Address Protection Available For Idaho Voters Seeking Safety
Concerns about voting privacy come around every election cycle, but for some, keeping their information confidential is a matter of personal safety.
Idaho law allows those with serious safety concerns, such as police officers, judges and domestic violence survivors, to keep their information private when they register to vote. But last spring, a political action group posted a list of registered voters online, which included confidential names and addresses.
“We do want to make sure that everyone's ability to vote isn't overshadowed by concerns about what may be publicly available to individuals," said Nicole Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance.
She said protecting survivors' confidentiality while they exercise their right to vote is the linchpin of our democracy.
The Secretary of State’s office said it had accidentally released the full list of registered voters to the political group, which later took down the voter file.
Those with serious safety concerns looking to protect their information can do so through an application to the elections office.
“When we get the application, we immediately protect their information," said Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane.
He said if the application meets the requirements, it’s then approved by himself and Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts.
However, with address protection comes some barriers to access. McGrane said you can’t use many of the online registration tools available to everyone else if you want your information to be private.
“They're not able to use that as a resource like other voters because it's using some of that personal identifying information as a confirmation," said McGrane.
The application isn’t online, but you can get one by contacting your county clerk’s office.
Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio