By Ronald Mortensen / Mar 22, 2017 / Columnist at Utah Standard News
Utah Legislature Kills Voter Protection Bill – Continues to Sell Personal Info of 1.5 Million Utah Voters
A Tweet sent on March 9 explained how the legislature killed 2SHB348 which would have allowed registered voters to prevent their personal information from being sold by the state: “2SHB348: @utahgop opposes, @utahreps holds, @utahsenate sponsor Weiler folds, voter info still sold. #utpol, #utleg.”
Several days later, the Utah Republican Party Chairman told Republican legislators to kill the bill and kill it they did. The Republican leadership in the House held the bill rather than sending it to the Senate for a vote and the Senate sponsor reportedly decided that he really didn’t support it.
So, the personal identifying information of nearly 1.5 million Utah voters will continue to be sold by the state as required by the legislature. Anyone, anywhere in the world purchasing it can then post it to the Internet thereby putting victims of domestic violence, American military families, the targets of stalkers, and many others who need to keep their personal information private at risk.
In addition, other sites such as Family Tree Now will continue to use the information on the voter list to form the back-bone of their systems that aggregate Utahns’ personal information and then make it publicly available.
Of course, this means that the information of Representative Arent, registered voters residing at her address and that of her neighbors will continue to be available here. And even more information about them will be found here.
Furthermore, the information of House leadership, voting age members of their households and their neighbors will be available. For example, Majority Whip, Francis Gibson’s personal information along with that of his family members and all of his neighbors’ will continue to be sold to the public where it can be posted to the internet and viewed by everyone everywhere in the world. And the information taken from the voter record sold by the state will continue to be used by other sites to provide even more information about Representative Gibson and his family.
When presenting 2SHB348, Representative Edwards asked her fellow House members:
“Do you profess to know better than your constituents what an acceptable level of threat is to them?
How would you feel if one of your constituents was harmed because you told them they cannot protect their personal information if they want to exercise their right to vote?
Their response to both questions was to kill the bill and to continue selling the entire voter data base for $1,050.