A video of a computer animated "debate" between a Tea Partier and a non-Tea Partier, which has gone insanely viral over the last few days, inspired me to try creating one of my own.
Here my first quick effort. Hope you'll enjoy it and will help spread the word, because while computer generated animations are great, computer generated, unverifiable e-voting ain't. Vote on a paper ballot this year (not on a touch-screen system with or without a so-called "paper trail"), if you can. Here's why...
P.S. I've been asked how voters can make the decision to vote on paper ballots this late in the game. Many states and counties which offer touch-screen systems on Election Day also allow the voter to request a paper ballot at the polls. Others offer voters a choice when voting between "paper or plastic" (touch-screen or paper ballot). For example, in CA, every voter has the right to vote on a paper ballot, even as some jurisdictions tend to simply point voters towards the touch-screens. Check with your state and/or county before voting to find out your rights and if you're allowed to vote on paper on Election Day! The unverifiable vote you cast may otherwise be your own!
North Carolina counties which use touch-screen voting systems will now have to post a "Voter Alert" at precincts warning voters about potential problems with the machines following a complaint [PDF] filed in federal court by the state's Republican Party on Friday. The lawsuit, heard today on an expedited basis, was filed after voters in several counties had reported to party officials that their attempts to vote for straight-ticket Republican ballots were flipping on the screen to straight-ticket Democratic ballots.
Those reports of vote-flipping led to the NC GOP issuing a threat late this week to sue the State Board of Elections (BoE) if their demands were not met to order certain precautions be taken at polling places which used the 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems. After the Executive Director for the BoE sent a letter in response to the GOP's demands, downplaying the reported incidents as "isolated" and "no different than ones that must be addressed in every election," the Republican complaint was filed in federal court on Friday afternoon. (The sharp letters back and forth between the state GOP and BoE can be read in our previous report on the NC situation.)
Judge Malcolm Howard tonight also ordered that pollworkers must tell voters to read the printed alert, and that memory cards and other programming materials, records and audit logs from the oft-failed ES&S iVotronic touch-screen DREs must be preserved for examination after the election. Late today, the BoE Executive Director Gary O. Bartlett sent a notice [PDF] to the County Boards of Elections detailing the changes ordered by the federal judge.
The "Voter Alert" to be posted in all precincts using the touch-screen voting systems must read as follows...
I received an email this afternoon from a PR person for CNN, letting me know about their new "Tea Party Documentary" to air tonight, as based on the work of one of their reporters who, she says, has "followed the movement for the past 18 months" in order to offer what is described as "an hour of revealing interviews from their leadership and fascinating profiles of the impact of their energy on the 2010 midterms, their financial supporters and their campaigns."
The documentary, the PR rep's original email went on to say, comes after their reporter "spent considerable time with Lisa Murkowski, Christine O'Donnell, in California with Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express (rode the bus), Dick Armey with FreedomWorks, etc."
You may recall a few weeks ago that CNN ran another documentary with a similar theme, called Right on the Edge following the work of Rightwing media activists. (That one resulted in Republican scam-artist and federal criminal James O'Keefe making an ass of himself, as well as possibly violating the requirements of his federal probation, as we detailed at the time.)
As CNN has yet to run even one such documentary on non-Rightwing media activists or on the non-Rightwing politicians who have struggled over those same 18 months to clean up the unprecedented disaster they were left with when the Bush regime came to a close, I thought I'd point that out --- in my own, snarky-ish (me? snarky?) way --- to the PR person in respones to her email.
The email exchange that ensued follows below, as posted with her permission. I have removed her name as I feel she was only doing her job here, and she appeared to both appreciate the message I was hoping to send, and offered to pass it along to the folks who actually help with programming decisions at CNN...
If you missed it this morning, Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear drew at least 150,000 people (a number of reports put it "well over 200,000") to the National Mall in D.C. where they were "PACKED IN!" as our own Jeannie Dean writes via email today. The decidedly un-political rally concluded on a serious-ish note from Stewart, one well worth watching as his closing remarks represented, certainly, the most substantive moment of what looked to be a really fun day...
