LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Some Nevadans have received a campaign mailer that is raising eyebrows. The double-sided postcard states, “Who you vote for is private, but whether you vote is a matter of public records. We will be reviewing public records after the election to determine whether or not you joined your neighbors in voting,” along with a reference to the upcoming election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
“That’s actually a tactic that’s been used by groups to try to actually encourage people to vote,” said Dr. Dan Lee, an associate professor of political science at UNLV.
He pointed to research showing that the strategy works. In a 2008 study, researchers at Yale University concluded that “social pressure increases voter turnout.” “We know that a lot of people don’t vote, especially in midterm elections. They don’t think their vote counts or that it matters so groups are continually trying to get people to turn out and vote and one way is to use social pressure.”
The 8 News Now Investigators reached out to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office about the mailer. A spokesperson wrote in an email, “While this mailer seems aggressive, it does not appear to meet the threshold for voter intimidation.”
The 8 News Now Investigators also reached out to “America Votes” which sent the mailer. The left-leaning political action committee is based in Washington, DC. A spokesperson wrote in an email, “There is a lot at stake in this election and we encourage everyone to make their voice heard. Voters should make a plan to return their ballots before Election Day on November 8th.”
Requests for an interview with a representative and for more information, including how many of the mailers were sent to Nevadans went unanswered.
There is a Las Vegas-based chapter of the PAC. A 2022 overview released Tuesday states that the group is working to “re-elect Catherine Cortez Masto for U.S. Senate, Steve Sisolak for Governor, and the slate of progressive candidates up and down the ballot.”
“I think voter turnout is especially important for democrats in Nevada this year because you know Biden’s approval ratings are low, so republicans have a lot of motivation to turn out to the polls. Not so much the case for democrats,” Lee said. “That’s kind of a concern for democrat campaigns, is trying to get their supporters to turn out and vote.”
The 8 News Now Investigators reached out to the campaigns for Catherine Cortez Masto and Steve Sisolak and did not receive a response.