A Frightening Surprise in the Mail Box

mailbox

I was on vacation during the first week of June. That just happened to be the time an important election was taking place in my state. Because I wanted my voice to be heard, I made sure to vote by absentee ballot before I left. It was no big deal; the whole experience, including driving, took less than twenty minutes.

When I came home I was deluged with phone messages and brochures that had gone out just days before the election reminding me to vote and letting me know just who I should vote for. For the most part, I deleted and threw out with barely a glance or listen to what I was getting rid of. I was badly shaken, however, by one piece of mail. In an apparent effort to get out the vote, supporters for one of the candidates sent a letter telling us who in our neighborhood had voted in the last two elections. Their point was to shame people into realizing that more folks vote for the President than do for the local officials who oversee the laws that govern our day to day existence. Their goal was to get me to vote but the result achieved was to make me angry. My name appeared on that list. It told my neighbors just how many recent elections I had voted in (all of them). I felt violated. I am certainly not ashamed of being a voter but I don’t go door to door and announce it as this piece of paper did. I made a point of not looking at the other names listed. If the sweet guy across the street who has helped dig me out of my snow covered driveway more than once does not vote, I don’t want to know it. I certainly would never, ever embarrass him by mentioning it. In this country we have the right to vote. We have an equal right to not vote. If people are content with letting others make this important decision for them, I have no right to judge them. I strongly disagree with them. But this is a democracy and we maintain a right to vote or not as we so choose.

I know that the fact I voted is a matter of public record. But to have that public record used in an effort to embarrass me was horrifying. What’s next? Will I now be required to sign my ballots so that people can track how I vote? Will that information also appear in my neighbors’ mail box?

What are your thoughts? Am I over reacting? Or would you too be just a little bit offended by what occurred?

- Maggie AAR

5 thoughts on “A Frightening Surprise in the Mail Box

  1. Tee

    Maggie:
    What are your thoughts? Am I over reacting? Or would you too be just a little bit offended by what occurred?

    Absolutely not over reacting. That was a horrible invasion of privacy. As you say, it’s public record, but they went beyond by passing out these statistics to your neighbors. It was not the “neighborly” thing to do at all. Quite frankly, if that happened in my area, I would be up in arms. Even if what this committee did was within legally acceptable boundaries, it still was not the right thing to do in a neighborhood of people. I feel we have the responsibility to vote in every election, but that’s not something with which everyone agrees. This was a very tacky attempt to achieve voting participation.

  2. LeeB.

    I would be livid. And I would contact the elections board and find out if what that candidate did was legal. If it was, I would contact that candidate and give him/her a piece of my mind.

  3. Victoria S

    I second that. Absolutely not over reacting! Wow, I hope the candidate that did that did not get elected. The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it right and boy was he/she wrong! That was a treacherous thing to do to people you want to do something for you. I wouldn’t vote for that candidate ever again :-(

  4. AARPat

    This is outrageous! You’re not over-reacting. How about writing the local newspaper? This would make a terrific local political story and would expose the people who put the mailing together. If you’re willing to make public your voting record, it would also underscore how false the information was. If your local NPR station does local news, it would probably be interested also.

  5. Tinabelle

    I have a feeling that we live in the same state. I, too, received the same info. about people in my neighborhood who voted. Like you I was totally shocked and angry with this tactic. It was a creepy feeling that people were accessing information and using it this way. I know voting records are public but this use of them is a new one for me. What will be next? I didn’t like it either. I know of many others who feel the same way. Definitely NOT overreacting!

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