Much of Stewart's critique of the seemingly dysfunctional state of our nation embedded in his closing remarks was aimed squarely, as usual, at the media...
The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but it’s existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.
If we amplify everything we hear nothing.
He went on to draw the distinction, however, between the mad picture the media paints of our nation, as compared to the relative reasonableness with which most of us still carry out our lives each day. The complete text transcript of Stewart's remarks is now posted here.
Unlike Jan Brewer, who was elevated from Arizona's Sec. of State to Governor by Obama's ill-considered selection of Janet Napolitano from AZ Governor to Director of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, the state's newly appointed Republican SoS, Ken Bennett seems to have the ability to tell the truth every now and again --- even in the days just prior to a hotly-contested election...
"I take seriously any allegations of fraud in our election process," he said. "As soon as these accusations came to light, we got in contact with elections officials in Yuma County and across Arizona to determine if a fraudulent scheme was afoot. With our initial inquiry complete, I'm happy to report that these latest allegations of rampant registration fraud are without merit."
In related previous coverage, we outlined this year's 'GOP War on Democracy' here a few weeks ago, reporting on the various fraudulent "voter fraud" campaigns of Rightwing groups who were busy gearing and ginning them up at the time, by noting, among many other things...
[UPDATE 10/30/10: The North Carolina Republican Party has both filed and won their suit against the State Board of Elections. See details at end of article for more.]
It would have been nice if these guys had spoken up years ago, when the bulk of the Republican Party and their sympathizers were labeling Democrats as "conspiracy theorists" and "sore losers" for their documented complaints of touch-screen voting systems flipping votes on screen to Republican candidates. But better late than never, we suppose.
This afternoon, Legal Counsel for the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee sent a letter [PDF] to the NC State Board of Elections threatening legal action if their "demands" were not "immediately" met for taking a number of specific actions to mitigate reported touch-screen voting problems describes as "significantly more widespread than the NC GOP initially understood."
The GOP attorney, John E. Branch III writes that the voting system problems should have been addressed prior to the early voting period "and, to the extend they were not, the touch screen systems should have been banned."
The problems in contention are related to reports of the state's ES&S iVotronic e-voting systems reportedly showing votes as flipping from Republicans to Democrats on the screen. The threat from the state GOP comes on the heels of complaints made last week in two different NC counties, Craven and New Hanover. Those reports were a switch from previous years when voters in dozens of states had reported votes flipping largely from Democratic to Republican.
Branch charges that the party has "received word" that similar problems have emerged in "Mecklenburg...Randolph...Cumberland, Wilson, Pender, Forsyth, Lenoir and other counties," which all similarly use the oft-failed, 100% unverifiable ES&S touch-screen voting machines. The same systems are also used in more than a dozen other states...
[Note: This piece was originally written for and published byTruthout earlier this week, prior to escalated, and often breathless, allegations now being made from the Right of "voter fraud!" and "election theft!" by the Reid campaign in NV. Many of those claims are baseless and evidence-free at this time, though some have roots, at least, in legitimacy. The article which follows offers evidence for the legitimacy of some of their claims. But I will try, if time allows, to post another piece soon, separating important fact from irresponsible and even sometimes silly fiction in many of GOP/Fox/Drudge/Breitbart-fueled allegations in NV. - BF]
Sharron Angle should start filing the lawsuits right now. Then again, so should Harry Reid. However, it might be a bit more difficult politically for the Senate majority leader, given the undeserved support Reid has shown in the past for Nevada's 100 percent unverifiable, error-prone, hackable, illegally-certified, electronic voting systems the state forces all voters to use at the polling place.
Given that the Angle/Reid contest in Nevada is likely to be among the closest - and most closely-watched - races for the US Senate this November 2, both parties would be wise to get to court and file for an order to ensure all of the hard drives, flash memory chips and memory cartridges to be used in their electronic voting machines during both early voting and on Election Day are securely retained for 22 months after the election.
