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Mayne’s bill allows utvoters.com to continue posting Utahns’ info to internet

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Tom Alciere who is in charge of utvoters.com, the site that posted the entire 1.5 million name Utah voter list to the internet, has seized on the exceptions written into Senator Karen Mayne’s SB36 to ensure that he can continue publishing the voter list.

The utvoters.com website has been transformed from a “genealogical” site funded by advertising revenues to a purely political site with no advertisements or other commercial aspects.

According to the newly designed utvoters.com site:

This is a privately run political website providing voter contact details to grassroots activists who want to solicit votes for candidates who oppose underage drinking laws. By accessing this website, you agree not to use any information from this website for any other purpose than to solicit votes. Don’t bother mining data, just download the list for free.

Thus, utvoters.com is now a site with a clear political purpose – to provide voter contact details to activists who oppose underage drinking laws. Consequently, it qualifies for all of the SB36 exemptions that accrue to those purchasing and using the Utah voter list for political purposes. These include:

  • using information obtained from the list of registered voters to solicit a donation for political or governmental purposes.
  • using information obtained from the list of registered voters to conduct a survey for political, scholarly, journalistic, or governmental purposes.
  • reproducing the list of registered voters, or information obtained from the list of registered voters, for political, scholarly, journalistic, or governmental purposes.

Alciere has exposed SB36 for what it really is – an attempt to ensure that Utah’s political parties and the media retain their total access to Utahns personal identifying information in return for allowing citizens to exercise their right to vote.

Mayne is reportedly revising her bill; however, unless all exemptions for political, journalistic and scholarly activities are deleted, it should be killed.

And even if it is “fixed,” it should be held until HB302, which protects voters’ birth dates and authorizes voters to designate their voter records as private, has passed both houses and been signed by the Governor.

If HB302 is not passed and signed before SB36 moves forward, Utah voters will wake up and find themselves in “Ground Hog Day” as the parties and media get what they want and the voters get nothing as occurred in 2012.

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Three ways SB36 gives away all Utah voters’ personal identifying information and allows it to be posted to the internet.

A “scholar,” which is not defined by the bill, can buy the list in order to study the voting habits of various age groups. He can then publish his study and post the entire voter list to the web as the source material used for the study.

The bill authorizes journalists to publish the personal identifying information of Utah voters without any limits. Consequently, a “journalist” could post the personal identifying information of every Utah registered voter to a website as an addendum to an article. Because the bill does not define journalistic purpose, it appears that bloggers and members of the alternative media could purchase and publish the list.

When used for political, scholarly or journalistic purposes, the list can be copied and even posted to the internet under an exception written into Mayne’s bill. Political purposes is not defined so parties, candidates, pollsters, campaign consultants, voter information consolidation firms, etc., can buy the list as long as they say it is for political purposes. Once in their possession they can do whatever they want with the list – make paper and electronic copies, leave it laying out where anyone can access and dispose of it without first shredding it or destroying electronic media.

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