How would you feel if your personal information was distributed to a newspaper because you signed a petition regarding a controversial issue? You would probably feel violated and feel threatened by groups who may vehemently disagree with the specific issue.
In Maryland, there are thousands of people who may be feeling violated as the state Board of Elections released a database containing the names and addresses of those who signed the petition in support of traditional marriage between one man and one woman on the general election ballot in November. The Washington Blade obtained the database to show its readers who signed the petition to bring this law to question, which would make same-sex marriage legal in Maryland.
Does this sound like voter intimidation to you? After all, this database could be used to empower groups who support same-sex marriage to target those who may disagree with them and forcibly persuade voters to change their stance on this issue. For example, similar actions have been taking place like this throughout the country. While a majority of this has been focused on those who do not support same-sex marriage, these tactics could extend to other issues as well.
When one goes to sign a petition on bringing a controversial issue to a general election ballot, they should not feel threatened for voicing their concerns. While this information was likely obtained through a FOIA request, this database should not have been released in its entirety. This is bad journalism on behalf of The Blade to release the database to its readers, in an attempt to possibly threaten those who disagree with them on same-sex marriage.
If this action can happen in a neighboring state, this same thing could happen in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This election is crucial in so many ways, and it does not need to go down to illegal and coercive tactics to persuade people to vote one way or another. If there are differing issues, it is best to follow proper political discourse and respectfully disagree.