Alabama voter information for sale | News
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA)- If you have a penny, you can buy the name, address and phone number and any other information that's available on the registered voter rolls in Alabama. And it is all legal.
It isn't just Alabama that does this. According to a recent report, 47 of the 50 states sell voter registration information. Some states even make it available free of charge, because they consider it a matter of public record.
The state of Alabama sells this information. Some people don't think it's a big deal, but others are shocked and outraged.
One penny. That's how much it costs to buy the information you give on the Alabama voter registration form.
With the exception of your social security number, all of it can be sold to anyone. That includes your name, address, telephone number, birthday, sex and race, even your voting history.
"That's ridiculous. It really is. I am outraged about that, you know?"
Most voters we talked to are like Debra McClain and Lorrie Stephens.
"I think that's an invasion of my privacy."
And Chris Pounder, "I was a little surprised."
Long time registered voters had no ides this was possible.
"How can they do that. That's what my response is. And why would they do that?"
The Secretary of State's office points us to a 1989 Alabama law that was updated in 1994. While id doesn't say why the law was enacted, it does say that the Secretary of State must give the information to anyone who requests and pays for it.
The majority of those requests come from political candidates and parties wanting to reach out to voters in specific districts.
Aside from keeping a record of the requests, the law does not require the Secretary to have safeguards in place to make sure the info is not abused.
However, officials say they have not recorded complaints of misuse, other than voters who have complained about receiving calls from campaigns.
Voters have mixed reaction to knowing their information can be sold.
"It's in the phone book except for your birthday. It's out there on the Internet. You can go look yourself up and you'll be surprised what info is there for you."
"Identity theft is definitely one of my concerns...that upsets me."
"That's a violation to me. It's just like you being raped and you're not consenting for it. So it just like you being molested and you have nothing to say about it."
The state earns about $45 thousand per year by selling this information. That money helps pay the salary of the state's Supervisor of Voter Registration as well as for technology.
So far this year, the Secretary of State's office says there have been 677 requests for voter registration information.
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