Tampa Bay Times by Steve Bousquet
February 1, 2018
Citing Florida’s identity theft problem and privacy concerns, election experts in Florida want the Legislature to keep secret most personal information on millions of voters.
Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer and his colleagues are lobbying lawmakers to enact a broad new public records exemption this session. He said prison inmates write to elections offices seeking home addresses of people for various reasons.
“We don’t get to know why they’re asking, and there aren’t protection for voters,” said Brevard Supervisor Lori Scott. “People are saying, ‘Take me off the rolls.’ You shouldn’t have to choose between protecting your privacy and exercising your right to vote.”
Scott cited cases of third-party groups paying for so-called shaming mailers that falsely accuse people of not being registered to vote, and threatening to tell their neighbors.
The information has been public for 20 years, including every voter’s address and date of birth and if they provided it, their phone number and email address. It’s on a statewide voter database that’s often used by news outlets for basic verification purposes. [READ MORE]