With the election just days away, you’ve probably seen more political ads on your TV, your radio, and in your mailbox. But, one piece of mail some area residents have recently received has them wondering about the privacy of their information.
Several residents have received a flyer in the mail recently. On the back is a list of their neighbors’ names, and how often they vote in elections. The motivations behind the mail now in question.
Nikkie Janani says, “I think it would give other people motivation to come knock on my door, to say, ‘Hey, you need to vote,’ or ‘Hey, you don’t need to vote.'”
The piece of mail Susquehanna Township Resident Janani is holding was sent out by the Conservative ‘Club for Growth’ Organization with a list of her neighbors’ names and how often they vote in elections.
Janani asks, “What’s the motivation behind this company? It also makes me wonder why it would be public knowledge as to who’s voting and who’s not?”
Bethany Salzarulo, Director of Election and Voter Registration in Cumberland County, answers that by saying, “Your name, address, your party affiliation, your voting history, all of that is public information.”
Salzarulo says her office has received calls from people complaining about the mailer. “They’re pretty irritated. And just upset that that kind of information is being spread around their neighborhood.”
One caller even saying the information about how often she voted wasn’t even accurate.
So, Salzarulo says, “So, we were able to look up her voting history and determine she did vote more than this flyer indicated she did.”
Under voter registration laws and regulations, the information is available through the Department of State’s ‘Full Voter Export’ for a fee and can be used for election and political activities.
Salzarulo says, “we just recommend that they try to get in contact with that group, and please voice your concerns to them. Because, obviously, we would want them to know that you’re unhappy.”
In a statement, the Club for Growth says, “We want to encourage everyone to vote, so we are using a scientifically-proven method to do exactly that. This is a common practice used across the country by organizations to get out the vote”.
–Matt Heckel, Jet 24 Action News