Voters outraged about letters from Dunleavy campaign

Letter exposes people with a “below average voting record,” comparing info to next door neighbors
Some voters are outraged about a Governor Dunleavy campaign mailer, calling it an invasion of privacy that's designed to shame them into voting
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:36 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Some voters say they are outraged about a campaign letter they received in the mail, calling it an invasion of privacy and clearly designed to shame people into voting.

Near the bottom of the mailer, it states that the letter was paid for by Dunleavy for Governor.

“I can confirm the letters were sent by the Dunleavy campaign,” said Dunleavy campaign spokesperson Andrew Jensen.

When voters received this letter, they didn’t know what to make of it.

At the top of the page, the letter states “public records indicate you have a below average voting record.”

Some thought it was either a prank or sleazy intimidation tactic — and in one case it actually created a rift between neighbors.

The envelope arrived in mailboxes with no return address. It listed several people living nearby in a specific neighborhood — including their addresses — and exposed how many times those people have voted out of the last four elections.

“We are tracking voter turnout,” the bottom of the letter read. “Because this election is so important, we will watch to see how voter turnout is shaping up in your neighborhood and may be back in touch.”

The mailer says it was paid for by Dunleavy for Governor, with a P.O. Box in Anchorage as an address. The letter wasn’t signed and didn’t list any contact information. A Wasilla couple was furious when they read it. They say it also created a rift between someone in their community.

“The neighbor that got the letter originally had thought that we — Cindy and I — were trying to shame her into voting, you know, her and her family,” Steve Ryberg said. “I don’t have any, any notions to know what anybody’s voted, how they voted, when they voted, I don’t care.”

“I would like to ask them why they thought it was okay to send this letter out and how come they didn’t ask if it was okay to release my information to my neighbors,” Cindy Peterson-Ryberg said. “That’s invasive and private.”

Jensen also said the governor’s office can’t comment on campaign questions.

Alaska’s Division of Elections Public Relations Manager Tiffany Montemayor said that their office has received a handful of complaints about the letters. However, since the state voter list is public information, there are no restrictions on how it can be used.

“The letter states it’s public knowledge, but I don’t care, it should not have been released to my neighbors,” Peterson-Ryberg said. “None of their business how many times I’ve voted, and how come you didn’t have the courage to sign it, you’re a chicken.”