Elections News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on elections
With studies suggesting that long lines at the polls cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes in November, party leaders are beginning a push to make voting and voter registration easier, setting up a likely new conflict with Republicans over a deeply polarizing issue. Democrats in the House and Senate have already introduced bills that would require states to provide online voter registration and allow at least 15 days of early voting, among other things. Fourteen states are also considering whether to expand early voting, including the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, according to FairVote, a nonprofit group that advocates electoral change. Several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places depressed turnout in 2012 and that lines were longest in cities, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. In a New York Times/CBS News poll taken shortly after Election Day, 18 percent of Democrats said they waited at least a half-hour to vote, compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis determined that blacks and Hispanics waited nearly twice as long in line to vote on average than whites. Florida had the nation’s longest lines, at 45 minutes, followed by the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, according to Charles Stewart III, the political science professor who conducted the analysis. A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on major inadequacies in US electoral procedures, click here.
Who's buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, among others. And they're doing much of it in secret. It's a perfect storm - the combination of three waves that are about to drown government as we know it. The first is the greatest concentration of wealth in America in more than a century. The 400 richest Americans are richer than the bottom 150 million Americans put together. The trend started 30 years ago, and it's related to globalization and technological changes that have stymied wage growth for most people, "trickle-down economics," ... tax cuts and the steady decline in the bargaining power of organized labor. The second is the wave of unlimited political contributions, courtesy of ... one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 ruling that held that corporations are people under the First Amendment, [meaning] that virtually any billionaire can contribute as much to a political campaign as he wants. The third is complete secrecy about who's contributing how much to whom. Political fronts posing as charitable, nonprofit "social welfare" organizations ... don't have to disclose their donors. As a result, outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS are taking in hundreds of millions from corporations that don't even tell their own shareholders what political payments they're making. Separately, any one of these three would be bad enough. Put the three together, and our democracy is being sold down the drain.
Note: The author of this article, Robert Reich, is a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former U.S. secretary of labor, and author of the newly released Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong With Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It.
The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering. In a presentation that could provide disturbing lessons for the United States, where electronic voting is becoming universal, [CIA cybersecurity expert] Steve Stigall summarized what he described as attempts to use computers to undermine democratic elections in developing nations. His remarks have received no news media attention until now. Stigall told the Election Assistance Commission ... that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results. Stigall said voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said elections officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines. Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure. The commission has been criticized for giving states more than $1 billion to buy electronic equipment without first setting performance standards. Numerous computer-security experts have concluded that U.S. systems can be hacked, and allegations of tampering in Ohio, Florida and other swing states have triggered a campaign to require all voting machines to produce paper audit trails.
Note: For key articles from reliable sources exposing the many flaws in electronic voting systems, click here.
Charlie Black, senior adviser to John McCain, caused a fluff by saying that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be a "big advantage" to his candidate. No one mentioned that eight years ago, the Project for a New American Century called for "a new Pearl Harbor" that could move the American people to accept the neoconservative vision of militarized global domination. Then 9/11 happened, lifting George W. Bush from the shadows of a disputed election to the heights of a "war presidency." Bush has taken on unprecedented powers since the events of 9/11. On that day, the president issued his "Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks" under the authority of the National Emergencies Act. This declaration, which can be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress, has instead been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was quietly strengthened with the issuance of National Security Presidential Directive 51, which gave the president the authority to do whatever he deems necessary in a vaguely defined "catastrophic emergency," including everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Not a single congressional hearing was held on this directive. Will Congress act decisively to remove the president's emergency powers, challenge the directive and defend the Constitution?
[California] Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi had no intention of voting for AB2818, a bill that the Castro Valley Democrat feared could undermine its stated goal of protecting affordable housing. But on May 28, she nearly approved it - without her knowledge, and without her presence on the Assembly floor. As the roll call began, Hayashi was engaged in a budget subcommittee meeting on the Capitol's fourth floor. Suddenly, two floors below, the light next to her name on the big electronic voting board in the Assembly chamber turned green, a "yes" vote. Seconds later, it turned red. Then green. Red. Green. Finally, after 22 seconds of alternating colors, the space next to Hayashi's name went blank. While there are conflicting accounts of exactly what caused this dizzying sequence, this much is clear: Two people had their hands on Hayashi's voting switches during the roll call on AB2818 - and one was acting against her will. "Ghost voting" was not the only disturbing episode as the Assembly took up 316 bills in the three days leading up to the deadline for measures to pass their house of origin. In the frenzied treadmill, there was little or no debate on most matters, important bills died when legislators failed to vote, and votes were being cast for members without their express consent. In the Hayashi case, eyewitnesses said her initial "yes" vote was cast by Assemblyman Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, an assistant majority floor leader who colleagues said had taken the liberty of voting for other missing members as bills were being rushed to beat the deadline. "I don't recall it, but I don't deny it either," de León said.
