Knopp & Company

Blog

Firm Announcements and Updates

If You Run Digital Ads in Oregon, This Announcement Will Impact You

The Oregon Secretary of State's office recently announced a change to their privacy policy regarding the release of certain voter information. In short, the Oregon Elections Division will temporarily make voters' phone numbers and birth month/day private (i.e. non-public) information until the Legislature reconvenes in 2018. The Oregon Legislative Assembly is currently scheduled to reconvene on Monday, February 5th, 2018. While this change may sound small, it is likely to have a fairly large impact. This will specifically impact political campaigns and causes as they attempt to identify and message voters online.

Why Does This Matter?

One of the best ways to reduce waste in a digital advertising campaign is to create a custom Facebook audience. Facebook provides a tool that allows campaigns or causes to upload a copy of the Oregon voter database. Facebook then takes the provided data and matches it with their user base using the following data points:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Zip Code
  • City
  • State
  • Date of Birth
  • Year of Birth
  • Gender
  • Age

The two items in bold are the data points the Oregon Elections Division will make private until February 2018. While this certainly will not make it impossible to identify voters, it will make it harder.

What Should Organizations Do?

Since all updates to the Oregon voter database from now until 2018 will not contain phone numbers or birth month/day, it is imperative that campaigns and causes match all updated voter data with any current records that include a phone number or birth month/day. All Oregon voters have a unique voter identification number assigned by the Elections Division. This takes all of the potential guesswork out of matching.

The good news is that voters' birth month/days do not change. Organizations will only lose out on information about the birth month/day on new voters for the next few months. Each organization will need to decide for themselves how to deal with updating and/or scrubbing phone numbers.

Reagan Knopp