Less than a week before the deadline to request absentee ballots for Idaho's primary election, some voters are raising concerns about a website where their personal information has been posted, KTVB reports. As of Wednesday, Idaho Freedom Action had posted the home addresses and party affiliations of more than 280,000 Idahoans. Also listed: Which party's ballot each voter had requested.
Idaho Freedom Action took the information off its website Thursday, KTVB reports; the Idaho Statesman first reported the posting. Now, the group advises those who want a copy of the list to request the list by email. While the information is public record, the list is available for a fee, and usually used for get-out-the-vote effort by political groups. It is illegal, however, to use the list for commercial purposes or for voter harassment.
On Thursday, 670 KBOI Radio host Nate Shelman pressed IFF President Wayne Hoffman about the move on his show. Hoffman claimed his group was "providing a service" because coronavirus restrictions were preventing candidates from shaking hands and otherwise reaching out to voters before the election. Hoffman also mocked those raising concerns about the posting, saying it's "completely public information," and "we're making it a little easier to access," and adding, "It's kind of surprising that people are upset about it."
"I'm saying it's wrong," Shelman told Hoffman, who responded, "I disagree with you." Subsequent callers to Shelman's show said they believe the group posted the information to intimidate voters in this heavily Republican state, by exposing to their neighbors anyone who might be a registered Democrat.
The first version of the list that IFF posted online included voters with protected status, such as judges and domestic violence victims, whose personal information by law shouldn't have been released; the Secretary of State's office asked the group to replace it with a corrected version with the redactions, blaming a software glitch. Asked about that by Shelman, Hoffman said he disagrees with that statute providing protected status, but the group complied.
Hoffman's group has been running a "Disobey Idaho" campaign, organizing protests and urging Idahoans to defy state public health orders and guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.