOTV (Get Out the Vote) work that many people do "kind of ends on Election Night, that's when a lot of the activities that we're training people to do begin," Levy notes. "We're really hoping to see a huge influx of those dedicated people who want to make sure that everyone gets to vote, [are then able to] turn that dedication into making sure all those votes they worked so hard to get actually get counted accurately!"

Finally, we take a few quick calls today from listeners on how THEY plan to vote this year and some of the worries they have as Election Day is now just two weeks away...

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Computer check-in system causing long Early Voting lines in GA; FBI warns of 'unauthorized access to elections support systems'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2020 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's full speed ahead for Senate Republicans' desperate attempt to further pack the U.S. Supreme Court while they still have the chance. And it's anything but feel speed for voters forced to wait in hours-long Early Voting lines in Georgia. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Peach State could very well turn "blue" this year, according to Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight, in both the Presidential election and not one, but two U.S. Senate races there this year. But voters will have to work like hell to make that happen. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that the state's new voting check-in computers --- needed to operate the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting machines --- appear to be the main cause of intolerably long lines for voters since Early Voting began on Monday. Some voters have reportedly left without voting, others waited as long as 12 hours to cast their votes. Now that AJC has identified the check-in computers to be a main bottleneck, Georgia's terrible Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who previously attributed the hours-long lines to "voter enthusiasm" --- has apparently told the private software vendor responsible for those check-in computers at Voting Centers to increase network bandwidth to speed up the process. Early reports in Atlanta suggest the expanded bandwidth may be helping to speed things up, but we'll see.

In the meantime, as voters in Georgia must now navigate at least 4 different computer systems (programmed by private companies) to cast their one vote, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security, are warning they are aware of "some instances" in which malicious actors (most likely foreign, they suggest) have obtained "unauthorized access to elections support systems." They quickly note, however, they have "no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised." Feel better?

Our guest today, Slate's great legal reporter, MARK JOSEPH STERN, is definitely not feeling better after a week of hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meant to further pack the Republicans' already-stolen Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. The hearings revealed little or nothing about Donald Trump's third far-right nominee to the highest court in the land, Stern reports. "It was a terrible week. It was one of the worst on record," he tells me, describing the proceedings as a "deranged power grab" and the nominee as establishing a new low for such hearings.

"Amy Coney Barrett has established a new rule for Supreme Court confirmations, which is that the nominee doesn't just have to be kind of evasive or squirrelly. The nominee can literally say nothing of substance and simply announce a rule at the outset that she won't say anything of substance, and then just swat down questions that try to get her to say anything meaningful."

Barrett refused to (or couldn't?) answer even simple, non-political questions and matters of basic federal law, such as whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. (It is.) "I don't understand why we all had to go through this entire experience. It was a psychic wound, it was demeaning to all of us. She won't even say whether this federal law exists, whether it is real," Stern observes. "Will she acknowledge that gravity exists?"

Among the many related points we discuss today...

  • While Barrett allies herself with the great myth of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's so-called "Constitutional originalism," is she in fact "a legal lightweight"?;
  • Do Republicans even care about her "remarkable paucity of experience"? (Stern charges: "I don't think that she's necessarily being picked on the merits of her own scholarship.");
  • If SCOTUS nominees are now going to refuse to answer any question on virtually anything, have these hearings and the Advise and Consent clause itself become little more than a meaningless joke at this point?;
  • Is Barrett's bizarre assertion that Roe v. Wade is not a "super-precedent" --- apparently meaning a ruling that cannot be overturned --- actually a real legal concept in any way, shape or form?;
  • What, if anything, was the impact of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's stunning thirty-minute detailing on Tuesday (video here, transcript here) of the decades-long, $250 million, rightwing dark-money court-packing conspiracy? And did it help Americans appreciate the insidious scam that wealthy rightwingers have been running with the GOP for years now to capture our entire federal judicial system? ("Amy Coney Barrett didn't just magically appear in that seat. She didn't just find herself nominated to the Supreme Court. She has been elevated, propped up, by this massive dark money machine," Stern notes.);
  • Did Democrats do all that they could to highlight the outrage of how Republicans are undermining the very legitimacy of our federal courts, even as Dems have little or no way to stop it right now?;
  • Will Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have the courage to do the right thing for justice and the American people by expanding the Supreme Court to save cherished American rights and the court system itself IF they are able to win the White House and Senate majority this November?;
  • And, why the hell was ranking Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hugging the Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (maskless!), at the end of today's final day of hearings?

