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Old 03-23-2020, 03:18 PM
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Strange voting spam?


Although I am in favor of citizens voting, I am not in favor of spam.

Today, I received a suspicious postcard. There was no return address or sender name other than "Susie."

Front of postcard

Back of postcard (with my name and address blanked out) My name and addr was in green ink with similar writing to the rest of the card.

Note the postmark from Oakland, CA. I live in Wisconsin, and this postcard seems to refer to local elections.

So what is this? The "handwritten" text is likely computer generated. Not all letters match, but there are computer fonts designed to be modified at random to appear non-computer generated. Even the crudely written address was "handwritten." I can't believe some human sat down to write multiple cards like this by hand.

It doesn't appear to have any political bias or agenda. Yet if it were from some source like the League of Women Voters or other neutral group, why hide the source?

What is this?
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:28 PM
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The only Sue, Susie, or Susan I know happens to be involved with the local League of Women Voters, but she claims the LWV is not responsible for this and knows nothing about it. Who is spending such money anonymously?
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:42 PM
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It's a postcard from Indivisible Chicago Alliance. It says so right on the card. If you go to that link you'll see something that looks a lot like your postcard (blue Wisconsin with a cheese wedge) labeled "host a postcard party".

Their current goal is to send 2,000,000 postcards to voters in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Quote:
Weíll send you postcards, addresses, and instructions for FREE! Just recruit some friends, stamps, and get writing.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:59 PM
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I tend to take these things at face value. My guess is that it is an individual or small set of activists in Oakland, who realize that their vote in California is irrelevant and so are sending out postcards to registered Democrats in the swing state of Wisconsin to get out the vote. If it is a computerized font, its a pretty sophisticated one. Although all the letters are similarly constructed, none of them exactly match. It doesn't take that much time to jot down a quick note, If you can crank out one ever two minutes that's about 33 cents at $10.00 an hour, less than the cost of the stamp.

ETA: or what lance Trubo said.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 03-23-2020 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:31 PM
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Thanks, Lance Turbo & Buck Godot. What a stupid, wasteful and offensive campaign. Ordinarily, I don't follow any spammer's instructions on principle, but this puts me in a quandary.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:41 PM
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I'm not seeing how it's stupid, wasteful, or offensive.

Being encouraged to go vote is not offensive.

Being given legitimate information about how to receive an absentee ballot is not spam.

These people are doing important work, especially in an age where misinformation regarding voting days and polling places is so distressingly common.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:48 PM
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Then why are they going to such extremes to disguise their message? Signing "Susie" isn't an honest way of sending a message; it's pretending to be someone they are not. Why do you think it wasn't printed in Times New Roman or Helvetica, but a pseudo-handwritten font? Why was no return address included? Were they ashamed of where it came from? This is not an informative letter with useful information; it's unwanted and crafted to mislead. That's pretty much the definition of spam.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:50 PM
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My sister participates in stuff like that. I'm proud of her. It's like a Get Out The Vote deal, and she spends her own time trying to encourage others to vote. Also, I'm proud of her for it.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Then why are they going to such extremes to disguise their message? Signing "Susie" isn't an honest way of sending a message; it's pretending to be someone they are not. Why do you think it wasn't printed in Times New Roman or Helvetica, but a pseudo-handwritten font? Why was no return address included? Were they ashamed of where it came from? This is not an informative letter with useful information; it's unwanted and crafted to mislead. That's pretty much the definition of spam.
It has already been pointed out to you that the source of the postcard is printed right on the postcard.

It has also been pointed out to you that the postcard likely came from an organized "postcard party" and therefore did it fact come from an actual human being.

I agree that somebody is going to extremes here, but it's not the person who sent you that postcard.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:16 PM
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It has also been pointed out to you that the postcard likely came from an organized "postcard party" and therefore did it fact come from an actual human being.
Not likely. Can you imagine the time it would take to write all of that shit? Some dude printed it.
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I agree that somebody is going to extremes here, but it's not the person who sent you that postcard.
Someone who thinks they will have an effect, but is delusional, attempted to hide by not providing their name. That's a waste in so many ways.

