CHICAGO (CBS) — Vote shaming and threatening.
That’s how many people are describing mailers they got that not only list their voting history, but their neighbor’s too.
It then pushes people to vote.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports no one seems to know who’s behind it.
Another day, another political letter.
Or so Kathy Stone thought.
“I saw my name and I actually ready it and I thought what is this?”
It’s a mailer from the Illinois State Voter Program.
Publicizing who votes and who doesn’t.
Stone’s name and address is at the top, along with her voting record since 2014.
Nine other voter names, addresses and records follow, along with a message in all caps: DO YOU CIVIC DUTY — VOTE!
“I’m very angry at this. I have never, in all my years of voting, I have never seen anything like this,” says Stone.
Voters rights advocates don’t like it either.
“Let’s go ahead and encourage all of our friends and neighbors to vote, that’s a wonderful thing. But we don’t need to do it by shaming people,” says Ami Gandhi of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
Adding to concerns?
The fact that the letters, one of which we redacted for privacy, come from a Lockport P.O. Box.
And the group’s website gives no contact information at all.
“It leaves me wondering what are their motivations in putting out this information,” says Gandhi. “Why is it so hard to find information about this organization that’s so freely sharing our personal voter data?”
“If you’re going to do this to me, if you are going to threaten me to tell people that I’m not voting, why would I want to vote,” says Stone.
An Illinois State Board of Elections spokesperson says they’ve been flooded with complaints about the mailers since last Friday.
But because the group uses publicly available data, they are legal.
Voter advocates say they still have concerns about their accuracy, too.
If people are concerned about questionable mailers and activities during election day, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights has a hotline people can call with their concerns.