The ACLU of Connecticut is in favor of increased privacy for voters' registration information, because we believe that people should not be required to give up one fundamental right--the right to privacy--in order to exercise another--the right to vote. As introduced, however, this bill's privacy provision, which only allows someone to request non-disclosure of their information if they fear for their or their family's safety, is too narrow. It leaves out, for instance, someone who may be concerned about identity theft. We believe that every voter should have the right to protect their privacy, and therefore encourage the legislature to expand this bill's privacy provisions to allow all voters the same opportunity to protect their privacy by requesting that their name and address not be disclosed on the registry. In addition, to avoid problems, the categories of people who will be able to access voters' information must be well-defined, but this bill does not define these categories. Without standards in place for defining what a "journalistic purpose" is, this bill's provisions could be ripe for abuse. Though we oppose H.B. 5173 as introduced, the ACLU-CT encourages the legislature to improve upon this well-intentioned proposal by adopting stronger privacy provisions, balanced with better First Amendment protections, to safeguard voters' privacy while upholding freedom of the press.

Status

Pending

Session

2018

Bill number

H.B. 5173

Position

Needs amendments

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