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Boone County warns of voter mail solicitation

Boone County clerk Wendy Noren warned voters Thursday about a voter mail solicitation that tells the recipient they are not registered to vote.

Noren said her office has received about 50 calls about the letter so far this week along with dozens of letters sent back to the county clerk’s office with notes attached.

“Every single county clerk is dealing with this this week,” she said.

The mailing is from the Voter Participation Center, a non-profit organization based out of Washington, DC. According to Noren, the group uses commercial mailing lists to try to match those to the state voter database to determine who is not registered. She said the notice is also being mailed to deceased or underage voters, as well as non-citizens with a return address for the Boone County Clerk’s office.

Cheryl Brewer, a Columbia resident, said a letter addressed to her adult daughter was sent to her home last week. She said her daughter hasn’t lived in Boone County for nearly 20 years.

“I just thought it was an awfully old list,” she said. “I didn’t really think about it being in a fraudulent way so much, but I did question it because it’s been so long since she’s been here.”

Brewer sent the letter back to the clerk’s office to let them know her daughter no longer lived at that address and hadn’t for a very long time.

“I worry about the election and fraud and things to happen maybe that I don’t want to happen,” she said. “So I did worry about the list that it came from.”

Noren said the non-profit’s data matching methods are causing confusion. The mailings also gave the wrong deadline. They claim the voter registration applications must be postmarked by October 17, but the actual deadline in Missouri is October 12.

On its website, the Voter Participation Center put out a statement apologizing for the incorrect deadline.

“VPC takes full responsibility for the error,” said VPC President Page Gardner. “In order to correct the mistake, VPC is mailing a postcard correcting the error to all 95,000 Missourians, and has written a letter of apology to Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.”

But Noren said she’s worried the confusion will turn voters away from voting in November.

“This just causes people to believe there’s a problem with the system when, in fact, there’s not,” she said. “I can assure you every county clerk, every election official in the state is watching these forms very closely to make sure we don’t get any erroneous registrations on here.”

Voters who receive forms saying they are not registered are encouraged to go to the County Clerk website to verify voter registration. You can also call the clerk’s office at 573-886-4375.

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