Keep My Voice is pulling out all the stops to keep the Count My Vote initiative from making the 2018 ballot. This comes after the group spent more than $173,000 on their failed effort to get their own ballot measure before voters.
According to financial disclosures filed with the Utah Elections Office, Entrata made more than $276,000 of in-kind donations to the Keep My Voice organization.
The donations from Entrata are not surprising. The company’s CEO Dave Bateman is the founder of Keep My Voice, the group behind a proposed ballot initiative to eliminate Utah’s hybrid nomination system in favor of returning to the caucus/convention route as the only way for partisan candidates to get on the ballot.
What is surprising is the group appears to have spent more than $173,000 on the failed effort to get enough signatures to put their initiative on November’s ballot. Keep My Voice organizers announced they were abandoning the attempt to achieve a spot on November’s ballot and would not turn in any signatures.
According to financial disclosures, Keep My Voice spent $173,874 with a company called Sig6 for “canvassing” purposes. While that may seem like a lot of money, it’s a far cry from what seemingly successful ballot initiatives spent. One organizer tells UtahPolicy.com they shelled out more than a half-million bucks to gather their signatures.
Now, it looks like the Keep My Voice effort has turned from signature gathering to trying to deny Keep My Voice a spot on the November ballot. Sig 6 has been contacting people on social media to hire them to convince people who signed the CMV petition to remove their names. One message provided to UtahPolicy.com shows Sig6 is paying signature gatherers through May 15. The posting is a bit misleading as the time to gather signatures has passed, but people have until May 15 to remove their signatures from a ballot initative.
It’s going to take a massive effort to get enough people to remove their signatures from the petition that it prevents CMV from getting on the ballot. CMV organizers anticipated this move and pushed to build in a cushion in the number of signatures needed to qualify. Potentially, it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent Count My Vote from being certified to the ballot.
However, KMV is not just using paid workers to get signatures removed from the Count My Vote petitions. The recision effort is happening on multiple fronts.
Keep My Voice director Brandon Beckham sent an email to petition signators encouraging them to remove their names from the CMV effort. The email suggests that people who signed the petition did not fully understand what they were signing, and urges recipients to contact their neighbors to take their names off of the list.
Postcards with a message from State Auditor John Dougall and Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Provo, have been hitting mailboxes of many who signed the CMV petition urging them to remove their names. The postcards shared with UtahPolicy.com do not appear to disclose who paid for them. However, Dougall told UtahPolicy.com Keep My Voice paid for the mailing, and he authorized the use of his image and quote.
The postcards both say they were approved by the Utah Lt. Governor’s office, but UtahPolicy.com is told that the Lt. Gov’s office had not seen the postcards before they were mailed out.
A representative for Keep My Voice acknowledged they were behind the mailers, but refused to answer any other of UtahPolicy.com’s questions for this story.