He didn't help steal the 2020 Presidential election for Donald Trump, but that doesn't make Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger a hero. As discussed on today's BradCast, he did the right thing, sort of, but, as our guest explains today, but for the wrong reasons. Worse, he now appears to be involved in an outright cover-up of wrong-doing by Trump supporters and GOP election officials in the Peach State.
First up today, on the heels of the gripping series of hearings by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating Trump's January 6, 2021 insurrection and his multiple attempts to steal the 2020 election, the Dept. of Justice is reportedly broadening their ongoing criminal investigation. Washington Post reports tonight on new subpoenas dropped in a number of states on Wednesday to several of the fake Trump electors who tried to join the disgraced former President in his efforts to rob the American people.
Meanwhile, Tuesday's hearing, as discussed during yesterday's special coverage, was gripping and emotional at times, as it focused on state officials and local election workers who refused to go along with Trump's election theft schemes and were targeted and terrorized in the bargain by the former President and his mob of MAGA thugs.
While there were a number of folks who testified on Tuesday that reacted heroically in the moment, two of them, Raffensperger and his Deputy Sec. of State Gabe Sterling (who served as Georgia's Voting Systems Manager in 2020), should not necessarily be included among them.
The three separate tallies of Presidential election results in the state that both men testified about on Tuesday --- the original machine count, a second statewide hand-count "audit", and a third tally by machine, as requested by the Trump Campaign --- are not quite as pristine as they would have the nation believe. Moreover, Raffensperger's office appears to be carrying out a months long cover-up of a serious breach of the state's voting system by Trump supporters and GOP election officials in GA's rural, right-leaning Coffee County.
As promised on yesterday, we're joined today by MARILYN MARKS of the non-partisan, nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance for a bit of a rebuttal to Raffensperger and Sterling's testimony before the House J6 panel, and an update to a stunning and troubling story of corruption we initially reported here last month, which could have very serious ramifications for elections in both 2022 and 2024.
Marks, who's Coalition has two long-running federal lawsuits against Georgia and Raffensperger --- one, filed in 2017 to block the use of his 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion, and the other challenging the state's SB 202 voter suppression bill (I am a named plaintiff, representing media) --- has been analyzing the state's 2020 election results with a fine-toothed comb as part of her group's voting machine case. She explains today that the numbers reported by Raffensperger's hand-counted "audit" and machine-tallied recount, are nowhere near as aligned with the original tally --- and each other --- as Raffensperger and Sterling represented to the Congressional panel.
In fact, hand-counted numbers were tallied in secret and "fudged" by the state to match the original tally from Raffensperger's hand-chosen touchscreen voting systems, she charges.
That still doesn't mean that Trump won the state, as he pretends that he did. The mountain of errors discovered in the tallies, she takes pains to note, went randomly both ways. But they did not match up as perfectly with the original count as the two state officials claimed on Tuesday.
"We have found nothing that would suggest that Biden should not have been declared the winner. However, there are massive problems with the audit, the recount, and probably the original count, as well," Marks describes. "What really happened here, it appears, is that the audit, as well as the machine recount, were fudged, if you will. That may be a strong word for me to be using right now, but I will just say that the numbers are not straightforward at all, that there are many adjustments that they needed to make to try to arrive at claiming that the numbers matched the original count. They do not."
Why didn't the numbers match up? "It's hard to know," she tells me. When he was asked about it during his deposition in CGG's federal lawsuit, Sterling "just shrugged it all off as 'human error.' He did not try to tell us the same thing he tried to tell the Congress yesterday. He did not try to say it's only off by a little bit. We took him through the numbers and he said, 'It's all human error.'" He was certain that the machine results must have been correct and any count that differed "had to be human error. How many years have we heard, across the nation, about how the machines have to be right?"
While Raffensperger's hand-count audit was ostensibly carried out in public view, the public couldn't actually oversee it or follow along. All of the numbers throughout the process were kept secret and sent back to the SoS' office. By contrast with, say, the fully transparent statewide recount of the 2008 Al Franken/Norm Coleman U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, when the public and media were allowed to follow along and track every step and the tally of every ballot, there is no way to know if Georgia's 2020 numbers were right or wrong. Shamefully, as Marks observes, the media didn't raise a peep about it.
She offers much more on that during today's program before we turn to the related topic of the disturbing matter in Coffee County. There, as we reported last month --- along with exceptional investigative coverage from Washington Post and Daily Beast (but not, curiously enough, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which hasn't covered it at all) --- Trump supporters, in cahoots with Republicans on the Coffee County Board of Elections, made illicit and illegal copies of the sensitive Dominion voting system software used across the entire state the day after the January 6 insurrection.
You may have heard of similar breaches by Trumpers that occurred in Michigan and Colorado (where the Republican County Clerk in Mesa County, Tina Peters, is now facing criminal charges for having done so.) The breach in GA occurred in January, as one of the apparent ring leaders actually confessed to Marks during a phone call, which she was smart enough to record. (We play part of that phone call confession on today's show.)
Though none of this was publicly known, Raffensperger's office, several months after the breach, seized and exchanged the voting server in Coffee, claiming that someone had changed the password so that the system could no longer be accessed. But it wasn't until late last year, when Sterling was asked about all of this during his deposition in Marks' lawsuit that any of it was confirmed. He claimed, at the time, that the matter was being investigated by his office. But, as Marks details today (and in a recent post at Medium), there is absolutely no record of any investigation over the past year and a half by Raffensperger's office. In fact, as Marks suggests today, it appears the Sec. of State is involved in a straight up cover-up of the entire matter.
"This is awfully hard to put together," she concedes when I ask why the SoS, who helped block Trump's efforts to steal the election, would now work to protect those very same people. "It doesn't make much sense at all. So why would Raffensperger do that? Again, we go back to he needs to defend the system more than he wants to defend democracy." He's also running for re-election this November.
Making things worse, as she points out, serious vulnerabilities were discovered and documented in Georgia's Dominion touchscreen systems (which her suit hopes to ban) by one of her lawsuit's expert witnesses. The vulnerabilities were then reviewed and confirmed by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Administration (CISA), which issued a warning to states about it late last month.
But the SoS office has responded in the lawsuit to say that those vulnerabilities are not of concern, since someone would have to spend a lot of times with the system software to know how to exploit them. Well...guess what happened over a year and a half ago in Coffee County?
Raffensperger's "defense is not that the system doesn't have any vulnerabilities," Marks notes. "His defense is, 'Look, you can't get to those vulnerabilities because the software is entrusted in insider election officials' hands.' Not anymore."
It's a big show today, concluding with our latest Green News Report. Please tune in for the full, stunning story...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)