The push by President Donald Trump’s anti-voter-fraud commission to get huge amounts of voter data from across the nation could have unintended consequences in Connecticut: more state protections for registered voters’ personal information. Connecticut lawmakers and election officials say they will renew efforts to restrict public release of at least some of the personal information on voters that is now on file with the state. Many Connecticut voters are unaware that their dates of birth, home addresses, party affiliation, recent history of going to the polls and sometimes even telephone numbers are public information and easily available on the Internet. “It’s basically a ready-made, identification-theft kit,” said Dan Barrett, legal director of the Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Many states do have broad restrictions on how voter data can be released or used, but Connecticut only protects the addresses of law enforcement personnel and some types of crime victims.
Connecticut’s voter rolls are already available on websites that include Connvoters.com, which bills itself as a genealogy site, and Aristotle.com, a political consulting site that offers for fees to provide political candidates “the most comprehensive voter data, consumer files and donor files anywhere.”
Past efforts to prevent the public release of data like the birth dates of registered voters have run into serious resistance in the General Assembly. Freedom-of-information advocates, political party activists, municipal election officials, and even the Office of the State Librarian have warned of major hassles, costs and confusion if dates of birth are required to be erased from existing public records or prevented from release.