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The gun lobby has long intimidated politicians with its war chest and its trumpeted ability to deliver single-issue voters, especially in tight races. After this year’s election, those politicians should be far less afraid and far more willing to vote for sensible gun-control laws.

The National Rifle Association directed much money and bile against Barack Obama. In false, misleading and, fortunately, ineffective ads, fliers, mailers and Web postings, the group said that Mr. Obama posed a “clear and present danger” to Second Amendment rights and that his election would mean a gun ban.

Despite that harsh barrage, Mr. Obama won states with heavy gun ownership, including Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That success should send a signal to other politicians: consistency matters.

In fact, Mr. Obama has long been a supporter of the argument, disputed by this page, that the Second Amendment bestows an individual right to bear arms unrelated to raising a militia. But Mr. Obama did not abandon his support for reasonable gun-control laws. “Don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals,” he declared at the Democratic convention.

In Congressional races, the N.R.A. endorsed candidates in 20 of the 25 races where Democrats picked up seats from Republicans. We will not miss Florida’s Tom Feeney and Ric Keller, Idaho’s Bill Sali, Michigan’s Joe Knollenberg, Ohio’s Steve Chabot, Colorado’s Marilyn Musgrave and Pennsylvania’s Phil English — willing champions of an extreme agenda.


On the Senate side, the N.R.A. spent considerable sums to help Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Bob Schaffer, the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado. Both were defeated.

And the N.R.A.’s poor showing was not just a single isolated event. A useful election analysis prepared by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence shows that its 2006 campaign effort also was a big flop.

We hope the trend continues. To fight crime and keep Americans safe, this country needs sound gun-control laws. To pass those laws as president, Mr. Obama will need strong Congressional support.







Hoping to beat the rush, voters flocked to the polls early this morning only to find parking lots already packed, turnout high and long lines already snaking around the block as scattered voting problems were reported in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

In Virginia, reported problems were widespread, according to reports gathered by the Election Protection Coalition, a cooperative effort by more than dozen voting rights groups.

Voters said they encountered broken touch-screen machines and paper jams in the scanners that are supposed to read the ballots at polling places in Richmond, Alexandria, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Vienna. Polling places in Virginia Beach were not opened at 6 a.m. when they were supposed to be.

“They harangue us to vote and then they don’t have the capacity to handle us when we show up,” said a man standing with a cane in a two-hour line in Fairfax, Va.

Virginia election officials said three polling places opened late because of what she called “human error.” In some cases, voters came in from the rain and failed to properly dry their hands before touching their ballots, fouling the optical scanning machines.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., some lines were stretching several hundred voters long by 7 a.m. In Philadelphia, lines were equally long and at one polling place on in the east side of the city several voting machines were not working because there was no extension cord available to help them reach the electrical outlet.

Despite the scattered problems, most people held on, steadfast in their passion to vote, undeterred by rain, sore feet or the long waits.

Voting experts predicted a record turnout of 130 million voters, which would be the highest percentage turnout in a century. It could shatter the previous record of 123.5 million who cast ballots four years ago. If 64 percent of registered voters make their way to the polls, as some predict, it would be the highest percentage since 1908.

Florida Secretary of State Kurt A. Browning said the 1992 record of 83 percent turnout could be surpassed in his state. Pennsylvania officials believe as many as 80 percent of the state 8.75 million votes will show up at the polls, a record.

Lines and other problems began well before Election Day.

By Monday night, Election Protection Coalition received calls about more than 700 early voters in West Creek Community Center in Kansas City, who waited more than eight hours to cast their ballots. Lines for early voters in Atlanta left people waiting for nearly ten hours.

There were also reports of underhanded tactics. Several callers from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland reported receiving automated phone calls with incorrect polling locations. Dozens of people in Colorado and New Jersey reported not receiving confirmation of their voter registrations or absentee ballots.

Yesterday alone, the hotline received more than 30,000 calls. Most were from voters in high population and swing states, including over 2,000 calls from Florida. The most common calls by far up until Election Day have been in regard to registration problems, followed by absentee ballot issues and polling place problems, which include extremely long lines.