All of those questions asked and mostly answered on today's lively --- if maddening --- program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Touchscreen systems fail on first day of Early Voting outside Houston; Three Trump judges clear way for absentee vote suppression in TX; Online registration fails on deadline day in VA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2020 7:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's not easy keeping up with confirmation hearings for a new Supreme Court Justice on an already stolen Court just days before an election, even as disasters are already befalling voters at the polls, thanks in part to the GOP's already stolen Court. But we try our best. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

On the morning of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's first day of hearings to pack the U.S. Supreme Court by ramming Donald Trump's third nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, onto the Court before Election Day, AP unhelpfully parroted one of the GOP's favorite, if completely phony, myths. "Republicans will highlight Barrett's belief in sticking to the text of laws and the original meaning of constitutional provisions, both Scalia trademarks," the news service claimed. They may be "trademarks", but that's largely because Republicans have long propagated the myth, and the media, like the Associated Press here, are all too happy to help them spread it. In fact, those claims about Scalia --- and the notion that Republicans give a damn about "sticking to the text of laws and the original meaning of constitutional provisions" --- are lies. And easily proven as such.

None of that, of course, prevented the hypocritical Barrett --- who argued against seating a Justice on the Supreme Court during a Presidential election year, back when it was convenient for her party after Scalia's death in early 2016 --- from associating herself with false claims of "conservative" "originalism" or "textualism" or "Constitutionalism" or "strict constructionism" that Republicans have long enjoyed using to falsely characterize Scalia's so-called judicial philosophy and their own pretend assertions that they oppose "radical extremist judges" that "legislate from the bench", as the late Justice brazenly did himself.

In her opening statement on Monday, Barrett lashed herself to Scalia --- who she once clerked for --- by noting: "it was the content of Justice Scalia’s reasoning that shaped me. His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were. ... The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try."

As discussed in some detail on today's program, and as Scalia might have described it himself if you could catch him in a rare moment of truth-telling, that's all a bunch of "jiggery-pokery", "pure applesauce" and "bull-pucky". Scalia's position in 2013, in the SCOTUS case that gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- and his outrageous explanation for it during oral argument --- reveal that Barrett's hero had little concern for the strict, constructionist, originalist wording of either the Constitution or the rule of law, even for an Amendment enacted over 100 years ago and a law adopted 98 to 0 in the U.S. Senate to enforce it, "by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People," as Barrett disingenuously averred in her opening statement. I explained that matter in 2013 and do so again on today's show.

If Barrett is as dishonest and misleading on the high court as she was in her opening remarks, Democrats would have more than enough reason to expand the Court to take back the majority they should have rightfully gained in 2016. In truth, they already do.

Speaking of gutting the Voting Rights Act, that 2013 SCOTUS outrage continues to undermine American democracy today.

Following lines as long as 11 hours to vote in minority-heavy areas of Georgia on its first day of Early Voting Monday, hours-long lines were also seen in urban and suburban parts of Texas today during the Lone Star State's own first day of Early Voting on Tuesday. As in Georgia, those lines were caused, in part, by still-unexplained programming failures on the touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems which Texas Counties like Fort Bend force voters to use when casting their vote at the polls, instead of hand-marked paper ballots.

The only way to cast a hand-marked paper ballots in many Counties in Texas is with a mail-in ballot. But those are seriously restricted in the state, largely allowing only those 65 and older to request them. Even there, however, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has recently made returning absentee ballots in person more difficult by proclaiming last week that Texas counties may have no more than one single drop-off location for voters, whether the county has 4.7 million people (like Houston's Dem-leaning Harris County, which is larger in area than Rhode Island) or right-leaning counties like Rockwall, with a population of 105,000. After a federal court judge last Friday found Abbott's new directive unlawful because it forced absentee voters to travel farther and to more-crowded locations, increasing the risk to populations already especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, a three-judge panel on the hard-right U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that finding. With an Orwellian flair, the panel described Abbott's proclamation as an "expansion" of voting rights. All three judges on the panel were Trump-appointees, packed onto the court by the Republican Senate.

