Jason Osgood or Sam Reed?

Sam Reed skates along as Washington’s Secretary of State for no good reason. Many Democrats mistakenly believe he is their “friend” because the 2004 recount went to Gregiore. Republicans don’t really like him, but they like him “just enough.” While the majority of Washington newspapers and endorsements have gone to Sam Reed, I for one, have been fighting against Sam Reed for 5 years now .

On Sam Reed’s watch as Secretary of State, Washington bought into privately owned and controlled vote counting software, and Mr. Reed has continuously certified software that should not have been permitted on our vote counting machines under Washington State Law. From Diebold to ES&S to Sequoia, Touchscreen voting, or centralized vote counting Optical Scan machines, Sam Reed has never met a proprietary piece of vote counting software he didn’t like.

In addition, Mr. Reed seems to have no vision for using the office to bring new industries, the kind we need in the 21st Century, to the state of Washington. I want a Secretary of State to be out front, talking about wind energy, solar, biodiesel, and in-sourcing jobs rather than sending them overseas. Mr. Reed, for all his faults, seems to have no positives that I can think of… except a keen ability to slither through one election to the next without having to suffer the consequences of his very bad and undemocratic decisions.

In addition, Mr. Reed is a vocal, and national proponent of Vote-By Mail. Obviously, as the Director of the No Vote-By Mail Project I have a thing or two to say about the problems inherent in liberalized vote-by mail systems. But this year takes the cake… 

I tried to vote for Jason Osgood in the primaries this year. But I got a letter instead saying my vote didn’t count. This year since I’m forced to vote through the mail, tomorrow I’ll be filling out my absentee ballot, and once again I’ll try to vote for Jason Osgood, and I hope you do as well. But I’d recommend sending that ballot in just as early as you can, lest your vote get lost in the rush of ballots as we near Nov. 4th like mine was in the primaries.

Jason Osgood is a computer programmer and locally known voting activist who will set a new direction in the office. Mr. Osgood has pledged to defend my right to a secret ballot, and in my personal interactions with Jason he has been honest, thoughtful, and knowledgeable in the problems and solutions needed in our voting systems in Washington State. Honestly, there are few people I know who aren’t more qualified than Sam Reed to hold the office, but Jason Osgood is one of the more qualified people I know who could be running for the office this year. He’s a computer expert with a passion for accurate, secure and secret voting. Mr. Osgood has risen to the challenge and put together a respectable campaign, and a few great TV ads. I wish he had enough money to run them on TV more frequently.

So send in your vote early for Jason, and maybe send him a check in the last two weeks of the election. But either way, Sam Reed does not deserve your vote.

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Absentee Ballot Problems Start to Mount

When it comes to voting procedures and problems these days, Washington State and Oregon are being looked at as the “go-to” models for other states to follow. Many states in the union have been juggling their voting machines and technologies since the 2000 election. And here on the west coast, where I report from, we’ve seen a huge increase in absentee voting. Washington and California vote largely absentee, while Oregon is out front with a virtually 100% Vote-By Mail system, where they closed the polls, and EVERYONE votes-by-mail.

Expect stories like these to become more frequent in the coming weeks. The problem? Vote early, and late changing events could affect how you might have voted had you had the “last minute details” that come out about the candidates or issue. In fact, each election cycle I am always too busy to keep up on all the new problems I have not yet recorded with absentee ballots. From the military’s vote not getting counted from oversees, to this situation where people are voting without putting the ballot in the envelope.

Once, I remember coming home and having the situation where my roomate accidentally spoiled my ballot by opening it, voting, and then signing the wrong ballot. These types of situations add error into the system. And when it comes to voting, losing votes should not be built into the very nature of the voting system. But as society moves to vote-by mail systems it undermines any real control over the chain-of-custody of the ballots throughout that voting system, a chain-of-custody that previously existed within the precinct level voting system.

It should be ludicrous on its face.

But now it’s probably coming to a state by you, as near 25 states have proposed relaxing their absentee rules, or moving to Universal Mail Voting procedures.

Why you should think twice about Voting By Mail or Absentee Ballot

It’s been awhile since I wrote a best of The No Vote By Mail Project article.  And with the election I’m getting more hits as it gets closer to November, and everyone is like, what’s this absentee ballot thingy?

So if you just ended up here randomly, looking for where you should drop off your absentee ballot, or if you should send it through the mail, you’ve found the right website… in a sense. Because what I want you to do is to take 2 or 10 minutes outta your day, and read a few reasons why absentee ballots are bad for Democracy.

