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Florida passes bill to exclude voter emails from public records

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In a bipartisan vote of 114-1, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday which would exclude voter email addresses from state public records.

Some say it’s to prevent people from being scammed, and all but one representative agreed.

Lawmakers said they are concerned with protecting voters from being inundated by candidates and political committees that have access to their email addresses, according to the Miami Herald.

The House bill (HB 249) is sponsored by Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka.

“The whole intent is to get more people to sign up for sample ballots over the Internet,” Nelson told the Miami Herald. “If you sign up for a sample ballot, that ought to be kept confidential.”

Florida House Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda of Tallahassee, who was the only one to vote against the bill, said she did not “find it to be a logical exemption.”

The voter registration list already contains people’s addresses, she said, and having those out for anyone to see is just as invasive as having email addresses public.

She said she thinks it is more intrusive to knock on someone’s door unannounced than to send an email that they can unsubscribe to.

“It prejudices those of us who are frugal campaigners who want to use email addresses to contact voters, just like we want to walk door-to-door with voters,” Rehwinkel-Vasilinda said.

Rebekah Geier wrote this story online.

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