Feb 18, 2012

Fake Voter Registration Application in Mail

UPDATE: MacIver Institute has uncovered more information regarding this mailing, read more about this mailing.


UPDATE: The GAB has issued a press release today 02/20/2012 "Beware of unofficial voter registration applications"

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Today we received mail that states boldly on the front:
"VOTER REGISTRATION DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED"
Everyone in our home is already registered to vote, so it was very odd that we received this mailing. This is the mailing in its entirety:








The first thing that caught my eye was Box 7, Choice of Party (see instructions), which states:
"Box 7. Choice of Party. You must register with a party if you want to take part in that party's primary election."
Wisconsin has an open primary, which means you do not have to be affiliated with any party to vote in the primary. So, I found this mailing very suspicious and went to the GAB website.

 On the bottom of their webpage the GAB lists their address as: 212 East Washington Avenue, Third Floor, P.O. Box 7984, Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7984.

Now look at the above mailing address, it says it's going to the GAB and the right PO Box, 7984, but look at the Zip+4 code on the mailing's envelope.

The Zip+4 is normally the PO Box number. This mailing is not going to the GAB's PO Box at 53707-7984, but instead to PO Box 9835. It also uses a different Madison zip code, 53791, and when you look it up on the USPS Zip Code look up, this is the message you get:

"This is a UNIQUE ZIP Code™ used for a specific company or organization.

The actual city in 53791 is...

MADISON WI

While it's not correct, some mailers mistakenly use this ZIP Code™ for

MADISON BUSINESS REPLY MAIL WI"
 So, who exactly is getting these "Voter Registration" forms? Well, according to the mailing:
"This mailing has been paid for by the Voter Participation Center (VPC), VPC is a non-government, nonprofit, and nonpartisan 501(c)(#)(3)organization. Its Wisconsin address is 1360 Regent St., #197, Madison, WI 53715. http://www.voterparticipation.org"
 Their mailing states that this form is the official application form, but it is not. When you look at GAB Form 131 the GAB website instructs you to use, it clearly is not the same. And that Box 7? On the GAB form it asks for previous registered address, in fact, nowhere on the form does it ask for party affiliation.

The mailing infers that the form is going directly to the GAB when it clearly is not. The GAB states that the voter registration form must be mailed or taken in person to your local municipal clerk's office and provides a link to locate yours.

By filling in this form and sending the information in, you have no idea what will actually be done with the information. I would recommend letting friends and family know if they receive this to not try this method to register, instead use the GAB's instructions. You can also check your municipality's website, for instance, in Madison you can register at any public library or fire station in the city.

27 comments:

Mik McAllister said...

The Media Contact for that organization is an employee of the Grover Park Group. Grover Park Group was bought by WPP, a UK advertising and marketing company.

Grover Park Group is a lobbying firm, at heart. Here's their lobbyist profile:
http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/firmsum.php?id=D000034089

As far as I can see... there's no telling how they intend to use the information they are harvesting.

Anonymous said...

You need to check into this more before you blame the Voter Participation Center. The address that they supposedly are at comes up online as the UPS store on Regent Street, and I couldn't find a branch for them in Madison let alone at this address. I think it more likely that this is some kind of "dirty trick" designed to make people think they have registered to vote when in fact they have not, and this stuff goes right into the garbage can.

Lizzie said...

How did I "blame" the VPC? I just quoted word for word what was on the mailing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I should have been clear I was addressing Mik, who seems to be implying that because Grover Park Group who he links presumably to the voter group is a lobbying org, there's something nefarious going on as far as "no telling how they intend to use the info they are harvesting".

I looked into this more and found another example of this very same thing, similar but slightly different form, that was used in maryland in 2010. Same use of fake government elections commission, same use of name of the voter registration outfit with address at UPS store, same postage paid permit. If you google on "Non Profit Org US Postage Paid Permit #1984 Lansdale PA" it will come up. I'm starting to wonder: ID theft scheme? The key is to find out what would happen to these things if they were delivered to the fake GAB address. will call PO on Monday to find out.

Lizzie said...

That's why we should question these tactics. It is not right, misleading, and could be criminal. Talk about voter disenfranchisement.

Lizzie said...

In that same building is a UPS Store, most likely has "PO Boxes"

Mik McAllister said...

1. I went to the VPC website. On the News and Media page is a link to their media contact person. the link is about 2 inches square, in case you missed it. email address: jmullin@gpgdc.com

2. www.gpgdc.com is Grover Park, who claims to "take the focus and execution of great political campaigns and make it the genetic code for our firm. We commit ourselves to delivering real time responses to changing conditions."