Really, I’m dead serious.

You’ve heard about the Diebold Touchscreen machines, you’ve heard maybe about long lines in Ohio. And now, suddenly it seems everyone is jumping on the Vote-By Mail bandwagon. In fact, it’s true, because about 25 states are looking at Washington and Oregon as the MODELS to go to once the public has thoroughly rejected Touchscreens.

But here’s the catch. Diebold (Now something like Premier Election Systems?), ES&S, Sequoia, all these companies want to control the Vote-By Mail paper counting as well. Same with Optical Scan and all the rest.

The underlying problem with Vote-By Mail is the same as the problem with Touchscreens, or even County level central vote counting. It removes the public vote count from the public.

In the past, the public actually physically counted the vote, right where they voted, in the gym, or any precinct polling site. There were procedures to follow, and a glass ballot box in the middle of the room. There were counters and observers, all in the same room, and when they finally reached a decision the number was posted for all to see before the count was sent to the county or state for further tabulation.

With computers, or vote by mail counted by computers, or even with central counting itself, the voters no longer get to observe the entire process of voting, right there in their neighborhood. And once we the people give up the physical control of the ballot and the vote counting of those ballots, Democracy becomes merely a faith based endeavor.

That’s why I support Precinct Level Hand Counted, or Hand Audited Paper Ballots. It’s also why I oppose Voting By Mail, or relaxing the restrictions in place currently in many states curbing their use.

We the People of the United States must take back our Democracy. And the only way we do that is not only through voting, it is by volunteering to also count the vote. And taking back Democracy, physically, into our own hands, our neighbors’ hands, at the gym down the street. The path for the People is clear, we must revitalize the Precinct System, we must volunteer to count the vote, observe the count, AND register new voters. But registering new voters is only one step. Because what good is registering voters if we can’t be sure of how the vote is being counted. So wherever privately controlled computer systems or Vote-By Mail schemes take away our right to count the vote physically, at the gym, church, or hall down the street in our local precincts this must be challenged and righted.

Anyway, those are my quick thoughts on the subject… here’s my top articles on Why you should think twice about Voting By Mail or Absentee Ballot:

  1. My Vote Gets Rejected in the Mail, Part 1, 2, 3
  2. Voting By Mail takes a long, long, long time to count
  3. What is a Secret Ballot?
  4. What’s going on in the Swing State of Colorado?
  5. Voting System Recommendations
  6. What’s wrong with Voting By Mail or Absentee Ballot… The List
  7. Should the Dead be Voting?
  8. What to expect in the 2008 election.
  9. The Problem of the Vanishing Primary Candidate.
  10. 89 More Articles on Why Voting By Mail is a Very Bad Idea

Ok, so if you made it through all of that, please tell me in the comments why you still think voting-by mail is a good idea that we should implement nationally?

I Tried To Vote For Jason Osgood and Got Rejected!

Holy Cow! I tried to vote for Jason Osgood, Democratic Candidate for Secretary of State in Washington State. And instead got this letter in return, saying my vote didn’t count.

Ironically, Jason Osgood is a well-known voting integrity advocate running for Secretary of State, in part calling attention to the problems with Voting By Mail here in Washington. While Jason is not running directly opposed to Voting-By Mail, I happen to agree with the stance he advocates that reversing the trend towards voting by mail is going to be a longterm endeavor, and Jason’s personal efforts educating the people of Washington State about the problems with forcing everyone to vote by mail have been good.

The incumbent, Sam Reed, is clearly on the wrong side of this issue, pushing Vote-By Mail as the solution to all that ails our voting system through the likes of the Vote By Mail Project. Jason Osgood or Sam Reed, vote for Jason this November!

Oddly today also marked one of the first times this year I’ve heard another election integrity critic get much air time. Tavis Smiley (Smily?) had Brad Friedman on his show, and Brad went off on the Republican conspiracy to suppress voter turnout. Which is so blatant it shouldn’t really be called a conspiracy “theory” anymore.  The Democrats haven’t been fighting hard for voting integrity, but the Republicans have been outright hostile to voting integrity efforts. So check out the Bradblog, another vote-by mail critic, for one of the most important voices out there today.

Anyway, let me know if you’ve gotten a similar letter rejecting your vote. I’d be very interested to hear about the reasons in the comments.