Around New England

It’s Never Too Late To Register To Vote … Even If It Is

August 22, 2019

“Numerous” but unspecified numbers of family members of deceased Maine residents have contacted the Maine Secretary of State’s office to say they received preprinted cards with handwritten notes from a pro-Democratic group urging them to register to vote.

Vote Forward, which began sending out letters to likely Democratic voters in the 2017 special election for U.S. Senate in Alabama, has targeted several states to try to get out the vote by encouraging likely like-minded people to register. Its data suggests that the outreach boosts voter turnout by a significant margin.

Trouble is, some of those targeted in Maine aren’t alive.

“Our office has received numerous complaints from relatives of deceased voters who have received mailings …” said Maine’s secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, in a written statement Wednesday, August 21.

“The mailing is being sent by an organization called Vote Forward, a volunteer organization based in Alabama that enlists individuals to send handwritten letters to potential Democratic voters, asking them to register and vote,” said Dunlap, who is also a Democrat. “Along with the letters, the organization is sending pre-filled voter registration applications as part of a voter registration drive.”

The organization apparently obtained information that is out of date.

“While it is very upsetting for family members to receive letters addressed to deceased relatives, accessing public records is legal and no Maine election laws are being broken,” Dunlap said in the statement. “… Those who receive these mailings addressed to a deceased family member are advised to discard it and do not need to correct any information on file with the Elections Division.”

A spokesman for Vote Forward responded to a message from New Boston Post on Thursday, August 22, but declined to comment for this story.

The organization says on its web site that it is contacting voters in Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin:

The news of the Maine mailing was reported Wednesday, August 21 by the Bangor Daily News.

Images of the Vote Forward mailing are below:

 

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