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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 29, 2020
Cold Civil War Over Democracy Grinds On as Voting Deadline Looms: 'BradCast' 10/29/20
Pro-democracy wins in MN, TX; FL Guv's voter reg hacked; VT demands SCOTUS correction...
'Green News Report' 10/29/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Zeta slams into LA, its 5th storm this season; Logging begins in Tongass National Forest; China vaults ahead of U.S. on climate pledge; PLUS: Expand the Court to save the climate...
Previous GNRs: 10/27/20 - 10/22/20 - Archives...
Preparing to Play the
SCOTUS Trump Cards:
'BradCast' 10/28/20
Guest: Mark Joseph Stern on Kavanaugh's terrifying, error-riddled opinion in the case that blocks WI from counting thousands of ballots; Also: Trump's very VERY bad day...
Dear Dems: Unrig the Court (If They Don't Rig the Election First): 'BradCast' 10/27/20
Guest: Aaron Belkin of Take Back the Court; Also: Barrett joins stolen SCOTUS; Supremes order WI to reject timely mail-in votes...
'Green News Report' 10/27/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Yet another hurricane - Zeta - aims for Gulf Coast; More hurricane-force winds and fires in CA and CO; PLUS: Biden's truth, Trump's nonsense at 2020's final Presidential Debate...
Previous GNRs: 10/22/20 - 10/20/20 - Archives...
Election Official Who Oversaw FL 2000 'Recount' Warns of 'Hacked' 2020 Results: 'BradCast' 10/26/20
Guest: Ion Sancho, former Leon Cnty election chief; Also: 3rd COVID peak; GA ransomware...
Sunday 'Losing It' Toons
We're just trying to keep it all together in PDiddie's penultimate pre-election weekly toon collection....
Special Coverage: The Final 2020 Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 10/23/20
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and Richard 'R.J.' Eskow decode Thursday's face-off in Nashville and our nightmares before (and after?) Halloween...
Trump, Barr, Wolf Sued for Unlawful Voter Intimidation: 'BradCast' 10/22/20
Guest: Attorney Ron Fein; Also: Biden's Court expansion plan; Graham breaks rules to approve Barrett; Bad news for AL voters; Admin says Iran behind Dem email threats?!...
'Green News Report' 10/22/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Another new record storm in a record-breaking hurricane season; Great Barrier Reef half dead; First all-climate campaign ad; PLUS: The Hummer is back, and now it's all-electric...
Previous GNRs: 10/20/20 - 10/15/20 - Archives...
Are Americans Ready (or Even Able) to Roll Back the GOP's 'Permanent Minority Rule'?: 'BradCast' 10/21/20
Guest: David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Fed court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots...
Good News, Bad News! It's 'The Caveat Show!': 'BradCast' 10/20/20
All sorts of reasons for Dems to feel good about Biden and re-taking the Senate...And plenty of reasons to remain concerned about both...
'Green News Report' 10/20/20
Massive CO wildfires; Trump flip-flops on disaster aid to CA; Wind, solar energy now the cheapest energy in the world; PLUS: Biden talks clean energy at ABC Town Hall...
Voting is Not Enough: How YOU Can Help Oversee and Protect Our Elections!: 'BradCast' 10/19/20
Guest: Emily Levy of Scrutineers.org; Also: Bad news for MI voters; FL voting website fails...
Sunday 'A Bigger Boat' Toons
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth...PDiddie offers his latest collection of the week's best toons...
2020's Federal Court Voting Rights Roller Coaster: 'BradCast' 10/16/20
Guest: Election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Trump's CA wildfire disaster relief roller coaster...
'Deranged Power Grab': Barrett SCOTUS Hearings Conclude: 'BradCast' 10/15/20
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: E-Pollbook systems fail in GA; FBI reports 'unauthorized access to elections systems'...
'Green News Report' 10/15/20
Barrett sounds like climate denier at Senate hearings; Sen. Whitehouse on dark-money polluter capture of judiciary; PLUS: Sept. 2020 hottest ever...
'Hypocrisy in Daylight? Look for Power in the Shadows': 'BradCast' 10/14/20
Guest: Lisa Graves on Sen. Whitehouse's revelations of GOP's $250M SCOTUS-packing coup; Also: Good voting news in VA, TX, AK!...
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...


Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on Kavanaugh's terrifying, error-riddled opinion in the case that blocks WI from counting thousands of timely cast mail-in ballots; Also: Trump's very VERY bad day...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2020 7:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was a very very bad day for Donald J. Trump and for his odds of winning re-election. At least on paper. Don't get too excited just yet. (But please do vote, ASAP, if you have not done so already! And if you're voting by mail-in ballot, do not mail it in! Deliver it in person, at this point!) [Audio link to full show is posted beneath summary.]

Among the very bad news for our failed President on Wednesday...

  • 'Anonymous' was revealed to have been the Chief of Staff of his own Dept. of Homeland Security, who has now endorsed Joe Biden;
  • The stock market --- the only thing that Trump has left to crow about --- plummeted on concerns about the startling third-peak surge in the U.S. COVID pandemic, thanks to Trump's bungled response, with the Dow falling more than 950 points;
  • Hackers defaced the Trump Campaign website;
  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an embarrassing document detailing the Trump Administration's "accomplishments", leading off with "Ending the COVID-19 pandemic"! If you have any doubts about that, they quote noticed science and technologist Ivanka Trump as supporting evidence;
  • 20 former Republican U.S. Attorneys, serving in Presidential administrations from Eisenhower to George W. Bush came out with their "strongest endorsement" for...Joe Biden. (So much for Trump as the self-proclaimed "law and order President");
  • Hundreds of Trump supporters were left stranded by the Trump Campaign in frigid temps on an airstrip in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday night, after Trump's latest super-spreader rally. Seven supporters were hospitalized "with a variety of medical conditions" as they waited in the dark until after midnight for buses to arrive to drive them back three miles to their cars;
  • And, all the while, the polling both nationally and in battleground states continues to appear bleak for Trump, including one (frankly, hard-to-believe) new poll from ABC News/Washington Post finding Biden up by 17 points in Wisconsin.

