Mayne’s Utah Voter Information Protection Bill: A 747-sized Loophole (Update)

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

Utvoters.com which posted the list online and triggered the backlash may well be justified to do so again by reasons #1 and #2. Their current “about” page states (emphasis added):

“…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.

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