WESTBROOK — Residents’ mailboxes are hit with voter registration cards each election cycle, but a recent batch that erroneously claimed recipients are not registered worried some residents.

Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes said if residents previously registered to vote, the registration still stands. Many of the recipients of the cards called City Hall, she said, concerned that they were no longer registered or that the city provided had provided another group with their voter information.

“I’ve spent a lot of time over the past day fielding calls from concerned residents who think we either lost their registration or did some sort of purge of our records, but in most cases, the mailings were sent to registered voters,” Holmes said last week.

“We get similar mailings each election, but it was alarming for residents being told they weren’t registered. There was no wipe of voter data and we did not provide information to them,” Holmes said.

Anna Watson Schwartz received the mailing from the Center for Voter Information in Washington D.C.

“It concerned me. I moved to Westbrook from Portland mid-November 2018. I had registered in person at my city office prior to the November 2019 election and did vote without issue. Getting the letter made me question the validity of my registration,” Watson Schwartz said.

The mailings, which were also sent to residents in Gorham, Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, Windham and Falmouth, included an official voter registration card and said the current resident of that address was not registered to vote.

In South Portland, City Clerk Emily Scully’s office received reports of some letters being addressed to deceased voters whose names have since been removed from the voter list.

“This is very unfortunate. It’s important to note that your municipal clerk’s office did not send this letter,” Scully said.

“Most concerning, perhaps, is that the voter mailing list appears to be old or just inaccurate. We have confirmed the majority who have received this letter are in fact registered to vote at their current address,” Scully said.

Holmes and Scully recommend anyone concerned about their registration status should check with their local clerk, who can also update or correct any voter information.

“I would then advise anyone who has received this letter and confirmed their voter registration status to then contact the Center for Voter Information at the number they provide in the letter and inform them of their error,” Scully said.

Registered voter Joanne Dame of Westbrook said when she received the mailing she thought it might be meant for a previous tenant.

“Then I checked again, (it said) ‘current resident may not be registered’. Next, I looked to see if (my) choice of a political party (had) influence, but no,” Dame said. “I wondered briefly if it was a project of a group like League of Women Voters, who just want to make sure everyone can vote, if eligible. But (there was) no sign of who paid for it, so I tossed it.”

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the Center for Voter Information is a 501-C4, or a social welfare organization, based in Washington D.C. The organization’s website provided no information on who funds the group, and it did not respond to requests for comment.

A copy of a letter sent to voters in the area. Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes that letters may slightly differ person to person, but are still concerning in claims that the recipient is not registered to vote. File photo

 

 

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