Editorials

Vote-shaming mailings? Return to sender

Fayette County voters turning out in force Tuesday morning

Fayette County is experiencing a larger voter turnout than usual creating long wait times. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for elections in Lexington and across Kentucky.
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Fayette County is experiencing a larger voter turnout than usual creating long wait times. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for elections in Lexington and across Kentucky.

Add us to the many Lexington residents who were creeped out by those strange vote-shaming mailings.

The shoddily official-looking letters, some of which purported to be part of a study, reported whether recipients and their neighbors had voted in recent elections and warned that non-voters on Tuesday would be outed in future mailings.

The information is public record, but still, as Lucinda Baker told the Herald-Leader’s John Cheves, “It’s creepy, OK? It’s just creepy.”

Cheves traced the mailings to a Washington D.C.-based organization and a related group that’s been creeping out voters since at least 2008 when it paid for robo-calls that confused black voters with misleading information about whether they were registered to vote in the presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP filed a complaint about the anonymous phone campaign.

Cheves reported that the lead group, the Voter Participation Center, raised and spent $42.6 million from 2012 to 2016, with much of that money going to letters sent through one of the country’s top Democratic direct mail consultants, according to its tax return. The group did not disclose its donors.

A spokesman said 330,000 mailings went out in Kentucky this year, which we can only hope will be the last time.

We’re all for getting out the vote but, like Baker, have to think “there are a lot better ways you could spend your money” to encourage people to to the polls.

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