Note: For lots more on problems with voting systems, click here.
State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study. The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state. Neither Bowen nor the investigators were willing to say exactly how vulnerable California elections are to computer hackers. The review included voting equipment from every company approved for use in the state. Bowen said ... that the report is only one piece of information she will use to decide which voting systems are secure enough to use in February's presidential primary election.
Note: For more reliable, verifiable information on the problems with new electronic voting machines, click here.
In an e-mail uncovered and released by the House Judiciary Committee last month, Tim Griffin, once Karl Rove's right-hand man, gloated that "no [U.S.] national press picked up" a BBC Television story reporting that the Rove team had developed an elaborate scheme to challenge the votes of thousands of African Americans in the 2004 election. Griffin wasn't exactly right. The Los Angeles Times did run a follow-up article. But ... most of the major U.S. newspapers and the vast majority of television news programs ignored the story even though it came at a critical moment just weeks before the election. In fact, not one U.S. newsperson even bothered to ask me or the BBC for the data and research we had painstakingly done. The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country [the U.S.], because investigative reporting ... is dying. Again and again, I see this pattern repeated. Back in December 2000, I received two computer disks from the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Analysis of the data ... indicated that Harris' office had purged thousands of African Americans from Florida's voter rolls as "felons." Florida now admits that many of these voters were not in fact felons. Nevertheless, the blacklisting helped cost Al Gore the White House. I reported on the phony felon purge in Britain's Guardian and Observer and on the BBC while Gore was still in the race, while the count was still on. Yet the story of the Florida purge never appeared in the U.S. daily papers or on television ... until months later, that is, after the Supreme Court had decided the election.
Note: The American-born author of this article, BBC reporter Greg Palast, has repeatedly exposed major corruption in the British media, yet the U.S. press often ignores his well-researched stories. For possibly the most amazing story he wrote which got virtually no U.S. media coverage, click here.
After six years of technological research, more than $4 billion spent by Washington on new machinery and a widespread overhaul of the nation’s voting system, this month’s midterm election revealed that the country is still far from able to ensure that every vote counts. Tens of thousands of voters, scattered across more than 25 states, encountered serious problems at the polls. The difficulties led to shortages of substitute paper ballots and long lines that caused many voters to leave without casting ballots. Voting experts say it is impossible to say how many votes were not counted that should have been. In Florida alone, the discrepancies ... amount to more than 60,000 votes. In Colorado, as many as 20,000 people gave up trying to vote ... as new online systems for verifying voter registrations crashed repeatedly. In Arkansas, election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000. Election experts say that with electronic voting machines, the potential consequences of misdeeds or errors are of a [great] magnitude. A single software error can affect thousands of votes, especially with machines that keep no paper record. In Ohio, thousands of voters were turned away or forced to file provisional ballots by poll workers puzzled by voter-identification rules. In Pennsylvania, the machines crashed or refused to start, producing many reports of vote-flipping [where] voters press the button for one candidate but a different candidate’s name appears on the screen. In Ohio, even a congressman, Steve Chabot, a Republican, was turned away from his polling place because the address listed on his driver’s license was different than his home address.
There were many problems with voting in this election. In at least one Congressional race, the evidence strongly suggests that paperless voting machines failed to count thousands of votes, and that the disappearance of these votes delivered the race to the wrong candidate. [In] Florida’s 13th Congressional District .. according to the official vote count, the Republicans [won] narrowly. The problem is that the official vote count isn’t credible. In much of the 13th District, the voting pattern looks normal. But in Sarasota County, which used touch-screen voting machines ... almost 18,000 voters — nearly 15 percent of those who cast ballots using the machines — supposedly failed to vote for either candidate in the hotly contested Congressional race. That compares with undervote rates ranging from 2.2 to 5.3 percent in neighboring counties. The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota ... interviewed hundreds of voters. About a third of those interviewed by the paper reported that they couldn’t even find the Congressional race on the screen. Moreover, more than 60 percent of those interviewed ... reported that they did cast a vote in the Congressional race — but that this vote didn’t show up on the ballot summary page. An Orlando Sentinel examination of other votes cast by those who supposedly failed to cast a vote ... shows that they strongly favored Democrats, and Mr. Buchanan won the official count by only 369 votes. For the nation as a whole, the important thing isn’t who gets seated to represent Florida’s 13th District. It’s whether the voting disaster there leads to legislation requiring voter verification and a paper trail. I’ve been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received.
