Iowa Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate issued a statement on Saturday criticizing 2016 GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz for sending mailers to Iowa voters that grade their past participation in the Iowa Caucuses.
The mailers, which feature the phrase “Voting Violation” at the top of the page, assigned letter grades to characterize the voting records of the recipient and his or her neighbors in past Iowa Caucuses in what has widely been described as a “voter shaming” get-out-the-vote effort.
An example of one of the mailers, originally appearing in an embedded tweet by Cruz’s 2016 GOP primary rival Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, can be seen below.
“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,” said Sec. Pate according to The Hill.
“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 institution or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses,” he added.
The Des Moines Register notes that Cruz responded to the controversy by saying, “I will apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote … Iowa, as first in the nation, has an incredibly important role in deciding who the next commander-in-chief of this country will be. We are going to continue to use every tool we can to encourage the men and woman of Iowa to come out, to caucus on Monday night and to stand together as one.”
Cruz’s Iowa campaign chairman Matt Schultz, a former Iowa Secretary of State, argued, “These mailers are common practice to increase voter turnout. Our mailer was modeled after the very successful 2014 mailers that the Republican Party of Iowa distributed to motivate Republican voters to vote, and which helped elect numerous Republican candidates during that cycle.”
A tweet by rival GOP presidential candidate and billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, seen below, called Cruz’s mailers “dishonest and deceptive.”
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