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Voter registration drive draws complaints

By Joe Dashiell, jdashiell@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 17 2013 07:41:12 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2013 09:43:00 PM EDT

This is the mailing, a Voter History Report Card from the group Americans for Prosperity. Some people who received it were concerned it might be a scam.

ROANOKE CO., Va. -

It arrived in an official looking envelope.

And while it said "this is not a government approved or authorized document," it carried a warning that anyone interfering with its delivery could face 5 years in prison and a $2000 fine.

"According to public records," the letter started, " you are one of the few individuals in your neighborhood that is NOT registered to vote." "We are contacting you and your neighbors to let folks know who does and doesn't vote. "

Rebecca Liu  was concerned when her husband received one of the letters. "To me when I looked at it, it seemed like my neighbors were more American than we are," she told WDBJ7. "They were more involved in the community than we were and they cared more about politics or the situation in our country than we did. It was kind of like a scolding to me," she said.

Liu says that was wrong, because she and her husband are registered to vote, and do participate in elections.

Also "unsettling" she said was the fact  the letter included the names and addresses of her neighbors.

"I think the tone of the letter needs to be changed," Liu said. "If they really want to encourage people to vote, scolding people and really belittling people isn't really the way to go about it."

The Roanoke County registrar says she has received about a dozen complaints about the letter. In every case, she says the recipients were already registered to vote.

It appears there is nothing illegal about the mailing.   Other political advocacy groups distribute registration forms and encourage potential voters to return them to local voter registration offices.

Americans for Prosperity responded to our story Wednesday night.

“AFP is always looking for new ways to encourage folks to get out there and vote," wrote Public Affairs Director Levi Russell. "That’s our mission and these mailers are one tactic we’ve seen others use in the past. We apologize to Rebecca for the mix-up on our end and will get that fixed, but we’re very glad to hear she’s already a regular voter!”