Local News

Voting audit letter upsets local voter

Woman unhappy about voting history made public

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs woman complains that a letter from a Virginia political group needlessly makes her voting history known by her neighbors.

Tricia Paine, who lives on Seven Oaks Drive, said she received a letter last Saturday from Americans for Limited Government.  She said the letter contains the names and addresses of at least five neighbors, and shows whether she and those neighbors voted in the past two presidential elections.

"Normally (it) would have been something I would toss," said Paine.  "I don't know why I opened it.  When I did, it really irritated me."

The writer of the letter said ALG conducted an audit of public voting records, with the intent of calling attention to people who don't vote and challenging them to do so.  ALG spokesman Richard Manning said ALG identified voters who have a tendency to vote but fail to do so "at the most critical moments."

Paine said some of the information in the letter is wrong.  Two people listed as not voting in a previous election, actually did vote but were residents of other states at the time.  Although publishing and distributing voting history is legal, Paine believed it's improper and is an invasion of privacy.

"I just felt that they were trying to be intrusive, intimidating and divisive (with) just the tone of the letter," she said.  "Why should I care if my neighbors voted or not?  This doesn't encourage me to vote."

Alissa Vander Veen of the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's Office says ALG's strategy is common in some other countries where voter turnout is higher.

"It's part of their civic dialogue," said Vander Veen.  "We don't have those dialogues.  We feel it's a little bit more personal."

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