Last week’s elections provided a lot of disturbing news about the reliability of electronic voting. In a Congressional race...Sarasota County [Florida] reported that more than 18,000 people, or one in eight, did not choose either candidate. That “undervote” of nearly 13 percent is hard to believe, given that only about 2.5 percent of absentee voters did not vote. Ms. Jennings trails Mr. Buchanan by about 400 votes. The serious questions about the Buchanan - Jennings race only add to the high level of mistrust that many people already feel about electronic voting. Congress has resisted all appeals to pass a law that would ensure that electronic voting is honest and accurate across the nation. Partisan secretaries of state continue to skew the rules to favor their parties and political allies. States are adopting harsh standards for voter registration drives to make it harder for people to register. Some states have adopted an indefensible rule that provisional ballots cast at the wrong table of the correct polling place must be thrown out. Congress has failed to address these and other important flaws with the mechanics of the election system. But this...may be about to change. Senator Feinstein is saying that providing fair access to the ballot will be among her committee’s top priorities in the coming year. Election reform has tended to be a partisan issue, with Democrats arguing for reform and Republicans resisting it. It shouldn’t be. Congressional Democrats should make fixing this country’s broken system of elections a top priority, and Republicans should join them.
It's easier to rig an electronic voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman. That's because Vegas slots are better monitored and regulated than America's voting machines, Freeman writes in a book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, that argues, among other things, that President Bush may owe his 2004 win to an unfair vote count. Software: Slot Machine: State of Nevada has access to all software. Illegal to use software that is not on file. Voting Machine: Software is a trade secret. Spot Checking: Slot Machine: State gaming inspectors show up unannounced at casinos to compare computer chips with those on file. If there is a discrepancy, the machine is shut down and investigated. Voting Machine: No checks are required. Election officials have no chip to compare with the one found in the machine. Background Security: Slot Machine: Manufacturers subjected to background checks. Employees are investigated for criminal records. Voting Machine: Citizens have no way of knowing, for example, whether programmers have been convicted of fraud. Equipment Certification: Slot Machine: By a public agency at arm's length from manufacturers. Public questions invited. Voting Machine: By for-profit companies chosen and paid by the manufacturers. No public information on how the testing is done.
Note: For many revealing major media reports on the corruptibility of electronic voting systems, click here.
The three companies that certify the nation's voting technologies operate in secrecy, and refuse to discuss flaws in the machines to be used by nearly one in three voters in November. Federal regulators have virtually no oversight over testing of the technology. The certification process, in part because the voting machine companies pay for it, is described as obsolete by those charged with overseeing it. Despite concerns over whether the so-called touchscreen machines can be trusted, the testing companies won't say publicly if they have encountered shoddy workmanship. They say they are committed to secrecy in their contracts with the voting machines' makers — even though tax money ultimately buys or leases the machines. Michael Shamos, a Carnegie Mellon computer scientist and electronic voting expert, told lawmakers in Washington, D.C. "I find it grotesque that an organization charged with such a heavy responsibility feels no obligation to explain to anyone what it is doing." The system for "testing and certifying voting equipment in this country is not only broken, but is virtually nonexistent," Shamos added. More than a decade ago, the Federal Election Commission authorized the National Association of State Election Directors to choose the independent testers. On its Web site, the association says the three testing outfits "have neither the staff nor the time to explain the process to the public, the news media or jurisdictions."
