County clerk warns against third party voter registration
October 1, 2020
Be wary of claims on websites and social media that a third party entity can assist you in matters to do with the upcoming general election, says County Clerk Linda Fritz. No matter their intentions, they are less reliable and less secure than simply calling the County Clerk’s Office.
“There are quite a few of these on social media,” says Fritz. “It’s happening around the state right now.”
Websites and social media pages of this nature claim to be able to help you find out whether you have registered to vote. The only way they can do this, says Fritz, is to enquire with the County Clerk’s Office on your behalf.
“They don’t have any access to our voter registration system, other than asking us for a list,” she says. This database is secure and can only be accessed by official election personnel.
Some entities claim to be able to register you to vote. The only way this can be done, however, is for that third party to contact the County Clerk’s Office on your behalf.
As no third party has access to the voter registration system itself, these entities are no more than “middlemen”, says Fritz, and won’t necessarily complete your registration correctly – or at all.
Information provided by these third parties may be inaccurate, Fritz continues. In reviewing one such site, she found misinformation on such issues as how ballot processing and counting is done in individual counties.
These issues concern Fritz because local voters may be misinformed or misled, but there is potential for more serious consequences. One site she reviewed asked citizens to input personal information in order to access help with registering to vote.
There is no way to know what these entities would do with your personal information once obtained, Fritz warns.
She has also seen “donate” buttons included on such websites. The persons running these entities are therefore aiming to profit from doing so.
“I struggle with citizens donating for a process that has no fee if they keep it local with the county clerks,” she says.
The only entity certified as a reliable source of information about elections, says Fritz – who also serves as president of the Wyoming County Clerk’s Association – is your local county clerk. She asks voters to contact the County Clerk’s Office directly if you need to know whether you are registered or require information on how to register or how to vote in person or absentee.
“The most reliable source for a voter to check to see if they are registered is their local county clerk. This is something that we are actively encouraging in each county,” she says.
“Contact your local resource, as that’s the best resource you have.”