Are letters ‘shaming’ Virginians into voting?

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-03 17:46:39-04

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – While candidates are making last-minute campaign stops leading up to Election Day, some groups are reportedly being blamed for voter intimidation tactics.

One controversial tactic, known as “voter shaming,” has been reported by North Carolinians who said they received letters warning them if they did not vote, their name would be put on a list of “non-voters” and handed out to their neighbors.

Reports have also surfaced about similar mailings from some voters in Central Virginia. In fact, one concerned Caroline County viewer contacted CBS 6 News saying he received one of the letters.

Caroline County General Registrar Daneen Moen said that it would be against the law for a person to receive a list of voters and make a copy to give out to everybody in the neighborhood.

“If they felt intimidated, they felt intimidated,” Moen said. “If they know where it comes from then we could turn it over to the commonwealth’s attorney.”

However, Moen said her office has yet to receive any complaints about such mailings containing the names of voters.

On the other hand, Moen say that it is not illegal for someone to compile a list of people who voted. That’s because that information is public record, according to state code.

“The law does give permission for political groups, courts, candidates, incumbents to get the names,” said Moen. “They can purchase them from the state Board of Elections, but they’re only supposed to use them for the reason they purchase it [and are] not supposed to be giving it out to anyone else.”

Moen said whether you live in Caroline or Henrico counties or any other locality in Virginia, that if you receive a “voter shaming” letter — and can identify where it comes from, you should report it to your local registrar’s office.