An Open Letter to the Republican National Committee Regarding Early Voting in Arizona and the Privacy of the Voting Public

October 6, 2010
by carlsnodgrass

(Dated: October 6, 2010)

Dear Chairman Steele and the various members of the RNC:

In the last week, Long Distance Voter, a nonprofit, non-partisan voter assistance organization, has received a flood of angry emails from Arizona residents about a mailing they received.

Without our knowledge, the Republican National Committee sent Arizona residents an “Early Voting Ballot Application,” using a form we make available for absentee voters.  

All of our forms are public and available for anyone to download and distribute.

However, the RNC sent the application, which asks for sensitive personal information, in the form of an 8.5”x5.5” postcard. 

This puts voters who have chosen to respond in a position that leaves them vulnerable to potential identity theft.  Many angry residents complained to us, rightly noting that these forms should never be mailed without an envelope.

Furthermore, the only contact information the postcard mailer provides are Long Distance Voter’s email address and the return address for the county clerk’s office. 

I spoke to a clerk for Navajo County, AZ, who contacted us because she too has been inundated with angry calls from voters in her county.  Many voters who received this mailing assumed it was a joint and unsolicited effort on our parts to expose them to identity theft.

This mailer is irresponsible and misleading.  (A PDF of the entire mailer, kindly scanned for us by a voter, can be viewed here.)   I have written to both your national and Arizona branch about this matter but have heard nothing from you in return.

We do not wish to stop you from mailing our forms to voters.  We ask only that 1) the forms be mailed with a return envelope so that personal information is kept safe; and 2) the RNC make it clear in your mailing that Long Distance Voter is an unaffiliated nonpartisan organization. Otherwise, you potentially jeopardize our nonprofit status and our ability to continue providing services to voters nationwide.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.  The security of the voting public, not to mention the integrity and continued existence of Long Distance Voter, depends on it.

Sincerely,

Carl Snodgrass, Associate Director of Long Distance Voter

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