The ACLU-CT believes 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. Senate Bill 234 represents a significant improvement over a similar bill raised last year, but since it still allows the government to discriminate in providing information to people who may lawfully obtain it on the basis of their motives, it still raises serious First Amendment concerns. We believe the best solution to the tension between the right to privacy and the right to vote has a simple solution: allowing
voters to opt out of data disclosure.

Rather than restricting who has access to voter registration information, the legislature could protect the privacy of voters by allowing voters to sign a statement to the Secretary of the State requesting nondisclosure of their names and addresses from the official registry list, for any reason. The ACLU-CT believes that every voter should have the right to protect their privacy while also exercising their right to vote. We view these two rights as equally important to the people of Connecticut. The exercise of a person’s right to vote does not, and should not, waive their right to
privacy. To this end, we encourage the legislature to include in the bill a provision to allow all voters the opportunity to protect their privacy by requesting that their name and address not be disclosed on the official registry.

Though we are opposed to Senate Bill 234 as it is written, the ACLU-C 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 allowing access to information that should be public.



Bill number

S.B. 234