DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’ve been getting fliers, text messages or emails telling you to vote because your family, friends and neighbors will be able to tell if you don’t, you’re not alone.
Many North Texans are reporting this is happening to them, especially leading into Election Day.
Dallas resident Garrett Bailey said he’s been receiving text messages from the phone application “Outvote.”
“It says do more this election, download our app,” Bailey said.
The phone application looks at your contacts and shares their personal voting history with you, which is public record. It asks you to remind them to vote.
“I think that’s a little intrusive on people’s information,” Bailey said.
“If I choose not to vote then no one else should know about me not voting,” Dallas resident Jameica Reed said.
“I guess it depends on the individual,” Dallas resident Tavone Randall said.
SMU communication studies professor Dr. Rita Kirk has spent a good portion of her career researching political campaign communication. She said “voter shaming” has been around for more than a decade, but there’s a reason why you’re seeing it a lot more lately.
“It’s used extensively when the election is really close and voter turnout matters,” Dr. Kirk said.
She said it’s cheaper than almost any other form of messaging a campaign can do and a 2008 study published in the American Political Science Review shows it’s effective in driving people to the polls.
“There was an increase of at least 10 percent,” she said. “It is interesting, for a lot of folks they just need to be reminded of their civic responsibility and once they are, they tend to want to participate.”
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office reports on average they receive about 400 requests a year for voter turnout information.
A spokesperson for The Texas Secretary of State’s Office said Dallas County has 1,335,313 registered voters, so it would cost about $411 to purchase all those records.
Tarrant County has 1,122,597 registered voters and that data would cost about $398 to purchase.