Voter registration information is public record

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Do you ever wonder who your boss might be voting for? How about your favorite Bolts player? Are they left- or right-wing, and, how close to Amalie Arena do they live?

These questions may seem a bit invasive, but if the person is registered to vote - the answers are all in one place, and getting your hands on them is perfectly legal.

With less than a week before Election Day, people are coming out in droves to vote early. Their selections are private, but the personal information of voters, such as addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth, is totally public.

Voter registration information has been public record for some time now, but it still catches some voters off-guard. When the nearly 13 million people currently registered to vote in Florida filled out their applications, they saw a notice on the form that all information, including phone numbers and email addresses, become public record.

"Now, what isn't [pubic record] is your signature, your driver's license number, the last four of your Social Security [Number]," said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. "But your name, address, date of birth, all that information is out there. The Division of Elections has the entire state database."

That makes it easy for groups to make public records requests and post the data for all to see online.

"You Google your name, you're probably going to find it," Latimer said.

"It surprises me that they give anybody's information out to anybody. It should be confidential," said John Main minutes after casting his ballot.

The Voter Participation Center is one organization that uses voter data. The group describes itself as a non-government, nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) research organization.

You may have gotten one of their papers in the mail telling you whether or not you've voted in the last several elections, and comparing that data to your anonymous neighbors.' The Voter Participation Center President, Page Gardner says the group is just trying to get people to get out and vote.

"We are particularly interested in those demographics who have traditionally been underrespresented in the electorate. And that's unmarried women, people of color and millennials," Gardner said. "Obviously, how you vote is private. Those people who can vote, we want to make sure they do vote or encourage them to vote."

The Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections is pushing for legislation that would keep voters' data confidential. So far, bills like SB 0702 have not been successful.

"I talked to some of our legislators and said, 'you know, your 16-year-old daughter pre-registered and her information is out there. Are you comfortable with that?' But we can't seem to get too much traction," Latimer said.

For voters like Sanda Carr, she doesn't mind what's out there, as long as she gets to vote.

"It doesn't surprise me," Carr said. "You can find anything you want on the internet, just about. I'm an open book."

Some voters can request to have their information made private, such as police officers and victims of abuse. If you find your name and address on third-party websites, you have to contact the owner or administrator to get that information removed.