Also today, on the final day of voter registration in Virginia, a fiber optic cable was cut, shutting down online registration entirely in the state. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam announced he'd like to make up for the lost hours by extending the state deadline for one of the busiest registration days of the year, but that only a court may do so.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the fallout from Hurricane Delta in Louisiana in this year's record storm season and the at-times-ridiculous conversation about climate change during last week's Vice-Presidential Debate...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Plaintiff Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: My escape from 'Twitter Jail'; GA's vote system fails, causes long lines on first day of early voting; CA GOP's fake mail-in drop boxes...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2020 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A long-awaited ruling in the federal case challenging Georgia's new, unverifiable, already-failed $100+ million touchscreen vote systems --- which failed again on day one of early voting today in the Peach State. Also, my escape from "Twitter Jail" and the California GOP deploys fraudulent mail-in drop-boxes across the state. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start today by avoiding, for now, the first day of the illegitimate confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Instead, we offer some exclusive news that is not being reported elsewhere on two fronts, both related to Georgia's disastrous new voting system. First up, an explanation --- or, a conclusion for now --- to the saga that resulted in my 4 days suspension on Twitter beginning late last week, for the crime of posting a completely accurate tweet about two weeks ago, reporting that GA's Secretary of State informed elections officials in all 159 counties to immediately halt pre-election testing of their new touchscreen voting systems, due to an error that prevented candidates in one of Georgia's two U.S. Senate elections this year from appearing on screen for voters. The error, as I noted in my infamous (and accurate) tweet, would eventually require all new software for the November elections. In fact, as the federal ruling we discuss today reveals, the state installed all new, uncertified software on all 34,000 of the new voting machines just days ago, in violation of state law. You can read the full saga, with links to the federal court filings proving the accuracy of the tweet, and why I eventually relented and deleted it right here.

As Georgia began its first day of early voting on Monday, sure enough, the vote system I was warning about in that tweet failed, leading to six-hour lines to vote in some places. But the long-running federal court case whose emergency filings revealed the serious problem I was tweeting, finally came to a conclusion --- of sorts, at least for now --- late on Sunday night. That is when U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg finally released her long-awaited ruling in the case which challenged the security, accuracy and constitutionality of the state's use of new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion Voting Systems. The Plaintiffs called for them to be replaced by a cheaper, verifiable hand-marked paper ballots system.

Last year, Totenberg found the state's previous, 20-year old Diebold touchscreen systems to be unsecure, unverifiable and, thus, unconstitutional, ordering them banned for all future elections in the state. On Sunday night, in her long-awaited 147-page ruling [PDF] that begins by citing the plot to the movie Groundhog Day, Totenberg once again finds the state's new touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) "presents serious system security vulnerability and operational issues that may place Plaintiffs and other voters at risk of deprivation of their fundamental right to cast an effective vote that is accurately counted." The judge warned "these risks are neither hypothetical nor remote" and slams "the insularity" of the "stance" by the GA Sec. of State and the state's private vendor, Canadian-based Dominion Voting Systems, "in evaluation and management of the security and vulnerability of the BMD system [which] does not benefit the public or citizen's confident exercise of the franchise."

After detailing lies, inaccuracies and a lack of knowledge in the testimony of the state's "experts" in the case (no actual cybersecurity experts were presented by them, only employees of the vendors who admitted they had no actual cybsersecurity experience, nor did any penetration tests of the systems before certifying them for use in GA elections!), Judge Totenberg concludes: "The Plaintiffs’ national cybersecurity experts 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. Given the masking nature of malware and the current systems described here, if the State and Dominion simply stand by and say, 'we have never seen it,' the future does not bode well."

For now, that future includes the use of the systems that Totenberg clearly finds so dangerous because, as she explains, it might cause chaos for elections officials if she ordered the use of hand-marked paper ballots at the polling places this close to Election Day.

