Personal information on voters in 40 states is readily available to online searchers, sometimes including home addresses, voting history and race.
That was what Aki Peritz, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, found when he tapped into the online voter registration systems in all the states and Washington, D.C.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, he said North Carolina makes the most personal information available. Searchers need enter only a first and last name, and the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement will furnish a home address, voting status, voter registration number, party, race, ethnicity, registration date, polling place and a complete voting record. Other states that reveal large amounts of personal information include Kansas, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.
"There is certainly a transparency-in-government argument to be made in making this data available to the public. Maybe having this information in the wild, for anyone to view, doesn't seem worrisome; after all, some addresses and phone numbers are still in the phone book, assuming you can find one," Peritz wrote. "It's nonetheless troubling because an individual can opt out of the telephone directory, but one can't opt out of being in the official voter database, unless a voter deliberately chooses not to ever vote again. Millions of American voters shouldn't have to disenfranchise them
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."