Montana Politics

A Question I Would Ask Jake Eaton If I Worked for a Newspaper

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I would ask Mr. Eaton if the Montana Republican Party’s attempted purge of voting rolls included every Montanan with an address change not reflected in their outdated database. Is it possible that some voters were not challenged?

After all, Mr. Eaton did say the following on September 30:

Republicans rely on "microtargeting," Eaton said, a strategy developed in 2000 during George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign and perfected in Bush’s 2004 re-election bid.

Republicans use Voter Vault, a GOP database of American voters likely to vote GOP either because they have been identified through phone polling as voting Republican or because they belong to groups that are generally Republican-leaning. The party collects hunting license information, interest group membership lists and magazine subscriptions. If a person has special military veteran license plates on his car, the party makes a note of it.

And if a Republican from another state moves to Montana, Voter Vault has that information, too, courtesy of the change of address data mined from the United States Postal Service. So far this election cycle, Eaton said Montana Republicans have identified 8,200 GOP voters from other states who have relocated to Montana. The party will make a concerted effort to sign them up.

Was any micro-targeting used in the recent challenges? Of course, I’m not a reporter, but it seems like a fair question.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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