Panel's proposals protect voters from ID theft

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The State Board of Election Supervisors has recommended changes in state election laws.

The Advocate reported

one of the proposals would make it a felony to copy or otherwise

reproduce a

completed voter registration application. The change would protect

the confidentiality of such information as the individual's

full date of birth and Social Security number, which could be used

for fraudulent purposes.

Violators would be subject to a fine of up to $2,000 or up to two years in jail or both on a first offense.

The ban on copying originally targeted those conducting voter registration drives.

But the board decided to expand it at the suggestion of panel member Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

"I don't know why you wouldn't make that applicable to any registration form. We still don't want them copying it no matter

whether it's through a drive or not," Dardenne said.

Another proposal would require poll workers to sign affidavits that information contained in the precinct register will not

be disclosed.

The precinct register contains such information as whether a voter needs assistance, the date of birth of the voter and the

mother's maiden name of the voter. The information could be used in identity theft.

The elections board also voted to keep text message numbers of registered voters in the possession of the secretary of state's

office confidential. Voters have provided the numbers so they can receive election updates.

The proposals are among three dozen election

law changes that the board endorsed. Most of them are technical and

generally

noncontroversial. The changes are expected to be included in an

omnibus bill that will be considered in the legislative session

that opens April 8.