Note: Video the Vote is a network of citizen journalists, independent filmmakers, and media professionals documenting voter problems at the polls. We will be posting links from them throughout the day.


MIAMI (AP) — With two days remaining until Election Day, Jay-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs told voters in South Florida not to be scared away from the polls by long lines.

“It’s bigger than us,” Combs said. “We have to do it for our children, we have to do it for the people that died for us to have the right to vote.”

Combs and Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, appeared before a crowd of about 800 at the Chester Robinson Athletic Center at Florida Memorial University for a “Last Chance for Change” rally Sunday afternoon.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, music executive Kevin Liles and fellow recording artist Mary J. Blige also joined them at the get-out-the-vote effort for Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

“We stood in line to get the new Lil’ Wayne CD,” Liles said. “We stood in line to get a new pair of Jordans. We stood in line to get in here. So we ain’t afraid of no lines.”

The event was more of a campaign rally than hip-hop extravaganza. None of the artists actually performed on stage, instead using their time to stump for the Democratic nominee. A DJ played as the crowd waited for the group to arrive, and a gospel choir and college step teams also performed.

“We have been doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” Blige said. “Please do something different. Barack Obama is a true example of something different. He’s a true example of something our children can have in the future, what they can look at and say: ‘Wow, we can really, really do something. We can really, really be something.'”

When an announcer asked if anyone in the crowd had already voted, several attendees threw their hands in the air, waved blue campaign signs and screamed.

More than 2 million of Florida’s 11.2 million registered voters had already cast their ballots by Sunday morning, according to the state Division of Elections Web site. As of Saturday in Miami-Dade County, more than 300,000 had gone to the polls, according to county statistics. Early voting in the state ended Sunday.

Combs, who bounced on stage wearing an Obama T-shirt and sunglasses, has long worked to increase young voter turnout. Four years ago, he was part of the “Vote or Die” campaign and launched the nonpartisan group Citizen Change.

“I think we just really reinforced what they already knew,” Jay-Z said after the event. “It energized them.”

One attendee, 36-year-old Rebecca Vaughns, said Election Day would be especially sweet for her. The Miami resident, who was wearing a black Obama T-shirt and had a likeness of the nominee shaved in the back of her head, said she had been saving a giant chocolate “O” in her freezer for months, waiting for Nov. 4.

“It’s not about black or white,” Vaughn’s said, “It’s about the fact that this country is in a hole.”

Fort Lauderdale resident Joyce Downing, 53, sat in the back of the stuffy arena before the rally started, wearing a red Obama T-shirt. Downing said she waited five hours a week ago to vote in an election she called an “awakening.”

“Although I’ve voted as long as I’ve been eligible, this is the most exciting election I’ve been able to participate in,” she said.

Source: AP

Newly obtained computer schematics provide further detail of how electronic voting data was routed during the 2004 election from Ohio’s Secretary of State’s office through a partisan Tennessee web hosting company.

A network security expert with high-level US government clearances, who is also a former McCain delegate, says the documents – server schematics which trace the architecture created for Ohio’s then-Republican Secretary of State and state election chief Kenneth Blackwell – raise troubling questions about the security of electronic voting and the integrity of the 2004 presidential election results.

The flow chart shows how voting information was transferred from Ohio to SmarTech Inc., a Chattanooga Tennessee IT company known for its close association with the Republican Party, before the 2004 election results were displayed online.

Information technology expert Stephen Spoonamore believes this architecture could have made possible a KingPin or “Man in the Middle” (MIM) attack — a well-defined criminal methodology in which a computer is inserted into the network of a bank or credit card processor to intercept and modify transactions before they reach a central computer.

In an affidavit filed in September, Spoonamore asserted that “any time all information is directed to a single computer for consolidation, it is possible… that single computer will exploit the information for some purpose. … In the case of Ohio 2004, the only purpose I can conceive for sending all county vote tabulations to a GOP managed Man-in-the-Middle site in Chattanooga before sending the results onward to the Sec. of State, would be to hack the vote at the MIM.”

Not everyone agrees. RAW STORY also sent the schematics to computer science professor David L. Dill, a longtime critic of electronic voting machines. In an email message, Dill said he’s skeptical that an attack of the sort described by Spoonamore could have been carried out undetected.

