Search for US Voters with Custom Search Engines #OSINT

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US Voters site https://voterrecords.com contains public information. Each record has the voter’s name and other info such as addresses, and, potentially, emails, phone numbers, and gender. The site has the data for sixteen US states. For many professionals who are not on LinkedIn or are barely online altogether, the voters’ info provides Sourcers with a way to reach out to them. There are OSINT applications outside of talent sourcing as well.

You can search by name, city, state, party, and year of birth on the site. Since the profiles are public, you can also X-Ray and search for values that you won’t find with the site. Here are, for example, Colorado voters with a Gmail address:

site:voterrecords.com/voter “gmail.com” colorado

You can search even better, using precise filters, with Custom (Programmable) Search Engines – CSEs (one of my favorite topics).

CSEs is a software layer on top of Google, which many know as a way to hide complex or repeated search syntax for user-friendliness and productivity. For example, you can hide the site: operator and end-users won’t need to retype or even see it yet the CSE would X-Ray the site.

But CSEs also have an extraordinary power: they can search for particular values with special (ugly-looking, sorry) search operators. Depending on what a site (such as LinkedIn, Github, XING, Voters, Gitlab, etc.) “communicates” to Googlebot when it visits profiles, you might be able to search for professional, contact, and demographic information.

The “communication” between a page and its robot visitors happens via the source code on the page that follows a standard called Schema.org. This code is not to tell browsers how to render the page but rather inform crawlers of the page “structure”, meaning, Schema.org objects, and their values. When you search for movies and see star ratings in the search results, those come from the pages with an object Movie and those rating values. Google does not offer to search for highly-rated movies but CSEs do.

I will leave the movie search for another time (or implement it if you learn how it works, let me know!) Of interest to us is searching for people. A profile page on a social site may contain an object Person with attributes like name, address, etc. – for which we can search with CSEs.

This way, CSEs offer to search parts of the web as if they were structured databases. No other software provides a similar technique on such as scale.

You can learn all about CSEs in our new book and the upcoming interactive webinar

Become A Custom Search Engines Expert.

What about the Voters? The site has some Schema.org structure: the records have a Person object and you can query them for values such as gender, email, and more, as follows. (Obviously, you cannot do that from the site.)

(If you like “fancier” vs. shorter operators, you can also replace :p: with :pagemap:)

I realize that the above is a pretty swift introduction to CSEs for those who are not familiar with the technology. If the subject is of interest, join us for the class Become A Custom Search Engines Expert to get going. Keep the materials to help with your exploration and applying the unique technique. Hope to “see” you there!

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