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Parties use new tactics to encourage turnout

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Political operatives have adopted some unconventional tactics to get out the vote leading up to today’s midterm election.

Voters have seen the expected flurry of television ads and direct mailers for weeks. Volunteers and candidates have waved signs and made phone calls.

But for the first time ever, the state Democratic Party is sending a letter to registered voters informing them that voting records are public information.

“My understanding is other states have done that and had great success,” said Larry Puccio, state Democratic Party chairman.

The letter informs voters that whether they cast a ballot is a matter of public record, but not whom they vote for.

“We will be reviewing these records after the election to determine whether you joined other citizens who voted in 2014,” the letter says.

It also provides hours the polls are open and how a voter may confirm his or her registration.

Puccio said once the election is over, Democrats will discuss how the letter affected voter turnout. He said while some people may be concerned about their privacy, voter registration information is commonly used by political groups.

“The truth is it’s public information,” he said.

Some in the national media have come to refer to the practice as “voter shaming…

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