Fighting for open government | Arkansas Blog

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fighting for open government

Posted By on Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 4:51 AM

Remember the court case, pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which religious conservatives are trying to allow secrecy for people who sign ballot petitions? In this case, it's to protect people in Washington who backed an anti-gay ballot intitiative and the Supreme Court took it with unusual alacrity, tipping its political hand on the issue.

The issue resonates in Arkansas because a gay rights activist group also put on-line the names of people who signed the anti-gay adoption amendment in Arkansas.

Is this a violation of free speech? Shouldn't be seen that way. It's far more a ballot security issue. Fraud is a fact of life in petition campaigns. Petitions must be inspected by the state. They should be open to public inspection as a further safeguard against fraud.

Today's context: A hat tip to Janine Parry, the poli sci prof and Arkansas Poll leader at UA, who joined a group of direct democracy scholars that has filed a friend of the court brief in the case on behalf of continuing openness of such records. It's worth a read if you're interested in the subject.

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