Voter information legislation stalls in state session

Published: Feb. 8, 2018 at 6:25 PM EST
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

February 8, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Legislation to shield the most basic information contained in voter registration files stalled Thursday, but there's a simple fix for voters who don't want their phone number or email address in public files..

Florida's Supervisors of Elections have been trying to remove registered voters' addresses, dates of birth, emails and phone numbers from the public record since at least 2013.

"I believe we open our populace, our residents, our citizens, to some inappropriate behavior," said Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine).

Supervisors stepped up their efforts to shield the information after the Trump administration asked for, and got, the state's voter database last summer.

"It's really the number one complaint we get at the local county Supervisor of Election level," said David Ramba of the Florida State Association of Elections Supervisors.

But, when pushed for specifics, only a handful of the more than 12 million voters have considered unregistering.

"I was able to talk most of them down," said Mark Early, a Leon Supervisor of Elections. "But I think we had two dozen roughly that went ahead and unregistered anyway."

A compromise to limit the exclusion to just those soon-to-be voters under 18 who have pre-registered to vote was in the works.

Under the legislation, political parties, qualified candidates or political committees could still see the information, but not someone thinking about running or the general public.

Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed similar legislation in 2013, saying keeping information public would give voters the most efficient access to election related materials.

The effort to shield the information of pre-registered voters under 18 is likely to continue moving this session.