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Lawmaker To Push Utah Voter Privacy Bill Following Trump Commission’s Data Grab


A Utah lawmaker is introducing legislation to tackle voter privacy after a blanket data request by the Trump administration raised concerns.

President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity held its first meeting this week amid controversy over the group’s mission to ferret out voter fraud.

Led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the commission has asked all 50 states to send detailed voter roll data, in an effort to prove Trump’s unfounded allegation that millions of votes were cast illegally in 2016.

The commission has prompted at least one state lawmker, Sen. Karen Mayne, a Democrat representing West Valley, to introduce new legislation to review voter privacy measures next session.

“You don’t blanket something that doesn’t need to be looked at,” said Mayne. “And from that blanket, there’s more intrusion into states' rights then there needs to be.”

Many states, including Utah, have reluctantly said they will only provide information to the commission that is already publicly available.

After hearing renewed concerns from some county clerks, Mayne said she wants to make sure birth dates are automatically exempt from all open records requests, too.

“I think we need to protect or look into how we can protect those voter rights, especially the date of birth — and the month and the day — is concerning to me,” she said. “So we’re going to venture there.”

Mayne helped author a 2014 law that allowed voters to privatize their registration data for any reason. She said it’s important to reassure Utahns that they can have confidence in the integrity of state-held elections.

“Our state used to be high in voter turnout; now it’s low,” she said. “And we need to make sure that the people are confident that their information is going to be private.”


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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