Neighborhood 'Report Card' Reveals Voting Records

ROGERS, AR-- What if your neighbors knew your voting record? That's the goal behind one group's neighborhood "report cards".

A routine walk to the mailbox played out a little bit differently for roger's resident, Scott Murphy.

Many voters in Benton County received a letter in the mail revealing voting records of their neighbors. Some feel like it's an invasion of privacy and one county clerk fears it might keep people from casting a ballot.

Murphy said, "I thought it was something about the upcoming election but when I actually opened it up and read it I was just stunned. It's more like a public shame is what it feels like when you read the letter."

Murphy opened the envelope delivered to home to find his neighbors' names, addresses and voting records with a line that read "what if your neighbors knew whether you voted?"

Murphy said, "It felt like I was being put on display. It's like someone is trying to shame me into casting my ballot."

The information on the letter that came on Friday is public record and it's available for anyone to find. The Benton County Clerk's Office started receiving calls of complaints from folks feeling like their privacy had been invaded.

County Clerk, Tena O'Brien started making some calls. She said, "It is public information so you can walk into this office and find out their voting history, find out their date of birth, their telephone number and their address. I've never heard of this group.

The organization sending these 'report cards' to people is called "Arkansas State Voter Program" and is listed as a project of "A Public Voice Incorporated".

O'Brien said, "I did call the secretary of state's office in their business division to check the incorporation name and nothing was located."

A return address was labeled on the letter -- the sixth floor of an office building with no suite number. A visit to the address revealed no trace of the "Arkansas State Voter Program".

O'Brien worries these mailers might keep people from paying a visit to the polls. "I think it gives them an uneasy feeling. That may deter folks from voting."

Folks like Murphy are left wondering what else people might be able to find. Murphy said, "Being able to pull voting records and I don't even know what else. That's a little dis-concerning now."

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