Voters recently received mailers from the GOP that attempted to shame and frighten them into voting for alleged unregistered sex offender Donald Trump.
“When the Democrats win the election and you didn’t do your part to stop it,” this blatant attempt at voter intimidation warns, “your neighbors will know.” That flier was part of the New Mexico Republican Party’s campaign to encourage early voting.
It’s almost as though state Republicans are worried about women claiming to support Donald Trump, the alleged unregistered sex offender, while secretly voting for Hillary Clinton.
“I feel like this is a threat,” Dusty Deen told New Mexico In Depth. The 35-year-old man from Roswell explained that the GOP’s mailer shows a scared woman peeking out from behind her window blinds “as though she voted for Hillary and they’re forming a mob.” Although he’s not affiliated with either party, Deen called in to complain about this flat out illegal voter intimidation campaign.
‘I called the New Mexico GOP office. I inquired as to their implications of the flier, which they told me was to get me to vote. The implication was unclear. This seemed like a threat that my neighbors might retaliate against me.’
Nor was Dusty Deen the only one to react this way. Albuquerque, New Mexico resident Anthony Tennent posted photos of the flier to his Facebook page before tossing it in the trash. The Daily Beast got hold of it after Tennent’s friend, Jake Moffitt, shared photos of the Republican Party’s shameful attempt at voter intimidation to a political chat group on Facebook.
The front of the flier shows the woman peering through the blinds as the flier warns that her neighbors will know if she doesn’t do her part to stop the Democrats from winning. The text then urges the recipient to “apply to vote by mail today!” Because, apparently, these Republicans don’t see voting as a right, they see it as something we have to “apply” for.
The back of the GOP’s mailer takes the voter intimidation factor up a notch with an aerial photo of a suburban tract. Several houses, whose adult residents have presumably sent in their ballots early, are ominously shown with huge check marks.
“Do your part…Vote in this election,” the flier grimly intones.
‘After all, voting is a matter of public record. Your neighbors need you. Apply to vote by mail today!’
W. Tucker Keene from the New Mexico GOP confirmed that they sent out the flier. When The Daily Beast asked further questions about the voter intimidation, Keene hung up on them.
Jake Moffitt told The Daily Beast:
‘It sounded pretty damn sinister, honestly. He said there was a map on it with a bunch of question marks around local houses. I’m glad it’s getting some attention, because holy shIt.’
New Mexico In Depth points out that while voting is a matter of public record, how you voted is not. But the GOP is likely counting on people not realizing this fine but important distinction. A 2006 study reported by The New Yorker suggests that threatening to shame voters works for getting out the vote. Whether voter intimidation works for getting people to toe the party line remains to be seen.
Voter intimidation is against the law.
Republicans keep going on about their “law-abiding citizens,” so perhaps they’ve forgotten that voter intimidation is against the law. Federal Law from 18 U.S. Code § 594 on intimidation of voters states:
‘Whoever […] attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.’
These ads also seem likely to scare the elderly, especially women, who may not realize that today’s technologies won’t enable neighbors to know how you voted. 19 percent of New Mexico’s registered voters are age 65 and older, and a good number of them re likely registered Republicans. No wonder some concerned citizens are contacting the FBI.
— Gina (@redhed67) October 18, 2016
This comes less than a year after the FBI investigated New Mexico’s GOP Gov. Susana Martinez for some shady fundraisers. This is not the first time Republicans have employed these tactics. Back in February, Ted Cruz made raised hackles in Iowa with his terrifying “Voting Violations.”
— Granny (@Grannytologist) February 2, 2016
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is claiming the 2016 election will be rigged and calling for “poll watchers” to hover around polls to scare away likely Democratic voters. That may very well backfire on him.
— Michael Herzing (@MHerz67) October 13, 2016
Here’s the video with Wochit’s report on the New Mexico Republican Party’s shameful attempt at voter intimidation/
Featured Image: Anthony Tennent via The Daily Beast.