The Iowa caucuses are on Monday, so, of course, presidential candidates are out in force, making their last-minute pitches and trying to persuade as many voters to turn out as possible. Nobody seems more determined to increase voter turnout, though, than Ted Cruz. His campaign sent out a mailer that’s more than a little questionable to prospective voters there.
These mailers have, in bold red letters, “Voter Violation,” on them. It tells them that voting records are a matter of public record in Iowa, and the mailers give people their “voting scores,” along with that of their neighbors. It says:
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.
In other words, the Cruz campaign is actively trying to scare voters into caucusing on Monday. The less-informed of those voters might worry that there will be consequences if they don’t go vote. This is a horrible way to go about increasing voter turnout, but it appears that Cruz will sink to any level he thinks will increase his chances of victory. A picture of the mailer is below:
A spokeswoman for Cruz’s campaign confirmed that these mailers did come from them, not from a super-PAC or anyone else. Cruz himself defended the practice, saying:
I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.
So he won’t apologize for deliberately misleading and frightening Iowa voters. Fantastic.
Mother Jones says that this mailer looks like it’s building on social science research showing that guilt-trips are a great way to increase voter turnout. Even so, this is a deliberate attempt to mislead people about not just the availability of their voting records, but also about the State of Iowa’s election and voting laws.
Iowa is understandably angry with Cruz’s campaign for sending this out, saying that he misrepresented the state’s election laws. Iowa’s Secretary of State, Paul Pate, blasted Cruz for this:
Accusing citizens of Iowa of a ‘voting violation’ based on Iowa caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. 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.
He went on to say that his office doesn’t grade people based on their voting records, and they don’t keep records of caucus participation. They also don’t distribute voter records; those records are only available for purchase for political purposes.
Basically, Cruz is using intimidation tactics to force people to the caucuses. He’s making them think that anybody can get a hold of voting records, and he’s possibly trying to make them think that the state of Iowa actually grades them based on their voting history. One has to wonder what some of these people might think will happen to them if they don’t caucus on Monday.
If he’s that scared that low voter turnout will result in a loss for him on Monday, then perhaps he should stick to campaigning in other states, or throw in the towel altogether. This is just low.
Image via screen capture