Voter shaming hits Kansas again

Vote (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Did you vote? Should your neighbors know if you vote?

“I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if you vote or not,” says Sedgwick County resident Donna Hellums. “I mean it’s your business, and you should vote.”

Donna is responding to the mailer called the Kansas State Voter Report.

It lists you, whether you voted or not, and the same information about your neighbors.

A group called Concerned Citizens for America’s Future is the owner of the mailers. But, KSN could not find anyone called Concerned Citizens for America’s Future.

Turns out, putting the information out is perfectly legal.

“Understandably, this voter public shaming or pressuring or persuading people to turn out to vote may be deemed distasteful or too big brother-like in style,” says Legal Analyst Dan Monnat. “But, there’s nothing illegal about it. How you vote is secret. But when or when you do not vote is a matter of public record.”

KSN asked Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman about the mailers.

“Yes, we do have people call, upset. Especially when they feel like the flier may not be accurate or they feel like it’s an absolute invasion of their privacy,” says Lehman. “If you’re registered to vote, your information is public information whether you have voted or not your registration information is public.”

Lehman says other county clerks across the state are getting the same calls, with the same concerns.

There are forms to be filled out at the county elections offices, to keep private whether you have voted or not. Lehman says the forms are only for police personnel, judicial workers, or what she calls victims of domestic violence.

Monnat, meanwhile, points out the fliers are not disclosing how you voted, because that is not public information. The fliers are only printing publicly available information.

“There’s really nothing illegal about taking matters of public record and using them for the socially desirable public purpose of encouraging people to participate in their own democratic process,” says Monnat.

The voter report going out to mailboxes this year includes whether or not you voted in November of 2012, August of 2014 as well as November of 2014.

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