Jason Osgood is Not Qualified To Run King County Elections

Recently Jason Osgood ran a pretty lack-luster campaign for Washington’s Secretary of State. As the Director of The No Vote By Mail Project, I endorsed Jason for that race. Many factors originally influenced this decision, including the fact that Sam Reed is about as bad of a Secretary of State as I could imagine (other than say, Kenneth Blackwell or Katherine Harris).

However, the backstory that I never wrote about was that I had a meeting with Jason Osgood and another election integrity activist prior to Jason’s announcement that he was running for Secretary of State. At this meeting I was asked not to run as a Democrat in the primaries because Washington’s Democratic Party had asked Jason to run against Sam. I agreed to this deal, because Sam was unlikely to be beaten this year, and because in 4 of the past 5 elections, I have run several campaigns and been a candidate myself, so if my desire for someone to run against Sam would be carried out by Jason, that was ok by me. Campaigns are exhausting to say the least.

However, another agreement was made at this meeting. Jason Osgood directly told me that running for Secretary of State was simply a precursor to helping elect a truly qualified candidate to the posistion of King County’s Director of Elections. At the time Jason and I, and the other election integrity activist at this meeting, all agreed on who we would all be backing for that election.

So it came as a great suprise to me to find out that Jason Osgood had gone back on his word to me and others who have helped him, literally for years, understand elections, technology, and campaigns, and announced that he would be running for the position of Director of King County Elections.  Jason, if you’ll lie to those people who have helped you, as your friends, tirelessly, for years, why should anyone trust you as a politician?

Besides which, anyone watching your campaign for Secretary of State would already realize that you don’t know how to run a campaign. You got virtually no press coverage, and even the little bit of free press I lined up for you was ignored.

So Jason Osgood, let me be the first to say, you are not qualified to run King County’s Elections. You have no experience in office, you have no skill for campaigning, you are not a man of your word, and even worse, from my perspective is your lack of desire to fight against vote-by mail in King County. Which is evident in your post over at Horsesass.org:

30. Jason Osgood spews:

Hi Daniel @ 25.

Very good question.

My job as Director of Elections is to run the elections, not make law. The King County Council legislates and I would abide by their decisions.

So I have no interest in revisiting the vote by mail decision.

By this statement alone Mr. Osgood, you have convinced me that you are no longer insterested in fighting for true voting integrity. By going against your word and now running for a position for which you pledged to support a different and more qualified candidate, you have shown yourself to lack personal integrity. And throughout your campaign for Secretary of State you proved a highly ineffectual candidate. Really, in a Blue State like Washington, in a Blue year, you lost and lost badly. 

But other than being unqualified, the biggest problem Jason presents for King County, is that he may split the vote of King County’s Democrats, leaving the door wide open for people like Pam Roach, who would be truly awful.

Update 1
King County is one of the largest single voting juridictions in the entire nation. The complexity of the system requires someone with serious expertise. The kind of expertise that someone like myself, who has studied the system for years… does not posses. Personally I supported Jason against Sam Reed for the same reason the Democratic Party supported Jason Osgood, he wasn’t going to win. Seriously. He wasn’t going to win. So a one trick pony who is running an issue based campaign, gets the job done. And that job is questioning the incumbent, and pointing out the failures in the system that provide you with an issue based platform. But even in endorsing Jason, I knew he was not qualified for the job.

However, now that Jason’s jumped into a race that many activists have been working on for years, his decision can have grave ramifications for Washington State at large. Dean Logan proved unworthy. And he had a lot more qualifications than Jason. All I can hope now is that someone truly qualified stands up and stands up soon to run for the position. Otherwise Jason, you’re going to throw this race to the strongest Republican who stands willing.

Update 2

Could someone please explain to me in the comments below why Jason Osgood IS qualified? The way I see it, he is a computer geek, who acts like a child, gets called paranoid and sweaty by The Stranger, doesn’t know how to talk to the media, has no real experience leading large groups of people that I am aware, and is a very partisan Democrat running for a non-partisan position. He has never run anything near the size of the job he is applying for, and he has turned around on vote-by mail, and dissed his friends and allies along the way. Oh, and he lost the statewide race, as the ONLY Democrat in a blue state, by wide margins. To a Republican not very well liked by his own base.

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.

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.

I Voted-by Mail in Today’s Primary for Jason Osgood for Washington’s Secretary of State

Last year I moved to Kitsap County, and as the County switched to Forced Vote-By Mail voting, I had little choice. As I was going to be out of town on the 19th (in Seattle), I had a good reason to vote absentee anyway. But I would much rather it was a limited system of absentees, rather than a mandatory Vote-By Mail system. Which is probably obvious by the title of this blog.

Anyway, I voted for Jason Aaron Osgood, for Secretary of State. I know Jason, and he is a well known voting activist around King County. He’s managed to be affective in his activism in the County, and is very knowledgeable about computer systems.

Besides which Sam Reed is a total nightmare when it comes to voting machines, voting, vote-by mail, and anything that resembles voting integrity. On this front I am sure Jason will be a welcome relief for voters who are tired of all the bullshit that’s come to Washigton in the past few years.

As to Jason Osgood’s campaign for Secretary of State, I must say that I’m fairly disappointed so far as he hasn’t really run much of a campaign. There’s been almost no news, no real endorsements, and when he is mentioned in the press it is usually very derragatory. Even Nirvana’s old base player, Krist Novaselic,  lamblasted him lately, as did the Stranger. In fact, the best press coverage he’s managed lately has been the controversy stirred up by Dow Constantine.

