BOISE - Campaigns for Decision 2018 are ramping up with Election Day just a little over a month away. Campaigning is now taking many forms, it’s not just signs in yards and TV and radio ads, but much more personal with text messages and phone calls.
One viewer, who reached out to KTVB and did not want to be identified, says he felt a little uncomfortable after receiving a political text message from state treasurer candidate Vicky McIntyre. It also got him wondering how the campaign received his information.
McIntyre's campaign manager Justin Collins says they obtained the man’s information legally from absentee voter information from the elections office.
“Registered voters give up their information, their public information, like first and last name, physical address. Optional, they can provide a phone number. They can also mark if that phone number is a cell or a home phone,” said Collins.
In Idaho, the state’s voter registration system is public, which means names, addresses, phone numbers, and political affiliation can be obtained by anyone for political use.
“Everything on the voter registration card or the voter information file is available for political campaigns used for any political purpose,” said Secretary of State Chief Deputy Tim Hurst.
Campaigns cannot retrieve dates of birth, Social Security numbers, or driver’s license numbers from voter registration forms. The law also states information gathered cannot be used for anything, but political purposes, meaning they can’t try to sell you something.
“Asking for someone to vote is not a commercial purpose. It is a political purpose and voters get upset with that all the time. I get upset with that when they call me at dinner time, but that's what that voter registration list is for,” said Hurst.