Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Governor signs voter data bill

According to this story from the Sacramento Bee, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 1741, a bill that brings new protections to voter data privacy. The bill, according to the Bee story, will "ban foreign workers from handling personal information from California voter lists or petition drives" and "was sparked by claims that a committee supporting Schwarzenegger's ballot initiatives had hired an Indian firm to verify voter signatures on its petitions."

The bill was prompted by a story by David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle, and was authored by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sacramento Assemblyman Dave Jones. The committee held a contentious hearing on the matter back in March, at which I testified and provided findings from the California Voter Foundation's "Voter Privacy in the Digital Age" report.

There is much more the Legislature could do to protect voter privacy, and this bill is a good start. It's especially encouraging that Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill even though it did not enjoy bipartisan support in the Legislature. Recommendations on ways to protect voter data privacy are featured in CVF's report.

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