Target: National and state leaders of the Democratic Party
Goal: To stop the Democratic Party from selling voter data to corporations for profit.
It is no secret that political parties continually gather information about voters’ political leanings, voting history, and opinions on policy issues in order to address constituents’ concerns and rally voters. The Democratic Party, however, may soon be making a profit off that data by selling it to credit card companies and major retailers. In 2011, state Democratic Party leaders created the National Voter File Co-op in order to sell voter information to approved groups like the NAACP with the goal of recovering the money spent on updating local records for all voters; operations like the co-op have been used by both parties for years. But the co-op is now focused on using the data to profit from partnerships with corporations rather than to reach political goals. Ken Martin, a member of the co-op explains: “What the co-op is doing is saying, ‘Look, there’s a wealth of information here, that could potentially benefit your corporation or your business interests.'”
Using voter data in this manner is essentially a breach of trust by the leaders of the Democratic Party. People across the country provide private information to Democratic Party canvassers with the understanding that the data being collected would only be used for political purposes. In fact, many states protect against using public voter records—e.g. addresses and names—for commercial purposes. Unfortunately, there are no laws that prohibit the selling of data collected by the party itself. There is certainly money to be made through the selling of data on political opinions and consumer behavior, but a political party has no business capitalizing off of previously private information that was collected under the guise of political purposes.
If state Democratic Party leaders decide to proceed, it could set a dangerous precedent for future collection and selling of voter data. As Ken Martin states, “Everything is on the table, nothing’s off the table. It’s up to us to figure out what [data] there’s a market for.” Sign the petition below to tell the Democratic leaders you will not tolerate the party profiteering from your voter data.
Dear national and state leaders of the Democratic Party,
We understand the important value of gathering data on voters in order to gain political support, address constituents’ concerns, and rally voters. It is why so many citizens across the country have freely given up private information on their political leanings, voting behavior, and opinions on policy. Some people may even consider discussing this information with your canvassers a way to be an active citizen, through participating in the political process.
These people would be sorely mistaken, however, if the Democratic Party leaders decide to sell this information to companies for a profit. Credit card companies, major retailers, and other corporations have no legitimate reason to have access to the information provided by voters. Using voter data in this manner is essentially a breach of trust by the leaders of the Democratic Party. People across the country provided private information to Democratic canvassers with the understanding that the data being collected would only be used for political purposes.
You owe it to your constituents to respect their trust and protect their information. It goes without saying that without the support of voters, your party’s members would not be elected, and the Democratic Party would basically cease to exist. The political arena already abounds with corporate conflicts of interest; a political party has no business making money off of previously private information that was collected under the guise of political purposes. We demand that the national and state leaders of the Democratic Party respect voter data.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: aflcio via Flickr