Janesville [Wis.] Gazette:
Mailer with voter information sparks concern across state
JANESVILLE — If you received a card in the mail that listed your name, your neighbors’ names and their recent voting records, you’re not alone. The cards prompted complaints from all over the state on Friday, said Reid Magney, spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board.
Magney said it’s legal to acquire and publish the information.
The state is required to sell a statewide list of voters and their voting histories to anyone who requests it, Magney said. The cost is $12,500.
Janesville resident Elizabeth Mullen said she and her husband were upset to receive the mailing.
“They just went and published my personal information to people I don’t know without my permission,” Mullen told The Gazette.
“I realize it’s public record … but I found it too much of my personal information being out there,” Mullen said.
The mailing includes a note to “Dear Registered Voter” which says, in part: “Look at the list below: Are there neighbors on this list you know? Call them or knock on their door before Election Day, and ask them to go vote on Tuesday, June 5. After the June 5th election, public records will tell everyone who voted and who didn’t. Do your civic duty—vote and remind your neighbors to vote.”
The mailing goes on to list the recipient’s name, address and whether he or she voted in November 2008 and November 2010. The same information is provided for 12 neighbors.
The information does not say—and could not say—how those people voted, of course.
“I’m all for getting out the vote, but I think that’s too intrusive,” Mullen said.
The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund apparently sent two mailings. The one Mullen received does not urge a vote for one party or the other.
That last bit is disingenuous. I found a copy of one of the letters on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The header states “Scott Walker Won in 2010 because too many people stayed home”.