"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" Thomas Jefferson
Utah Voter Personal Privacy And Security Begone, Courtesy Of The Herbert Administration And The Legislature
When the personal information of every registered voter in Utah was posted to the internet at utvoters.com, it caused a stir. Now the list, which is sold (for $1050) by the Herbert Administration, is also available at a new site. Better yet, unlike utvoters.com, the new site does not have a mechanism to remove your personal voting information (including date of birth). The site is also easier to search for individuals or other defining characteristics.
Want to know and LDS leader’s political affiliation and home address? Go for it. Want to get a police officer’s address or a judge’s address and personal information? Too easy. Hey, want to get their voting family’s information? No worries. How about, the new address of that domestic abuse victim with a restraining order…or the adoptive parents of the child you gave up…or a child abuse victim…etc, etc, etc.
The fact of the matter is, the website is not to blame. They posted information that the Herbert (and Huntsman) administration sells. They’ve been warned about this for years and erstwhile Lt. Governor Bell fought hard to keep the cash a-comin’ (while removing his and Herbert’s information). Political parties (GOP and Democrat) along with political campaign consultants and media allies have also fought to ensure your right to vote is subordinate to their activities. In Utah, your choice is to relinquish your right to vote or give these cronies all your information. Now, pols like Senator Karen Mayne are “shocked…shocked!” that the information is online.
Mayne’s kabuki response was to draft a bill that has contains juicy exceptions for the aforementioned cronies that ultimately would virtually ensure your information would still end up online. Fortunately, Representatives Edwards and Perry take this seriously and have a bill (HB302) that allows you to opt out of having your personal and voting information spread around. You’ll never guess which bill the political insiders are trying to kill (and Senators are poised to accommodate). You need to put pressure on legislators to protect your right to vote. Please contact your Senator and Representative. Ask them to support HB302 (Voting Records Amendments) and allow you to opt out of the information peddling.
Last week, I gave the ‘hokey pokey award’ to Senator Bramble on HB116. Senator Valentine earns the Hot ‘N Cold Award this week.
On Friday, Valentine dropped his sponsorship of HB302 which would allow you to keep you personal information and voting history private and off the internet for all to see. This divulged information includes that of domestic violence victims who have security concerns as well as LDS Church officials, police officers, judges, and their families.
The bill sounds like a no-brainer, right? It should be but political parties (Republican and Democrat), political consultants, Lexis-Nexis, and the media decided they’re entitled to your personal information and that entitlement trumps your right to vote. The forced disclosure has also been facilitated by past and current Lieutenant Governors (and the Herbert/Huntsman administrations). They’ve fought tooth-and-nail to make your right to vote contingent on their “entitlement”.
Valentine got a case of cold feet and caved into political party pressure on Friday. Later that day, he hokey-pokeyed and decided to sponsor it again. The question is why?
My guess is the parties panicked when they realized someone else would sponsor the bill and told Valentine to control and change the bill to be like SB36 which does absolutely nothing and virtually guarantees the voter list will be posted to the internet again (ie tries to pull the wool over voters’ eyes). Don’t fall for the shtick. Contact Senator Valentine and politely, but firmly, ask him to sponsor the bill with no changes and contact your Senator asking them to support the HB302 as it stands (let them know you’re not fooled by SB36).
Update (3/10): Valentine was a no-show for the Senate hearing on HB302 leaving the battle to Rep. Edwards, Sen. Weiler, and citizens that managed to counter elite lobbyists’ arguments and getting the watered-down bill out of committee. I have heard Valentine was in an important budget meeting but he also seemed not to have informed the bill’s sponsor (Edwards) that he wouldn’t show, leaving her on her own to present the bill.
Mr. Alciere, on utvoters.com, has posted a set of statements that are worth reading. It is worth noting that Mr. Alciere can also see SB36′s gaping loopholes versus the actual protection/control afforded by HB302 (especially for those with security concerns, such as certain crime victims):
Special Message to the People of Utah:
The real problem with HB 302 as substituted is, the uncertainty whether lawmakers are trying to prohibit the communication of true facts already lawfully obtained from a public record, one which they insisted remain public. That needs to be fixed. While I disagree with the use of birth dates as security passwords (because you cannot be expected to keep it a secret and you cannot be given a duty to do so, unlike banking PINs and passwords or credit card numbers, which can also be changed,) my home state of New Hampshire does not include even the year of birth on the voter list. Before investing in the Utah list for what was a genealogy website, I checked that it included the full date of birth.
