Voters slow to turn in their ballots for the Nov. 6 general election may have gotten a little jolt in their mailboxes recently—for some, an unwelcome flashback to days of seeing an evaluation of your performance determined by grades on a report card.
Mail pieces from the Demcoratic Party of Oregon come with a big red banner announcing "Voter Report Card."
In a scale that borrows from the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where everybody is above average, there are no failing marks on the voter report card, just the designations "excellent" (voted in all three of the last general elections); "good" (voted in two of three); and "average (voted in just one of the last three).
"Who you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote is public information," the mailer says. "We are sending this voter report care to show how often you vote and to help you keep track of how you're doing."
If that sounds a little paternalistic and even borders on shaming those who haven't yet filled out their ballots, the DPO makes no apologies.
DPO spokesperson Molly Woon says the technique isn't new. Other progressive groups sent similar mailers in 2014, Woon says, and other groups send them in different jurisdictions because they are effective in energizing voters.
Woon adds that the response from report card recipients is far more positive than negative.
"We get some people who are upset because they feel they are being pressured," she says. "But mostly we get calls from voters saying 'thanks' and asking questions about where they can take their ballots or how they can participate."
Ballots must be received at an official ballot drop site by 8 pm on Nov. 6 in order to be counted.