Data privacy and Connecticut voters

To the Editor:

Without your direct consent, the state of Connecticut is selling your voter registration data. According to the Office of the Secretary of the State, Connecticut is allowed under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974, to make public voter registration records. The Help America Vote Act of 2000 forced towns across Connecticut to abandon their local voting registration procedures and instead conform to state requirements that centralize voter data in Hartford. In combination, these two mandates have stripped registered Connecticut voters of their data privacy in exchange for their right to vote.

Your full name, address, phone number, birth date, and political affiliation along with your voting history are captured, stored, then sold and made available through online search engines and websites. Google and Facebook have come under public and Congressional scrutiny for selling user data without explicit consent. Shouldn’t local and state government be held to equal standards?

Unfortunately, in Connecticut, a ballot referendum to stop this abuse of personal data is not an option. Residents must depend on local politicians to push for change. Nearly impossible, as politicians are the very people who benefit most from easy access to voter information when targeting their campaigns.

No American citizen should be threatened, bullied, harassed, or victimized because their personal data has become public record. Registered Nutmeg voters can be shut out of job opportunities or discriminated against due to their political affiliation or age made public through this violation of privacy.

Contact your state representative today to stop the state of Connecticut from selling your data without your consent. It’s time to reclaim our privacy rights.

Hillary Long

Fairfield

Fairfield Public Library as a home for aspiring writers

To the Editor:

Classes in writing provided by the main branch of Fairfield’s public libraries are a wonderful way to meet similarly interested adults, make friends, and learn a great deal in the pursuit of one’s writing interests.

Years ago, I joined a memoir writing group taught by Louise McCormack. At the same time, I met some great people, women mostly, but one or two men occasionally, who stayed with the group for a few sessions, made their contributions, shared their work in progress, published their oeuvre, and went on to other missions in life. It was always rewarding to know that one of our members published. I recall the joy of one whose work I enjoyed hearing in its development and then read in its entirety in print. I found magic in the work that I hadn’t noticed hearing in its chapter development

I enjoyed the assignments as they were always of interest to me, for thinking of a way to develop a story or theme is easy when, as a senior citizen, one can recall all manner and kind of material suitable for the theme.

I say this now, because, having enjoyed the class, I miss the camaraderie, but I also benefit from the joy of the work I wrote for the class as it is now published by a magazine where I found a home for my pieces that make up my memoir, “Leaving Maine.” No soft or hardback this, just a series of stories that appear in a periodical that is a home for them, selected by an editor who is supportive of this writer.

I write this as an example of what is wonderful about Fairfield and about the people who live in town.

Gerard Coulombe

Fairfield