Mailer raises concerns over voter privacy

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Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 5:31 pm | Updated: 3:40 pm, Fri Sep 20, 2013.

SARASOTA - With the election just seven days away, many Suncoast residents likely have neighbors displaying their party affiliation with yard signs. But what if your neighbors knew your voting history and then approached you about it?

That's the hope of one political action group. And what they're sending through the mail has some Sarasota residents concerned about their privacy.

As odd as it may sound, your voting history -- indicating whether or not you voted in certain elections -- could end up on a mailer, which could end up in your neighbor's mailbox without you even knowing it.

A concerned viewer who received the mailer brought the issue to our attention, so ABC 7 decided to investigate whether or not mailers like this are invading your privacy.

"We do keep voter history on all of the registered voters," says Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent.

We showed her the mailer given to us by an ABC 7 viewer. It contained the viewer's voting history, as well as those of the viewer's neighbors. "No, there’s nothing illegal that I can see. Voter history is public record; how you vote is not public record. We don’t know how anyone votes."

Dent says the mailer, sent out by the Fairfax, Virginia based Americans For Limited Government, is certainly odd, but that it's not invading anyone's privacy. "We see all kinds of things. Every election we see something a little bit different, uh…I've never seen anyone quite like this."

We attempted to contact Americans For Limited Government for their explanation. However, due to superstorm Sandy, we were unable to reach them.

Dent though says while the mailer is strange, there's no need to worry if you find one in your mailbox. "They really shouldn’t be concerned, because whether they voted or not is public record. Anyone can come in and find out whether you voted in 2000, 2008, 2012."

We do want to point out that Americans For Limited Government identifies itself as a non-partisan group.

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