I just learned I’m a failure as a voter; what about you?
Just before Tuesday’s election, I received a flyer in the mail listing both my “voting record” — a percentage of how often I voted — and a “turnout rate” — a grade between A and F for how often I voted.
I think this is wrong.
More concerning, they listed some of my neighbors by name and told me their “voting records” and and “turnout rates” — I think this is more wrong.
While they painted my neighbors in a more favorable light than me, I was shocked.
Is it legal to release my neighbors voting records to me?
Worse, I’m a member of the press — while the people who created the flyer probably didn’t know that, it was a risk they were taking. What if I were so inclined to list my neighbors’ names and records in the Dublin Citizen?
But the principle is still there. I’m sure I’m not the only journalist who received this flyer.
Why do I think it’s wrong?
First, it’s possibly a violation of the law. I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the Texas secretary of state makes our personal voting records available — for a charge to cover expenses — to lobby groups and political action committees.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a little uncomfortable with that idea.
But that is legal.
Will the secretary of state give these records to anyone else?
Yes, but not to just anyone. It is not public record. Not just anyone can access it.
So the people who made these flyers — The Club for Growth, a Tea Party lobby organization — took information that is not public record — my neighbor’s voting record — and released it to me, not only a private citizen but a journalist.
The second reason I dislike this practice is because Club for Growth is using propaganda to try to shame people into voting, even if they aren’t prepared to vote.
You may have read my column written before about not voting if you haven’t taken the time to research and know who or what you’re voting for.
I feel strongly that it’s better to not vote than to vote ignorantly — who knows what you’re unleashing on yourself and your fellow citizens by just clicking on a name or issue without knowing about them.
I’ll tell anyone who asks about my voting record — I’m not so worried about myself.
It’s the principle — a lobby group creating pressure out of a desire to promote its agenda.
Dykowski is the publisher of the Dublin Citizen and can be reached at 445-2515 and firstname.lastname@example.org .