Marketing companies and other private entities would no longer be able to buy Connecticut’s state voter list for about $300 and use the data for solicitations and other purposes under new legislation being considered by state lawmakers this session. Instead, only political party committees, candidates, political action committees, journalists, academic researchers and governmental agencies could tap the cache of information, which includes full names, addresses, phone numbers, political affiliations and birth dates. The proposed change is being offered by Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who also wants to prevent a voter’s full birthdate from being released.
Merrill, who is seeking re-election in November, said she was motivated by the thousands of messages she received from voters after a now-disbanded presidential commission had sought reams of data last year. “I have never received as much mail and email and phone calls as I did about this issue,” she said.
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s demand for data last year generated privacy concerns and fears of identity theft. Connecticut and many other states ultimately refused to comply, prompting President Donald Trump to dissolve the panel and transfer its mission to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. There were reports of voters in some states canceling their registrations following the commission’s initial request.