In the ongoing controversy surrounding Women's Voices Women Vote and deceptive voter registration tactics, Adam Bonin of DailyKos conducted an interview with Page Gardner, founder and president of WVWV. As he notes in his introduction, "Ms. Gardner was able to answer some of my questions, but not all of them."
1. Your latest press release states that "We do not believe that people who are in fact registered to vote jump to the conclusion that they can't vote simply because they are offered another opportunity to register." Given that there were published news reports and statements from elections officials in multiple states that already-registered voters were in fact confused by hearing phone calls and receiving new registration applications which suggested that without filling out new forms they couldn't vote, what was the basis for that belief?
Every state's Department of Motor Vehicles is tasked under the so-called "Motor Voter" law with providing registration for anyone coming in for a driver's license or other DMV service. They do that every day they are open for business. They don't have a voter file there to look up whether or not you are registered when they offer you the opportunity to register and they offer the opportunity to everyone that comes in. We do not believe this confuses people that are already registered to vote. Moreover, this occurs whether the primary is more than 25 days away or less than 25 days away. Similarly, when people are approached at a shopping center and offered the opportunity to register, they are offered the opportunity whether they are already registered or not, and the groups conducting these registration efforts are not generally accused of confusing those people that are already registered to vote.
2. After Virginia, WVWV promised to stop placing robocalls anonymously and didn't. Your spokesperson said this was a "mistake". How did this mistake occur?
3. When was the Board made aware of the complaints as to voter confusion and the anonymity of your robocalls?
4. How did you arrive at your list of target states? What criteria were used? And on what dates were voters in each state called?
Target states were arrived at using criteria that included the number of unmarried women in a state that were not registered to vote or were registered to vote and had not voted compared to the same criteria for married women. In other words, what was the marriage gap in electoral participation between married and unmarried women in the state. We also wanted states from every region of the country, as well as states that have same day registration and states that do not. We also wanted some states with women elected officials at high levels (governor, US Senator) and states without. All of the pre-calls drawing people's attention to our mail and its voter registration form were delivered on the same two days, Thursday and Friday, April 24 and 25.
[According to her 5/5 diary these states were Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.]
5. Your April 24 letter to Gary Bartlett (NC Board of Elections) speaks exclusively of your work with unmarried women, not men. Why is that?
6. After the NC situation became public, what steps did WVWV take to inform NC voters (a) that if they were already registered, they could vote without a problem and (b) if they were not registered, they could still register and vote in person via the one-stop process? If no such steps were taken, why not?
[No response. However, in her May 5 diary, Gardner stated, "WVWV offered to make corrective follow-up calls, but upon further consideration and consultation with individuals in the state, concluded that additional calls should not be made."]
7. Are African American males the only group covered by the Voter Participation Center not already covered by WVWV? In what states has VPC (or WVWV) attempted to register male voters?
The Voter Particpation Center attempts to register under-represented demographics including African American men, African American married women and married Latinas so these are the other targets for our voter registration other than all unmarried women regardless of ethnic or racial background.
The Voter Participation Center attempts to register these under-represented demographics in every state that WVWV operates, so in the most recent mailing that meant 24 states from coast to coast.
8. For how long has VPC been involved in registering male voters? Are there print materials, or materials sent to (potential) contributors, reflecting this?
The Voter Participation Center was created as a project of WVWV by the Board of Directors in 2007 following the testing of using our direct marketing techniques to register other under-represented demographics in 2006.
9. How is VPC funded?
As a project of WVWV, the VPC is not separately funded. It is funded out of WVWV funds.
10. Was your husband's company involved as a vendor for these projects? If yes, through what kind of process was this contract awarded, and was the Board made aware of the potential conflict of interest and involved in approving such contracts?