Wired just ran a couple of really interesting stories about how voter registration information is being used for fun and profit.
Mining the Vein of Voter Rolls
When U.S. citizens register to vote, the registration form generally asks for a name, address, birth date, phone number and party affiliation. Some states request other information — such as race, driver’s license, Social Security number and mother’s maiden name. But the forms don’t say what states plan to do with that information.
Unknown to many voters, election officials sell the information to political parties and candidates, as well as to data collectors, who combine it with census data, purchasing histories, credit reports and magazine subscription lists.
For Sale: The American Voter
One of the nation’s largest commercial distributors of voter data sold voter-registration lists featuring detailed personal information without verifying the identity or intent of buyers.
Aristotle International used a website to sell the lists, which contain details about registered voters from nearly every state. The data includes birth dates, home addresses, phone numbers, race, income levels, ethnic backgrounds and, in some cases, religious affiliations.
Great. What this country really needs is a lower percentage of willing voters. Ye gods.