Sunday, November 1, 2009

D.C.’s Open Voter Roll Is in Stark Contrast to Virginia’s Strict Law Denying Access to Theirs

A recent article in The Washington Post reveals a stark contrast between D.C.’s open voter roll and Virginia’s strict law about who has access to theirs.

Reporter Frederick Kunkle reported that Know Campaign’s intention to use the voter roll, which included voter history, was going to be used for a “mass mailing “to “simply motivate people to vote” in the upcoming statewide election on November 3.

“Under Virginia law, the Board of Elections can furnish lists of voters only to the courts, the Department of Motor Vehicles, bona fide political candidates, political parties, political action committees and nonprofit groups that promote voter education or registration,” Kunkle reports. “The law further restricts access to voting histories, prohibiting the Board of Elections from giving the histories to anyone except candidates, elected officials or political party chairmen. Those who do obtain the lists are also required to sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, promising not to disseminate the information to those not authorized to have it.”

However, in the District of Columbia, anyone who has $10.00 can obtain a copy of D.C.’s voter roll including political party affiliations, registration dates, and voter histories. The same information is available for public review in hard copies in the Board’s office and in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library.

Once purchased, D.C.’s voter roll can be used for political, nonpartisan, and commercial purposes. It can also be re-packaged and re-sold.

This is quite a contrast to Virginia’s law. Wouldn’t you say?

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