Can I make my Colorado voter information confidential?

Can I make my Colorado voter information confidential?
Posted at 1:59 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 11:11:42-04

DENVER – If you’re concerned about what the Trump administration’s controversial Election Integrity Commission might do with your personal voting records when Colorado hands over what it’s legally bound to do later this month, there are a few remedies, but you have to meet certain criteria to have your information be made confidential.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams reiterated Wednesday that he would hand over to the commission what he is already required to give to anyone under state law: a voter’s full name, address, party affiliation and date the person registered, phone number, gender identity, birth year, and information about if a person has voted in prior elections.

He said he wouldn’t hand over a voter’s Social Security number or full date of birth—two things the commission requested but will not get, as those things are not public record in Colorado.

It's possible to de-register to vote, though the Denver Elections Division advises against doing so.

Williams also discussed the state’s confidential voter program, which allows certain people—mainly domestic violence victims or stalking—to sign a document saying their information shouldn’t be released because doing so would be a risk to their safety. Lying on the document would make a person subject to perjury charges. Some law enforcement officers may be covered under certain circumstances, especially those working undercover.

Those petitioning for the voter protections will have to pay $5 when they turn their application in to their local county or city clerks’ office.

There is also a similar program called the Address Confidentiality Program, which applies mostly to domestic violence victims, stalking victims, and victims of sexual assault.

“Colorado’s confidential voter program is based through the law, not a fiat from the secretary of state or something else,” Williams said. “It’s based on attestation from the individual, under oath, that they meet one of the criteria.”

According to state law, a person can request that their address not be made public in any public documents if they are a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking and fear for their safety or that of a family member.

Those people will also have to have evidence of their being victimized and had to have moved within the past 90 days or be planning to move.

The program gives a different address to be publicly listed for anyone who qualifies for protection, and applies to all official state documents and other utilities accounts.

Colorado says there are more than 2,500 active participants in the Address Confidentiality Program, and that more than 4,000 people have used the service since it started in July 2008.

The state says it plans to send the voter rolls over to the commission by 8 a.m. July 14.

Read more on the Address Confidentiality Program here. To read more about the commission’s request and Williams’ responses over the past week, click here.