“It seems that the major concern is whether routing election results through a third-party server would allow that third party to change the reported election results,” Dill wrote. “These diagrams haven’t answered my basic question about that idea. The individual counties know the counts that they transmitted to the state. If those results were altered by the state or a middleman, I would think that many people in many counties would know the actual numbers and would raise an alarm.”

Spoonamore has now filed a fresh affidavit (pdf), in regard to a case involving alleged Ohio vote tampering, which asserts that the schematics support a “Man in the Middle” attack having been implemented in Ohio in 2004. Ohio provided the crucial Electoral College votes to secure President George W. Bush’s reelection.

“The computer system at SmartTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmartTech computers,” Spoonamore wrote in the affadavit.

“Overall, my analysis of the two Architectures provided is the following,” he added. “They are very simple systems. They are designed for ease of use during the one of two times a year they are needed for an election. They are not designed with any security or monitoring systems for negative actions including MIM or KingPin attacks. These systems as designed would not be sufficient for any banking function, credit card function, or even or many corporate email systems needing a high degree of confidence. They are systems which will work easily, but are based on a belief all users and the system itself will be trusted not to be hacked.”

He continued, “There are obviously many parties willing, with motivation, and able to hack an election for a desired outcome.”

Inconclusive Evidence?
Dill told Raw Story the schematics are inconclusive and that he continues to have questions after reading Spoonamore’s latest affadavit, although he cautioned that he himself is not an expert in Spoonamore’s specialty of network security.

“Basically, the whole thing seems highly speculative,” Dill said. “It’s important to distinguish ‘possible’ from ‘probable’ here. I don’t even know if this is possible. More details about how the tabulators worked in those particular counties, who was managing them, how the results were uploaded, whether they were all the same kind, etc. would help establish that.”

“As to ‘probable’ — I don’t think that’s been established at all, unless one starts with the presumption that the election was stolen and works backwards from there,” he added. “I don’t think Spoonamore has made the case that SmartTech and Triad ‘.. reversed the outcome of the 2004 Ohio Presidential Race.’ I don’t know that it DIDN’T happen, but, at this point, I think we need to demand better evidence.”

“Neither I nor Spoonamore have any special knowledge on exit polls or Ohio voting patterns in judicial races,” Dill continued. “I’d urge you to take a close look at what skeptical political scientists have written. It’s been a long time, but I was left with the impression that proof was lacking.”

RAW STORY has posted the schematics here for 2004 and for 2006 see below.

2006 schematics/click to enlarge

The Connally Anomaly
Spoonamore notes that on election night in 2004, he observed what he calls the “Connally anomaly,” in which eight Ohio counties that had been reporting a consistent ratio of Kerry votes to Bush votes suddenly changed at about 11 pm and began reporting results much more favorable to Bush. Election tallies in these counties, plus a few others, also showed the unlikely result of tens of thousands of voters choosing an extremely liberal judicial candidate but not voting for Kerry.

Spoonamore immediately suspected that a Man in the Middle attack had occurred but had no idea how it could have been carried out. It was not until November 2006 that the alternative media group ePluribus Media discovered that the real-time election results streamed by the office of Ohio’s Secretary of State at had been hosted on SmarTech’s servers in Tennessee.

“Since early this decade, top Internet ‘gurus’ in Ohio have been coordinating web services with their GOP counterparts in Chattanooga, wiring up a major hub that in 2004, first served as a conduit for Ohio’s live election night results,” researchers at ePluribus Media wrote.

By then, SmarTech had become embroiled in the White House email scandal, during which it was discovered that accounts at,, and other Republican Party domains which were hosted by SmarTech had been used by White House staff,, instead of their official government email accounts, to avoid leaving a public record of their communications. When subpoenaed by Congress, the White House said the emails had been accidentally deleted.

Remaining Questions
Dill further noted after examining the schematics, “The 11/02/04 diagram has several computer icons in the upper left for EN Results entry of various types. I don’t know how this works, but given that counties are using different software to prepare their totals, I suspect the data is entered by hand into web forms or that spreadsheets are uploaded. Such an entry method would not easily lend itself to corrupting the original data. … Even if data can be changed at the county servers, many pollworkers and possibly others know the results that were reported from their precincts, and someone would probably notice if the numbers reported by the county or state differed from those.”

