CONSUMER ALERT!

Consumer Protection Division
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Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: October 2, 2008

Voting is Your Right and It’s Free

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa warn Idahoans not to be misled by fee-based offers for voter registration.

One such seller has caught the attention of state officials. The commercial website, iwanttovote.com, offers voter registration to citizens at a cost of $9.95. However, free voter registration assistance is available through Secretary of State Ysursa’s office by going to www.idahovotes.gov.

“You should always be suspicious when someone wants you to pay for something that you can do for free,” Attorney General Wasden said. “No one should ever have to pay to exercise their right to vote.”

“My office provides voter information and services at no cost through the state website, www.idahovotes.gov,” Secretary of State Ysursa said. “Voter registration forms are available online at our site or from any county clerk’s office. Eligible voters can also register at the polls on election day with proper photo ID and proof of residence in their precinct.”

Attorney General Wasden expressed other concerns about the commercial website, iwantovote.com.

To receive the free service, consumers must provide a significant amount of personally identifying information, including name, address, e–mail address, date of birth, and driver’s license or part of the applicant’s Social Security number.

Additionally, consumers are advised that they can receive benefits associated with the organization’s “Members Only” section. According to the website, these benefits are “free” for 30 days. The nature of those benefits is, apparently, not disclosed until after applicants submit the application form and their credit card number. However, it appears consumers who do not cancel their membership during the free 30-day trial are billed $9.95 per month and give up their right to cancel or dispute those charges without paying a $25 dispute fee.

“Needless to say, I have a number of concerns about this enterprise,” Wasden said. “First, that’s a lot of private information to provide to a third party to receive something every eligible voter can receive for free. Beyond that, it is not clear whether the company sufficiently discloses material terms of its offer. Finally, I have concerns about any seller who contractually ‘disallows’ consumers’ ability to dispute questionable charges. Idaho law requires sellers to clearly and conspicuously disclose all material facts related to an offer of sale.”

Wasden and Ysursa encourage any Idaho residents needing voter registration information to call their county clerk’s office or visit www.idahovotes.gov.

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