3. I checked out Grover Park on OpenSecrets, which lists the lobbying work they do. You were free to do the same, especially since I provided the link directly to the page.

4. A simple search on Google Maps, or upsstorelocal.com, shows the UPS store at 1360 Regent St.

5. I did not blame anyone, I provided information.

6. "No telling how they intend to use this information" does not imply anything. Literally, from what I found, I find no indications of how this information was going to be used. It is highly probable, due the inconsistencies with the form as compared to the real Wisconsin form, that voter registration was not the intended use.

7. An apology will now be accepted.

Sincerely,
Reverend Mitchel "Mik" McAllister

Anonymous said...

The key thing is still what happens to these when people return them. If they go into the garbage then the most likely explanation is that it is an effort to make people think that they registered when they didn't. If they go to the GAB anyway, then it might be an effort to bother the GAB. If they get sent somewhere else, then that's one place to look for the culprits. Also, whoever the lobbyist is for the voter registration group is irrelevant, since these things are very likely not being sent out by that group. I assume that someone can track down the owner of the permit, unless the P.O. is in the habit of mailing out stuff to people who don't actually have a permit, which I doubt. And yes it is possible that address given at the UPS store is a box number, but when people return the fake registration, it doesn't go there but to the fake GAB address.

Mik McAllister said...

I double-checked the zip+4, and I come up with "badgerstaterental.com" owned by "badgerstateproductions" on West Corporate Drive in Madison. It's across the street from the Post Office Credit Union.

Mik McAllister said...

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=53791-9835&hl=en&ll=43.100153,-89.320226&spn=0.00206,0.004656&sll=37.719451,-122.466956&sspn=0.008928,0.018625&hnear=Madison,+Wisconsin+53791&t=h&z=18&iwloc=A

Jesse said...

The IRS "exempt organizations" list has no listings for nonprofits called "Voter Participation Canter" or "VPC" on file.

RoughAcres said...

You did not alter this in any way except to block out your information, yes?

So why does it state 501(c)# ?

Why does it not say 501(c)3 for a nonprofit -- or 501(c)4 for the "special" status of a PAC?

This would seem deliberately deceptive on its face, regardless of ANYTHING else.

Anonymous said...

I got one of these. My name was spelled wrong. then I got a phone call follow-up today asking if I had returned it. Because I am not eligible to register I did not speak to them further. The woman identified herself as calling from The Voter Preparation center.

Lizzie said...

I did mistype, it should've been 501(c)(3) and made the change on the blog.

Again, I am not "taking sides" this type of mailing from either side seems very suspicious. As I stated asking for party affiliation is strange when Wisconsin has an open primary.

Thanks for the info Mik, will definitely be looking into that :)

Anonymous said...

I am sure you have given all of this information to the GAB, but it might be good to share that you have reported this so your readers won't worry that you haven't.

Anonymous said...

This CLEARLY looks like an attempt to have people think they've registered when they haven't.

I would expect that the question about party affiliation is so the people running this disenfranchisement scam can know how many prospective voters from their own party they accidentally knock out in addition to their enemy party's voters.

They might even remedy those "friendly fire" casualties. If a respondent says they're a Republican, they might receive a followup call saying there was a problem and they should go register in person. Presumably a Dem would not.

This should be Exhibit A for supporting same-day voter registration at the polls.

Erin McJ said...

Jesse, this org is indeed listed as a public charity:

http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/pub78Search.do?ein1=&names=%22Voter+Participation+Center%22&city=&state=All...&country=US&deductibility=all&dispatchMethod=searchCharities&submitName=Search

Which is not to say this mailing isn't shady. I agree, the fake info about the primary is a major red flag. At best it indicates that this charity has not done its homework about Wisconsin election law, which is really bad news if they're indeed trying to register voters.

Anonymous said...

Check out this press release from the GAB:

http://gab.wi.gov/node/2220

As ar as the GAB is concerned, this mailing IS from the Voter Participation group, which was warned last year that their mailing contained numerous innaccuracies some of which were changed and some of which were not. If any of these mailings make it to the GAB, they will try to send them to county clerks but cannot guarantee that they will arrive. If true this VPC group is incredibly incompetent and/or stupid. According to the clerk at the UPS Store on Regent, that box IS currently in the name of the Voter Participation Center.

KP said...

My Golden Retriever-who is dead- received one of these addressed to her yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I live in Houston Texas and received a very similar "Texas Voter Registration Application". I've been voting for decades so I did a little checking. I called the Secretary of State office in Austin. The woman was a little familiar with "an organization that does this type of mailings". She told me that this organization is not a part of the S.O.S. but they mail out voter applications.