As noted, it was a very bad day for Donald Trump's reelection effort. At least in theory. But he still has a few Trump Cards that he believes --- with good reason --- he may be able to play at his stolen and corrupt U.S. Supreme Court. That effort will involve preventing timely cast ballots from being tabulated at all following Election Day.

If the concurrence filed in a Wisconsin case on Monday night by former GOP operative turned GOP activist Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, however, is any indication of how this scheme will work, you should plan to either laugh or cry yourself to death in the coming days.

We're joined today once again by Slate's brilliant legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to explain which of those two options is more likely at this point. Or, as he says today, "be the 'Angel of Doom' on your show, here to deliver some bad news from the heavens and generally terrify you about what's coming from our Supreme Court in the coming weeks and months."

On Monday night, the Supremes issued an order that blocked a lower federal court's ruling allowing the counting of mail-in ballots postmarked in the Badger State by Election Day that arrive up to six days after November 3rd. The opinion was a party-line 5 to 3 vote, with Kavanaugh issuing an extraordinary 18-page concurrence [PDF] with his majority vote to nullify potentially hundreds of thousands of legitimate ballots. The concurrence, however, was full of demonstrable, laughable, egregious errors of fact, including the claim that states like to declare winners on Election Night (zero of them actually do, as Stern correctly notes) and that counting ballots after Election Day might "potentially flip the results of an election."

Since elections are never certified by states on Election Night --- only the media declare "winners", in that sense --- official state results cannot be "flipped" with the counting of ballots after Election Day. It takes anywhere from days to weeks to tally ballots and certify winners even when we're not in the middle of an horrific pandemic that has resulted in an all-time record use of vote-by-mail options across the country.

That said, as insane as Kavanaugh's opinion was, both he and Trump's first stolen Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, offered a "totally deranged attempt", as Stern described it, to hew to a rejected opinion from the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 that handed the Presidency to George W. Bush. Though it came from a minority of Justices at the time --- in an opinion that specifically said it could never be used as a precedent in any other case --- it does now seem to be one of the Trump Cards that could be played to try and steal this year's election.

As Stern explains today, the portion of Bush v. Gore cited by Kavanaugh (inaccurately claiming it was from a unanimous majority opinion when it was neither unanimous nor in the majority!) was so radical at the time that even Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy refused to concur with it. Nonetheless, incredibly enough, there are now three Republican Party attorneys who worked on that Florida case in 2000 on behalf of Bush --- John Roberts, Kavanaugh and now Amy Coney Barrett --- actually sitting on the Court as Justices. That means anything could now happen, depending on how things work out as of next Tuesday night. So buckle up, as Stern details why all of this could come into play week and in the future, "because if this comes down to a few thousand or a few hundred ballots --- hoo boy --- it's going to make Bush v. Gore look like a warmup act for what's coming next."

We also get some reaction from Stern on Biden's recently stated position to call for a bi-partisan panel of Constitutional scholars to make recommendations for Court reform and/or expansion (presuming Biden wins and Dems take back the Senate), and a federal court's rejection this week of the DoJ's absurd attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against Trump, filed in NY state court by columnist E. Jean Carroll who alleges he raped her in the 1990's.

Finally, we use a few minutes to name the "winner" of our recent bumper music trivia "contest" from Monday, when our guest was Ion Sancho (the legendary former Florida election official who oversaw the aborted 2000 "recount") and then, just in case you needed any more inspiration today to help ensure a landslide next week, we close with a parody song performed by Lauren Myers with lyrics written by our friend and regular guest-host Nicole Sandler!

Oh, and P.S., if you want to share that absolutely bone chilling Lincoln Project ad we opened today's show with, it's right here.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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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, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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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...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Multi-State legal challenges expose illegality, but it may be too late to fully repair damage even if Trump's Postmaster General is ordered to do so...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/24/2020 7:35am PT  

Even if several multi-state legal challenges result in a federal court order directing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to repair the damage wrought by his allegedly "illegal" sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service's mail delivery capabilities, absent significant additional funds, it's unlikely DeJoy could fully comply with that order.

The facts laid out in one of the recently filed cases and echoed in the others, along with subsequent developments, suggest that DeJoy was, at best, disingenuous when, in an August 18 formal statement [PDF], he claimed he was "suspending" his nationwide mail sorting, labeling and delivery changes until after the Nov. 3 Presidential Election.

The complaint describes how, pursuant to an Equipment Reduction Plan [PDF], Defendants removed, dismantled and/or destroyed 671 high-speed sorting and labeling machines that had a combined hundreds of millions of dollars in value. As a result, the States allege, "some major cities have already had their ability to sort mail reduced by hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail per hour." (Emphasis in original text).

On the same day that DeJoy issued his "suspension" statement, emails were submitted by Kevin Couch, the USPS Director of Maintenance Operations, informing Maintenance Managers that, irrespective of instructions from their plant managers, they must not reconnect or reinstall sorting machines that had previously been disconnected absent approval from USPS HQ.

Last Friday, while testifying before the U.S. Senate, DeJoy made it clear that he has "has no intention" of reinstalling the sorting machines, even as he claimed that election related mail would receive top priority from the Postal Service. Contrary to DeJoy's rosy predictions, however, the USPS's own Service Performance memo reflects a significant drop in overall performance which precipitated a USPS warning to 46 states that their deadlines for Vote-by-Mail ballots "might impede the timely delivery of mail-in ballots, possibly disenfranchising millions of voters"

While there's ample reason for a court to order reinstallation, absent significant additional USPS funding, which Trump opposes, it is doubtful that DeJoy could fully undo the damage even if he were ordered to do so.

