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Mailer showing parts of voter history offending some voters

10:02 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A mailer sent out by a national nonprofit urging people to vote is offending some folks on the First Coast.
    
A group called Americans for Limited Government has sent 2.5 million pieces of mail to voters in 19 states urging them to go vote.
    
It's reached some voters on the First Coast, who have reached out to First Coast News to express their anger about the information included in that piece of mail. 

"I am just really upset that this is being put out there," said 72-year old Mandarin resident Ruth Saunders, who got the mailer.

It is labeled a voter history audit. It contains her name and address and her grandson's name. He is in the Army, registered to vote at the same address. The mailer indicates whether they voted in 2004 or 2008.

"It's none of their business when I vote. I vote whenever I can, but it's no one's business but mine," Saunders said.

Also on the letter, several names of neighbors and their voting history.

"I don't have any business knowing what these people are doing and I don't really want to know," Saunders said.

Saunders said she doesn't discuss politics with anyone, and never told her late husband or anyone else who she voted for. And she doesn't like the idea her neighbors may have gotten the same letter and know her voting history.

"I love my neighbors, but I don't think they need to know if and when I vote. That is my privilege," she said.

Duval County elections supervisor Jerry Holland says he's heard complaints from voters, but obtaining this information is legal.

"They are receiving information that is public, which is your voting history of when you voted, but not who you voted for. So it is public information, but they are doing it in such a way that really seems to be offending more people than in any way motivating them."  

In a statement released to First Coast News by Americans for Limited Government said: "Americans for Limited Government's (ALG's) mailing has one goal and one goal only, to increase participation in the electoral process. We firmly believe that people who sit on the sidelines and do not engage in selecting our leaders are abandoning not just their right to a say but are diminishing everyone's rights. We have a stake in the system, we all need to express our views."

ALG went on to say: "We unapologetically urge these voters to exercise their right to vote, a goal which we are confident everyone applauds."

"This is certainly not the way to go," said Saunders. "I think they would make people so angry. I hope it doesn't keep anyone from voting."

The group argues that using voter lists and such information is a fundamental tool. They point out that Abraham Lincoln used such information after losing his campaign for U.S. Senate in 1858, then went on to take the White House two years later.
    
One poll conducted on an Internet blog showed 89 percent of more than 900 respondents said it was an invasion of privacy and should be illegal.

First Coast News

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