Dill said it would be helpful to have more information regarding the computers used and how they were connected.

“It would be a great idea to get some more definitive information about how the computers were connected and run in those counties,” he wrote. “Messing with disks might help cover up evidence after the fact. But the first thing that had to happen was that county-level results had to be changed in such a way that no one could compare the precinct results with the announced totals.”

Spoonamore said tampering could have been accomplished without broad knowledge.

Some have said “that local County Elections officials had been instructed to fax final results to confirm them, but this action would not have mattered if the local elections boards computers were already under the control of the KingPin,” he wrote. He said the ultimate results faxed to the Secretary of State from Ohio counties could have been inserted by SmarTech, providing “a smokescreen” that would “mask the already hacked results and provide an illusion the tabulators were not reporting results over the Internet.”

Source: Raw Story

A new Politico/Insider Advantage survey finds he leads in four key counties, an advantage that could determine the winner of four vital swing states.

A new Politico/Insider Advantage survey finds he leads in four key counties, an advantage that could determine the winner of four vital swing states.

Sen. Barack Obama holds leads in four key counties that will go a long way toward determining the eventual winner in four important swing states—Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—according to a new Politico/Insider Advantage survey.

Obama is poised to expand on recent Democratic gains in three populous suburban counties—Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, Missouri’s St. Louis County and Virginia’s Prince William County. In a fourth, Ohio’s Franklin County, home to Columbus and its suburbs, the Politico/Insider Advantage survey also found Obama with the lead.

Read more here

Source: Politico

Blogger Interrupted catches the goings on at a Palin/McCain rally – exposing anger, hate and misinformation that the Republican campaign is using against Obama – to unscrupulously win the race to the White House.

On the eve of the penultimate presidential debate, a new TIME/CNN poll shows John McCain still struggling in states won by George W. Bush in 2004, a sign that last week’s vice presidential debate had little effect on voter opinion.

In North Carolina, which Bush won by more than 12 percentage points in both 2000 and 2004, McCain and Obama are locked in a dead heat, with each candidate garnering the support of 49% of likely voters. In Indiana, which Bush won by 21 points in 2004 and 16 points in 2000, McCain maintains a slight 5 point lead over Obama, with 51% of likely voters, compared to Obama’s 46%.

In the crucial swing state of Ohio, which Bush won by slight margins in both 2000 and 2004, McCain trails Obama by 3 points, with the support of 47% of voters, compared to Obama’s 50%. Obama also holds a statistically significant 8 point lead over McCain in New Hampshire and a 5 point lead in Wisconsin, two states that Democrat John Kerry was able to win in 2004.

As a result of the new survey, CNN now considers New Hampshire and Wisconsin to be Obama-leaning states, after previously being considered tossups. North Carolina is now considered a tossup, after previously being categorized as a McCain-leaning state.

The polls were conducted between October 3 and 6, after last Thursday’s debate. They have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 to 4 percentage points.

Last week, the McCain campaign reacted to a polling downturn by shuttering its operation in the state of Michigan and redistributing staff to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Maine, where electoral votes are distributed by congressional district. In a conference call last week, Mike DuHaime, the McCain campaign’s political director, acknowledged that the national mood and Obama’s deep pockets had put previously solid Republican states like Indiana in play.

“I do think just the overall environment right now that we face is one of the worst environments for any Republican in probably 35 years,” DuHaime said. “Any time you have that, you have states move within that margin.”

After two grueling years, only two major events remain in the 2008 presidential campaign, a candidate town hall forum Tuesday in Tennessee, and a debate on October 15 in New York. In a nod to the dwindling window of opportunity, McCain again sharpened his attacks on Obama during a stump speech Monday in New Mexico, charging that Obama harbors a “back story” on every issue that needs to be explored.

“All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America?” McCain said. “In short: Who is the real Barack Obama? But ask such questions and all you get in response is another barrage of angry insults.”

Campaigning in North Carolina, Obama countered by charging that McCain and his aides were “gambling that they can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance.”

Source: TIME

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