- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - An Orlando-based political action committee supporting Republican candidates has sent some Manatee voters a mailer in which it promises to reveal whether they and their neighbors vote in next week’s election.

The Bradenton Herald (https://bit.ly/1zRMi6L) reported Friday that in the mailer, Citizens for a Better Florida Inc. identifies whether the recipient’s neighbors, by name, have voted in general elections dating back to 2010, with a promise to send a follow-up mailer after Tuesday’s election identifying neighbors who did not vote.

“Every year, thousands of your neighbors failed to vote,” the mailer states. “We think it’s too important. This year, we are providing the names of your neighbors and their voting record. The next time we send this mailer, we will include information on who voted in this upcoming November election.”

Manatee Elections Supervisor Mike Bennett said he’s received complaints about the fliers.

Information on how a voter casts a ballot is not public record, but whether a voter exercises his or her individual right is.

Callers to the elections office have assumed it was Bennett’s office providing the information, but Bennett said no one has contacted his office for the information.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, Citizens for a Better Florida formed in 2008 and has raised more than $2 million.

In October, the PAC raised $795,000 and spent all of it on “electioneering” and postage on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott and other statewide Republican candidates.

All of that money collected by the group was contributed by the Realtors Political Advocacy Committee, which has the same address as Citizens for a Better Florida, according to the Division of Elections.

In the past month, the Realtors PAC collected almost $984,000 - of which $795,000 came from the National Association of Realtors, based in Chicago.

When the Bradenton Herald attempted to contact Richard Darling, listed as chairman of Citizens for a Better Florida, the call connected to the offices of the Orlando-based Florida Realtors, which shares an address with the Realtors PAC and Citizens for a Better Florida.

The voicemail stated, “We understand you may have received a mailer, please leave a message.”

No one returned a request for comment as of Thursday night.

___

Information from: The Bradenton (Fla.) Herald , https://www.bradenton.com

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