I’m not one to argue for listening to a former Nirvana bass player or The Stranger about who to vote for, but watching that video of The Stranger interview did make me cringe at the beginning, because you need to know when you are dropping a quote, like “I’ve been a software developer since the 3rd grade,” that the children at the Stranger will of course lead with that, instead of the very valid objections to secret vote counting machines. Jason also obviously does himself harm when he continuously interrupts Sam Reed during the interview. It’s also far too easy to label a candidate as a one issue candidate when that candidate embraces that label. Note to the Osgood campaign, watch this video and understand that you are going to need to prepare for prime time debates soon, and then watch it again.

Now, I understand that running a campaign is hard work. So, as a supporter, and a voter, I really hope Jason gets out there a bit more in the general election. Because as the only “prefers Democratic Party” candidate in the race, he’ll make it through the top-two primary. But I suspect his numbers will be fairly low.

They don’t call it a race for nothing, Jason, and at this point most voters just found out you were running when the voter’s pamphlet and their ballots arrived in the mail.

[Update:  At about 26 minutes into the Stranger Interview Video, Jason and Sam Reed get into an argument regarding Sam Reed’s supposed support of Touchscreen Voting. Sam Reed then says that he is a Vote-By Mail proponent, but that he has “Never been an advocate of Touchscreen Voting.” Really Sam, you don’t recall visiting all those highschools promoting touchscreen voting machines, the “future of voting?”]

[Update 2: At 34 minutes into the Stranger Interview Video, Jason succinctly states why he should be Secretary of State. Gosh if he stated this upfront instead he’d have done much better in this Interview.]

[Update 3: MY VOTE GETS REJECTED!!!!!!!!!!!  Holy Crap Batman! I tried to vote-by mail for Jason Osgood, and my vote got rejected because they didn’t pick up my mail, apparently for several days. Read all about it here.]

What is a secret ballot? Trust but Verify!

 What is a Secret Ballot? Ask this question, and you’re likely to get many answers. To some it’s simple, to others complex. But in essence a secret ballot must remain secret before being publicly counted. If the secrecy is by design open to intrusion then no secret ballot really existed in the first place. And if the security is controlled by private rather than public oversight, then no verifiability of the validity of the system exists on which to trust a secret ballot voting method.

Notice in the above cartoon, the Secret Ballot is fundamentally paired with a Secret Ballot Booth. This makes the secrecy of the ballot absolute, as no one is allowed to enter the ballot booth with the voter, except for cases of disability assistance. A controlling boss, or spouse, can’t force you to reveal how you vote in the privacy of the voting booth. However, if you change that system slightly, and take away the voting booth, do you really have a secret ballot?

Another aspect of a strong secret ballot is that it prevents vote-buying and selling. One of the reasons, in fact, that the secret ballot was introduced in the first place was to prevent this practice. A voting booth prevents vote-selling and vote-buying by making it impossible to verify how the person paid to vote, voted. Any system that makes it possible to attach a voter to their vote fundamentally undermines the secret ballot.

The precinct system in the United States, has, like the British System, used privacy ballot booths. The private, but public, voting booth is one key to a secret ballot system. The publicly counted precinct system is the other key to the system. However, that has been lost throughout the country, as we have moved to mostly “centrally counted” voting in which the ballots are transported to the County for central vote tabulation.

Why are both the voting booth and the precinct, preferably hand-counted systems, important? Well it’s really about the nature of trust and trustworthiness. In the precinct system , when the polls close, the ballot box is opened, and the ballots are counted in front of everyone that wants to witness it. Nowadays it could also be videotaped and webcast. Okay, so this system is fully transparent to the voting public, and therefore the public trusts in the system. Take away that transparency, and no longer can the voting public verify the system, at least where they live, with their own eyes, and participation.

As a counter example to the secret ballot precinct system, on the West Coast, the powers that be are pushing towards 100% forced mail voting from Washington to California. But a vote-by mail or absentee ballot is not “really” a strong type of secret ballot because the system is open to coercive efforts on the part of those inclined. Common examples of forced voting include employers or union representatives requiring employees to reveal their “absentee ballot” before turning it in, just as Vladimr Putin’s operatives were accused of recently. Egregious examples of the ways in which the secrecy of absentee ballots are routinely breached exist throughout the United States law books, arrests, and court cases. Plenty of examples are readily available internationally as well.

A Vote-By Mail, or Absentee Ballot, is also fundamentally open to vote-selling, because it is easy to prove how you vote under that system. How much is a vote worth anyway? If an election got close, one in which they are already spending millions to market, comes down to 500 votes, I suspect absentee ballots could become fairly expensive.

The precinct level vote count insures another level of transparency, essentially verification through public counting. Centralized vote count systems, for example when the County rather than the Precincts count the votes, intrudes upon the secret ballot by removing vote counting from public view and public control. This makes the system unverifiable by the general public and undermines the validity of the system. Under such a system the public must, “trust the system” with virtually no way to verify the validity said system.

In the precinct system, to verify the public count was seemingly legitimate, any voter can attend their local precinct, observe the counting procedures and watch the totals be publicly posted for all to verify as accurate and honest. 100% Vote-by mail and other remote voting systems inherently add limited verifiability for conducting the public-quality control that is possible through a properly regulated precinct level hand counted system.

A friend of the No Vote By Mail Project, Jason Osgood, who is apparently running for Secretary of State says it well, “Private Voting, Public Counting.” Or as Regan said, “Trust but verify.” However, with voting, I’d go a step further and say that the system itself should just be trustworthy. The precinct level “hand-counted” or “hand-audited” paper ballot voting system is the only “secret-ballot” system I know of that can truly implement any type of secret ballot vote without fundmentally altering the very nature of the system.