Pasco Election Chief Fears Mailers will Cause Confusion
Third-party voter registration drives can be misleading, officials say.
Nine-year-olds were asked to register to vote. Pets received mailers asking them to do the same. Legally registered voters were led to believe they needed to do so again.
That kind of confusion was common during the 2008 election year as third-party registration drives targeted Florida heavily in their efforts to get people to the polls, said Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.
Corley is taking a preemptive strike this year to help ensure local voters aren’t misled by documents that may arrive in their mailboxes.
“Third-party groups can cause issues,” Corley said, explaining they often purchase mailing lists that aren’t 100 percent accurate. Those lists might result in registration materials being sent to children, pets and those who are already legally registered to vote. “When in doubt, check with us.”
Corley’s warning was issued after he learned that the Voter Participation Center intends to conduct a voter registration mailer this month. That group, he said, also held a similar drive in 2008 that led to confusion for voters.
"What I want everyone to be aware of is that this campaign is being led by an independent group that is not affiliated with my office," Corley said in a media release. "Their information regarding your voter registration may or may not be accurate, and I would encourage anyone with questions to contact my office."
While Corley applauds efforts to get people registered to vote, he said third-party mailers in 2008 created a lot of unnecessary work and worry.
“We aren’t going down this road again,” he said.
The problem, Corley said, is that “they were using a consumer mailing list with their source and not matching up with the Florida voter registration system.”
Corley recently sent a letter to Women’s Voices, Women Vote in Washington, D.C., which is responsible for the Voter Participation Center. In the letter, he implored the organization to handle this year’s drive differently.
Corley’s not against third-party registration drives. Rather, he said, he wants to make sure they are handled in a way that helps residents rather than confuses them.
“Obviously, I’m all for voter registration,” he said. “Any group that does that is great with me.”
To find out about registering directly through Corley’s office or to check on the status of registration, visit PascoVotes.com.
“We’re the one stop, save all, end all,” he said.