Notes for a 2016 Democratic Campaign
Key is the development of a single record for a voter that aggregates all that is known about them. In 2016 smart phones will be used to identify, meet, and update profiles on the voter. A dynamic volunteer can easily speak with a voter and, with their email or other digital handle, get the voter videos and other answers to areas they care about (“the benefits of ACA to you” etc.)
The point is to be able to create dashboard, accurate to the individual vote level, that is predictive of future voter behavior. Civis Analytics is one such company:
I’m not happy there’s a market in voter data, but I am even less happy that political parties, market analysts, and election owners do not seem to understand the significance of unauthorized access. Unless there is a statute to the contrary, trading and in this kind of information is no more serious than buying and selling grocery store loyalty data.
I want the voter data market to be regulated. There is no consensus around this topic, but I am convinced this is a security hole big enough to drive a truck through. I have friends who disagree, saying transparency in voter roles is important to prevent vote buying/trading, voter intimidation, and other problems. Agreed, but that’s a long way from giving tacit approval to monetizing my contact and other personal information.
[As a side note: I am baffled that my NRA-supporting friends have not been as up in arms (get it?) about this as they have about federal gun ownership registries.]
Regulation of this market, like many in the information age, will be messy. Just look at how colleges and universities wrap themselves around the axle to comply with FERPA-mandated protection of student data, for example. But that does not mean it should not be done. At the very least, regulation can force information aggregators like the DNC and the RNC to provide safeguards to deter the sort of casual intrusion marking the 2016 election.