Unknowingly Register To Vote And Let Utah Sell Your Personal Information

State Representative Handy (also backed by Senator Adams) has a bill (HB159) that will automatically register anyone to vote who gets a driver’s license. The only way to avoid this is to opt-out (that is, the state demands you register or catch the fine print and be inconvenienced to opt-out of such).

To begin with, I think it is everyone’s duty to cast an informed vote. However, voting (and registering thereto) is a deeply personal choice and is something that should not be forced on others nor set up in a manner where you may unknowingly register to vote simply by filling out a mundane form. Right off the bat, the bill fails muster with this alone.

In Utah, however, registering to vote also means that the State will turn your information into a money making scheme by selling it to anyone willing to pay the Lieutenant Governor’s office. I’ve been tracking this for years. The only way to avoid this is to qualify and make your record “private” (contact your County Clerk for details on qualifications). This defacto public release results in a threat for unknowing voters who have security concerns (eg domestic abuse survivors etc) along with scam targets (the elderly via the list containing birth dates).

While some progress has been made to restrict list distribution, it remains up for sale. State Representative Becky Edwards is trying to further restrict information that is released but faces another uphill battle against political crony interests, both major political parties, and lobbyists* who believe they’re entitled to data mine your information, without your consent. All because you wish to fulfill a civic duty.

Certainly, the list should be made available for voter/vote result vetting by the media and concerned groups. However, we’re not even close to that. It’s still effectively available for anyone’s use as they please. It needs to stop.

Please contact your Representative/Senator and ask them to end this practice. Ask them to support HB348.

Addendum: Speaking of security concerns, Republican voters in general may have this. Just think if the black block folks buy or are provided a copy of the list. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such upstanding young people intimidate protest at your front porch…

*Inexplicably, the libertarian-leaning Libertas Institute, whom I often find common ground with, is also opposed to this. They too feel entitled to government forcing you to cough up your personal information for their organization & lobbyists to use as they please. Not sure who that possibly melds with respect of individual rights/freedoms…
UPDATE: See comments section for Libertas statement. Thanks to Mr. Melendez for adding their perspective.

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5 thoughts on “Unknowingly Register To Vote And Let Utah Sell Your Personal Information

  1. Inexplicably you don’t actually understand Libertas Institute’s position on this, even though its listed pretty plainly on our website: Those who elect to register to vote utilize their political power to affect others, such as increasing their or decreasing their freedom. As such their identity must be public to organizations, researchers, pollsters, and more, much like a defendant has the right to face their accuser in court.

  2. nexplicably you don’t actually understand Libertas Institute’s position on this, even though its listed pretty plainly on our website: Those who elect to register to vote utilize their political power to affect others, such as increasing their taxes or decreasing their freedom. As such their identity must be public to organizations, researchers, pollsters, and more, much like a defendant has the right to face their accuser in court.

  3. Please post a link to the statement. I tried HB348, HB 348 and register vote search terms, as well as looking at the homepage and legislative tracker (only linked to the bill). I could not find your statement.

    I also stated I’m fine with organizations using the list to vet voting integrity but just because I vote doesn’t mean every individual is entitled to my personal information to sell me their product. The leg etc even refuses to even remove date of birth. If you have my address/phone/email, you can already harass/spam me enough. Why do you need my DOB (a key piece for ID theft and means for scammers to target the elderly)?

    Secondarily, this line ” right to face their accuser in court” would indicate that the vote ballot should not be secret. To clarify, do you believe a vote should be secret or would you prefer that be changed and every vote for or against any particular candidate/initiative etc be publicly disclosed?

  4. It is on our tracker: https://libertasutah.org/tracker/#hb348 (Hover over the bill to see our summary) or find it here: https://libertasutah.org/tracker/?text=1

    Having all votes public is an interesting policy discussion we’d likely be open to. But at a minimum, knowing who is participating in the process seems a fairly low and reasonable standard. Those who desire their privacy can abstain from utilizing government power over others, and be content in that privacy.

  5. Thanks. I had clicked the link rather than hovered over it – my bad.

    This is one we’ll have to part ways on. I get giving access to the vote records for vetting election validity and combating voter fraud but I am firmly opposed to any third party being entitled to personal information required to exercise a Constitutional right. If they want it to do with as they please, they can do like any other business and ask for it (even when I’ve shared info with a private business, they include limitations on what they will do with the info in the agreement).

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