An apparent effort to pressure Pennsylvanians into voting in Tuesday’s primary is raising red flags in Lancaster County and across the state as polls prepare to open Tuesday morning. In mailed letters and emails, a group calling itself the “Pennsylvania State Voter Program” is targeting specific voters with publicly available information showing whether they and their neighbors voted in three recent elections — and then indicating it will send an updated list after the May 15 primary. “What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you voted?” the letter starts. Titled “Pennsylvania State Voter Report,” the letter does not indicate who specifically is behind the effort. It features a symbol that could lead some people to believe it’s coming from an official government office, though it’s not from any county or state office. The envelopes, marked that they’re from a post office box in Harrisburg, contain a giant red arrow pointing to the line, “Important taxpayer information enclosed.”
“Why do so many people fail to vote?” the letter continues. “We’ve been talking about the problem for years, but it only seems to get worse. This year, we’re taking a new approach. We’re sending this mailing to you, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues at work, and your community members to publicize who does and does not vote.”
The letter then shows a chart starting with the targeted voter and continuing with nine of his or her neighbors. It reveals the voter’s address and whether he or she voted in the 2016 primary and the 2016 and 2014 general elections. A final column with the May 15, 2018 date has a question mark.
The information — not including which candidates the voters chose — is public record, perhaps to the surprise of many voters.