Copying Voter Registration Forms

I assisted remotely with Tuolumne County’s National Voter Registration Day event and was a part of many discussions about this topic.

It seems there was (and still is?) a lot of misunderstanding about copying voter registration forms.

It seems that there is an expectation that forms can be copied.

But the law (link) (new link) and county elections officials clearly state that certain parts of the form cannot be copied.

I would love to hear from someone who will be copying forms explain how they will be doing that while also staying within the law. I haven’t yet crossed paths with that explanation.

If you can add clarity to this, I would appreciate it if you could add a comment to this post or send me a message via the contact page.

I will share here what I learn.

Thank you ~

Laura Mappin

3 Comments

  1. Jim

    It appears that you are refrencing item ©Reproduction in print, broadcast visual or audio, or display on the Internet.

    If so, my argument would be that the entire sentence references forms of media – broadcast, the internet and “reproduction in print.” You are interpreting “reproduction in print” as photocopying, when, judging by the remainder of the sentence, it refers to print media. It does not say reproducing, (as in photocopying) it says “reproduction in print.” As in a newspaper. I may be way off base and I missed something in the link you sent. Has the State office weighted in on this?

    1. MLCC-Laura

      Thanks for your comment, Jim. I think I agree with you about that section. I’m thinking that part does not address the issue at hand.

      I have found a better link to consider:
      http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=ELEC&sectionNum=2194

      I am not a lawyer and I am not sure how to read this. There are two parts in this new link (similar to the old one but more complete) that may have the answer.

      A response from the state has been offered by someone who talked with the state and wrote it up in their own words. I think if this has been going on for decades, then I’m hoping we could get something formal that describes in colloquial language what is permitted to help every Californian who wants to register voters. I understand that more people do have calls in and that maybe in the next week or so, we will have this sort of answer?

  2. Nan Fuller

    I believe people are working on getting the legal opinion to us and to the local election officials. However, I can respond to your concern about copying private portions of the form. Robbie did say you cannot copy the signature and those participating in the “bounty program” intend to block that portion of the form as well as the CDL and SSN information when making the copies. The information that is available varies by state, but I believe that the remaining information is widely available in CA to elections organization and other qualified users. The provision is that this information can only be used for election-related or research activities.
    Here is a useful link that should answer many basic questions about what information is available in CA and who can use the information and how. http://www.calvoter.org/issues/votprivacy/pub/voterprivacy/findings.html#d, and some excerpted text, “Every state allows its voter registration data to be used for political purposes, which typically include sending campaign mail, precinct-walking and phone banking. Political campaigns and parties are the most common secondary users of voter registration data. Campaigns typically obtain voter data by either purchasing it directly from their state or local elections offices, acquiring it from their political party, or buying it from political data vendors. Political data vendors profit from voter registration data and thus could be defined as commercial users; however they have been widely classified as political users because the campaigns to which they sell the data are using it for political purposes.

    Because the data is increasingly available in a computerized database format, it is not difficult for campaigns, parties or resellers to “add value” to this data or merge voter lists with other databases to enable campaigns to more precisely profile and target likely voters. Voter profiling has become an integral component of modern campaign strategy, and is discussed in more detail in the previous “Trends underway” section of this study.”

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