Voter protection bill passes Legislature

Rear of Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2009 | Photo creative commons, Flickr by Jeremiah Ro

SALT LAKE CITY — The voter protection bill, S,B. 36, also known as the Voter Information Amendments, has been passed in both the Utah House and Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Karen Mayne, places limitations on who may obtain a voter’s date of birth, makes the date of birth a private record, modifies the voter registration form, establishes a procedure by which someone can request the records and provides penalties for a person who unlawfully uses the voter’s date of birth obtained from a voter registration record.

This bill comes in the wake of an outcry after private voter information was posted online by New Hampshire resident Tom Alciere after he purchased the records legally as they were classified as public records. St. George News reporter Scott Heinecke explored the situation on Jan. 29 and his report can be found here.

“Voters wanted this legislation and we answered their call,” Senator Mayne said. “There was an urgency here, we only had a handful of hours to enact this protection and we joined together and did it!”

The Voter Information Amendments passed the House overwhelmingly with 74 affirmative votes and only one representative, Don Ipson, not voting or absent. Similarly the Amendments passed the Senate overwhelmingly with 28 affirmative votes and only one senator, Majority Leader Ralph Ockerlund, not voting. Ockerlund was absent having been hospitalized the day prior, reported as stable and doing well, according to a statement issued by his family to the Senate.

The bill next will be delivered to Gov. Gary Herbert for signing. The bill was sponsored by Mayne with a floor sponsor of Rep. Lee B. Perry. The drafting attorney was Zackery N. King. In a press release a special thanks was given to Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, the senate’s House Sponsors, Reps. Perry and Edwards, and Sen. Valentine was recognized for being especially helpful in the legislation.

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