By Nicholas Confessore – – – –
A controversial voter-turnout tactic employed by Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in Iowa is cropping up in New Hampshire, this time by way of a mysterious organization about which few public details are available.
Voters in New Hampshire received envelopes in the mail this week claiming to contain “important taxpayer information,” according to Christopher Crawford, who received one of the mailers and posted pictures of it on Twitter. Mr. Crawford, who recently moved to Washington, was visiting his parents at their home in Nashua, N.H., this week when he opened an envelope addressed to him only to find a chart showing the names and voting history of several of his parents’ neighbors.
“What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you voted?” the mailer says, before promising Mr. Crawford that “we plan to mail an updated chart” after the New Hampshire primary.
The mailers were first reported by the legal and crime Web site Law Newz, which obtained a copy from a New Hampshire voter.
The tactic, known as “vote shaming,” is designed to encourage people to turn out to vote. Mr. Cruz’s version, sent to voters in Iowa, contained a stamp suggesting to recipients that they were guilty of an unspecified “voting violation.” The mailer drew condemnation from voting officials in Iowa.
The one in New Hampshire was sent by a group calling itself Public Policy Matters, using a post office box in Manchester, N.H. No political action committee by that name is registered either in New Hampshire or in Federal Election Commission files.
Mr. Crawford, who is a registered Republican, said the neighborhood where his parent live was predominantly made up of Republican or independent voters.
“My guess would be, it is someone who thinks they are doing well with registered Republicans, trying to get them out to vote,” Mr. Crawford said. He was excited to get the mailer, owing to the controversy in Iowa, Mr. Crawford said, but his parents were less happy.
“My mom was not as excited as I was,” Mr. Crawford said. “I went to her, and she said, ‘Why do they have this’? My mom looked at this and was disturbed.”