Rapid advances in the development of cyberweapons and malicious software mean that electronic-voting machines used in the 2012 election could be hacked, potentially tipping the presidential election or a number of other races. [A University of Pennsylvania] study concluded "virtually every important software security mechanism is vulnerable." Most at risk are paperless e-voting machines, which don’t print out any record of votes. Four swing states – Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida – rely to varying degrees on paperless machines. Alex Halderman, a researcher at the University of Michigan, and a colleague at Princeton University hacked into a paperless touch-screen voting machine in 2010 and installed the video game Pac-Man. Similarly, he and Princeton researchers in 2006 demonstrated that if someone could get a few minutes’ unattended access to a paperless machine, that person could install a software virus that could spread to other machines and switch those machines’ votes before deleting all traces of itself. Among the 23 states that use touch-screen Direct-Recording Electronic (DREs) machines ... only California, Indiana, and Ohio were rated excellent in a national report this summer by Verified Voting. For a savvy hacker, the time and access needed to infect a machine is so small that it could be done while in a voting booth. A hacker could in theory use the Internet to target an e-voting machine company, which would then unknowingly infect its own machines when it serviced them. It's impossible to know if newer machines and software are really secure because their source code is largely unavailable for analysis. Voting-equipment makers frequently say their software is a trade secret.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections system, click here.
Robert Mueller warned that Russian interference is still happening “as we sit here.” A report from the Senate Intelligence committee concluded all 50 states were targeted in 2016 and ahead of the 2018 election “top election vulnerabilities remained.” But there’s no help coming from Congress. It’s a risky calculation heading into 2020. Primary voting is six months away. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday blocked a House-passed bill that would authorize $775 million to beef up state election systems. The challenge was underscored Thursday as the Senate Intelligence Committee released the full results of an investigation that found the Russian government directed “extensive activity” against U.S. election systems ahead of the 2016 election. Two years later ... little had changed, as an intelligence assessment reported, “We are aware of a growing volume of malicious activity targeting election infrastructure in 2018.” The report encourages states to “take urgent steps to replace outdated and vulnerable voting systems.” The most pressing issue is replacing electronic voting machines that do not produce a paper record of each ballot cast that is verified by the voter and can later be audited. In 2018, 10 states had more than half of their jurisdictions using machines without a paper trail. An AP analysis in July found that many of the 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use old and soon-to-be outdated operating systems to create their ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts.
Note: US elections have been vulnerable to hacking for a long time, and not just by the Russians. See concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
On Tuesday, a dark-money effort linked primarily to the Ohio nuclear industry delivered an audacious payoff, as a newly elected state legislature overcame years of opposition to shower a $1.1 billion bailout on two state nuclear plants. Several dark-money groups spent millions to replace key Republican state legislators in the spring of 2018, followed by a furious lobbying campaign to make sure those new lawmakers elected a new House speaker. In April 2018, two nuclear plants, both owned by the electric utility FirstEnergy, filed for bankruptcy and have been threatening to cease operations if not bailed out. The bankruptcy filings give a glimpse into the company’s political spending: more than $30 million from 2018-2019 on lobbying and campaigns in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The payoff is extraordinary in degree — something like $30 million for campaigns in Ohio and Pennsylvania to win $1.1 billion in government subsidy. But it is similar in kind to other nuclear projects across the country. On July 23 ... the bailout [was] signed by the state’s new governor, Republican Mike DeWine. (FirstEnergy also contributed to the campaign of DeWine, who then tapped a FirstEnergy lobbyist to be his liaison to the legislature.) The Ohio legislation reads as if it was designed specifically to undermine the planet’s continued capacity to support a steady human population. Along with propping up the state’s two nuclear plants, it also provides subsidies for failing coal plants.
