Groups file lawsuit against Utah’s Lt. Gov. over access to voter information

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 19:50:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A lawsuit has been filed against the Lt. Governor of Utah to ensure that certain voter information is kept private.

The lawsuit was filed by the Utah League of Women Voters and the United Latin American Citizens of Utah this week. Catherine Weller, the Co-President of the League of Women Voters, says it's a lawsuit to protect voting.

"It's what brings us together as Americans: It is the most American of things," Weller said of voting.

More specifically, the lawsuit aims to protect the information you disclose when you register to vote.

Mark Thomas, the Director of Elections in the Lt. Governor's Office, says your name, address, and political party affiliation are considered public information. A state statute allows the Lt. Governor to release public information, but private information like your Social Security number, your driver's license information, and your date of birth is considered confidential.

"We don’t have a choice," Thomas said. "We have to release some records, but the other information is completely restricted and we will not be releasing those."

Despite this promise from the Lt. Governor's office, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit.

"We don’t believe anything is safe to assume when it comes to voter records," Weller said.

They want more affirmation from the Lt. Governor's office because they're not sure what the information is going to be used for.

"The outline of duties for this election integrity commission, which seems to be focused entirely on proving allegations of voter fraud that have already been disproven," Weller said.

"That is one of the concerns the Lt. Governor has. It’s not exactly clear," Thomas said.

It seems like the lawsuit may be a way of making sure the Lt. Governor does what he's already promised to do.

"They’re asking us to make sure we follow the statute and we fully intend to follow the statute," Thomas said.

"We think this is a very limited action and we’re quite optimistic about this; This can be resolved pretty quickly and easily we think," Weller said.

These plaintiffs are just taking all the action necessary to protect voter's privacy from the newly-formed commission.

"We don’t believe the election integrity commission is building people’s faith in voting, even our faith in government," Weller said.

One thing that the Lt. Governors office says they intend to do is make the election commission pay for the public voter information, just like any entity that files a public records request. The cost is $1,050.