In Florida, a group is mailing voter registration forms in the mail to possible voters in the state, asking voters to confirm with the state’s Division of Elections that they are US citizens and have not committed a felony. The mail is official-looking but some voters have expressed suspicion over the letters.
The letters are actually being sent by a group known as the Voter Participation Center, not by elections officials. The Voter Participation Center is a Washington-based organization that is trying to increase voter participation, especially among minorities and among women. The organization is run by Women’s Voices, Women Vote. The group purchased voter registration data and is sending the letters to ensure that as many qualified voters get to vote.
The Voter Participation Center was established in 2004 and aims to increase the number of women voting. Single women account for about 55 million potential voters, making them one of the biggest voting populations. Since 2004, the organization has also focused on minorities, another large bloc of potential voters. According to the group, about 40% of minorities and single women are not registered to vote, which impacts democracy.
However, some registered voters who have received the letters are confused, especially since they claim the letters do not clearly state information about the Voter Participation Center and Women’s Voices, Women Vote. In addition, some voters are getting the letters after they are already registered to vote, and this is creating confusion about their status to vote. Florida voters are already facing confusion over new voter ID laws and attempts to purse voting roll of non-US citizens.
The Voter Participation Center is mailing letters to people who are on residential databases but who are not on the Florida list of registered voters at their current place of residence. This means that some of the letters are going to people who have registered to vote in the past but who are not yet registered to vote for this year. Since the information the group purchased is not completely up-to-date, it also means that some letters are being sent to people who have moved and who have registered to vote at their new place of residence.
The Voter Participation Center tends to be left-leaning, with the board of directors staffed by a man who worked on both President Bill Clinton’s and President Barack Obama’s campaigns. However, the organization is officially nonpartisan. According to the group, the Voter Participation Center consulted with the state Division of Elections to ensure that the letters sent complied with law