Politics

Shame Polling in New Hampshire

Intimidation being used to push voters to the polls on primary day

As voters make their way to the polls, they may have an additional reason to feel “obligated” to vote.

On primary eve, registered voters in New Hampshire got quite a surprise delivered to their mailboxes, a document with a voting report from the previous three elections.

Not only did it contain voters’ personal voting record, but it also listed the addresses and names of neighbors and friends. On the front of the envelope in big red letters was written “important taxpayer information.”

“After the February 9th election, we plan to mail an updated chart. You and your friends, your neighbors, and other people you know will all know who voted and who did not vote,” the mailer says.

The campaign tactic has become fairly widespread practice for most campaigns, and was deployed by several campaigns in the final days of the Iowa caucuses. Most of the attention however centered on a controversial mailer of particularly aggressive shaming from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign, which was contacted for comment but did not respond. There is no evidence that the New Hampshire mailer was generated by Cruz.

Photo of the Public Policy Matters Mailer that Granite State voters received on the day before the primary. Information has been redacted to protect the privacy of the individuals listed.
Photo of the Public Policy Matters Mailer that Granite State voters received on the day before the primary. Information has been redacted to protect the privacy of the individuals listed.

The missive was sent by Public Policy Matters, a group offering little public information — including no website address. The group uses a post office box in Manchester, New Hampshire, but no political-action committee is registered with that name in the Granite State or with the Federal Election Commission.

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