On Friday night, images began circulating from an Iowa resident showing a mailer from Ted Cruz’s campaign shaming people into going to caucus on Monday.
An image of the mailer, yellow with an all-caps header in red reading “Voting Violation,” was shared on Twitter by Tom Hinkeldey of Alta, Iowa. He said he was inspired to caucus on Monday for Marco Rubio instead as a result of the cloying mailer.
The text on the manila envelope-looking piece read: “You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”
In addition to this, the mailer listed Hinkeldey’s wife’s name as well as a group of his neighbors, all of whom, according to the mailer, get ‘F’ grades for their voting history.
Cruz’s campaign confirmed they had in fact sent the mailers and that the image was not a hoax. When the Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate learned about the pieces of mail, he was less than thrilled.
"Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law,” Pate said in a statement sent to The Daily Beast. “Accusing citizens of Iowa of a "voting violation" based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”
Pate went on to say that the idea of grading voters is an invention from the campaign.
“Additionally, the Iowa Secretary of State's Office never "grades" voters. Nor does the Secretary of State maintain records related to Iowa Caucus participation. Caucuses are organized and directed by the state political parties, not the Secretary of State, nor local elections officials. Also, the Iowa Secretary of State does not "distribute" voter records. They are available for purchase for political purposes only, under Iowa Code.”
It is unclear as to whether there will be any consequences for the Cruz campaign in the final days before Monday’s caucus. And the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board has not returned a request for comment.
Cruz’s communications director Rick Tyler pushed back against the criticism, using the same language from the Secretary of State against him.
“Having the sitting governor and the Secretary of State issue politically motivated statements directed at one candidate is unprecedented and not in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses,” Tyler said in an emailed statement to The Daily Beast.