Friday night in Iowa, images of a yellow piece of mail that was sent out to Iowa residents that was headlined with the words, “Voting Violation” Imagine the surprise of the voters who received this when they realized it was just a political mailer, not official electoral mail from their country, town or state. No, the residents were being bamboozled with a political flyer from Republican candidate for President, Senator Ted Cruz, (R-TX). The manila envelope that residents received had inside of it, an official looking yellow document.
The text of the letter stated that, “You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.” The Cruz campaign admits sending the mailer which also targeted individual Iowa voters and identified them as having failed to vote in prior elections. Residents were at first mystified as to what the mailer really was but then realized that it was a dubious campaign flyer. Images of the letter started showing up on Twitter with residents taking aim at the Cruz campaign. One twitter user even went on to say to the Cruz campaign, “your brilliant public shaming campaign has inspired me to caucus on Monday…For @realDonaldTrump.” In less than 3 days to the caucus polling in Iowa, it appears that the Ted Cruz campaign has fired up voters for Donald Trump!
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate was taken aback by the flyers also and commented on debacle. Pate said, “Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law. Accusing citizens of Iowa of a voting violation based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”
Pate also went on to say that Iowa does not “grade” voters and “that the Iowa Secretary of State does not “distribute” voter records. They are available for purchase for political purposes only, under Iowa Code.” It is not clear if the Cruz campaign will face repercussions from the mailer. Voters though are making their judgement on the Cruz campaign’s use of such a unscrupulous mailer and they are not thinking favorably about it. Tom Hinkeldey said of the flyer, “I get that we’re in a critical time for politicians’ time in Iowa. I just felt like it’s such a weird way to get voters to caucus for them,” he said. “I haven’t donated [money to campaigns]; I haven’t done much. I do plan to caucus for Marco because Ted encouraged me to.” Hinkeldey also said that the flyer gave his neighbors a grade “F” but they’re good people. Encouraging people to vote by shaming them is an interesting way to people to the polls. Unfortunately for Cruz, his mailer has only driven people to vote for his opposition.