Note the sig was not "Chicago Alliance", which would have been at least honest, but "Susie," which was probably not. This was intentional fraud.

This was not a personal note; it was advertising spam. Not much different from the telephone spam I get every day pretending to know what kind of car I have and offering to extend my warranty, or reduce my credit card interest rates or ship me a "free" medical alert device.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:30 PM
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Advertising for what? The organization that you didn't notice?
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:33 PM
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Not likely. Can you imagine the time it would take to write all of that shit?
Heh, so this all boils down to you being unable to conceive of activism that takes time? Got it. Say no more.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:40 PM
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Then why are they going to such extremes to disguise their message? Signing "Susie" isn't an honest way of sending a message; it's pretending to be someone they are not. Why do you think it wasn't printed in Times New Roman or Helvetica, but a pseudo-handwritten font? Why was no return address included? Were they ashamed of where it came from? This is not an informative letter with useful information; it's unwanted and crafted to mislead. That's pretty much the definition of spam.
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Not likely. Can you imagine the time it would take to write all of that shit? Some dude printed it.Someone who thinks they will have an effect, but is delusional, attempted to hide by not providing their name. That's a waste in so many ways.

Note the sig was not "Chicago Alliance", which would have been at least honest, but "Susie," which was probably not. This was intentional fraud.

This was not a personal note; it was advertising spam. Not much different from the telephone spam I get every day pretending to know what kind of car I have and offering to extend my warranty, or reduce my credit card interest rates or ship me a "free" medical alert device.
Oh, good grief.

It's from a postcard party. A batch of people sit down together and write postcards for a couple of hours. The Democratic Party in my county also holds the things; I get notices for them, though I haven't yet made it to one. There is almost certainly an actual Susie who personally wrote that, in her actual handwriting, and honestly signed her actual name. And it does say that it's from the Chicago Alliance, so no they're not ashamed of or trying to hide which group is writing the postcards.

If you google Chicago Alliance postcard party you'll get lots of hits. Here's a couple.

https://www.indivisiblechicago.com/postcard-posse

https://www.meetup.com/Resist-Chicago/events/267362683/
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:46 PM
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From Thorny Locust's first link:
Over 320,000 postcards have been written to Wisconsin Voters!



OMG. I hope nobody paranoid got one!
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:52 PM
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omg. I hope nobody paranoid got one!
:d
NOT LIKELY.

edit: I GUESS THE WHOLE POST CAN'T BE IN CAPS?

Last edited by Johnny Bravo; 03-23-2020 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:53 PM
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...There is almost certainly an actual Susie who personally wrote that, in her actual handwriting, and honestly signed her actual name...
How gullible can you get?
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:10 PM
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It is 100% hand written and signed by an actual Suzie.

That's the whole point of the campaign. Send postcards with handwritten notes to Wisconsin and Michigan voters. This is one of the things this organization does. They started for the 2018 election and you are witnessing their 2020 effort.

More info: 2020 Postcard Posse
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:12 PM
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Tweet from a postcard party (with pictures).

Another.

Last edited by Lance Turbo; 03-23-2020 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:46 PM
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How gullible can you get?
I agree. Freaking out about postcard conspiracies is really ridiculous.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:21 AM
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So, you never received any junk mail before in your life? Throw it away and stop obsessing over it.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust
...There is almost certainly an actual Susie who personally wrote that, in her actual handwriting, and honestly signed her actual name...
How gullible can you get?
If I were forced to bet, I'd think it 95+%(*) that it came from an actual "postcard party," but barely 70% that the writer was actually 'Susie.' But please forgive 'Susie' ó she wasn't trying to scam you by writing a fake name, especially since you don't even know her! Maybe she got tired of writing 'Susanna.' Maybe her real name is 'Edna' and it seems too old-fashioned. If I were at a postcard party, I might think of something more chic than 'Septimus.'
(* - I upgraded this from 90+% when I noticed that the 'i' in 'elections' was not dotted.)

Get out the vote drives are as much a part of American electoral campaigns as shaking hands and kissing babies. (I walked a precinct when I was 16.)

