Letters seek to shame LA neighbors into voting

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Voters around Los Angeles have been receiving letters from a mysterious group that they say is trying to shame them into voting by exposing their voting record to their neighbors.

Voters around Los Angeles have been receiving letters from a mysterious group that they say is trying to shame them into voting by exposing their voting record to their neighbors.

The letters list people in a particular neighborhood and whether they have cast votes in recent elections, although it doesn't specify how they voted or their party affiliation.

They appear to come from a Los Angeles-based group calling itself the California Voter Awareness Project - except the envelopes list no address and the group has no online presence.

"Everyone should be entitled to the right of privacy and voting is a private thing," said Kim Hoffman, one voter who received the letter. "Yes, it's a privilege, yes it's a responsibility but it's also not for your neighbors to know."

The Los Angeles County Registrar's Office said it is required to provide voter registration and voter history when requested as a public record. Political campaigns, researchers and educators request such voter information all the time. The information given out does not include voter signatures or party affiliation.

The California Secretary of State's office said it has received complaints about the mailer.

"While state law permits election information and data to be used for 'election purposes,' including for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, we believe that better strategies exist, besides public shaming, to increase voter turnout and voter participation," the Secretary of State's office said.

"Those who employ such tactics should be aware that state law expressly prohibits the use of election data to harass voters or voter households. As always, the California Secretary of State's office operates a confidential toll free hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683) for voters to file any complaints."
Related Topics:
politicselection 2017electionsvotingLos Angeles
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