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Bill advances to allow voters to make their voting records private

First Published      Last Updated Mar 08 2017 05:12 pm

By a single vote, the House voted Monday to allow voters to choose to make their voting registration records private — a seismic change in policy where the records now are generally public.

It voted 38-37 to endorse HB348, and sent it to the Senate.

The bill by Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, originally sought to ban selling the state's voter registration list, and restrict who could have access to it.

She amended those provisions out, she said, after stiff opposition from political parties and others who want access to it. She said that includes banks and insurance agencies seeking to find new clients, and news media checking on voting histories.




Edwards said voters currently may request to have their records made private only if they have a police report and court record showing they have been threatened — and they want to shield personal information including their address.

HB348 would allow anyone to make their records private for any reason.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, worried vast numbers of voters would opt out, simply because they do not want to receive robo-calls or contacts from candidates.

Edwards did not see that as a problem.

"People register to vote so they can vote. They are not registering to make it easier for us to campaign," she said. "We're saying they don't have to trade off their right of privacy for their right to vote."

 

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