I won't estimate the cost or difficulty of producing that postcard by machine ó you have the original, maybe experts here can recommend tests of the ink ó but it would probably be cheaper than paying people to write the message and address by hand. But the people who wrote that postcard were NOT paid, they were volunteers trying to advance American democracy. I'm glad to see political activism is still alive and well in America. Even in the unlikely event that the postcard was machine-printed, Susie's message is correct: "This is one of the most important elections of our lifetime."

HTH, but Musicat seems certain he already knows the answer....
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:40 AM
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I can’t believe the paranoia, I remember doing a similar thing in college and I’m well aware of the postcard writing parties in Chicago. With Illinois having a later primary, writing those postcards in January and February was something to do during the winter doldrums and meet up with fellow activists. No one was paid except maybe there was some coffee or sodas brought in. I would have done them myself but my handwriting is atrocious.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:51 AM
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I canít believe the paranoia, I remember doing a similar thing in college and Iím well aware of the postcard writing parties in Chicago. With Illinois having a later primary, writing those postcards in January and February was something to do during the winter doldrums and meet up with fellow activists. No one was paid except maybe there was some coffee or sodas brought in. I would have done them myself but my handwriting is atrocious.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:12 AM
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If it is a computerized font, its a pretty sophisticated one. Although all the letters are similarly constructed, none of them exactly match.
I think that's the mark nowadays of a half decent "hand written" font. From a randomly chosen description:
" It includes 30 ligatures and a full set of lowercase alternates to make your text more realistic."

That said, this one would be pretty high end. Lol.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:55 AM
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The whole point of the campaign is that a card which is hand-written by an actual person who actually cares will more readily get someone's attention than boilerplate junk mail. I guess that's what happened, here, but only because the person getting the card is offended and would PREFER that it be junk mail.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:00 AM
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What a bizarre thing to be irate about.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:06 AM
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I live in WI, and I got a very lengthy postcard (writer crammed a lot of words in there, rivaling my AP physics cheat sheet writing way back when). It seems to be actual handwriting, too, with actual indentations from the pen here and there, but I could be wrong.

That, plus a couple of e-mails from the offices of local campaigns, leads me to believe that there's a strong push to get out the vote in WI, and in particular they are pushing early absentee voting and one race for a judge that's considered pretty crucial on April 7.

E-mails from national campaign groups have long been touting WI as being an important battleground state for the upcoming elections, so I'm not surprised we're getting a little attention this time around. Maybe they learned a lesson or two from the last presidential elections.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:07 AM
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My group sends these. We get together and hand write them for elections in other areas just to encourage people to vote. Now, we send them to people who we believe the way we want people to vote, i.e. we send them to people who frequently vote in democratic primaries, for example, as they're more likely to pull the lever for a D candidate. But we do hand write every one.

We sent several thousand to D primary voters when Doug Jones was running for Senate in Alabama, for example. The goal was to bring more likely voters to the polls. The catch people's attention and to move just a bit more people out.

No conspiracy here. Just good electioneering.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:08 AM
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How gullible can you get?
Not gullible at all. I actually send the cards. I get them, fill them out and sign my own personal name to them. Affix a stamp and put it out through the USPS.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:24 AM
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My group sends these. We get together and hand write them for elections in other areas just to encourage people to vote. Now, we send them to people who we believe the way we want people to vote, i.e. we send them to people who frequently vote in democratic primaries, for example, as they're more likely to pull the lever for a D candidate. But we do hand write every one.

We sent several thousand to D primary voters when Doug Jones was running for Senate in Alabama, for example. The goal was to bring more likely voters to the polls. The catch people's attention and to move just a bit more people out.

