Early Ballot Mailer Upsets Voters
MILWAUKEE – Terry, a Milwaukee resident, got a mailer with City Hall's address and a big plea to cast an early ballot.
"I thought this was being sent by the elections commission," Terry told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray. "When I opened up it up, that's when I was surprised."
In fact, the flier is an ad bashing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett sent by the Republican Governor's Association.
Terry asked us not to use his last name because he's an identity theft victim. That problem in his past made Terry all the more worried when he found his pre-printed phone number and birthday on an early ballot application inside the card.
"We're very upset,” he said. "It’s personal information's on there that's not readily available."
Milwaukee elections director Sue Edman's name is on the application tear-off cards. She wants voters to know her office did not supply personal info to the RGA.
"I have received a lot of calls,” Edman explained. "We're a non-partisan office and we don't engage in this activity at all."
RGA spokesperson Chris Schrimpf insists the cards are not misleading. He points out their group name is printed on the front. He contends voters’ privacy is not in jeopardy because birth dates are on the inside.
"The piece is obviously from the RGA,” Schrimpf said. “It has our full disclaimer on the front."
The RGA sent the flier to thousands of Wisconsin homes in a targeted demographic, though it would not give specifics on who they wanted to reach. The association said it is using the flier template for other races in the country and has received a handful of complaints about the use of personal, identifying information. The RGA said it obtains the data through legal channels.
Edman planned to contact the RGA about the complaints her office received. She believes the mailer does not violate any election laws.