Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Big Brother is Watching, if You Vote

Social shaming mailers are out in force this election season, combining old-fashioned neighborhood pressure with a touch of surveillance-state menace


Is Big Brother watching you? Maybe. Just a little. That’s the message of political mailers circulating in states all over the country heading into midterm elections.

The gist of these mailers is to remind people voting records are public, and whether they vote next week will be public record. It isn’t a new technique, and historically both parties have used it, though less on the Republican side. It seems to have become more ubiquitous this season, with Democratic voters especially inundated. As one state official put it, the practice may be gaining extra menace in the doxing age.

“It’s basically, ‘If you don’t vote, we’ll know,’” he said. “These days, who the hell knows what that means?”

The mailer below recently circulated in Ohio. The top line reads, “Ohio voter records are public,” and “Who you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote will be part of those public records”:


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