Is this voting tactic a creepy invasion of privacy?
Is it any of your neighbors business whether you voted or not?
The Seattle Times reports that a conservative group called the GOPAC Education Fund has been sending out mailers headlined “What if your neighbors knew whether you voted?”
And then the mailer lists some your address, and the addresses of several of your neighbors, and tells you whether you and they have voted in the last several elections.
Apparently, some people think this is a pretty creepy invasion of privacy. Which it may be. But it’s also legal because your voting participation record is public.
Your name, addresses, jurisdiction, sex, birth date and voting record are all public information.
In fact, that’s how doorbellers use to decide which houses to visit. They don’t want to waste their time on people who don’t show up. They also use other data provided by party organizations to guess which way you’re likely to vote because they don’t want to turn out the other side’s voters.
GOPAC makes no apology for the mailer. They say research shows voter shaming is actually a pretty effective way to get people to vote.
So vote or be shamed.
The mailers, by the way, do not mention a particular candidate, but coming from GOPAC it would likely be sent only to Republican zip codes.
There are no reports that I’ve seen of liberal organizations using similar tactics, but obviously, those would be sent to Democratic zip codes.
As the chant says, “this is what democracy looks like.”
A 2008 study tested the concept with voters in Michigan, sending a series of different messages to several thousand voters. And the ones that worked the best were messages promising to tattle on people who didn’t vote.