The federal law requiring as much, Retention of Voting Documentation (42 USC. 1974 through 1974e), has, however, never been followed in any state to my knowledge, at least in regard to the sensitive memory cards and hard drives from electronic voting systems. Those devices hold both ballot programming and the way the computers have recorded - accurately or not - the way voters have voted. They might also hold the only evidence of any system malfunction or malfeasance. Nonetheless, officials routinely scrub those materials not long after the polls have closed. Key evidence - perhaps the only actual evidence - of how voters had hoped to vote and of any obstruction to that intent, is thereby lost forever.
The voting machine still used across the Silver State - the horrible, hackable, failure-prone Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting machines with VeriVote "paper trail" printer add-on - has a storied history. There is also a recent history of very close elections in Nevada. Consequently, both candidates would be wise to bring on experienced Election Integrity experts to advise them in what can and will go wrong with those voting systems this year.
Unfortunately, while Reid seems to have long been in denial about the unverifiability and outright failure of the systems used in his state, Angle has likely been duped into buying into her own party's propaganda about "voter fraud," when the real problem is election fraud ... or just plain failure. Particularly in Nevada ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Congrats ExxonMobil, ya did it again!; Have a greener Halloween; The Governator slams "wimps" in D.C., and his director James Cameron jumps in; PLUS: It's Crazy Time in the final stretch before Tuesday's pivotal elections, and the fists, dollars and puns are flying ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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Nine voting machines were left unsecured in an office building overnight in northwest Lehi.
"There are hundreds of locations that they go to, it's not unexpected that this would happen," said Utah elections director Mark Thomas. He said there was a case about two years ago when voting machines were left unattended for a few days at the Utah State Capitol after an election.
"There are a lot of moving parts, a lot involved," he said of preparing for Election Day.
Phil Windley, who served as chief information officer for former governor Mike Leavitt, saw the machines loaded on two push carts in the lobby when he left from his Kynetx work office in Thanksgiving Point Business Park on Tuesday.
"This morning, I went to lunch and they were still there," Windley said during a phone interview on Wednesday. "I was surprised."
He photographed the unprotected machines and posted the photo online.
Windley said he later called the Utah County Clerk's office to let them know about the machines left in the lobby. "'We just drop them off; the building is in charge of locking them up,'" he said was the clerk's response.
What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, nothing, according to Scott Hogenson, the either clueless or misleading (or both) Utah County chief deputy clerk-auditor...
Please check out my new piece I filed today at Slate headlined "The Faith-Based Vote." As it's not necessarily about what some may think, I'll note their sub-title: "In many of Tuesday's closes races, states will use those same old, suspect voting machines."
The article details the 100% unverifiable voting systems which will be used to report the "winners" and "losers" of some of the closest and most-watched elections across the country next Tuesday.
Please feel free to leave comments there, Tweet it, Reddit it, Digg it, share it on Facebook and otherwise help them to feel good about carrying more such coverage. Thanks!
[The AK Supreme Court has put a stay on the Superior Court Judge's order. For now. See important update at bottom of article.]
As we've been suggesting in our two previous articles on the issue, the Alaska Division of Election's unprecedented move to supply printed lists of write-in candidates to polling places, purportedly to "assist" voters seeking help, violates state election procedures.
A judge today ruled in favor of the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP), as well as the state Republicans who joined the suit, by issuing a temporary restraining order finding the DoE's practice a "clear violation of Alaska administrative regulation."
We covered the issue over the weekend when it first came up, as letters went back and forth between the ADP, who charged the procedure amounted to "electioneering" inside the polling place, and the DoE, who claimed they were required by state and federal law to provide such assistance to voters.
We covered it again last night, when the DoE responded to our public records request for previous lists of printed write-in candidates by denying the request, since, as DoE Director Gail Fenumiai wrote, "The requested records do not exist."
State Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner agreed that the state's argument "rings hollow", noting, "If it were important 'assistance' for the division to provide voters with lists of write-in candidates, then the division has been asleep at the switch for the past 50 years. The division first developed the need for a write-in candidate list 12 days ago."
