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Voter shaming in NC takes partisan twist

November 7th, 2018

— In the hours before the Nov. 6 election, political parties in North Carolina were doing everything they can to get voters to the polls, including, in some cases, accusing the other party of voter shaming.

Voter shaming is the use of public records of voting attendance to pressure people into going to the polls in an election. It’s been used in the past by both parties. But this is the first time we’ve heard of one party using the tactic while attempting to blame it on the other side.

WRAL News first heard about it from the daughter of an elderly, disabled Johnston County voter who received a mailer in the past few days from the North Carolina Republican Party. The flier listed her mother’s public voting record as well as those of neighbors, and claimed Democrats would tell her neighbors if she didn’t vote.

The woman’s daughter contacted WRAL about the mailer but asked to remain anonymous due to concerns that she, her mother or her employer could suffer reprisals if she spoke about it publicly.

“When I opened my mother’s mailbox, I saw this card. It was on top of all the other mail. And her voting record was there right in front of me,” she said.

The flier claims it’s trying to save the elderly voter from embarrassment “because the Democrats would let my neighbors know if my mother didn’t vote this year,” the daughter said, reading from the flier.

On the back of the flier, there’s a copy of a letter state Democrats sent to some voters back in 2014, signed by then-party chairwoman Patsy Keever. The letter, from which the date has been removed, tells an unnamed voter that her voting attendance records are public. It does not say, as the GOP flier claims, that Democrats will inform her neighbors whether she cast a ballot.

“Nothing in this letter says the Democrats are going to tell people who voted and who didn’t vote,” her daughter pointed out.

State GOP director Dallas Woodhouse declined to be interviewed for this story, but he defended the flier, saying it’s using the Democrats’ own letter. However, that letter is 4 years old.

And, as @NCCapitol reported last week, the state GOP has sent out at least one other version of a voter-shaming mailer recently, one that does not accuse Democrats of using the gambit.

NC GOP voter shaming mailer

North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said his party is not now threatening, and never has threatened, to inform anyone about other people’s voting records. He admitted the party did send the 2014 voter shaming letter but said his party has since moved on from that tactic.

“Republicans’ final message has been about stoking fear and division rather than how to build a better state,” Howard said in a statement. “Deceiving voters with an old flier fits right into that playbook.”

Meantime, the woman’s daughter said she’s never seen anything like it – and she’s not sure why the state GOP sent a get-out-the-vote flier to her mother.

“Why they want a Democrat to go to vote, I don’t know,” she mused.

Article source: https://www.wral.com/voter-shaming-in-nc-takes-partisan-turn/17972776/

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