VOTERS BEWARE: Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by DeJoy's "suspension" of changes at the USPS until after Election Day, or by his unsupported assurance that USPS can timely process and deliver every ballot. The wiser course, as laid out in our previously related article, is to deposit your mail-in ballots in secure, state-supplied drop-boxes (where available) or at designated drop-off locations. Check your local jurisdictions to learn what options may be available where you live. In some jurisdictions, voters can deposit their mail-in ballots at the polls either during early voting or on Election Day. In some jurisdictions, voters can link to election official websites to track the processing of their own ballots as well...

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




Guest: Transition Integrity Project co-founder Nils Gilman on recent election 'war games' predicting potential disaster in almost every scenario --- and how we must work to mitigate it...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2020 6:40pm PT  

Today's BradCast is a really meaty show and --- at times --- a quite terrifying one. Apologies in advance! [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of summary.]

We're joined today by NILS GILMAN, Vice President of Programs at the Berggruen Institute and co-founder of the Transition Integrity Project (TIP). The bi-partisan group was founded in late 2019 to examine concerns, as Gilman explains today, about whether a Joe Biden victory would result in a reasonably smooth transition with the Trump Administration or whether, as the group's chilling new report [PDF] "Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition" describes, they needed to be concerned "that the Trump Administration may seek to manipulate, ignore, undermine or disrupt the 2020 presidential election and transition process." As TIP would discover, however, those nightmares could be far worse than the group initially expected. An actual transition process of any kind, at this point, might be a welcome response to some of the group's worse fears.

"Already it's certain that if Biden manages to win, he's going to be handed an inbox from hell," Gilman tells me. "There's going to be probably 15% unemployment. There's going to be an ongoing pandemic. There's going to be a lot of social contestation in the country. We'd like for him to at least be handed a functional bureaucracy. But we weren't convinced that was actually going to take place. ... What we learned in that process was it wasn't just the administrative process that could potentially be disrupted, it would be potentially the electoral transition itself that was subject to disruption."

TIP, a group of more than 100 current and former senior government officials, campaign leaders and other experts from media to the military convened to examine these issues and "war gamed" several different potential scenarios for how things might play out from November 3rd (Election Day) through January 20, 2021 (Inauguration Day). Over four different sessions, examining four different potential electoral scenarios, the highly-esteemed panel of former Governors, DoJ officials, campaign chiefs and advisers of both parties role-played as both Team Trump and Team Biden. As their recently published report details, the tabletop "war game" exercises included a scenario that "posited that the winner of the election was not known as of the morning after the election and the outcome of the race was too close to predict with certainty; in another, the exercise began with the premise that Democratic party candidate Joe Biden won the popular vote and the Electoral College by a healthy margin; and in a third, the exercise assumed that President Trump won the Electoral College vote but again lost the popular vote by a healthy margin. The fourth exercise began with the premise that Biden won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by a narrow margin."

Following the exercises, TIP's other co-founder and Georgetown Law Professor Rosa Brooks told Fox "News" (which happens to play a key role on behalf of Trump and the Republican effort in every case), all of the scenarios "ended in both street-level violence and political impasse." Brooks observed that "the law is essentially...almost helpless against a President who's willing to ignore it."

As Gilman warns in his own recent article "Getting from November to January," explaining how the exercises helped to reveal that institutions from government to political organizations to the courts to citizen activists and media could help mitigate the worst possible scenarios: "Wargaming shows that, short of a landslide victory for Joe Biden in the upcoming elections, we may be headed for a severe constitutional crisis." He adds: "in each scenario other than a Biden landslide, we ended up with a constitutional crisis that lasted until the inauguration, featuring violence in the streets and a severely disrupted administrative transition."

Sounds cheery, no? Gilman, who is also an historian, joins us today to discuss the genesis of the project; the comparable historical parallel to our upcoming election (the 1876 election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, where two different sets of competing electors were sent by states to D.C. before the Constitutional Crisis was finally averted with a comprise that resulted in the end of the Civil War Reconstruction period, launching more than a 100 years of Jim Crow that we are still dealing with today); the specifics findings of the Project (eg. the potential dispute created by Trump's authoritarian use of Presidential powers to, for example, employ the Dept. of Justice to seize ballots and stop the counting) must be met "as a political battle, not just a legal battle"; and that during the exercises, "Team Trump was consistently more ruthless than Team Biden – more willing to ignore existing democratic norms, to make use of disinformation, to deploy federal agencies to promote Trump's personal and electoral interests, and to engage in intimidation campaigns."

As former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, one of the participants in the exercises noted, "The worst news is that, faced with presidential lawlessness, few of the participants at the Transition Integrity Project found effective responses. ... Many of the games turned on who made the first bold move. Time after time, that first mover was Trump."

While Gilman argues that nothing is inevitable, he notes, "the media will have a huge role in this" and the time to talk about it is NOW. "The plea I would make would be to patriots --- particularly people in the government who have taken an oath to the defend Constitution --- that there are some basic principles, which are not partisan at all. Every American citizen that wants to vote should be enabled to do so as easily and safely as possible, and every one of those votes should be counted properly."

His TIP report goes further to note that it is "just as important that the public has confidence in the count." That, as I discuss with Gilman, may require a level of transparency in our voting system that --- despite my best efforts over the past nearly-two decades --- we have long ago been obscured with computer tabulation and voting systems which make it impossible, after an election, to know if many ballots --- at least those that are not hand-marked paper ballots --- actually reflect the intent of each voter.

