The State Board of Election Supervisors is recommending changes in state election laws that will protect the identities of registered voters.
One of the proposals would make it a felony to copy or otherwise reproduce a completed voter registration application. The change would protect the confidentiality of such information as the individual's full date of birth and Social Security number, which could be used for fraudulent purposes.
Melanie Smith, Webster Parish Registrar of Voters, believes the change would be a good move.
"I agree with the State Board of Election Supervisors regarding the proposal to make it an election offense to copy or otherwise reproduce a completed voter registration application," Smith said. "Much of the information contained on a voter registration application is confidential information and could be used for fraudulent purposes."
Smith said current law prohibits a registrar from disclosing this confidential information.
R.S.§154. Records open to inspection; copying; exceptions
A. The records of each registrar are public records and at all times during office hours shall be open to inspection, except the early voting applications of voters.
R.S. 154.C.(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this Section to the contrary, neither the registrar nor the Department of State shall circulate on a commercial list or otherwise disclose the following:
(a) The fact that a registered voter is entitled to assistance in voting.
(b) The social security number of a registered voter.
(c) The driver's license number of a registered voter.
(d) The day and month of the date of birth of a registered voter.
(e) The mother's maiden name of a registered voter.
(f) The electronic mail address of a registered voter.
Another proposal approved by the board would require poll workers to sign affidavits that information contained in the precinct register will not be disclosed.
The precinct register contains such information as whether a voter needs assistance, the date of birth of the voter and the mother's maiden name of the voter. The information could be used in identity theft.
Holli Vining, Webster Parish Clerk of Court said pollworkers in Webster Parish "understand, and are reminded, that the voters' personal information contained in the precinct register is to be guarded and kept private."
The change will support that practice.
"I think the requirement of signing a non-disclosure agreement will further protect the voters' information," she said.