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Legislative plan would limit 3rd party access to Florida's voter registration databases

Steven Rodriguez

St. Johns County Republican State Representative Cyndi Stevenson’s legislation would shield voters’ day of birth, email address,  phone number, and party affiliation from public view.  

Groups like political parties, canvassing boards, and political candidates would still have access to the information. But others would have to seek approval from the Secretary of State to get the information. 

Virginia Hamrick, attorney for the First Amendment Foundation, said the group is concerned the measure could make it harder for voter education groups to contact voters.

“I talked to some different organizations," she said. "They do use this information for voter outreach and to make people aware of different election issues, to give out voter information and when elections are going to happen, what they need to have.”

Stevenson said her bill is intended to prevent bad actors from getting and misusing voters’ personal information. She said she’s been collaborating with the First Amendment Foundation and is working on amendments that may keep political affiliation public and exclude the Secretary of State requirement.

Stevenson added that victims of domestic violence or Floridians who have been restraining orders because they're concerned about their safety can also request that their information be shielded from the public.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.