UPDATE: Sadly Utah decided to remove even more rights of the people to request transparency. They are now requiring the public (whom they are suppose to represent) to put in every detail about themselves in order to submit GRAMA requests.
As you can imagine that is not only contrary to our form of government, but it puts the public at risk. Please see a document below outlining who the government has decided to target.
It has also steadily increased in cost while at the same time limited what the public can obtain.
We are unsure how this keeps things honest. What CEO (the people) requests an audit of sorts from their employees only to be charged, ignored, scolded and forced to give their identification?
With that said there are still some helpful steps below:
Utah has learned some valuable information from our 2020 elections, and more importantly from trying to collect data from the 2020 election. So this year, we are going to try something new, and are requesting your help.
We will see how the clerks respond to this, but the basic premise is outlined below. This will help send a strong message IN REAL TIME that the citizens of Utah expect dropbox foorage and related data be preserved.
To participate in helping GRAMA request the dropbox surveillance footage follow these steps.
1. Locate your county clerks website, and the GRAMA request tab for that office. This varies by counties, but here is what it looks like for Washington County and Salt Lake County
2. Request the footage for the entirety of the VOTING period for that particular election or primary, as well as researching how LONG the data must be stored at the time you make the GRAMA request (currently we are told it’s 30 days).
Because Utah has early voting at the time of this publication, and because today the footage is only stored for 30 days, we will use the June 2022 primary race as an example for our date range. This voting range will be different in November of 2022, and as any future laws are enacted, so ALWAYS check your own dates on the government websites where you live.
3. Ask for the following items- if you don’t, they can legally exclude them even if they exist so be as precise as possible. Add any terms you think are appropriate, remember the broader you make a GRAMA request the harder it can be to receive it. So focus on terms with shorter time periods helps.
For our example of the current Utah June 2022 primary use similar terms like:
Request any and all attachments, texts, videos, dropbox log books for (insert the county name where you are making the request ) for every dropbox location in (insert the same county here) for each 24 hour period between June 1,2022 and June 29, 2022
4. Don’t be afraid to set a LOW dollar amount that you are willing to pay for these GRAMAS. And consider applying for the free fee waiver and appealing any decision that is sent your way. It is often a few volleys back and forth before they come through under the terms you have requested. Most GRAMA requests happen run smooth, much more than you might think.
5. Be sure to follow up via email on your GRAMA request every 8 days. They can (and do) time out and are then immediately closed even if no one responded to your request. This isn’t necessarily fair or transparent but is how it works. Following up with the department you requested them from (in this case your local county clerks office) prevents this from being triggered. So set yourself a reminder and reach out respectfully.
6. Pay for your GRAMAS if needed once the records responsive comes back, and again follow up within 5 days if those items are not delivered. Utah Freedom Coalition would appreciate any information you receive being shared with us for analysis and advocacy if you are willing. Simply email a copy to Utahfreedomcoalition@protonmail.com with our gratitude. Get out there and VOTE utah!
This is the first time we are testing this out BEFOFRE, we will see how things go for ADVANCE ballot drop box footage requests.
Clerks may ask for time periods to be shortened, additional requests to be filed as the month rolls along, and that’s okay. If you have any questions as those happen please email us. The idea is to have these GRAMAS granted, and some flexibility in the requests may be necessary to accomplish that.
7. ANYONE can request information from ANY county in Utah, not just the one where you live, so after you make the request in the county you live in, maybe pick 2 or 3 smaller and less prominent counties to request this data from also.
For some how to’s please go here