Feds come up with $500 for statewide voter info list
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson said Friday that federal officials ponied up the $500 necessary to purchase Oregon's statewide voter list.
Richardson said representatives of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity bought the list Sept. 8. The commission had requested the information in June, when commission Vice Chairman Kris Kobach sent a letter to states asking for detailed information about voters, some of it personal and outside what most states usually provide.
Under a new policy Richardson developed in late July, the statewide voter list purchased by the commission did not include voters' Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, signatures, disability information, phone numbers, birthdays, how a person voted in any election, certain information about public safety officers, participants in the address confidentiality program (for victims of domestic violence), persons who demonstrate that their personal safety is in danger and receive an exemption from their county clerk, and 16- or 17-year-olds who preregister to vote but will not reach age 18 by the next election.
The commission's purchase included information available to just about anyone who pays a $500 fee and agrees not to use the information for commercial purposes: names, addresses, effective registration dates and status, birth years, political party affiliations, voter participation history (elections voted in, not who the elector voted for), precinct names, precinct splits, and associated Election Division number.
Richardson changed the type of information available for the fee after the federal commission began its probe of state elections. A June 28 request for specific — and not all publicly available — information about Oregon voters raised privacy questions and prompted "a full legal and policy review."
On July 28, Richardson announced a new policy that covers the kind of voter registration information a political party or organization can purchase from the state. He was prepared to provide the limited information to the federal commission in July, but the commission failed to pay the necessary $500.