Oregon cashes in on voter info sales

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SALEM (AP) — The Oregon secretary of state’s office has made nearly $90,000 in fees over the past five years by selling voter information to political parties and private companies.

The state charges $500 for the voter registration database, far higher than the $7 charged in Washington state or the $30 charged in California. The cost makes the records difficult for the public to access, but for-profit companies have made the purchase, records show.

The database includes each voter’s name, address, date of birth and voter history. It doesn’t show how anyone voted.

Organizations that buy the database are not supposed to use it for “commercial purposes.” But some purchasers are data vendors who sell information to banks, corporations and private investigators.

Secretary of State Kate Brown’s office said the law does not define “commercial purposes,” and the state relies on complaints about how the information is being used before taking action.

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