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Democratic Party Denies Primary Candidate Access to Voter Files to Protect Party Boss

Created: 18 March, 2016
Updated: 16 October, 2022
2 min read
The New Times Broward-Palm Beach reported Wednesday that

Tim Canova, who is challenging DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her congressional seat in Florida's twenty-third district, was told by a state party executive that he will not have access to the Democratic Party's voter files because, according to the official, anyone running against an incumbent is not allowed access to that data.

The DNC came under fire in December when it denied U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders access to the party's voter database for a short time because a staffer accessed data that was meant for the Clinton campaign. The Sanders campaign was given access again after it threatened to sue the party.

Canova, a law professor and one-time adviser to Sanders, is now reportedly getting the same treatment as the Vermont senator.

"I was astounded, quite frankly," Canova said. "I would have thought that given the bad publicity the DNC and Wasserman Schultz got, this would have led to some change in policy."

The New Times Broward-Palm Beach reports:

"A committee spokesperson, Max Steele, confirmed to New Times via email that the Florida Democratic Party does not offer data access "to candidates challenging incumbent members of Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation. This policy has been applied uniformly across the board since 2010. We stand with our incumbent members of Congress and we’re proud of the job they do representing the people of Florida. The Voter File is proprietary software created and owned by the Democratic National Committee that is maintained and operated by the Florida Democratic Party here in state." Canova, who is running to fight political corruption, was incensed. "This is exactly what's animating my campaign," he said. Canova says he was told that if he were an incumbent, he'd appreciate the policy. "I said, 'I completely understand the need to protect incumbents from Republicans. But from other Democrats in a primary?' Why would the party take a side in that contest? Democracy should be about having debate and contested elections. The better candidate should win, so to speak."

Canova announced his candidacy in January and is running on a platform similar to that of Bernie Sanders. He argues that Wasserman Schultz has been corrupted by corporate donations and hopes to reform the nation's largest banks, including its central bank, the Federal Reserve.

Read the full New Times Broward-Palm Beach article here.