BROOKVILLE — Jefferson County resident have been receiving a letter in their mailbox that offers to help them register to vote. The only problem is that the letter is not being sent by the county’s voter registration office. It is being mailed by a private group based in Washington, D.C.
“Their goal may be admirable but their execution is less than admirable,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Jack Matson. “We have received many complaints from people who were upset because the information on the form is incorrect or the letter is mailed to someone who is deceased.”
The letters are not restricted to Jefferson County. Reports from across the country indicate similar problems.
On June 15th, 2016 the Marion County (FLA.) Election Center received “multiple complaints from confused and upset voters that received a letter from the Voter Participation Center located in Washington, D.C.”
The letter included a voter registration application, “notifying the voter that they are not registered to vote and need to complete the form and mail it in the pre-addressed postage-paid envelope. Similar letters were mailed to voters in April of 2016, resulting in the same outcome.”
“Most of the calls to our office are from voters stating they are already registered to vote or that the letter was sent to an incorrect address or deceased family member,” said Pam Fencl, Voter Services Manager. “While addressing each voter’s concern, we pull up their record to verify their registration status and to ensure that we have the correct information on file. If everything is accurate, we advise them to disregard the mailer.”
The VPC posted on its website that it had set “an ambitious goal for ourselves: To register more than 1 million voters in 2016.”
In September the VPC mailed out 11 million more voter registration forms in partnership with key national allies. That mailing went to prospective voters in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
The target of the mailing are the “Rising American Electorate” which the VPC states are unmarried women, people of color, and millennials.”
Although the VPC’s letter may look official, the fine print on the bottom states: “This mailing has been paid for by the Voter Participation Center. VPC is a non-government and non-profit 501 9c) (3) organization.”
Jefferson County voters may check their voter registration by calling Voter Registrar Wendy Truitt at 814-1653. She can check your status but she cannot remove a resident from the VPC data base.