MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A political flyer landing in South Florida mailboxes has some voters outraged. It doesn’t mention the names of any candidates, but does list names, addresses, and voting histories of people who live nearby.
The mailer questions the recipient by name asking “Why haven’t you voted yet?” and continues with the warning: “We are providing the names of your neighbors and their voting record. The next time we send this mailer we will include information on who voted in this upcoming November election.”
Miami resident Gail Baldwin was surprised to see his name as one of eight on a flyer that came to his neighbor. The flier shows he voted in 2010 and 2012, but hasn’t yet voted in the 2014 election.
“I understand they’re trying to get people out to vote, but I vote on the day the polls open. I don’t vote ahead of time,” Baldwin told CBS4’s Maggie Newland.
Asked about publishing neighbors names, addresses, and voting histories, he responded, “It’s not a good tactic… They shouldn’t do this.”
Others asked about the mailer were also upset.
“It’s everybody’s business if they vote or not. They shouldn’t be advertised of not voting,” said Tonie Camp.
Some took to social media to express their anger.
Tweets call the flier a “voter intimidation mailer” and address the organization who sent the mailer saying “How dare you?” and “Shame on You Citizens for a Better Florida.”
According to documents filed with the state, Citizens for a Better Florida is an Electioneering Communications Organization, or ECO, affiliated with the Florida Association of Realtors.
Whether or not a person voted in a particular election is public record.
“On the one hand we do keep who you vote for secret, but who votes, what party they have, even their home address – sometimes their email – all of that’s public information because we need that for the process of transparency,” explained University of Miami law professor Donald Jones.
Jones said some voter information must be public for the political process to work. He said these fliers are legal, but understands why people are upset.
“What they’re doing in my opinion is a mischievous use of information that’s provided for the purposes. The purpose for which it’s provided is to guarantee the integrity of the election. What they’re attempting to do is influence the election with information gained for other purposes.”
Repeated calls for comment to Citizens for a Better Florida were not returned.
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