As mentioned, it's a very meaty show, with a LOT to talk about. Gilman joins us for the full hour, and even that wasn't enough to cover so much of what the group found; what we can all do about it; and whether our mainstream media, the Biden Campaign and the Democratic Party itself are prepared to handle what is very likely to be hurled at them --- and all of us --- as of November 3rd...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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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, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on that and pandemic affects on immigration courts, prisons and the Judiciary; Also: Statewide 'stay-at-home' mandates; Mask shortages and price gouging; More postponed primaries; and socialist Trump comes unglued at WH presser...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2020 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Governors in California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania are among the first to issue statewide "stay-at-home" orders, though more are likely to do so very soon as the nation begins to self-quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. But is it possible, legal or Constitutional that Donald Trump could exploit this serious public health crisis to postpone or cancel this November's critical Presidential election? We gets some legal and Constitutional answers to that question today and the answers are both comforting and not comforting at all. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a letter to Donald Trump, warned that, without mitigation efforts, including help from the federal government, as many as 56% of the Golden State's population (or 25.5 million people here) could become infected over the next two months.

At the same time, a shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers has led to price-gouging by the nation's medical supply companies, according to a GA healthcare CEO who says he is being charged $7 a piece for critical masks that usually cost .58 cents each. But why do we even have a shortage, given that we've known about this matter for months and Trump has now supposedly invoked the Defense Production Act, allowing the federal government to commandeer manufacturing facilities to meet critical needs for the nation's security?

At the same time, just days after the Republican Party had been tarring the Democratic Party as "socialists", Republicans are now calling for major socialist giveaways to combat the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, Trump is even calling for the federal government to take ownership in private corporations that may soon be receiving yet another socialist bailout. That's right, according to the President, Republicans like him now support the very definition of socialism wherein the government takes control of the means of production.

Then again, based on the President's unhinged behavior at today's White House press briefing, which we share on the show, he may be losing track of reality even faster than previously.

All the while, states around the nation continue to postpone previously scheduled Presidential primary elections, with Connecticut and Indiana over the past 24 hours joining more than a half dozen states who have already done so. But, never mind the primaries. With a desperate, already-unbalanced President like Trump, would anybody be surprised if he attempted to invoke national emergency powers amid a global pandemic to try and cancel this November's Presidential election all together? And, if he wanted to, does either federal law or the U.S. Constitution allow him to do so?

Slate's ace legal and court reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN has been looking into that point which, he tells us, might have seemed crazy just a few weeks ago, but no longer. The short answer is no, Trump can't do it on his own, not without Congress agreeing. But there are enough "red" states with a mechanism for doing so that, under this Presidency, you'd be ill-advised to keep your guard down. He explains the no-longer-unimaginable circumstances that could occur.

He also details how the Trump Administration recently ordered immigration judges to remove CDC posters warning about the coronavirus epidemic from their courtrooms, as crowded detention centers become breeding grounds. Stern says that, at this point, with this crisis and some 50,000 jammed into crowded, unsanitary detention camps, "the entire system is in total disarray."

Stern has also been reporting of late on how it's not only the Executive Branch that has monumentally failed to take appropriate action for weeks to prevent the spread of the virus --- the Judicial Branch, headed up by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, has failed mightily on that score, as both courtrooms and prisons have turned into viral petri dishes over the past several weeks. "It is a mess, because the chief judge of every different district court is making these decisions on the fly," he tells me. "Unfortunately, people are still being exposed to this virus in federal courtrooms right now. "

But at least Roberts has cancelled oral arguments before his own Court this month, including cases regarding whether Trump must release his taxes to law enforcement officials and whether or not Presidential Electors in states across the country must, in fact, vote the way their state's have when those electors cast their lot with the Electoral College. That question --- if SCOTUS ever reconvenes and issues an opinion on it --- may play a key role in the question regarding the ability of this President to effectively cancel this year's Presidential election.

All of those issues, and many others today, in another don't-miss, news-packed BradCast!...

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Guest: 28-year Leon County, FL Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho; Also: Deadly CA wildfires; Dems unseat Rohrabacher in CA; Sinema to take U.S. Senate race in AZ; Legal battle grows in GA Guv race...
By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2018 6:39pm PT  

The Florida election official so well-respected by Republicans and Democrats alike in 2000 that he was tapped to oversee that year's historic Presidential "recount" between George W. Bush and Al Gore in Florida (until it was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court), tells us today that it is likely impossible for the state to complete three statewide recounts --- for U.S. Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner --- in time to meet the state's ridiculously arbitrary statutory deadlines. Run by Republicans for decades, the state "puts a premium on speed", rather than accuracy, ION SANCHO, the 28-year former Leon County (Tallahassee) Supervisor of Elections tells me on today's BradCast. "This is, by no means, a system geared toward finding the truth." [Audio link to show follow below.]

Sancho explains how it is currently unlawful to add any vote to the totals as based on a hand examination of ballots by human beings, as he details the process now officially under way in the Sunshine State for a machine "recount" in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis (who, the computers report, leads by about 0.41%) and a supposed "manual" count in the U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and term-limited FL Gov. Rick Scott (which Scott is said to be leading by 0.15%, or less than 15,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast.) Sancho details how even in a "manual" count in FL, ballots are first fed through tabulation computers and only ballots determined by the computers to be over- or undervotes are then re-examined. But, even those ballots are, yes, "remade" by officials onto a fresh ballot paper so that it can can then be run through a computer tabulator.

Given the limitations on the so-called high-speed tabulation systems made by companies like ES&S, still used across the state --- which only accept "300 ballots at a time" --- the scanners used in counties like heavily Democratic-leaning Palm Beach "cannot physically do this job" before statutory deadlines run out. All ballots must be "recounted" by Thursday (even though overseas and military votes aren't due until this coming Saturday!) It's a system, Sancho describes, that was put in place before the very popular no-excuse absentee Vote-by-Mail system was allowed in Florida, along with provisional voting and other election practices that require time-consuming ballot-by-ballot evaluation to determine whether it's eligible for tabulation in the first place.

