As the Nevada Democratic caucuses are set to take place Saturday, volunteers were reportedly asked to sign confidentiality agreements that prohibited them from talking to the media.
The Nevada Democrat Party is apparently seeking to avoid the disaster that unfolded in Iowa, where problems arose with an app being used by the party to count votes. But one Nevada caucus site leader has refused to comply with the required non-disclosure agreement which a Nevada Democrat official told CNN is standard practice.
“I will take all measures necessary to protect the secrecy of, and avoid disclosure and unauthorized use of, Confidential Information of the NSDP,” one of the four-page agreements states in part, according to a copy obtained by CNN.
Other activities are also listed on the form, indicating that it is used by the NSDP for a variety of purposes.
“If I am a volunteer and answering phones at the NSDP office or volunteering at an official NSDP event, I am a representative of the NSDP and am not authorized to speak to the press unless given permission by the Executive Director or Communications Director,” the agreement read.
Any inquiries by reporters and members of the media are required to be referred to the Executive Director or Communications Director, the form stated, adding in all caps, “THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.” Volunteers are also told they are not allowed to give reporters any information on background or off the record.
Executive Director Alana Mounce has a space on the form to add her signature on the copy of the NDA that CNN obtained. The agreements were reportedly being given to volunteers as they gathered their caucus supplies from the NSDP.
One volunteer who was trained to be a site leader ended up quitting because he said he could not, “in good conscience,” sign the agreement.
(Source: Washington Post)
Seth Morrison felt the document would bind him “for life” and told The Washington Post that he was “very disappointed” to not be able to follow through on his hours of training and be able to volunteer.
“The wording of that agreement is very broad,” Morrison told CNN. “If I were to quote disparage the party or talk to the media without their permission, they could sue me for everything I own.”
The “security of the election process” was cited as the reason for the agreement when Morrison questioned its purpose. CNN noted that an Iowa Democratic Party aide had indicated that “caucus volunteers weren’t asked to sign NDAs” in that state.
“Since I felt that there are elements of this process that need to be reported, I could not in good conscience sign that document,” Morrison said.
“I don’t want this to fail,” he added, “but the actions of the party left me no choice but to speak out.”
With state Democrats hoping to avoid another Iowa meltdown, losing volunteers hours before caucuses begin is probably something they would rather avoid. And having disappointed volunteers publicly call out the process jut seems to be setting things up for another voting disaster.
Twitter users weighed in on the “sketchy” process.
I would like to see the State Party try and enforce these NDA’s in court, and have to explain the legal justification for every breach. I would totally donate to a kickstarter/fund for anyone to sign and break this agreement.
— Ben Cornforth (@Zetesofos) February 21, 2020
A caucus is a public voting forum.
As an attorney, I’m not sure what legal grounds the @nvdems have to enforce non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s).
As far as I know, volunteers have a Right of 1st Refusal.
— Jen Perelman For Congress (@JENFL23) February 21, 2020
Seems like @nvdems got inspired by Bloomberg’s NDAs.
— Ashique Rahman (@ashiquEkishU) February 22, 2020
Now site leaders are quitting their posts hours before the Nevada caucus. They are forced to sign an NDA so not to disparage the Democratic Party. After putting in hours of work? This is another failure on you, @TomPerez. #SaturdayMood
— Larry Buchas (@l_buchas) February 22, 2020
Source tells me that the Nevada Democratic Party is short on precinct chairs and offering “stipends” to volunteers who help on caucus day. Source sent me the NDA that the Party is requiring volunteers to sign, which prohibits volunteers from talking to reporters about the caucus. pic.twitter.com/PJxofs9Oo7
— 29 U.S.C. § 157 (@OrganizingPower) February 21, 2020
Oh that’s right making Nevada caucus volunteers sign a NDA
That doesn’t seem shady AT ALL
— блины Broette (@berniebroette) February 21, 2020
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