A bill passed another committee in the Senate this week to disclose election judge’s personal information to political parties. The bill requires local clerks and county auditors to submit a list with each person who served as an election judge to the secretary of state. The list must include the judge’s name, address, whether the judge was appointed from a list provided by a major political party or another source, and whether the judge is affiliated with a political party. The secretary of state must compile lists by party and provide the lists to the chair of each major political party to be used for elections or political activity.
The proposal raises serious issues of data privacy for election judges when local election officials are already struggling to recruit and retain election workers throughout the pandemic. Requiring the personal and political data of election judges to be available to political parties for the overly broad purpose of “elections or political activity” provides no accountability for how the data is used. Election judges must undergo extensive training and there are already procedures and plans in place to ensure judges remain accountable. Disclosing their personal information to political parties is an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist and will reduce the pool of citizens willing to serve. (SF 652)