As noted on today's program, Florida will have "counted" and "recounted" its ballots (correctly or incorrectly, we will never know) less than a week and a half after last week's midterms, several weeks before California even announces completion of its initial count in early December.

All of this, as Scott and even the President of the United States are falsely charging election fraud is ongoing in the state's two largest counties (Broward and Palm Beach), despite a complete lack of evidence to support any such claims. Scott's own Secretary of State and Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement --- who Scott oversees and who both have authority to oversee elections and election crimes in all 67 Florida counties --- concede they have no evidence to support the GOP claims. Sancho also responds to the "laughable" charges of "fraud" being made by Scott and the "truth-free statement" tweeted by Trump on Monday morning, which falsely claims that "ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged" in Florida.

A couple of points worth underscoring here, as the Republicans have been busy dusting off their 2000 playbook to lie about "fraud" occurring in Palm Beach and particularly in Broward, in hopes of shutting down the tabulation of legitimate ballots altogether, once again, in Florida: 1) Brenda Snipes, the Supervisor of Elections in Democratic-leaning Broward County, which has had a number of election failures over the years, was appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003; 2) Current Republican Gov. Rick Scott appointed his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner, who has tasked officials from his own office to oversee Broward's election office this year; 3) Nobody from Detzner's office or Florida Law Enforcement has seen or alleged any criminal wrong doing in the county. None of that, however, has prevented GOPers from claiming otherwise.

"Everybody's vote needs to be given the same weight," Sancho, a longtime election integrity champion who has taken on both the state and the voting machine companies argues during today's conversation. "It shouldn't depend upon whether you're in a competent or incompetent jurisdiction. Your vote should count if you cast them properly and you've made no errors."

Also today: Desi Doyen on California's horrific, deadly wildfires which have, to date, killed 31 across the state with hundreds more still unaccounted for; Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, in a still too-close-to-call race against GOP Sec. of State and notorious vote-suppressor Brian Kemp filed a new lawsuit over discarded absentee and provisional ballots on Sunday; Democrat Kyrsten Sinema appears to have defeated Republican Martha McSally to win the the U.S. Senate being vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake in Arizona; And 15-term Orange County, CA Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has reportedly been unseated by Harley Rouda in one of the state's most GOP districts. That would bring the net pickup for Democrats in the U.S. House to 32, with results for more than ten seats in CA and elsewhere still said to be too close to call...

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Long overdue re-enfranchisement of former felons and a progressive Democrat, both on the 2018 ballot, could result in a sea change for 2020...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/8/2018 10:41am PT  

Given the pivotal role Florida and its 29 electoral votes have played in recent Presidential elections, November's midterms could prove to be pivotal in the state, and not only for Florida. November 6th, 2018 could prove to be a landmark moment for democracy, helping to determine the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.

The combination of a win by Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum, along with passage of the state's Amendment 4, could be a death knell to right wing voter suppression schemes which have long plagued the Sunshine State.

Amendment 4 is a ballot measure "designed to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completing of their sentences including prison, parole and probation". As observed by the Intercept's Rachel Cohen, Florida's "draconian" felony disenfranchisement law --- "passed in 1868, after an unsuccessful attempt by Florida and other [former Confederate] states to reject the 15th amendment" --- has served to disenfranchise "more than 20% of otherwise eligible black voters in Florida."

If adopted by voters next month, the new Constitutional measure would automatically "restore voting rights to an estimated 1.5 million Floridians who have fully completed sentences," Cohen reports. If added to the 13 million currently registered Floridian voters, Amendment 4 could potentially increase total voter rolls by more than 10%.

Only 3% of African-Americans identify themselves as Republicans. Thus, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to calculate the potential impact of increasing, by 20%, the number of black Florida voters who would be eligible to vote in 2020.

But, felony convictions are not the only means by which Republicans have sought to suppress turnout of the "wrong" voters over the past two decades during which the GOP has occupied the Governor's mansion and exercised the Chief Executive's right to appoint Florida's Secretaries of State...

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Jill Stein: 'Why is Donald Trump afraid of these recounts?'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2016 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Team Trump takes a page from the George W. Bush 2000 playbook by attempting to stop the "recounts" in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, just as his margin over Hillary Clinton plummets in PA. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Over the past 24 hours, Donald Trump or his surrogates have filed multiple legal complaints in three different states in an effort to stop the "recounts" (hand-counts, machine counts and/or forensic analyses of computerized voting and tabulation systems) as lawfully sought by Green Party Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein. As the Stein camp noted today, the sudden interest by Team Trump comes as Trump's margin over Hillary Clinton has dropped from about almost 70,000 votes to about 46,000 votes (out of some 6 million tallied) as PA counties finally complete their initial tallies. The Stein camp notes today: "With his margin of victory in the state nearly halved as of last night, and now within 0.2% of triggering an automatic statewide recount, Donald Trump is desperately fighting to stop the recount in Pennsylvania." His attorneys filed a suit [PDF] late Thursday to dismiss her filings in the Keystone State.

He is also attempting, somewhat successfully, to stop hand-counting from moving forward in MI, where he reportedly leads Clinton by just over 10,000 votes out of about 5 million tallied, including more than 75,000 ballots with no vote reported for President at all, many of those cast in or near Detroit. That figure, Stein charges, "is double the number [of undervotes] from 2012." After Trump filed an objection to the "recount" request in MI last night --- claiming that a count would "risk having the Electoral College door knocked off its hinges" and delaying the start of counting for as many as five days --- the state Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Trump supporter, filed a separate complaint [PDF] today on behalf of the state in federal court, seeking to prevent votes from being counted as well. His claim supports Trump's objection filed yesterday and argues that counting ballots is "frivilous" and is meant by Stein to delay final certification of the results. She describes his action as "nothing more than party politics that needlessly delays what should be a routine verification of the democratic process."

