Ted Cruz's Get Out The Vote Idea: Shame And Threaten Voters By Name

What in the world possessed Ted Cruz's campaign to do this days before the Iowa caucus?

Candidates are fighting fast and furious for every vote possible in Monday's Iowa caucus, but only Ted Cruz's campaign thought it would be a good idea to shame voters for their past votes.

Cruz's campaign sent out "report cards" to voters that grade them on caucus participation; even worse, the mailers grade voters' neighbors too. 

Iowa residents who didn't caucus enough in the past for Cruz's liking got yellow notices with "VOTING VIOLATION" emblazoned in red across the top. 

A bunch of Iowans who just failed Cruz's test aren't happy with the GOP hopeful. 


The finger wagging notice reads:

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 notice on the mailers indicate they come from Cruz's official campaign group.

Well, this is certainly one way to get voters' attention. If your ideas and policies don't excite the electorate, threaten to shame them before AND after the caucus. 

The thing is, as distasteful as shaming voters may be, it might just work. The Washington Post describes an experiment from a decade ago that suggested the mere threat of publicizing to neighbors who does and doesn't vote helped get people to the polls.

And Cruz isn't the only one to use such tactics. Move On, a progressive public policy organization, released similar mailers in 2012 for Barack Obama.

But that doesn't mean people in Iowa are happy with Cruz right now. Iowa's secretary of state, Paul Pate, condemned the mailer in a statement.

"Accusing citizens of Iowa of a 'voting violation' based on Iowa caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act," Pate, a Republican, said. "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."

Cruz doesn't care. 

"I will apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote," he said Saturday.

For someone who constantly rails against government intrusion, Ted Cruz has a funny way of showing he respects voters' privacy.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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