Foundation behind voter report card apologizes for sending controversial mailers

KIRKLAND - Many voters who live in areas like Duvall, Redmond and Kirkland are upset over a controversial mailer they received ahead of Tuesday’s primaries.

The organization behind the mailers says their intent was always good. Their main goal is to boost voter turnout during the primaries that historically see low voter turnout.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only about 23% of registered voters in King County turned in their ballots.

“It’s so easy when you can do it by mail, you don’t have to stay in line. I don’t really know why people don’t vote,” voter Megan O’Madadhain said.

But Megan says she is not pleased about how EvergreenHealth Foundation is trying to motivate people to vote.

“I am furious about that, it’s ridiculous that they are doing that,” O’Madadhain said.

The foundation is campaigning in favor of prop 1 in their district. It’s a bond measure aimed to get  EvergreenHealth Medical Center more than $300 million over 10 years.

The foundation says the funds would go to a number of things, including upgrading the hospital's maternity wards and renovating the facility to withstand a big earthquake.

The foundation sent out 22,000 mailers that revealed voter information, grading people on their civic duty.

Q13 News spoke with one man from Kirkland who says he received a mailer.

“I am extremely offended by it, I have had to work consciously not to react to it,” Robert said.

It showed whether or not Robert voted in previous primaries and whether or not his neighbors voted.

“You can use shame and embarrassment and all of that to intimidate people,” Robert said.

Vice President Kae Peterson says the foundation's intent was never to shame anyone.

“It was a misstep by our committee and a misstep in conjunction with our consultant and we sincerely apologize,” Peterson said.

Peterson says a local company they hired obtained public voter information from King County Elections, but Peterson agrees that her committee signed off on a campaign strategy that used the public information in an insensitive way.

“I would like to say to everyone out there I take responsibility; we talked about it, not enough, not at length," Peterson said.

We told Robert and several others about the apology on Tuesday but they say it is not enough.

“If you have to apologize you should have thought it over better,” voter Sergio Razo said.

Two women in Duvall also say that they are concerned about the accuracy of the information used.

A woman by the name of Shetal told Q13 News that the mailer said she did not vote in the 2018 primaries, but King County Elections records show that she did. Shetal’s neighbor Patricia also disputed the accuracy of her voting record.

“We are challenging our consultant to go back and look at the data we have because we are following up on this, we take this very seriously,” Peterson said.

Q13 News reached out to King County Elections on the matter and the department says they are getting phone calls with similar concerns. They say from the cases they have looked into the information on the mailers is not reflective of what is in their records.