'Grandma Brigade' Gathers Data on Minnesota Voters

ProPublica: Nosy seniors keep Democrats' database up to date

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2013 4:39 PM CST

(Newser) – It's no secret that both political parties are compiling as much info as they can on voters for their databases. But ProPublica has details on the unusual way Democrats get the job done in Minnesota, thanks to a group called the Grandma Brigade. "These women, in their 50s, 60s and 70s, no longer want to knock on doors for the Democrats," writes Lois Beckett. "Instead, they support the party by gathering public information about other voters."

One 76-year-old tracks public records of voters who move into or out of the area, which she says is fun for a "nosy old lady." The 61-year-old founder of the group watches for obituaries so others using the database to call prospective voters don't waste time. Others track letters to the editor and callers of radio shows to see whether they can glean info to add to a particular voter's file. It's especially important in Minnesota, where a voter's registered party isn't public information. But rest assured that similar efforts of greater or lesser scale are under way in all the states. Click for the full story.

A voter casts her ballot on Aug. 14, 2012, in Bloomington, Minn.
A voter casts her ballot on Aug. 14, 2012, in Bloomington, Minn.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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