Mass Mailings

The State Board of Elections has decided not to ask for a formal investigation into the activities of the Voter Participation Center, which sent out mass mailings to facilitate voter registration that prompted hundreds of complaints.  The recipients of the pre-populated, partially completed forms included nonresidents, deceased persons, and pets. But the Center pledged during a public hearing to make some changes before its next mailing.

News reports of ineligible recipients had prompted GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign to ask the state to investigate possible criminal acts and review or reject the resulting 16,000 pre-populated voter applications.  Board Chair Charlie Judd listed numerous complaints, and said some mailings caused confusion and even heartbreak.

“But this one makes me say, ‘Shame on you.’ The voter application was filled out and sent to an address in the name of an 8-year-old baby girl—deceased.”

Former Federal Election Commissioner Scott Thomas said the lists came from vendors as the VPC tried to reach two-million unregistered Virginians.

“Part of the program is to work with the list-cleaning system that’s in place to do better and better and apply all of those 13 additional protocols, as they’re called, to prevent the kinds of problems that we, as I said, regret.”

Board members applauded the Center’s goals.  Elections Secretary Donald Palmer expressed confidence that Virginia’s local registrars would be able to screen out ineligible applicants. \

–Anne Marie Morgan

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