A State-by-State Analysis of Voter List Availability
Although most of the data included in statewide voter registration lists is considered public information, laws determining who can acquire the lists and the costs to obtain them vary by state. The United States Elections Project recently conducted an analysis of the availability, data included, layout, price, and ordering information for voter lists from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and developed an online resource detailing each state’s approach to sharing these lists.
People access state voter rolls for a variety of reasons, including research. Most commonly, however, political campaigns and parties use them to reach out to voters. In some states, only candidates and campaigns may access voter lists. In others, lists may be broadly available—but only for political or electoral purposes. All states prohibit the use of voter list data for commercial purposes. Further, although all states provide voters’ names and addresses, they vary on whether phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, voting histories, or absentee data are included.
Some states charge interested parties a fee to cover costs associated with the production and formatting of lists. In states that charge a fee, the cost of voter lists ranges from $2 in the District of Columbia to $32,500 in Arizona. The report estimates that it would cost a U.S. citizen $126,482 and a campaign $136,671 to purchase all the voter lists available to them nationwide.
Election administration by the numbers