Last updated 10-10-16

Key points:

The Herbert administration, with the full support of the Utah state legislature, continues to sell the personal information of 1.5 million Utah registered voters.

A private website has again posted the personal information of roughly 1.5 Utah voters on line in a free, searchable format which compromises the safety and security of Utahns.

With only limited exceptions, Utah citizens who refuse to make their personal information public are denied their right to vote. 

Governor Gary Herbert has presided over some of the worst data breaches in the nation by a state government (see the list at end of this article).  Under his leadership, millions of Utahns have had their personal information made public either accidentally, or even worse, deliberately.

In its biggest single, ongoing release of personal information, the Herbert administration sells the full name, home address, phone number, political party affiliation, etc. of virtually every one of Utah’s roughly 1.5 million registered voters to anyone willing to pay $1,050 for it despite an apparent prohibition in Utah Code—63G-2-302(1)(l).

A voter list that was sold by the state of Utah in 2013 with the personal information, including the full birth date, of every registered voter is still available on the internet in both archived and downloadable formats.  A slightly different version of the 2013 list is also live on the internet.

However, like Washington politicians who exempt themselves from the laws they pass, Herbert’s personal information, along with that of his wife, was deleted from the 2013 voter list before it was sold.

After the Utah voter list was posted to the internet in 2013, public pressure forced the Herbert administration and legislature to do something so they passed a weak bill that allowed financial institutions, including pay day lenders, insurance companies, health care providers, and political parties along with candidates for office, their campaign workers and consultants to obtain the personal information, including full birth dates (month, day, year), of virtually every registered Utah voter.  The bill did remove the birth date from lists sold to anyone else.

However, the legislature did not prohibit posting the voter list is sells to the Internet.  Therefore, the Utah voter registration list sold by the state of Utah is again on a free, public website which can be readily accessed by anyone anywhere in the world.

The website allows the user to quickly locate a Utah registered voter as well as the personal information of family members, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, senior leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, prominent business leaders, etc.— home address, phone number, age, year born, political party affiliation, related persons, social network profile, etc.

When an individual is located, all family members and others registered to vote at the same address are also listed and their personal information can be readily accessed.  The site even provides a map showing how to get to the address.

The personal information of Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, whose office is responsible for Utah’s voter registration records, is readily available.  In addition, by scrolling down in Cox’s record, his spouse’s name and personal information can be quickly found.  Finally, it is possible to see every registered voter living on the same street as Cox and even all 1,208 voters living in the city where was registered to vote in 2013, Fairview.

A primary role of government is to protect its citizens. However, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and others, including members of the military, law enforcement and the media, who need to keep their personal information and addresses confidential are put in danger by the state of Utah when it sells their personal information.

Even though there is a very restrictive provision in Utah law that allows voters with protective orders or police reports to make their voter registration records private, few registered voters are aware of this and mistakenly assume that the state will never sell their personal information.

In 2014, Utah State Representative Becky Edwards carried a bill that would have made all voter records confidential unless a voter specifically agreed to the release of his/her record; however, the state’s two major political parties and powerful financial, insurance, health care and data mining lobbyists killed this effort to protect a citizen’s personal information and required Utah citizens to continue making their personal information available if they wished to exercise their right to vote.

At the present time, basically the only way Utahns, who cannot produce a protective order or police report, can stop the state from selling their voter records is to refuse to register to vote or, if already registered, cancel their existing voter registration.

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Releases of personal information under the Herbert administration since 2010 include the following:

Continuously.  The state of Utah sells the Utah Voter Data base with the personal information of approximately 1.5 million Utah voters to anyone willing to pay $1,050.  Information currently sold includes the  voter’s voter identification number; first, middle, and last name; voter status (active or inactive); absentee status; original registration date; party affiliation; phone number (if provided by voter); mailing and residence address; county and precinct; Congressional district, state house district, state senate district, state school board district; voter participation history; and method of participation (absentee, by mail, normal, etc.).  Prior to mid-2014, lists sold contained voters’ full birth dates (month, day, year) as well as all of the other information.

March 31, 2010.  Herbert grudgingly signed SB251 which mandates that the state’s employers use E-Verify to help stop an epidemic of child identity theft.  However, he insisted that the program has to be purely voluntary which allows employers to continue hiring individuals using the fraudulently obtained Social Security numbers of an estimated 80,000 Utah children.  The use of these numbers results in a child’s credit being destroyed, arrest records and liability for unpaid taxes attached to the child’s Social Security number and the child’s medical records being compromised with life threatening consequences.

July 2010.  A list containing the personal information of 1,300 people believed to be illegal aliens was released by Utah Workforce Service employees. “Release of such private, sensitive information is deplorable,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a news release according to CNN.

March 30, 2012.  An estimated 780,000 Utahns covered by Medicaid or thought to be eligible for Medicaid along with those enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Plan had personal information stolen by hackers in Eastern Europe who were able to access the Utah Department of Technology Service’s server.  Information taken included names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers, etc.  Herbert was quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune as saying: “As a state government we have failed to honor that commitment [to protect Utah families and their personal data],” he said. “For that, as your governor and as a Utahn, I am deeply sorry.” Yet, Herbert continues to support the sale of the Utah voter data base even though it has most of the same information on it.

January 2013.   The Utah Health Department revealed that a USB memory stick with 6,000 Medicaid recipients’ protected health information (PHI) was reported lost by a third party contractor.

December 6, 2013.  Up to 97,000 Utahns receiving training funds, unemployment insurance and payroll from Utah’s Workforce Services may have had their personal information compromised due to a data breach.  The compromised data included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, UCard numbers, passwords, logins and security questions.

March 30, 2016.  Herbert’s campaign obtained Jonathan Johnsons voter registration record and Utah State Senator Todd Weiler posted it to two Republican Facebook groups.

2016.  The 2013 Utah voter list is once again published on the internet.  The publishers of the site, unlike the state of Utah, allow Utahns to request that their records be removed with the caveat that “all records appearing on VoterRecords.com are public records and can be obtained directly from the government by anyone at anytime. Removing information from VoterRecords.com has no affect on the official records the government maintains and releases.”

This article has been updated to clarify that the list currently on the Internet is the 2013 list that was sold by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office without the Governor’s personal information.  That list also included full birth dates, therefore, the site has the year of birth and age.

 

Editor’s Note: A call to the Utah Lt. Governor’s office confirmed that a voter list can be purchased at https://elections.utah.gov/voterdatabase. A ‘Who Has Voted List‘ can also be purchased for $35.00 along with other reports.

A Utah Voter List of 1.3 million is also available online from Aristotle.com that INCLUDES cell phone #’s and email addresses at an addition cost. Aristotle bills itself as “the most powerful campaign management platform on the market.”