Some Pasco County voters say they are getting confused by mailings from a voter registration group asking them to submit an application to vote-by-mail, even though they’ve already signed up.
But the group responsible for the mailings say they made it clear it was not official, and if they had already signed up for the service, they wouldn’t need to do it again.
“The majority of the voters we are hearing from have already requested vote-by-mail ballots, and this is confusing to them,” said Pasco County elections supervisor Brian Corley, in a release. “It creates suspicion and mistrust about what happened to the vote-by-mail request they already had on file.”
The applications are coming from the Voter Participation Center, a Tallahassee group founded by Page Gardner that was originally known as Women’s Voices Women Vote. Corley said the group launched voter registration campaigns in 2008 and 2012 using outdated consumer data lists. Voters who already were registered received applications, which confused them and made them question their voter registration status, county election officials said.
Jim Popkin, a spokesman for Voter Participation Center, told The Laker/Lutz News late Friday that if there is confusion, it’s not the organization’s fault.
“We have gone out of our way in this mailing to make it clear that the Voter Participation Center is not a governmental entity,” Popkin said. That includes a sentence, outlined with a box, that said, “If you already submitted an absentee ballot request for the 2014 primary election… there is no need to submit another request. Please disregard this mailing.”
Popkin also included a copy of the mailing, which you can read by clicking here.
Voting registration is up for the county, with registered voters recently crossing the 300,000 mark for the first time since 2012, according to the elections supervisor’s website. That’s up 11 percent over the last decade, with independents getting the biggest boost with an increase of nearly 37 percent over that time, compared to a 6.5 percent jump for Republicans and a 1.1 percent gain for Democrats.
Those who are not sure of the status of their vote-by-mail ballot can call (800) 851-8754, or click here.
This story was updated 7/18/14 at 7:05 p.m. to reflect the response from Voter Participation Center.