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Marion County political flyer says your neighbors will know if you voted or not

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 29, 2015) - You may have gotten it in your mailbox this week, it’s a political flier that looks a lot like a government document. It’s got a lot of people, Republicans in particular, pretty upset.

“It’s certainly I think in poor taste and I certainly wouldn’t advocate to intimidate voters like this,” said Kyle Walker, Chair of the Marion County Republican Party.

The flyer was sent to thousands of Marion County voters telling them they’ll be receiving a “report card” with their voting history, following Tuesday’s election.

“When you read it, it’s very intimidating. It says that they’re essentially going to publicize to you and your neighbors whether or not you voted,” said Walker.

Walker takes issue with what the flyer says:

“Who you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote is public record. In a week we’ll be sending you and your neighbors a report card that summarizes your recent voting history.”

“This is something unique. I’ve never seen this tactic before. It’s very aggressive and again, I think it’s intimidating to most voters and maybe even a little creepy,” said Walker.

The flyer looks like a government document. It does not endorsing a particular candidate and it provides government websites and phone numbers.

The flyer was paid for by the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee.

In a statement the state Democratic Party says:

“From Indiana having the worst voter turnout in the nation last year to Statehouse Republicans’ long history of making the right to vote more difficult, the Indiana Democratic Party is doing everything possible to keep Marion County residents engaged by reminding them that this year is also an election year for municipal races across the county.”

Early voter turnout has plummeted. According to the Marion County Clerk, early in person voting at the Clerk’s office is down 43 percent this year compared to 2011.

“In a heavily democratic county like Marion County, democrats need a higher turnout and so I think they’re trying to gin up some votes here on Election Day,” said IndyStar political columnist Tim Swarens.

Swarens says the flyer may be an aggressive attempt to drum up Democratic support. With major city council elections looming, the majority party of council, is hanging in the balance. Currently controlled by Democrats, if voters don’t show up, Swarens says that control could switch to Republicans.

“To say that they’re going to release what is personal information and particularly neighbors information to me walks up to a line, it may not cross a line, but it walks up to the line. I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as intimidation though,” he said.