Friday, October 15, 2010
End Campaign Calls--At A Privacy Price
Early voting for the November Election began Monday and FEN has learned the McHenry County Democratic Party has asked for the names of everyone who's done it. That way callers won't waste any time pitching people when it's already too late to change their minds.
"It's public information," said McHenry County Clerk Kathie Schultz. "It has been as long as I've been here (50 years)," she said. "Of course, it used to be on paper."
Indeed, Schultz said these days she's required to load the names of each day's early voters into an Illinois State Board of Elections database where Board attorney Ken Menzel reported they're available to all and sundry.
"Anyone can get information as to who's voted early or absentee," he said. "Political Action Committees can get them from the State Board of Elections website."
McHenry County Democratic Party Chairman Mike Bissett said Thursday his people aren't trying to invade voters' privacy. By striking off the names of early voters from call lists, he said, his people were trying save time and money but, just as important, disturb people as little as possible. "We know some people don't like to be called," he said, "especially if they've already voted, anyway."
In fact, Bisset said his county organization was trying to pass the names along to Democratic candidates who appear higher on the ballot so they won't call, either.
McHenry County Republican Chairman Mike Tryon said the County GOP isn't tracking local early voters. "Some of the State campaigns might be, though," he said.
In the pic: No one was working the phones at McHenry County Democratic Headquarters in Algonquin Thursday evening. It's a safe bet they will be soon, though.