Will access to public information, peer pressure and a bit of shame send more Oklahomans to the polls? David Glover, 51, a self-described political junkie, hopes so. Oklahoma has seen abysmal voter turnout — so bad that the state ranked third lowest in overall participation during the 2012 elections, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. Glover says he wants to do everything within his power to change that and get voters to the ballot box for each election. (The next election, by the way, is today’s primary run-off with polls open until 7 p.m.) “I’m trying to figure out how to encourage more people to vote,” said Glover, a self-employed Oklahoma City resident. “There are not many good reasons to vote if you think your vote is not going to matter.”
Jane Boutan thought it was an invasion of privacy. Corrine Greuling worried about her safety. Viola Miller wondered if it could be used to steal her vote. They and others got upset after the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund mailed fliers over the weekend listing people’s names, addresses and whether they voted in the November 2008 and 2010 elections, as well as the same information for a dozen of their neighbors. “What am I supposed to do? Go shame my neighbor? Whether my neighbor voted or not is none of my business,” said Boutan, who lives in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. The fliers arrived in mailboxes over the weekend. The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, which is affiliated with the Greater Wisconsin Committee, is a liberal group that has run ads against Republican Gov. Scott Walker to help Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in Tuesday’s recall election. The group did not respond to voicemail and email messages Monday afternoon, so the scope and cost of the effort was not known. But the Journal Sentinel heard from people across the metro area, from Oak Creek to Glendale, and Waukesha to Wauwatosa. Addressed to registered voters, the fliers say: “Who votes is public record! Why do so many people fail to vote? 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 and your neighbors to publicize who does and does not vote.”
The Shelby County Election Commission is accused of deleting the voting records of 488 people who are mostly African-American and Democrat. Congressman Steve Cohen is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the matter, all while the Elections Commission says there’s no problem at all. Administrator Richard Holden volunteered to show us the database. He said all the names and voting records are there. A blogger accused the commission of deleting the records of 488 voters, to perhaps, prevent them from voting. “I don`t have any records of ever providing data to anyone who lives in Seattle,” said Holden.
Norma Lester with the Shelby County Election Commission says the commission chair requested an investigation into recent allegations of thousands of county voter histories being purged, according to a letter FOX 13 obtained. Blogger Bev Harris with Black Box Voting originally said her research showed that 488 lifelong voters, mainly African American and democratic voters, were missing in the Shelby County registry. People on this list include political figures like Darrick Harris and Edmund Ford. “There’s 600,000 voters on the Shelby County voter list and for it just to happen to African Americans in one particular district who vote democrat is certainly not just random chance,” says Harris. Harris says after continuing her research, she found that not just 488 but 13,000 voter histories have been erased from the Shelby County voter registry. … Congressman Steve Cohen says the missing records go even deeper. The Congressman announced on Sunday that he’s contacted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about 40,000 missing voter histories, which Cohen says is the precursor to purging. He says he noticed the discrepancy in Dec. 2011 when he pulled records from Aug. 2010 for his election mailings.