The House bill is better for your privacy than SB 36 as substituted. If O.J. Simpson is looking for Nicole, he can afford to get the Utah voter list “for research” and find her. The Senate bill does not remove her birth date. If there are two Nicoles born the same day and living in Utah he can compare the voting histories to Nicole’s voting history on a legacy voter list and determine which Nicole is O.J.’s ex.
Some people qualify for unlisted registrations already, but some crime victims might not wish to explain everything to a bureaucrat in front of strangers who are waiting in line. The status quo is, the crime victim must beg for mercy. Under the House bill, the crime victim is in control. That will make a big difference in how some crime victims feel. I might get more web traffic with more data, but I have the intellectual honesty to concede that the telephone company does not get to pick and choose who has a good reason to need an unlisted number. (They also don’t try to force people to stop consulting last year’s directory.)
As has been noted on this blog, SB36 effectively does nothing at all for voters’ personal information other than providing an utterly false sense of security…while keeping the politically-connected happy.
On another part of his site, Mr. Alciere is also spot on when it comes to who should be on the receiving end of blame for the release:
•Stop trying to blame a Utah political mess on a man in New Hampshire.
•They [Utah State Legislature] insisted on requiring by law that the Utah voter list be supplied to anybody who wants it. Now they see political consequences. They could have listened to Dr. Mortensen, but they made a different chess move, which they are trying to take back through censorship. They want voters to think lawmakers have stopped the spread of the information which has already been publicly released, and downloaded thousands of times…
Alciere was well within his rights to publish the list. For years, the legislature along with Huntsman and Herbert Administrations, Lieutenant Governors, political parties, political consultants, Lexis-Nexis, Utah’s Media, and other politically-connected groups have insisted your voting information be sold to whoever wanted it.
The above groups are now aligned behind SB36 to ensure their ‘entitled’ gravy train to your information keeps flowing. It’s time to ignore the ‘New Hampshire straw man’ politicians want to distract you with and let the legislature know your right to vote is not a servant for the political-connected elites’ entitlement mentality. Please contact your legislators and ask them to reject SB36 and support HB302. Also, consider ‘liking’ the “Protecting Utah Voters” Facebook page.
This came out on Friday, when many start tuning out of the news in anticipation of the weekend. The Count My Vote group that wants to take away neighborhood elections and place political power squarely in the hands of political elites and big donors (see here and here too) may have an legal ‘oopsie’ on its hands. As Channel 2 reports (‘Illegal’ Actions Alleged Against Count My Vote – video at link):
Specifically, the complaint alleged corporate CMV donors have not filed necessary disclosures, that out of state residents have collected signatures, and that some of the petitions were left unattended—so no one actually witnessed petitions being inked.
Protect Our Neighborhood Elections also said a Washington School District Foundation director used a school “email system” to send out a notice about the initiative during school hours. The email was allegedly addressed to “all WCSD Employees,” and was said to include the words, “Information about the Count My Vote Initiative is available at your school office to include signature booklets. The petition deadline for signatures is January 31, 2013.”
More dramatic was an audio recording purported to be of a Count My Vote signature taker, who seemed to link the petition effort to kids’ lunches that were tossed at a local elementary school several weeks ago.
Here’s the full audio of the non-resident, “signature taker”:
Just a quick update on SB36 and HB302.
SB36 is out of the Senate they passed it knowing that the bill is pure sophistry designed to make voters think their information is safe when it is nothing of the sort. Better yet, the bill was amended to force even more personal information disclosure – this time to the health care industry (who knows what for).
As an added bonus, SB36 will also continue to endanger registered voters (such as domestic violence victims) as they have no means to remove their names from the list or block it’s online publication. All this so they can maintain goodies for their favored special-interest groups.