No conspiracy here. Just good electioneering.
Exactly. Thereís a large group of voters who canít be reached by text or phone and probably wonít be canvassed. The postcards provide an inexpensive and effective way to reach them. Think of how many Dopers say they have a mobile phone but never use it except for emergencies, those are the ideal targets for a postcard campaign, which are more unique than typical direct mail which gets tossed out with the pizza coupons from the place you hate.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:52 AM
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Yeah, my wife spends about thirty minutes a day writing these, often while we sit down in the evening to watch a show. It's one of her primary forms of activism these days. I think her focus is on voters in Georgia, encouraging them to request an absentee ballot, but I'm not really sure. The idea that it's "gullible" to think a real person wrote these is just ignorant.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:17 PM
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My group sends these. We get together and hand write them for elections in other areas just to encourage people to vote. Now, we send them to people who we believe the way we want people to vote, i.e. we send them to people who frequently vote in democratic primaries, for example, as they're more likely to pull the lever for a D candidate. But we do hand write every one...Just good electioneering.
Aha! So you're the source!

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What a bizarre thing to be irate about.
We all pick our battles, no?

I'm not paranoid about this. No harm comes from fraud, as the buck stops here. But this kind of campaign is highly dishonest. Not unexpected; most political campaigns are.

Interestingly, I showed this card to our town clerk and one of our supervisors today, two of the most ethical people I know and both with experience in voting rights and procedures. They both agreed that it was an improper mailing concept.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:31 PM
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I'm not paranoid about this. No harm comes from fraud, as the buck stops here. But this kind of campaign is highly dishonest. Not unexpected; most political campaigns are.

Interestingly, I showed this card to our town clerk and one of our supervisors today, two of the most ethical people I know and both with experience in voting rights and procedures. They both agreed that it was an improper mailing concept.
The only fraud I suspect is your claim that you are accurately representing the opinion of anyone who is an expert in voting matters.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:49 PM
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Aha! So you're the source!

We all pick our battles, no?

I'm not paranoid about this. No harm comes from fraud, as the buck stops here. But this kind of campaign is highly dishonest. Not unexpected; most political campaigns are.

Interestingly, I showed this card to our town clerk and one of our supervisors today, two of the most ethical people I know and both with experience in voting rights and procedures. They both agreed that it was an improper mailing concept.
How is it fraud? Or even slightly unethical? It's just a card asking you to vote, which you should do anyway. It doesn't even name a candidate. What's wrong with that? What reasons did those two people give as to why this is an improper mailing concept?
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:53 PM
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We all pick our battles, no?

I'm not paranoid about this. No harm comes from fraud, as the buck stops here. But this kind of campaign is highly dishonest. Not unexpected; most political campaigns are.

Interestingly, I showed this card to our town clerk and one of our supervisors today, two of the most ethical people I know and both with experience in voting rights and procedures. They both agreed that it was an improper mailing concept.
Fraud? Are you still under the misapprehension that this is computer-generated?

Someone is gullible when they believe something despite a lack of evidence. What's the opposite, when someone refuses to believe something despite an abundance of evidence?
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:03 PM
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Someone is gullible when they believe something despite a lack of evidence. What's the opposite, when someone refuses to believe something despite an abundance of evidence?
Ooooh! OOOOOH! Mister Kott-TAIR!

"Willful Ignorance?" /Horshack
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:04 PM
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Interestingly, I showed this card to our town clerk and one of our supervisors today, two of the most ethical people I know and both with experience in voting rights and procedures. They both agreed that it was an improper mailing concept.
Yeah, "interestingly" everybody you asked irl agreed with you. Soooo interesting. Look, it's a handwritten "please vote" postcard. And your wise built up instincts tell you "I don't follow any spammer's instructions on principle, but this puts me in a quandary." You realize how idiotic that response is?
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:10 PM
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I'm not paranoid about this. No harm comes from fraud, as the buck stops here. But this kind of campaign is highly dishonest. Not unexpected; most political campaigns are.

Interestingly, I showed this card to our town clerk and one of our supervisors today, two of the most ethical people I know and both with experience in voting rights and procedures. They both agreed that it was an improper mailing concept.
A) It's not even slightly dishonest. They told you who they are, they encouraged you to vote. What's dishonest about that?

B) I doubt very, very much that anyone "with experience in voting rights and procedures" would call this "an improper mailing concept."

