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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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September 18, 2007 8:57 AM

Zappini strikes: How one person makes a difference

Posted by David Postman

The King County Council was set to spend $345,000 Monday on ballot tracking technology until Jason Osgood told members the contractor "appears to be out of business."

Election officials said they believed the company was in business but had sold the right to market the VoteHere ballot tracker to another Bellevue company, Election Trust

Osgood is known to readers of Washblog as zappini. He has quietly established himself as the No. 1 opponent of the county's plan for all-mail elections. He's done it from the left, in contrast to the opposition we have come to expect from the right and done much to make the movement a bipartisan success.

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Posted by Noemie Maxwell

10:01 AM, Sep 18, 2007

Go, Zappini!

Jason Osgood has been thorough and unrelenting in his work on behalf of election integrity in Washington State. He has looked at the issues from the technical and evidence-based perspective. If anyone was going to catch a detail like this -- that would be him~


And you're right, he's made a difference. But not only on the issue of 100% vote-by-mail ... His work has been on behalf of election integrity in general. 'Private voting and public counting' might seem an obvious ideal. But voting technology and procedures have been changing rapidly in a volatile political environment -- and both sides of this ideal, the privacy of the vote and the public nature of counting, have been eroded.


Recently Jason's research, presence at meetings and equipment tests/demonstrations, information requests, letters, presentations, etc. helped to demonstrate and publicize that King County's "reckless plan" to adopt all new scanning, sorting and counting equipment for the 2008 election is, just that -- reckless. I believe his input helped lead to the County Council's recommendation to King County Elections (KCE) to NOT go ahead with the plan. Unfortunately, KCE has decided to ignore the recommendation of the Council and go ahead with it, anyway. This is a huge disappointment. A huge risk. And I hope KCE reconsiders.


As for 100% vote-by-mail, Zappini's not the only person from "the left" who opposes it. I do, too -- as do others who have commented on Washblog. All-mail voting's supporters often claim, as if the evidence is in, that 100% VBM increases 'turn-out' -- the number of people who vote. That claim is not evidence-based. In fact, it looks like the opposite may often be true.


Jason cites this article in one of his recent stories:

"Will Vote-by-Mail Elections Increase Participation? Evidence from California Counties", Thad Kousser, U. California, 2007. This is the most in-depth review article I've seen on the topic.


I consider 100% VBM to be less secure, less community-powered/community-based, and -- at a time when we need to increase political engagement -- less empowering for people.

Posted by Marijane Cole

1:12 PM, Jun 29, 2008

I was reading an article on Vietnam and decided to google an former Edgewater Eagle.. Your quest triggered the tears.. What a nice memorial to your brother.. Hope you are well.
would be nice to hear from you..
Marijane Cole
Edgewater 71
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