Voting seasons can be tense, no matter what the political climate looks like, but a Manheim Township neighborhood found out just how ugly it can get after 10 people on Crosswick Lane received letters that detailed their neighbors’ names, addresses, and whether or not they voted in the last three elections.
The general consensus in the neighborhood is disgust.
“I just thought it was a waste of a piece of paper,” said a resident who wished to remain anonymous.
The author of the letters, Pennsylvania State Voter Report, is an independent organization that appears to have no website, contact information, or paper trail that explains who they are or their mission.
The return address is a P.O. box in Harrisburg.
“Rather than list peoples’ names, they could have said, ’70 percent of the people in your ZIP code vote in the midterms’ — and it’s probably, definitely lower than that — but it could have said, ‘we want more,'” said the anonymous neighbor.
No neighbors wanted their identities revealed on camera, but we did speak to more than half of the people who received letters. They said they felt like the campaign was offensive and pointless, especially considering that there were only two instances where neighbors didn’t vote — one in the 2014 general election and another in the 2016 primary.
Regardless of the neighborhood’s opinion, the practice is legal. Public voting records that include full names, addresses and voting statuses can be purchased for $20 on a state website.
“Politics are politics, and it’s up to you if you’re gonna let them get you upset or not, it’s how you respond,” said the anonymous neighbor.
The final column of the letter lists Tuesday’s primary date with a question mark. The authors said they plan to mail an updated list after the primary to show everyone, once again, who did and did not vote.
It’s important to note that the records cannot show which candidate people voted for during any election.