Four days before the 2016 congressional primary in her Northern California district, Erin Schrode woke up to tens of thousands of messages. They were ... in her email, on her cellphone, on her Facebook and her Twitter and her Instagram. “All would laugh with glee as they gang raped her and then bashed her bagel eating brains in,” one said. It has been two years since Ms. Schrode ... lost her Democratic primary and moved on. But the abuse - a toxic sludge of online trolling steeped in misogyny and anti-Semitism that also included photoshopped images of her face stretched into a Nazi lampshade and references to “preheating the ovens” - never stopped. The 2018 election cycle has brought a surge of female candidates. A record number of women ran or are running for the Senate, the House and governorships. And in the process, they are finding that harassment and threats, already common for women, can be amplified in political races - especially if the candidate is a member of a minority group. Last year, sexist and anti-Semitic abuse helped drive Kim Weaver, an Iowa Democrat, out of her race against Representative Steve King. The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published an article ... titled, as Ms. Weaver recalled it, “Meet the Whore Who’s Running Against Steve King,” increasing what was already an onslaught of threats. When she withdrew from the race, Mr. King suggested she had made up the threats. No independent organization appears to formally track incidents of harassment.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A Texas woman was sentenced to five years in prison for voting in the 2016 presidential election when she was ineligible because she was on probation. Crystal Mason ... is a former tax preparer who was previously convicted in 2012 on charges related to inflating refunds for clients. She testified that she didn’t know people convicted of felonies can’t vote until they complete their sentence, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. She told the newspaper last year following her indictment that she had gone to vote at her mother’s encouragement and wasn’t told when released from federal prison that she could not cast a ballot. Mason’s ... case was prosecuted in Tarrant County, the same place where a Mexican national last year was sentenced to eight years in prison over illegal voting. Voting illegally in Texas is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Mason used a provisional ballot to vote, and it was not counted. She believes she was being targeted for prosecution because she voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump for president. Voter fraud convictions are rare, but Texas Republicans leaders have zealously pursued a crackdown on illegal voting in recent years. A federal judge has twice blocked Texas’ voter ID law. Mason testified that when she voted ... she signed a provisional ballot affidavit stating that she had not been convicted of a felony. Prosecutors said she signed the form with the intent to vote illegally, but Mason’s attorney called it a mistake.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
At 24, [Christopher Wylie] came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that went on to claim a major role in the Leave campaign for Britain’s EU membership referendum, and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign. In 2014, Steve Bannon ... was Wylie’s boss. And Robert Mercer, the secretive US hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor, was Cambridge Analytica’s investor. The idea they bought into was to bring big data and social media to an established military methodology – “information operations” – then turn it on the US electorate. By , Steve Bannon had become Trump’s chief strategist. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, had won contracts with the US State Department and was pitching to the Pentagon, and Wylie was genuinely freaked out. “It’s insane,” he told me one night. “The company has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.” He ended up showing me a tranche of documents that laid out the secret workings behind Cambridge Analytica. Wylie ... came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.
Note: Billionaire Robert Mercer used this new new technology to build a corporate empire capable of swinging elections by using military propaganda strategies on civilian populations. The above article further details how mass media is being combined with Big Data to produce powerful new forms of mind control. Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world.
A South Florida law professor, running to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is calling for a federal investigation into the destruction of all ballots cast in the August 2016 Democratic primary in Broward County. The challenger, Tim Canova, has made repeated public-records requests and filed a lawsuit seeking access to paper ballots cast in his unsuccessful race last year against the former Democratic National Committee chair in Florida’s 23rd congressional district. A statistical analysis of the primary conducted last year suggested the election results were “potentially implausible.” the Broward supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, has taken no action on requests ... to examine the ballots. Instead, Dr. Snipes has urged a judge to throw Canova’s lawsuit out. Despite the pending records requests and the ongoing litigation, Snipes ordered the ballots and other election documents destroyed. The lack of a paper trail verifying voter choices undercuts the ability to identify systemic election fraud and might make such fraud impossible to detect. The Aug. 30 Democratic primary in Broward was being closely watched across the country. A month earlier ... Wasserman Schultz was ousted as chairwoman of the DNC. She was removed over allegations that she and other party officials had rigged the Democratic presidential primary process to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The pro-Clinton fix was first divulged in DNC emails ... released to the public in the months leading up to the election.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
San Francisco has taken a tentative step toward deciding on whether it will become the first local government in the country to run its voting machines on open-source software. The notion of shifting away from using proprietary technology sold by private companies to computer code made freely available for anyone to use and modify has been talked about for years. But it’s been getting more attention since the city allocated $300,000 to study the issue. Proponents of open-source voting systems say local governments using them would be able to hold elections with an unprecedented level of control, transparency and security. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has said he would support an open-source voting system, assuming it could pass the state’s certification protocols. Open-source software could allow the city to more fully understand and adjust how votes are tallied. Currently, vendors of electronic voting equipment provide few details about how their machines operate, claiming those details are proprietary. Governments are also beholden to private vendors if they want to make a change to the software running the machines.
Note: How crazy that the technology behind the US electronic voting system is held privately and the government cannot even inspect the technology used. Do you think there is the potential for fraud? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
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