POLITICS

Campaign Mailers Try 'Voter Shaming' To Get Residents To The Polls

With the 2014 midterm campaign ticking to a close, campaigns on both sides of the aisle are returning to a tactic deployed in 2012: sending people mailers with their voting records, and sometimes those of their neighbors, in the hope of motivating them to vote through a bit of peer pressure. A Yale University study several years ago found voters who received similar notices were more likely to cast a ballot.

This year, The Wall Street Journal reported recently, Democrats in New York state sent out more than 800,000 "voter shaming" letters, grading residents on how often they turned out and telling them, "If you do not vote this year, we will be interested in hearing why not."

An Alaska super PAC sent similar letters listing Alaskans' vote histories and those of their acquaintances. Liberal groups in Oregon took the idea online, allowing voters to see whether their Facebook friends have already returned their ballots.

But while voting histories are a matter of public record, not all voters were happy to see this information.

"This mailer infuriated me," wrote Tina McGugan of a flyer received from the Kansas Democratic Party listing her neighbors' voting records.

"Responsible citizens vote and people are watching to ensure that you do your duty," the letter warned.

What's happening in your district? The Huffington Post wants to know about all the campaign ads, mailers, robocalls, candidate appearances and other interesting campaign news happening by you. Email any tips, videos, audio files or photos to openreporting@huffingtonpost.com.

Voter shaming isn't the only strategy campaigns are trying in the election's waning days. A Democratic candidate for state attorney general in deep-red Alabama sent a mailer issuing instructions to vote straight ticket Republican -- except for in his race.

"Mark your ballot straight ticket Republican to AUTOMATICALLY choose the Republican in every race EXCEPT ATTORNEY GENERAL," Joe Hubbard's campaign urged in an email.

Hubbard is one of the few Democrats running a competitive statewide race in Alabama, where many voters cast a straight-ticket ballot for the GOP.

“Republicans across the state have asked me what steps they can take to support me while also supporting their party," Hubbard told a local TV station.

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.)
    Before winning his congressional race, <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20121014/NEWS15/310140156/Kerry-Bentivolio-From-
    AP
    Before winning his congressional race, Bentivolio was a reindeer farmer, Santa impersonator and star in a low-budget 9/11 conspiracy movie -- as well as a veteran, auto designer and teacher. He is defending his seat against attorney and "foreclosure king" David Trott in Michigan's 11th District.
  • Republican House candidate Jake Rush
    Rush, an attorney who is challenging Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), led a double life. Until late last year, he also went by alterna
    Rush, an attorney who is challenging Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), led a double life. Until late last year, he also went by alternative identities such as "Chazz Darling" and "Staas van der Winst" as a member of the Mind's Eye Society, a group of gothic-punk role-players who pretend to be supernatural beings like vampires. Rush defended his hobby, saying he's simply "a gamer" with "a deep appreciation for theatre."
  • Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R)
    Grothman, who is taking on Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) in the state's 6th District, has advocated for a number of <a href="https:
    Getty Images
    Grothman, who is taking on Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) in the state's 6th District, has advocated for a number of deeply unpopular policy positions, like making public employees work on Martin Luther King Day and reverting to a seven-day work week. He has also said Kwanzaa is a fake holiday that "almost no black people today care about."
  • Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R)
    Bennett, who is running in the Republican primary to succeed Gov. Jan Brewer (R), <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politic
    AP
    Bennett, who is running in the Republican primary to succeed Gov. Jan Brewer (R), threatened to leave President Barack Obama off the ballot in Arizona if Hawaii didn't verify Obama's birthplace. He made the threat a year after the White House produced Obama's long-form birth certificate.
  • Democratic congressional candidate Aaron Woolf
    Woolf, who is running to succeed retiring Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), has <a href="http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/
    Campaign
    Woolf, who is running to succeed retiring Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), has an unconventional background as a congressional candidate: He is a documentary filmmaker who made the award-winning "King Corn" and the owner of an organic deli and grocery store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called "Urban Rustic."
  • Republican congressional candidate Isaac Misiuk
    <a href="http://www.misiukforcongress.com/about-isaac.html" target="_blank">The 24-year-old Misiuk</a> is an engaged father o
    Campaign
    The 24-year-old Misiuk is an engaged father of one child and a second-year student at the University of Southern Maine. He is attempting to unseat Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and may be the youngest congressional candidate in the country.
  • Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R)
    Ernst, who will challenge Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) seat in November, gained crucial
    Associated Press
    Ernst, who will challenge Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) seat in November, gained crucial momentum in her primary by running an ad in which she proudly touted her background castrating hogs, saying she knows "how to cut pork."
  • Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland
    Weiland, who is in the race to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/en
    Associated Press
    Weiland, who is in the race to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), visited every one of South Dakota's 311 incorporated towns. When he finished his tour of every town, his campaign announced that he'd do it all again.
  • Republican Senate candidate Milton Wolf
    Wolf is a a radiologist and tea party activist who is challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). His campaign came under fire in
    Associated Press
    Wolf is a a radiologist and tea party activist who is challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). His campaign came under fire in February after it was revealed that he had posted and commented on his patients' X-ray photographs on Facebook in 2010. Some of those patients included fatal gunshot victims. Wolf has also compared his distant cousin, who happens to be President Barack Obama, to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
  • Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R)
    LePage, who has been called "<a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/paul-lepage-maine-governor-crazy-101923.
    AP
    LePage, who has been called "America's Craziest Governor" and "The Worst Governor Of All," is up for reelection in November. In one famous incident, he told the NAACP to "kiss my butt" when the group complained that he had refused to attend a Martin Luther King Day breakfast. He also said President Barack Obama could "go to hell" and told attendees at a fundraiser that the president "hates white people." LePage also once told students: "If you want a good education, go to private schools. If you can't afford it, tough luck. You can go to the public school."
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