Meanwhile, HB302 actually would allow you to designate your personal voting information as private and prevent disclosure. Guess which one the special interest groups have historically opposed and currently oppose… They think your right to vote and safety is subservient to their enterprises.
Please contact both your State Senator and Representative and ask them to place your voting rights, privacy, and security over that of the politically-connected. Also, consider ‘liking’ the “Protecting Utah Voters” Facebook page.
For those interested here are the testimonies presented on HB302:
Domestic abuse victim
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings
Utah Media Coalition Lobbyist (Utah voters personal information must be available regardless of personal circumstances and calls HB302 an overreaction)
For the second year in a row, Senator Bramble wants to kick the can down the road on his super-wonderful Utah illegal immigrant amnesty bill (2011 HB116). Why? This time, he doesn’t think the feds will grant any waivers.
Waivers? C’mon Senator Bramble, you’re affirming that the bill is unconstitutional but who really cares about that? Obama has clearly demonstrated he’s good with unconstitutional executive orders waiving immigration enforcement/laws, HB116 totally qualifies, baby. You’ve got friends in high places – let’s go full steam ahead with this Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce panacea!
Last year, Bramble showed himself to be nothing more than the “great pretender” on his beloved 2011 HB116. This year, his tune is more hokey pokey.
UPDATE: Should’ve known. Bramble is out to butter his own bread with this. If he would’ve left the previous bill/date alone, he would’ve had to change/delay it close to his election year (what politician would want to remind voters of the crap sandwich they passed?). By moving the date to 2017, he can hokey pokey after his next election. As usual, he’s using his Chicago-style politics (ala Obama) to look out for #1.
Last week, I panned the disingenuous nature of SB36 and its big carve-out for preferred groups. After questions were raised by Senator Weiler, I realized that the carve-outs basically render the bill a shell-game. Voter information can/will still be posted to the internet.
The loophole is contained in lines 138-148 of the bill. Those lines give the politically-favored groups free reign to reproduce and publish information from the Utah voter list. Lines 146-148 (“…does not prohibit a person from reproducing the list of registered voters, or information obtained from the list of registered voters, for political, scholarly, journalistic, or governmental purposes.”), in particular, open a gaping loophole.
Here’s how it works:
As “political, scholarly, journalistic, or governmental purposes” are undefined by the bill, they appear open to interpretation. Here’s how I can justify posting the entire list online:
1. Political – Post the entire list online with a request for a donation to Senator Mayne’s (or XYZ Super PAC’s) campaign. Justify doing so by asking donors/volunteers to pick a few folks from the list (phone numbers included) to call for donations/votes.
2. Scholarly – Use the list to run a demographic study of how many seniors (65+) voted. Post the full list (or the list of seniors) to my site as a source document. Bonus points awarded when scammers use the senior list to better target their calls…
3. Journalistic – Run an informational blog or article on the election (maybe run a few demographics). Post the full list as a source document.
4. Governmental – This is a bit iffy but post the list so third parties (anyone on the internet) can verify that no voter fraud occurred (make sure the dead didn’t vote).
Irony of ironies
“…this website is to give grassroots activists the voter contact information they need to solicit votes for candidates who oppose underage drinking laws.
This is a privately operated political website using a purchased copy of the Utah voter list.”
Secondly, when Utvoters.com initially published the list, their reason for doing so was to aid in genealogical research. Genealogical research is used in plenty of scholarly fields (genealogy is itself a scholarly field, after all).
For a bill touted to protect your voting information, it’s not protection; its fauxtection.
UPDATE: Here’s a real protection bill to support. HB302 would allow voters to opt-out of having their personal and voting information put out for the world to see. Be sure to note the domestic violence victim’s testimony and Frank Pignanelli (lobbyist for the media) demanding that you..and domestic violence victims give up the information for their perusal. Because, dammit, we in the political and media elite are entitled to your info if you exercise your voting rights.
Pignanelli touts Mayne’s bill as protection which, per the above, is a bogus claim. Contact both your State Rep. and Senator and politely ask they support HB302 and give you the option to secure your information when you exercise a constitutionally-protected right.