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Voter Privacy in the Digital Age


1 Author interview with Curtis Gans, Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, September 2002.
2 Joseph P. Harris, Registration of Voters in the United States, Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1929.
3 Justice Dept. vs. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 US 749 (1989).
4 Brandon Garrett, The Right to Privacy, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2001.
5 Ten states have explicit privacy rights in their Constitutions.
6 Alan F. Westin, Privacy and Freedom, New York: H. Wolff, 1967.
7 Ann Cavoukian and Don Tapscott, Who Knows: Safeguarding Your Privacy in a Networked World, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
8 ASNE Freedom of Information Committee and the First Amendment Center, “Freedom of Information in the Digital Age,” 2001,
9 Federal Trade Commission, “FTC Releases Top 10 Consumer Complaint Categories in 2003; Identity Theft Complaints Continue to Top List; Internet Related Fraud Complaints Soar”,
10 Dan Weintraub, “Pols will slice and dice to find niches in the electorate,” Sacramento Bee, September 29, 2002.
11 Aristotle International, Inc.,
12 Leslie Wayne, “Voter Profiles Selling Briskly as Privacy Issues are Raised,” New York Times, September 9, 2000.
13 See “Voting – What is, What Could Be”, by the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project; “To Assure Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process”, by the National Commission on Federal Election Reform; and “Election Reform Briefing: Statewide Voter Registration Databases”, by the and the Constitution Project.
14 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5(a), (b), full text at
15 “Election Reform 2004: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t, and Why,”
16 The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552A,
17 See “State Court Organization 1998” by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics,
18 Robert O’Harrow, Jr. and John Mintz, “Software Digs Deep Into Lives Of Voters; Campaigns’ ‘Profiling’ Stirs Privacy Worries,” The Washington Post, October 10, 2000.
19 John Mintz, “Political Groups Scramble To Find E-Mail Addresses,” The Washington Post, October 22, 2000.
20 Amy Harmon, “As Public Records Go Online, Some Say They’re Too Public,” The New York Times, August 24, 2001.
21 Jacqueline Klosek, Data Privacy in the Information Age, Westport, Conn.:Quorum Books, 2000.
22 William F. Adkinson, Jr., with Jeffrey A. Eisenach and Thomas M. Lenard, “Privacy Online: A Report on the Information Practices and Policies of Commercial Web Sites,” The Progress & Freedom Foundation, 2002,
23 Direct Marketing Association, “Privacy Promise Member Compliance Guide,”
24 “Privacilla’s Two-Part Definition of Privacy,”
25 One way the private sector is getting around the DPPA is by gathering driver records directly from drivers when they provide their driver’s license. In all but nine states a driver’s data appears both on their license and is encoded in the license’s magnetic strip. Many bars and night clubs have started utilizing scanners to verify patrons’ age at the door; some also download and retain the patron’s driver’s license data gleaned from the magnetic strip, such as name, address, birthdate, height, weight and eye color, to be used for marketing purposes, and typically without the patron’s knowledge. See “Bars, Stores Use High-Tech ID Scanners to Thwart Underage Sales,”, August 15, 2002,,2933,60464,00.html.
26 Ad for Win Your Race, Inc., on
27 47 USC 227, full text at
28 Greidinger v. Davis, 988 F2d 1344 (4th Cir. 1993), 1345-53.
29 Michael A. de Yoanna, “Voter signatures sold by county,” Colorado Daily, April 26, 2002; accessed at
30 Colorado House Bill 02-1458,
31 Wade Goodwyn, “Absentee ballot fraud is tipping elections in Dallas,” “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio, July 25, 2002.
32 Greg Lucas, “Voters hit with mailers as budget sank: Incumbents last-minute blitz cost taxpayers millions,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 15, 2002.
33 Stephen Knack, “Deterring voter registration through juror selection practices: Evidence from survey data,” Public Choice 103: 49-62, 2000.
34 Eric Oliver and Raymond E. Wolfinger, “Jury Duty as a Deterrent to Voter Registration,” Memorandum to the Board of Overseers of the National Election Studies,” January 22, 1992.
35 Alan Gathright, “No fly blacklist snares political activists,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2002.
36 Rick Wartzman, “Information Please: A Research Company Got Consumer Data from Voting Rolls,” Wall Street Journal, December 23, 1994.
37 U.S. Department of the Treasury, Inspector General, “Protecting the Public: U.S. Customs Control Over Sensitive Property Needs To Be Improved (OIG-02-109), August 5, 2002.
38 U.S. Department of the Treasury, Inspector General for Tax Administration, “Computers Used to Provide Free Tax Help and That Contain Taxpayer Information Cannot Be Accounted For,” Reference Number 2002-40-144, August 2002.
39 Sam Stanton and Ted Bell, “Hacking bares key data on all state employees,” Sacramento Bee, May 25, 2002.
40 Federal Trade Commission, “Privacy Online: Fair Information Practices in the Electronic Marketplace: A Report to Congress,” May 2000, For more information about the FTC and other governmental agencies’ fair information principles, see “A Review of the Fair Information Principles: The Foundation of Privacy Public Policy”, published by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse,
41 Ibid.
42 Ibid.
43 Ibid.
44 Ibid.


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This page was first published on June 9, 2004 | Last updated on January 23, 2012
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