This was quite a week at the OSET Institute, and in trend with how busy we’ve been over the past three months, which accounts for some of the intermittent posting of articles here. However, on Monday we announced some fantastic news just in time for our work with NBC Universal on covering the midterm election, specifically monitoring for process and platform (equipment) issues.

So, finally today, back at the home office I can take a few minutes here to share this really big news that Edward “Eddie” Perez, formerly Director of Product Management for voting system vendor Hart InterCivic® has joined the OSET Institute's leadership team, as Global Director of Technology R&D. In this role, Edward will direct technology research and development, while serving as an evangelist for open standards and security innovation worldwide. He will report to the Institute’s Chief Technology Officer, and co-founder John Sebes. To be sure, technically our PR Team “announced” this on Monday.

Mr. Perez brings 15-years of experience in the design, development, certification, and delivery of commercial voting systems. He will apply this experience to advance our nonprofit Institute’s cause to develop public technology and open standards that will result in increased integrity, lower cost, and easier to use election and voting systems. Edward will focus on advancing “critical democracy infrastructure” based on security-centric engineering, user-centered design, and open technology standards on a global basis.

Eddie having joined the Institute is an important milestone for the progress of our research and development mission to offer public technology that will serve as a reference model for how to truly innovate election technology in the digital age. This is an ideal post-commercial career move for Mr. Perez, who is passionate about technology's role in defending democracy.

I think its novel for our leadership team that Eddie combines nearly two decades of technology management experience with undergraduate and graduate degrees in government and political science. That gives us two important perspectives:

  1. deep experience working with election officials in the trenches on the front lines of democracy; and

  2. an appreciation for two other “Ps” in our 5P model of the ecosystem: Policy and Politics.

Eddie told us that his departure from Hart InterCivic was “essentially a retirement” from the commercial sector, and he has no plans to return. However, he was emphatic that he remains positive about the efforts that Hart is making as the only vendor moving in the right direction with regard to a security-centric model, facilitated by a ground-up rewrite that Eddie helped foster. On the other hand, Eddie will be, I suspect, candid to say the least about the challenges and shortcomings the current commercial industry is grappling with. And joining the Institute empowers Mr. Perez to fully pursue passions we share about defending our critical democracy infrastructure in the digital age. Working with Board members like John Gage on this agenda globally will also be a synergistic exciting mutual opportunity. Accordingly, we look forward to Eddie taking the lead on several agendas including:

  • Evolving open standards;

  • Advocating for ways the federal government can foster the innovation required in a manner that respects States’ rights; and

  • Evangelizing the need for a far more practical and modern certification process.

OSET CTO John Sebes who Eddie will report to and partner with noted that Eddie’s experience, mindset and outlook will be pivotal to our cause to increase confidence in elections and their outcomes by offering new publicly available innovations for the commercial world to adopt, adapt, and deploy.

To that extent, practically speaking Eddie will be responsible for the day-to-day technology research and development operations of the Institute, primarily through our fiscally-sponsored TrustTheVote Project. Its a technology management role, not too dissimilar from a product management leadership role in the commercial world. The difference is that at the Institute, we are developing reference implementations of public technology to foster the commercial sector’s eventual delivery of higher integrity, lower cost, easier to use election technology that is more verifiable, accurate, secure, and transparent.

Mr. Perez’s activities started last Monday as a subject matter expert on our Analyst Team working with NBC News on the midterm election coverage. And his experience and pragmatic intellectually honest approach were an instant asset to that cause. You’ll be learning more about Edward Perez through his writings here, and public appearances going forward. As one of the very few industry executives to exit the commercial sector and continue work in this sector of government technology outside of the commercial realm, we look forward to the value he will bring to this globally imperative cause to defend democracy.

Welcome Eddie!