Thursday, December 14, 2006

Uncivil behavior by Greg Travis

There is a new and disturbing development in the 2006 recount contest controversy. Greg Travis, husband of County Council president Sophia Travis, has posted scans of absentee voter registration forms on his Web site. (I will not link to them here since there is private information on those forms.)

I am very disappointed, yet not at all surprised, by this childish and uncivil behavior. I wonder how voters feel knowing that the County Council president's husband is posting such private information (including driver's license numbers, phone numbers, and addresses) on the Internet? Will this story be covered in the Herald-Times?

Yes, these voter registration forms have been made available to the local media, and are public record. But there is a major difference between having forms available in the County Clerk's office or even printed in the local newspaper and publishing the full form on the Internet. You cannot even read the Herald-Times web site unless you pay for it.

There are a lot of crazy people on the Internet, which is why many people do not want their personal information posted online. In fact, this has become a major concern on social networking sites like MySpace. Keep in mind that not one of these people have been convicted of a crime, but have their private information splashed on the Web for all to see.

Another disturbing aspect of this new development is that Greg Travis has just opened up all of these people to potential identity theft. These forms include full name, address, phone number and some even include driver's license numbers. Greg Travis has provided an opportunity for people to more easily commit a crime. How can that be considered within the bounds of civil political discourse?

On a local political forum, a pathetic justification for this behavior was posted: "I'm glad the Republicans have dragged this personal information to the surface." How dishonest can you get? It was Greg Travis (husband of County Council president Sophia Travis) who posted this information on the Internet. Greg Travis cannot blame his own behavior on Republican Party Chairman Franklin Andrew or anyone else.

Sophia Travis signed a clean campaign pledge in 2004 where she promised to denounce uncivil behavior by her supporters. Why should that be confined to the 2004 campaign, if she truly believes it? I call on Sophia Travis to publicly denounce her husband's behavior and demand that this private information be taken off the Internet.