The return envelope is
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE ELECTIONS DIVISION
PO BOX 12060
AUSTIN, TX 78711-9904

I did a Google search of >> 12060 site:sos.state.tx.us <<

This PO BOX 12060 does in-fact belong to the S.O.S.

I went to the S.O.S Voter Registration form online (http://www.votetexas.gov/register_to_vote.html) and the questions did match up to the questionnaire. I didn't click-through so I didn't get to the page where you print and sign (I typed the last paragraph below).

The strange thing is that I've been voting for decades. When I mentioned this to the S.O.S. lady, she told me that the "Voter Participation Center (VPC)" doesn't utilize the existing voter rolls. I guess they just blanket certain areas.

The last paragraph reads ....
I understand that giving false information to procure a voter registration is perjury, and a crime under state and federal law. Conviction of this crime may result in imprisonment up to 180 days, a fine up to $2,000, or both. Please Read all three statements to affirm before signing.
- I am a resident of this county and a U.S. citizen;
- I have not been finally convicted of a felony, or if a felon, I have completed all of my punishment including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or I have been pardoned; and
- I have not been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

Then there is a place to sign.

I'm very cautious of voter fraud issues because I think we need to vote the worst president in U.S. history out of office before this country is destroyed but I've concluded that it is a legit voter registration form and they are just trying to get more folks registered to vote. I just hope my tax dollars aren't being used to mail voter applications to registered voters.

LEX25 said...

Anoymous , the reason that you are lying and not taking accountability for your statements is simple. These are fake documents , with fake names being sent to peoples home . Your only main focus tends to fall on and I quote - "is that it is an effort to make people think that they registered when they didn't." How can that be your only conclusion. I have been registered to vote since 1991, and today I get this bogus document with my first name spelled incorrectly. This is fraud. No company has the right to tell anyone via mail and I quote : IF YOU WANT TO VOTE IN THIS ELECTION YOU MUST BE REGISTERED . THIS IS WHY THE VOTER PARTICIPATION CENTER IS SENDING YOU THIS OFFICIAL APPLICATION FORM." These documents are not official , they cannot be used for the local board of elections in my state. That is a crime . You are a coward if you sit here and accept this behavior from any company that pretends to be a legitimate voter registration depository. You dont seem to be the least bit upset , but you are trying to justity these actions. I take it that you work for this company , otherwise you would not stay Anonymous . For anyone reading this blog who has gotten these fraudulent documents or mailings , send them to your local State's Attorney and your local news organization. Lets expose who these frauds are . You cant send a false document and not expect to be exposed . !!

Anonymous said...

received the same form in the mail from the VCP office of the secretary of state elections division. po. box 12060 austin tx 78711-9904. i just threw it away. u see-i am already registered and so is my husband. and recently we found a phishing scam attempt in our checking account. this form sounds "phishy" to me!

Anonymous said...

just recieved a form from: the vcp office of the secretary of state elections division po box 12060 austin tx 78711-9904. i just threw it away because my hubby and i are already registered. and recently; we discovered a "phishing" scam attempt in our checking account. and this sounds "phishy" to us!

Anonymous said...

just recieved a form from: the vcp office of the secretary of state elections division po box 12060 austin tx 78711-9904. i just threw it away because my hubby and i are already registered. and recently; we discovered a "phishing" scam attempt in our checking account. and this sounds "phishy" to us!

Anonymous said...

Same zip code spoofing by VPC is now happening here in Virginia. My wife received basically the same mailer.

I referenced your blog in my post.

http://disruptthenarrative.com/2012/06/16/is-this-voter-fraud-in-the-making/

Anonymous said...

I received one of these on June 21, 2012. It actually is a GAB-131 (REV 6/2011) and box 7 does not ask party affiliation rather previous registration address. It came from a non-profit postage permit #1984 Lanndale, PA. Mentions Voter Participation Center at 1360 Regent St. #197, Madison, WI 53715. All looks like an up with a return envelope address of West Allis, WI. I do live in West Allis, WI, however when I moved here two years ago I registered to vote and have been voting. So why am I receiving this mailing?

Anonymous said...

We are getting these in Texas too. At least my 19 year old daughter got one.

For Anonymous from Houston:
Yes, that may be a correct address for the Secretary of State office in Austin, but it would never get there. The zip + 4 is the key. This will go to PO Box 19904, not box 12060.

This is rotten to the core.