We're joined once again to discuss the case today by MARILYN MARKS of case plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance, which has been leading this long and important federal court battle now for several years. She has been joining us to discuss it at critical junctures, even while most of the broadcast media has studiously avoided covering it all. Marks offers her reaction to the judge's long-awaited ruling, describes her disappointment in the ultimate order from the judge (for now), while expressing confidence that these systems --- just like the state's previous ones --- will eventually be barred by this judge for use for the very same reasons that she ordered the state's old ones to finally be trashed.

"What we see here is these systems are put together in a slipshod fashion, without security being an important priority at all to these companies," Marks tells me. "These voting system vendors will say anything, and unfortunately many of our election officials who are purchasing these systems will repeat and parrot whatever those words are. You begin to wonder what is it that drives these elections officials, like Secretary [of State Brad] Raffensberger in Georgia, to buy the most expensive and least-auditable equipment."

Noting that unverifiable BMD systems similar to the ones now being forced on voters for the first time at the polls in other critical battlegrounds --- such as Philadelphia, the most Democratic-leaning county in North Carolina, all of South Carolina, as well as key counties in Texas and Ohio, not to mention the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction, Los Angeles County --- Marks decries the damage to democracy being done in all of those locations, while still being hopeful for the future.

"If there's good news in the judge's denial of relief for November, she did write a very solid yet scathing opinion, and explained in detail why these systems are not secure," she explains. "I'm hopeful that her opinion can spread across --- certainly Los Angeles, and all the counties that are using these systems in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and even my home county of Mecklenberg, North Carolina --- and shake up some of these election officials. But maybe, most importantly, some of these candidates. That is such a shame that we don't have the parties and we don't have the candidates demanding a fair system."

Marks adds: "We're confident we'll win the case. We've proven our point. We've proven that they're unconstitutional. We've proven that they're insecure. We've proven that people shouldn't be permitted to vote on them. The only piece that's missing is, how long does it take? How long does it take for jurisdictions to be prepared to do something simple, like hand out hand-marked paper ballots? Given how important this election is, it is a real shame that we have to put up with these machines in November."

Finally, we close with the news that Republicans in California --- after Trump and his GOP have been suing to do away with mail-in drop-boxes all over the country --- are actually deploying fake ones up and down the Golden State, in apparent violation of the law, according to California's Secretary of State...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, David Faris of Roosevelt Univ.; Also: Suspended on Twitter because I tweeted completely accurate news about GA's flawed touchscreen voting system...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2020 5:35pm PT  

Before we get to our otherwise previously-scheduled Special Coverage of Wednesday night's Vice Presidential debate, we open today's BradCast with the news that Twitter has suspended TheBradBlog's account for posting a 100% accurate tweet regarding Georgia's new touchscreen voting systems. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

I laid out the entire, maddening story regarding the tweet in question in a BRAD BLOG item today, since I can't post at all right now on Twitter, while they review my "appeal" to their finding that a two week old, demonstrably accurate tweet is in violation of the service's "rules against posting misleading information about voting." As you can imagine, my tweet is well supported, as its based on email from the GA Sec. of State's office sent to all 159 counties regarding an error discovered in the state's new touchscreen voting systems used by every voter at every polling place in the state. The email I cite is from the SoS and was published in a federal court filing (also linked with the tweet!) as part of a long-running lawsuit challenging the use of those machines, which we've reported on here for years now. The lawsuit seeks hand-marked paper ballots for voters at the polling place instead. The full story of what happened with Twitter, including screenshots and links to the federal filing and SoS email is posted here.

Then its on to last night's refreshingly dull and normal(ish) Vice Presidential Debate from Salt Lake City, Utah between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Veep nominee Sen. Kamala Harris. We're joined today for analysis and commentary by award-winning opinion journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo, along with author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University and The Week.

While the debate may have been dull --- save for the fly --- there was much revealed (and much evaded) and much to discuss about it in today's very lively show, including, near the end, whether there will be any more debates at all this year.

I'd say more about today's fun (and, at times, funny) show, but I've got to get back to fighting with Twitter now, apparently. Since I'm not allowed to post there for the time being --- unless I delete a completely accurate and newsworthy tweet --- please feel free to share today's show over there yourself! Thanks!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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