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After being held back twice, a bill to provide privacy protections to voter-registration records cleared committee on a 7-2 vote and is headed to the House floor.

Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Rebecca Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, said in a previous hearing, "We're trying to prevent this from being sold on the private market, as well as (trying to protect) voter identification that could be used to target specific vulnerable groups."

Members of the House Government Operations Committee shared their concerns with the issue of defining who is and who is not considered qualified from obtaining access to the voter registration information.

Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, argued there is an issue when withholding valuable information to organizations that are affiliated with political parties.

Before committee approval, HB348 was changed to allow all who are part of the political process to have access to the records, including the voter's date of birth.

In addition to political parties, candidates and persons affiliated with political action committees or political issues, as well as some nonprofits will still be eligible to receive voter records. The news media also is allowed access to the records to verify the identity of an individual.

"I still have a lot of concerns about the voter's full date of birth out there," Edwards said. "Voters understand very clearly the role of government is to protect them not sell" their information.

"No voter I've ever spoken to is happy about the government selling their birth date and an entire set of personal information to a wide range of groups to use it for their own purposes."

Several members from the public shared their conflicting opinions on why the information should or should not be made private.

Lauren Littlefield, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, spoke against the bill because she said it would prove to be "problematic when trying to do political work." She mentioned the state of Utah would have insufficient information on the register voter file compared to the other states.