The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is upset that an email sent from Donna Mercado Kim’s campaign headquarters “urged voters to take a photograph of their ballot to show they voted for her and share it on social media.”

Kim, the state Senate president, is running in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. The email, sent Tuesday, said this:

We need your VOTE in this tight race.

You can start by taking these simple steps today:

1. Cast your vote for Donna Mercado Kim for Congress using the absentee ballot today!

2. Spread the word to your friends and family so they can cast their vote for Donna!

Once you cast your vote for Donna, take a photo and upload it on Facebook and Twitter! 

Donna Kim supporters July 2014

Supporters of Donna Mercado Kim join the congressional candidate sign waving.

Kim for Congress

In a press release today, the League reminded voters that “sharing your vote this way means your employer or union could see it, for example. We hope all voters realize this and do not feel intimidated by receiving a ‘push’ to their email address urging them to disclose their vote.”

The League says the “campaign gimmick” erodes trust in the absentee voting process, “which is already very popular in Hawaii. Why risk disenfranchising those considering voting by mail with fears of losing the confidentiality of their vote?”

Asked for a response, Kim’s campaign emailed a statement to Civil Beat this afternoon:

We have been made aware of the League of Women Voters complaint and understand its concern.

The targeted email blast was sent out to 468 supporters of Senator Donna Mercado Kim by her campaign staff with the intent to encourage them to vote absentee.

Kim was not aware it specifically asked them to post their ballot on Facebook and Twitter.

We have since deleted the email blast.

The intent was not to “intimidate” anyone to disclose their vote on social media.

Social media has obviously changed the way campaigns are run.

Another CD1 candidate, Mark Takai, has an appeal of his own to supporters on his campaign Facebook page:

 Mark Takai Facebook page July 2014

Screen shot of Mark Takai’s campaign Facebook page.


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