Ballotpedia: Privacy policy

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This privacy policy was significantly helped by consulting the Wikimedia Foundation Privacy Policy.


If you read Ballotpedia, no more information is collected than is typically collected in server logs by web sites in general.

Publishing on Ballotpedia and public data

Simply visiting Ballotpedia does not expose your identity publicly (but see private logging below).

Private logging

Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other sites link to this one, and what web browsers people are using.

These logs are used to produce the site statistics pages; the raw log data is not made public, and is normally discarded after about two weeks.

Here's a sample from Wikipedia--which uses the same logging system as Ballotpedia--of a log for one such page view: - - [21/Oct/2003:02:03:19 +0000]
"GET /wiki/draft_privacy_policy HTTP/1.1" 200 18084
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/85.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/85.5"

Log data may be examined by developers in the course of solving technical problems and in tracking down badly-behaved web spiders that overwhelm the site. IP addresses of users, derived either from those logs or from records in the database are frequently used to correlate usernames and network addresses of edits in investigating abuse of the site, including the suspected use of malicious "sockpuppets" (duplicate accounts where one person logs into Ballotpedia under different names), vandalism, harassment of other users, or disruption of the site.

Policy on release of data derived from page logs

It is the policy of Ballotpedia that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, may be released by the system administrators or users with CheckUser access, in the following situations:

  1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement
  2. With permission of the affected user
  3. To the chair of the owner of Ballotpedia, his/her legal counsel, or his/her designee, when necessary for investigation of complaints
  4. Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues
  5. Where the user has been vandalising articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers
  6. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Ballotpedia, its users or the public

Ballotpedia policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above.

Sharing information with third parties

Except where otherwise specified, all text added to Ballotpedia is available for reuse under the terms of the GFDL.

Ballotpedia encourages you to sign up to receive its email updates and text message alerts. When you submit your email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses, that data will only be used by Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia will not sell your information. If you no longer want to receive communications from Ballotpedia or would like your information removed from the system, such requests will be honored within one business day.


We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our Web site. These companies may use aggregated information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here. If you prefer not to receive interest-based content, you can opt-out by clicking on the “Opt Out” link at either Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) or Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA)."

Ballotpedia donors

Ballotpedia is committed to respecting the privacy of our donors.

We collect and maintain the following types of donor information: contact information: name, complete address, phone number, email address; payment information: credit card number and expiration date, and billing information; and requests to receive updates: e.g., to individuals who request it, we will send periodic mailings and/or emails.

Ballotpedia uses your information to complete a transaction, communicate back to you, and update you on Ballotpedia projects and news. Credit card numbers are used only for donation or payment processing and are not retained for other purposes.

Ballotpedia will not sell, rent, or lease your personal information to other organizations, and donors may opt out of having their private information shared in any fashion. Use of donor information will be limited to the internal purposes of Ballotpedia and will be kept secure.

Ballotpedia staff

The following information pertains to Ballotpedia paid staff, who have editing access to the site.

When you edit any page on Ballotpedia, you are publishing a document. This is a public act, and you are identified publicly with that edit as its author.

Security of information

There is no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide. This information may be available to anyone with access to the servers.

Deletion of content

Removing text from Ballotpedia does not permanently delete it. In normal articles, anyone can look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted", any user with "administrator" access can see what was deleted. Information can be permanently deleted by those people with access to the servers, but there is no guarantee this will happen except in response to legal action.


Ballotpedia will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. If you do not intend to ever log in, you may deny this cookie, but you cannot log in without it. It will be deleted when you close your browser session.

More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your username (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don't wish to expose your username to future users of the machine. (If so, clear the browser cache as well.)


Many aspects of Ballotpedia depend on the reputation and respect that is built up through a history of valued contributions. User passwords are the only guarantee of the integrity of a user's edit history. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords and to never share them. No one shall knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.


You may provide your email address in your Preferences and enable other logged-in users to send email to you through the site. Your address will not be revealed to them unless you respond, or possibly if the email bounces. The email address may be used by Ballotpedia to communicate with users on a wider scale.

If you do not provide an email address, you will not be able to reset your password if you forget it. However, you may contact one of the server administrators to enter a new mail address in your preferences.

You can remove your email address from your preferences at any time to prevent it being used.