Tags: states | selling | voters | emails

States Selling Your Emails to Campaigns

Tuesday, 07 Feb 2012 12:25 AM

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Some 19 states and the District of Columbia are collecting the email addresses of voters on their voter registration cards.

At least nine of those states are in turn selling your email addresses to political parties, organizing groups and lawmakers who can use them to send unsolicited emails, Fox News reports.

And it's all legal.

The CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) law enacted in 2003 restricts mass emailings from commercial entities and on things considere spam or pornography. But political messages are protected as free speech by the First Amendment.

"Political communications are not spam. Political communications are a demonstration of free speech in America," Stuart Shapiro, president of iConstituent, a Washington, D.C.-based firm which uses state-generated email lists to send messages on behalf of clients, told Fox.

"There is a tenet in government that is based on communicating with our constituents, and email is one of the most effective ways to do it," Shapiro said. "People look forward to it and want it."

Like phone numbers, email addresses ae optional bits of information you can give as you register to vote. But the fact that email addresses are 'optional' may not be clear to the average voter. Voter advocates argue that such practice should be made clear to voters.



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