Sorry if that e-mail I sent was creepy

I’m writing to apologise if you’re one of the Dogwood supporters who felt creeped out by an e-mail I sent on Wednesday. It’s the one that showed up in your inbox like this:

{FIRST NAME}, our records show you haven’t voted in {MUNICIPALITY}

If you opened the e-mail, the first line went like this: “Pardon me if I’m mistaken, but our records indicate you haven’t yet had a chance to vote. If I’m wrong, please click this button so I won’t send you any more reminders.”

How, several people asked, would Dogwood Initiative have any record of who has voted?

Unlike political parties, we don’t have a full list of registered voters. All we have to go on is our existing list of supporters, which is made up of all the people who have signed one of our pledges or petitions – and opted to receive communications from us.

So the only way we know you’ve voted is if you let us know.

There are a few ways that could happen: in a doorstep conversation with a canvasser, in a phone call with a volunteer, in a recorded call from me (“If you’ve already voted, press 1”), in a text message or with that button in our emails.

We want to know if you voted because we think the more people who participate, the better. As each new confirmation comes in, that person is taken off our “get out the vote” list and the reminders stop.

On Wednesday if we hadn’t heard from you, we assumed you hadn’t yet voted. Admittedly, that’s a pretty big chunk of the population. A minority of British Columbians participate in municipal elections in the first place, and most people who do vote still wait until election day.

If the hair went up on the back of your neck when you saw that subject line, I understand why. A couple friends wrote to say it felt like “Big Brother” was watching them. I wanted to try something new that would grab your attention, but it seems I went a step too far.

I’m sorry. If you have any ideas to improve our “get out the vote” efforts in the next election, please let me know in the comments below.

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