In Wisconsin, pro-Trump outfits calling themselves the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC filed a complaint [PDF] in federal court to immediately stop the counting of ballots, which is now in its second day in the Badger State. That complaint, citing Bush v. Gore from 2000, argues that counting ballots violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and "may cast an unjustified pall over the election of President-Elect Trump, undermining public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process." Sounds familiar, ironic and, yes, hypocritical.

Just before airtime today, a federal Judge in Wisconsin denied the plaintiffs' motion in that case seeking an immediate restraining order to halt the ongoing counts, but has set a hearing on the matter for December 9th. For her part, Stein, pushing back, has announced a press conference for Monday, December 3, across from Trump Tower in Manhattan.

So, why are Trump and the GOP against verifying election results? We discuss that, the ongoing and not-ironic-at-all fight of the GOP Governor in North Carolina to verify his own election results(!) and much more, including Desi Doyen and her latest Green News Report, on today's BradCast!...

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Plus: Brain-addled Trump voters believe his 'voter fraud' lie, even as he hires an actual voter fraud criminal as a top White House adviser...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2016 5:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the attempt at verifiable citizen oversight of election results from the 2016 Presidential race gets underway in Wisconsin, and gets stopped dead in its tracks by a Trump legal filing in Michigan. All of that, even as more actual Republican voter fraud (yes, real voter fraud) is revealed by media and rewarded by Donald Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The state of Wisconsin officially began its *"recount" of some 3 million ballots cast in the 2016 Presidential election today, in the state where Trump reportedly defeated Hillary Clinton by just over 22,000 votes. Unfortunately, several of the largest jurisdictions have decided to simply re-tally their hand-marked paper ballots by the same optical-scan computers which tallied them (either correctly or incorrectly) in the first place. That, despite a host of computer science, security and voting systems experts who continue to argue as loudly as they can (including in recently filed court documents), the only way to know for certain how voters voted is to hand-count those ballots.

Meanwhile, in Michigan late today, where Trump reportedly won by just over 10,000 votes out of nearly 5 million counted, the Trump Campaign filed an objection to Green Party candidate Jill Stein's request for a "recount" there. That legal maneuver will successfully delay the start of counting, which had been scheduled to begin on Friday in the state, until sometime next week. That's a disturbing development, given that all states are federally mandated to have final certified numbers completed by December 13th. It's an echo of the successful GOP efforts to stall and then block entirely, the statewide Florida "recount" in 2000. In a statement in response late today, Stein describes the Trump filing this way: "The Trump campaign's cynical efforts to delay the recount and create unnecessary costs for taxpayers are shameful and outrageous."

At the same time, Trump's brain-addled supporters are buying his lie about "millions" having "voted illegally" in the 2016 election. They have fallen for it thanks, in no small part, to so many years of irresponsible reporting on the matter by corporate media over our publicly-owned airwaves. And yet, so far, the only "illegal" votes that have been found in the 2016 election (four cases in total) were all documented to have been cast by Republicans.

Nonetheless, as we have reported on very high profile Republicans like Ann Coulter and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and many others committing actual voter fraud and voter registration fraud over the years, Trump has now hired a voter fraud felon (see this from 2006) for a top White House national security advisory role. All of that American madness and much more on today's BradCast...

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* NOTE: The BRAD BLOG generally uses quotes around the word "recount" to denote post-election hand-counts of ballots which have never actually been counted by human beings, but rather, only tabulated by computers during the official tally. It's impossible to know whether those computers actually tallied votes accurately unless paper ballots are examined by hand.

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Why the recount/audit battle matters well beyond Election 2016
GUEST HOSTED BY ANGIE COIRO...
By Angie Coiro on 11/25/2016 5:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted by Angie Coiro, we track the battle for a Presidential recount in three contested states. A look into the difference between a 'recount' and an 'audit'. How a disinformation campaign by Russia apparently took over hashtags to push false narratives, generated and distributed fake news, and worked overall to undermine Americans' faith in our democracy.

A quick delve into why Facebook's profits could take a serious ding if the company really went after fake news.

Then Leland Faust, unapologetic free market fan and author of A Capitalist's Lament, looks at the decay of financial industry standards over the past forty years, and demands change --- even while he decries existing regulations as ineffective wastes of time.

Finally, in the spirit of the season, a small list of things to be grateful for --- little glimpses of what America still does right.

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, David Dayen of Fiscal Times...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2016 5:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Bad hombres! Nasty women! And SUSPENSE! Real coverage of the final Presidential Debate of 2016, some of which is almost guaranteed to piss off just about everybody in one way or another. You're welcome! [Audio link to show posted below.]

For our analysis of the final --- and, by our count, 25th! --- debate of the 2016 cycle, I'm joined once again by award-winning journalist Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, and by David Dayen, of Fiscal Times and author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud.

As you probably expect, we spend some time focusing on Trump's dishonest claims that the election is being "rigged" and his refusal to promise a peaceful transfer of power. But we also discuss the, at times, disingenuous outrage about it all from the media as well as both Republicans and Democrats, each of whom seem to have developed more than a bit of convenient amnesia about recent elections, about the mechanics of our electoral system, and even very recent assertions about all of the above.

Yes, election fraud and election integrity are topics about which we have some familiarity around here. And, while nuance and complexity and facts may not play well in the corporate media or among angry partisans near the end of an insane election cycle, no small amount of each are called for today. We do our best.