C) In your experience, when you believe X and everybody you ask says "No, not-X," do you usually think that you're right and all of them are wrong? 'Cause there's a diagnosis for that.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:35 PM
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But this kind of campaign is highly dishonest. Not unexpected; most political campaigns are.
What the hell is dishonest about it?
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:34 PM
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A lot of uproar over not much illicit advertising.

https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/

is a legit site.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:07 PM
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A lot of uproar over not much illicit advertising.

https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/

is a legit site.
Youíre in on it! Stop perpetuating the fraud!
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:44 PM
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Musicat, that's just foolish. It's a strict GOTV effort without even a candidate endorsement. It fact, when we do this we're not even ALLOWED to endorse a candidate...just to encourage the recipient to vote.

Yes, you may pick your battles. That's entirely your right. But picking this one is foolish.

And I've been around elections for more than 20 years. I've been a poll watcher and planned campaigns. Even ran once. This is in no way unethical and if anyone tells you that I very much doubt their intelligence and actual experience campaigning.

There's no fraud. There's no lie in the postcard. The thing you can deduce is that:

A) There's a person named Susie.
B) Who probably agrees with you on many issues
C) Who'd like you to vote

All except 'B' is right there on the table. I infer B because I know how the search string is produced.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:00 PM
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This thread has taken a strange and wonderful turn.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:42 PM
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Maybe it seems a bit strange that this GOTV in Wisconsin postcard was postmarked in Oakland, CA.

Maybe the postcard parties in CA writing cards for WI should have collected them all, packed them in a box, and mailed or shipped them in bulk to an organizer in WI, who would then unpack them and drop them in the U. S. Mail somewhere in WI so they would all have a WI postmark.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:02 AM
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Maybe it seems a bit strange that this GOTV in Wisconsin postcard was postmarked in Oakland, CA.

Maybe the postcard parties in CA writing cards for WI should have collected them all, packed them in a box, and mailed or shipped them in bulk to an organizer in WI, who would then unpack them and drop them in the U. S. Mail somewhere in WI so they would all have a WI postmark.
But Susie lives in Oakland. Why on Earth would she try to conceal where she's from rather than be transparent and honest?

Much of this thread is bonkers. I thought it would have died a quiet death after post #3.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:05 AM
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Meh, maybe I was too harsh. I'm guessing you got some carpetbagger vibe off it. But still, a GOTV mailer of any sort is the most innocuous political junk mail you're going to get.
  #47  
Old 03-25-2020, 07:37 AM
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How much would it cost to prepare those "handwritten" postcards by machine? They use three non-standard ink colors. It wouldn't be that much cheaper than paying hand-preparers, and would certainly be more expensive than using volunteer labor.

But, although I don't think it was the case, let's suppose they were machine-prepared, and "Susie" is just the name of the printer's sister-in-law. Even in that case, how would this be fraud?? (Similar personal-pretense gimmicks are common in advertisements; are those all fraudulent in OP's view?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
Ordinarily, I don't follow any spammer's instructions on principle, but this puts me in a quandary.
IOW, you're thinking of NOT voting because Susie, putative fraudster from Myvote, asked you to vote?
  #48  
Old 03-25-2020, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
: (Similar personal-pretense gimmicks are common in advertisements; are those all fraudulent in OP's view?)
:
Well, really that is fraudulent but it's a fraud we've all grown up with and accept as normal.
  #49  
Old 03-25-2020, 09:42 PM
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Just a historical note. I'm reading Jules Witcover's book Marathon, about the 1976 presidential campaign. On page 280 I came upon this quote regarding a plan by the Mo Udall campaign in the Wisconsin (as it happens) primary:

"Also lost in the shuffle was about $7000 for mailing 40,000 handwritten letters to western, rural Wisconsin...."

Not only is there no indication that this was unethical, there is no indication that it was especially unusual. And it might have been an effective technique, had it actually happened: Udall lost the primary by a very small margin to Carter, and the area where Udall had the most difficulty was...rural western Wisconsin.

So, okay, rural western WI as opposed to rural eastern WI, and letters rather than postcards, but this is a time-honored strategy.
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