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Danger in Numbers: 2.5 Million Venezuelan Recall Petition Signers at Risk

NPR aired a report on "Venezuelan Opposition Seeks Recall Vote on Chavez" tonight on All Things Considered. Seems that the names -- and national IDs -- of many of the 2.5 million Venezuelans who have signed a petition for a referendum to recall President Hugo Chavez have been made available to a variety of government agencies, and that many of the petitioners are experiencing difficulties in finding (or keeping) government jobs with or seeking services from government agencies.

I wonder whether this has happened -- or could happen -- in the USA. I'm reminded of the recent local controversy about potential abuses paid signature gatherers, and the national controversy over, a web site that allows users to search for the names, addresses and contribution amounts of people who have contributed money to the USA presidential candidates. Although it is common for victorious elected officials to reward or punish people and organizations based on the who they financially supported during the election, it seems undemocratic (to say the least) to punish people who have signed a petition to place a measure on a ballot.

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