Pulling The Wool Over Voters’ Eyes: Utah Senate And Their Media Allies (UPDATE)

Yesterday, the Senate Committee voted unanimously to support SB36 (Voter Information Amendments) in an effort to protect their political pals access to your personal information.  I exposed the tactic in my January post on this issue.  Essentially they’re making your right to vote contingent on taking your information and voting record and sharing it among favored special interest groups (see the January post for details).

Better yet,if you happen to be an abuse victim and have a stalker or other individual with serious security concerns – your voter information (including address, phone, and birth date) is available on the web thanks to Governor Herbert’s administration (Lt. Governor’s office) selling the voter list.  Of course, there are exemptions – Governor Herbert was sure not to share his information nor was his former Lt. Governor, Greg Bell (both were scrubbed from the list).  However, you can find LDS Church officials, police officers, and judges’ information.  I guess the weren’t cool enough to get special treatment.  Don’t expect the media to report about any of this or the personal security implications.

The media has now joined in as an ally.  The Tribune ran an unsigned article likely sponsored by the Utah Media Coalition demanding that the only way you can vote is if you cough up your information to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who wants it.  It seems ironic that they demand the information but refuse to divulge who wrote the article (GRAMA Watch: Legislative bills draw GRAMA Watch attention):

By xxxxx xxxxxx
First Published Jan 30 2014 04:59 pm • Last Updated Jan 30 2014 04:59 pm

Evidently, some transparency is more equal than others…

So what to do:
Currently, Representative Edwards is drafting a bill that would allow you to lock up this information but expect fierce opposition from the dominant parties, the media, and other favored groups who somehow deserve your information.  As such, call and email your State Senator and Representative.  Politely but firmly ask that they reject SB36’s lip service and support Rep. Edwards’ bill.  Your fundamental right to vote should not come at the cost of your privacy.

Addendum – Here’s a snazzy list from SB36 of anointed groups who still get your personal information because you had the nerve to register to vote:

138          (d) Subsection (4)(a)(iv) does not prohibit a person from providing information
139      obtained from the list of registered voters as part of a newspaper or other journalistic
140      publication.
141          (e) Subsection (4)(a)(v) does not prohibit a person from using information obtained
142      from the list of registered voters to solicit a donation for political or governmental purposes.
143          (f) Subsection (4)(a)(vi) does not prohibit a person from using information obtained
144      from the list of registered voters to conduct a survey for political, scholarly, journalistic, or
145      governmental purposes.
146          (g) Subsection (4)(b) does not prohibit a person from reproducing the list of registered
147      voters, or information obtained from the list of registered voters, for political, scholarly,
148      journalistic, or governmental purposes.

UPDATE: KSL ran a report on how much personal information is available on the internet and the resulting personal security concerns.  The report was essentially a warning to watchers on how much information they may fail to protect and, thereby, expose themselves to criminals.  Part of their recommendations include:

Opt out of utvoters.com Last year, utvoters.com was able to purchase Utah voter information from the state government that includes birth dates, phone numbers and addresses. The information is posted online in a database easily searchable by alphabet.

The irony is that KSL is likely also part of the above media group that wants that list public available.  It is noteworthy that the report neglects to mention any of the pending legislation.  Fortunately, KSL commenters were a bit more astute (user “molympics”):

Useless information when the State of Utah can sell all your personal information to be posted on the internet, IMHO

The best advice is not to be a registered voter in Utah.

What the state did dwarfs any advice to keep your information off the Web.



2 thoughts on “Pulling The Wool Over Voters’ Eyes: Utah Senate And Their Media Allies (UPDATE)

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