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Author Topic: Announcement: Policy Regarding Opt-Outs  (Read 3745 times)


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Announcement: Policy Regarding Opt-Outs
« on: April 13, 2003, 04:25:03 pm »

There has been a great deal of debate lately on the issue of whether those who sign up for the Free State Project but opt out of all states but the one in which they already live should be considered Members (with the right to vote), or just Friends.

The number of people currently affected by this issue is quite small.  As of a few days ago, here are the numbers of people who live in candidate states and have opted out of all candidate states but their own:

Number of Alaskans who opted out of all states except Alaska: 8
Number of Delawareans " " " " " " " Delaware: 13
Idaho: 4
Maine: 2
Montana: 10
New Hampshire: 20
North Dakota: 1
South Dakota: 0
Vermont: 2
Wyoming: 0
Total: 60=under 2% of total membership

Though the problem is small in its impact, a number of participants are concerned about the potential of "one-state recruiting" for skewing the state vote.

Until now, we have considered people who opted out of all states but their own to be FSP Members with the right to vote.  However, an examination of the Participation
Guidelines and Statement of Intent reveals that when one signs up to participate in the Free State Project, one agrees to "move" to the state chosen by all FSP participants as detailed in the Guidelines.  But those who live in a candidate state and opt out of all states but their own are not agreeing to "move".

The counterargument is that those who sign up and opt out of all states but their own are still going to be real activists, so that it doesn't matter whether they already live there or not.  But we don't really know this.  In fact, it seems there is the potential for people to sign up as "paper participants", trying to get thousands of freedom lovers to move to their state and become active, while they themselves have to do nothing.  We're sure that many of those who have opted out of all states but their own really are true activists for freedom, but maintaining in the future a general policy of accepting everyone who opts out of all states but his own presents an unreasonable temptation for "Free Staters in name only" to sign up and disrupt the state choice process.

Accordingly, the Board has decided unanimously to go with the precise, correct wording of the Statement of Intent and, from now on, count to be FSP Members (with the right to vote) *only* those people who love freedom enough to actually be willing to cross state lines for it. People
who sign up and opt out of all states but the one in which they already reside will be considered Friends of the FSP.

However, this decision is not retroactive.  This clarification will become effective starting Wednesday, April 16.  Those who signed up before that date and have been considered Members even though they've opted out of all states but their own (the 60 or so people mentioned above) will remain
Members with the right to vote.

Thanks for everyone's feedback and discussion on this matter. We appreciate all the time and attention our members give to making sure the Free State
Project is a success.

Elizabeth McKinstry
Do You Want Liberty in Your Lifetime?
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