"Digby" and Dayen also bring insight on a number of the other surprisingly substantive issues raised at the debate (as well as important issues that, once again, were not), many of which have been largely overlooked in the wake of Trump's latest embarrassing tantrum(s)...

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Guest: Palm Beach County, FL Election Supervisor Susan Bucher...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2016 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, "this is not normal, this is not politics as usual", Michelle Obama declared. But, at least in Palm Beach County, FL, after last week's hurricane, the top election official says she's ready for whatever storm may be coming. [Audio to the complete show is linked below.]

I'm joined today by Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections, to discuss preparations for late voter registrations following Hurricane Matthew and what she suspects may be record turnout in Early and Election Day voting. She describes yesterday's court order to extend the registration period until October 18th as "a victory for all Floridians," and says that, despite the tight deadlines now before early voting begins on October 24th, her county is ready.

"We're a tough state, we're a tough county --- and we've been working overtime for a month to make sure we're ready for the big push. We opened our doors on the holiday on Monday. We were just slammed with lots of people all day. We opened early, we stayed late. All of our employees have been working overtime. We will get it done before early voting starts," she vows.

"Millennials now outnumber senior citizens and nearly half the voters under 30 are Latino or African-American," Bucher explains. "And, especially after the last debate, we saw a very large push of citizens out there. There are young people registering voters and bringing us stacks [of registrations] that are a foot deep. People are very anxious about this election. We have 880,000 voters and, let me tell you, I have never seen it so supercharged as I see it now. The last Presidential turnout was 70 percent. We're setting up for about 80-85 and maybe more."

Her county was, before she arrived eight years ago, made infamous for its Butterfly Ballot disaster during Florida's 2000 Presidential election debacle, one of the "original sins" leading us directly to the poisonous politics of the 2016 Presidential Election, as I detail once again on today's show. But Bucher says she ready, as we revisit more recent disasters in her county and state, such as Republican Governor Rick Scott's failed attempt to unlawfully purge thousands of legitimate voters from the rolls in 2012; the 6-hour long lines to vote that same year, after Scott cut the number of Early Voting days in half; and the paper ballot computer tabulators which incorrectly reported the results of three races in Palm Beach, declaring losing candidates to be "winners" back in 2010.

(Bucher tells me the software failures in those Sequoia tabulators have now been corrected in her county, but says she has many checks and balances in place, and is ready to go to court to get approval once again for hand-counting, if necessary, as she did in 2010 when she happened to notice the strange results. The state does not allow a hand-count of paper ballots without a court order. "It's unfortunate that it always takes court action with this Governor and this Secretary [of State] but if that's what works, then that's what we need to do," she tells me, going on to describe the recent conference call with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security regarding concerns of hacks to voting and registration systems in the Sunshine State and elsewhere around the country.)

Meanwhile, in Georgia, as in Florida, voting rights groups filed suit to extend the voter registration deadline there as well, following mandatory evacuations over the final weekend of voter registration.

Also today, hear them roar: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) excoriates Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf for a lack of accountability, despite the announcement of his resignation after admitting fraudulent practices at the nation's largest bank. Then, Michelle Obama delivers a blistering speech condemning sexual harassment in the wake of Hurricane Trump, as an avalanche of women come forward to detail disturbing allegations against the Republican Presidential nominee. We offer an extended excerpt from her remarks at a New Hampshire rally today.

Finally: Desi Doyen, who also has a thought or two on Michelle's remarks and the allegations against Trump, brings us the latest, very busy, Green News Report...

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Guest: Election expert Daniel A. Smith of the University of Florida...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2016 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Al Gore returns to the scene of the 2000 crime in Florida, and so do we, as the fight to vote in the Sunshine State starts all over again. Because of course it does. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Hillary Clinton appears to have opened up a strong lead in national polls following the release of Donald Trump's 2005 'hot mic' tape lewdly boasting about sexually assaulting women. But the Presidential Debate on Sunday may have staunched some of the bleeding for now, as RNC Chair Reince Priebus announces they are standing by their man. Either way, if Trump is to win the White House, he must first take the state of Florida, where his ally, Republican Governor Rick Scott ordered the evacuation of millions last Thursday before Hurricane Matthew tore up the state's east coast.

In the bargain, voter registration drives were canceled on what had been set as the final weekend before the state's deadline to register. Scott --- with a very long and very unfriendly history towards voters --- refused to extend that deadline. Democrats sued [PDF], and a federal judge, who described the state's "irrational" reasons for not extending as "poppycock", has pushed today's deadline to Wednesday, pending a hearing scheduled for tomorrow when he may take further measures.

Election expert Dr. Daniel A. Smith, PhD, President and founder of ElectionSmith, Inc and University of Florida Research Foundation Professor of Political Science joins us to explain why extending the state's "arbitrary deadline" is so important, and to detail some of the empirical numbers and many concerns facing voters and would-be voters in the Sunshine State. For example, in 2012, as he notes, during roughly the same period in which this year's storm sent Floridians scrambling for safety, more than 116,000 new (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters signed up to vote. That, even as many are just now returning home and dealing with flooding and other more pressing concerns in the aftermath of the Matthew.

"We looked at the last five or six days of voter registration prior to that cutoff [in 2012] and the numbers actually jumped out at me. On the last day of voter registration back in 2012 there were at least 64,000 people who registered to vote. On the last day!," he says. President Obama ending up winning Florida that year by just 73,000 votes.

And what of those who did manage to register and get their form into a mailbox mail before evacuating? "Who knows what happened to that mailbox?," Smith observes. Those forms "might not even be processed at all, because it's lost. We don't know. These individuals will have no recourse if they finally get back online and see that they're not registered, if that registration application doesn't get to the Supervisor's office."