The ruling comes as a blow to incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who tossed her hat into the ring as a write-in candidate after her primary loss to the GOP's Joe Miller. Along with Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, a fierce three-way battle has ensued for the open U.S. Senate seat from Alaska. Although it's unclear what leg they have to stand on, the state has said they will appeal Pfiffner's decision ordering the immediate removal of the printed list of "certified" write-in candidates from polling places across the state. The judge also ruled that pollworkers may not mention Murkowski's, or any write-in candidate's name, to voters.
Prop 23 represents a frontal assault on Assembly Bill-36, a landmark piece of bi-partisan green energy legislation, passed by a Democratic-majority state legislature, signed into law by a Republican Governor. That voters have come to recognize Prop 23 as a scam comes as no real surprise, especially since the "No on 23" campaign, courtesy of several Silicon Valley tycoons, raised more than $28 million to more than offset the $9 million spent by the industry polluters --- two Texas oil companies, Valero and Tessoro, along with the infamous Koch Industries --- in support of this oily and deceptive initiative.
Setting aside what this says about the sorry state of our electoral process in which the public must rely upon white-hat corporate donors, as opposed to the mainstream media "news" for the information vital to informed consent, the open question remains whether the public will be taken in by the more subtle, Chevron/Exxon-Mobil/ConocoPhillips/Occidental Petroleum-backed Proposition 26 --- what Bill Magavern of Capital Weekly aptly described as "The Polluter Protection Act", especially in the face of the slick and deceptive industry ads (see video below) used to advance the measure...
After reports of ES&S touch-screen votes flipping away from Republicans, for a change, over the last several days in North Carolina and in Texas, reports are now coming in from Nevada about similar occurrences on that state's Sequoia touch-screens, just in time to underscore the importance of my story published today at Truthout, "Hacking Harry Reid (or Sharron's Angle)" arguing that one or both of the candidates locked in the Silver State Senate Standoff need to get to a court immediately, even though neither of them are likely to do so.
Over the weekend we covered the dispute between Alaska's Division of Elections (DoE), who has been handing out printed lists of write-in candidates to early voting sites, and the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP) who says doing so amounts to inappropriate electioneering at the polling place for write-in U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Murkowski in support of her challenge against GOP nominee Joe Miller and the Democrat's Scott McAdams.
The ADP went to court yesterday to file for an injunction, an official told The BRAD BLOG late today. The judge will issue his finding on Wednesday morning. But an admission we received today from Gail Fenumiai, Director of the DoE, may make it more difficult for the state to make their case.
As we detailed Saturday, in letters back and forth between the parties, the Fenumiai has been arguing that the list of candidates --- which reminds voters that Murkowski is running, and shows how to spell her name (a potential matter of dispute when determining which write-ballots should be counted or thrown out) --- is required by state and federal law in order to "to provide assistance to voters in the polling place upon request." She claims "The list of write-in candidates is the best way for poll workers to provide consistent information and assistance to voters if requested, regarding write-in candidates."
In response, ADP attorneys argued "There is no statutory or other legal basis for generating and making available to voters a list of write-in candidates and we are unaware, in the fifty-year history of the state, that such a list has ever previously been generated or used."
Indeed, as other names may be written in on ballots, in addition to those on the list, and the deadline is still open for write-in candidates to file a declaration of intent (giving them certain post-election privileges), the procedure seems legally dubious as well as historically unprecedented as ADP attorneys have charged.
To get to the bottom of it, and to find out if, in fact, the DoE has ever taken such action to "provide assistance" in previous elections, as Fenumiai claims is required by both state and federal law, The BRAD BLOG dashed off a public records request for any similar printed lists of write-in candidate provided to polling places during any previous elections.
This afternoon we received our reply from the DoE's Director, denying our public records request because, as she explains, the DoE has never supplied such a list prior to these 2010 general elections, so there are no records to send in response to our request.
Here's the pertinent part of her response [which is linked in full below]...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Cholera outbreak in Haiti; Volcanoes & tsunamis in Indonesia; BP's oil still in the Gulf, while BP's new CEO slams media "scaremongering" ... PLUS: Obama moves forward on clean energy & fuel efficiency, while Republicans pledge even more obstruction as Election Day nears ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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