We cover quite a bit in the conversation, including Gov. Scott's sorry history of taking extraordinary measures to make both voting and registration more difficult in Florida (remember those ridiculous 6-hour lines for Early Voting in 2012?), the fact that just 117 new voter registration forms have been turned in by the state GOP in the past month, as well as Smith's take on voter fraud and the likelihood of inappropriately purged voting rolls in Florida and other states around the nation. "When we talk about voter fraud in this country, it's really not at the retail level of individuals coming into the polls and falsifying their identity and voting twice or maybe three times. That rarely, if ever happens," he says. "Where we actually do have some concerns is that on the wholesale level, in which it's usually someone in a Supervisor's office, a clerk, or someone is --- it can be malicious, it can be just accidental - cleaning the records in a way that is not permissible under federal law . We certainly had that in 2012, when it was the directive of the [Florida] Sec. of State's office to the Supervisors of Elections. First, some 180,000 individuals who they suspected as being 'non-citizens', and then ultimately 2,625 individuals who they flagged as being potential non-citizens. Most of those were actually citizens."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, on the environmental issues raised (barely) during Sunday's Presidential Debate and a fact-check on the energy-related remarks by the two candidates at the bizarre, town-hall face-off in St. Louis.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Or, how Politico summarizes much of BRAD BLOG's 15 years of e-voting coverage in 8,500 smart words....
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 1:15pm PT  

Please read the cover story of Politico Magazine today headlined "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes". Ben Wofford's excellent, comprehensive feature summarizes a great deal of almost 15 years of our work here at The BRAD BLOG. He focuses his piece on the core of computer science and cybersecurity experts initially working out of Princeton University back in 2005 or so, who have, since that time, gone on to publicly hack virtually every electronic voting system and tabulator still in use around the country (and even, looking forward, hacking at least one planned Internet Voting scheme.)

We've covered and/or broke the news about many of those landmark exploits, both here and on the radio, going back through 2005 or so. I don't have time to collect all the links here at the moment, but it's very nice to see so many of them rounded up so thoroughly in Wofford's piece.

The 8,500+ word article is far too detailed to adequately summarize, or even quote from in detail here. So please go pour a tall drink or cup of coffee (you may need several, there's a lot there) and go read about the "parabola of havoc and mismanagement that has been the fifteen-year nightmare of state and local officials", as he accurately describes it, following the horrifically misguided and ill-advised move to computerized voting and tabulation systems following the 2000 election. I suspect we've filed almost as many articles on this topic as Wofford has words in today's piece!

But there's one element of his piece I want to ring in on specifically, as I think it represents something a bit more encouraging from the computer scientists who are discussed in the report than I have seen over the years...

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Guest: Indiana University cybersecurity law expert Scott Shackelford | Also: Why your right to vote matters, 52 years after 'Freedom Summer'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2016 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after great news on voting rights from a bunch of state and federal courts over the past week, and sudden concerns from the the Right, the Left and the corporate media about the possibility of stolen elections, the Dept. of Homeland Security is finally looking into taking action. [Audio link to today's program posted below.]

"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. "There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process."

Years ago, I began reporting on the serious vulnerability of our election system to manipulation (and error) from both foreign and domestic sources. In 2006, for example, after helping supply computer security analysts at Princeton University with a Diebold touch-screen voting system for the first independent tests of such a machine, I reported both at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon that the analysts were able to hack into it, in about 60 seconds time, with a virus that would flip election results and pass itself from machine to machine with virtually no possibility of detection. That followed on an Exclusive series of 2005 reports from a Diebold insider who I called "DIEB-THROAT" at the time, describing how the company's lead programmers admitted that the security on their systems was terrible and that a branch of DHS had already warned, in 2004, about an "undocumented back door" in the systems.

In 2009, by way of just one more example, we reported here on remarks delivered to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) by CIA cybersecurity analyst Steven Stigall, describing how "wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to make bad things happen," before going on to note that the CIA became interested in electronic voting systems years earlier "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

So, it is with some skepticism that I regard Johnson's remarks this week about finally taking action to identify our existing, vulnerable electoral system as "critical infrastructure". Is it too little, too late on the eve of another Presidential election? And is it even possible to protect the type of electronic vote casting and counting systems we currently use in our elections? And what does the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually mean any way?

I'm joined on today's program for some answers by Scott Shackelford, cybersecurity law and business expert from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfter Center, to explain some of this, and to describe some of the ways in which the U.S. might expand existing international agreements to keep domestic elections from being tampered with by foreign powers. Shackelford, writes about the issue this week at the Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed titled "How to make democracy harder to hack."

"It definitely is too late at this point to wake up and get all 9,000 jurisdictions on board for November," he tells me today. "Maybe instead of focusing quite so much on driver's licenses [to prevent fraud] and making sure we have different IDs in some of these states, it would've been great to have put that focus a little bit more on cybersecurity. But that didn't happen."

For what it's worth, my answer, after more than a decade on this beat: No, it's not possible to protect the type of electronic systems we currently use without moving to what I describe as "Democracy's Gold Standard". But Shackelford offers several ways we can, at least, try to improve the situation and mitigate the current dangers, as well as some thoughts on why action has been so long in coming. "Elections do quite a bit to focus minds. It is unfortunate that we lose some of that focus in the aftermath of these elections," he says.

Also today, why the right to vote is so important, whether you like it or use it or not, and why, for me, at least, it's still about rights, not politics, some 52 years to the day after the bodies of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner were found after being murdered in Mississippi for trying to help register African-Americans to vote in 1964.

And, finally, speaking of vulnerable, as deadly, climate-fueled extreme weather continues across the planet, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, up for re-election this year against former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, offers up some of the dumbest, most embarrassing, scientifically disproven and just out-and-out inaccurate arguments against taking action on climate change that he could possibly muster. All of that and more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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