Nonpartisan Site Sends Email About Event With Anti-Trump Author
I wanted to make sure that I was registered to vote in Ohio, especially since I moved back to Ohio last year after having lived in Tennessee since 2015. As many people might, I did a Google search for "Am I registered to vote?" or something similar.
That search took me to VoteAmerica.com. All I had to do was enter my name, address, phone number, birthdate and e-mail address to find my answer. Good news! I was already registered and I didn't have to do anything. VoteAmerica.com even gave me an option to get a mail-in ballot. I clicked that I didn't have a printer at home and the site is going to mail me my ballot. As a person with limited mobility, I found that to be extremely convenient.
I didn't think about it again until tonight when an e-mail in my inbox showed up from Mary L. Trump (via VoteAmerica). That e-mail caught my attention. Why? VoteAmerica.com was supposed be nonpartisan and not supporting any political candidate. I knew Mary L. Trump had a bias.
I made the connection that she is the niece of President Donald Trump. Her book "Always Too Much, Never Enough" was released in July. While I have not personally read the book, I had heard enough about to know that it is not unbiased. According to news reports, President Trump tried to block the release of the book.
The e-mail I received didn't mention the book. I think anyone might see the Trump name and assume that she was going to support President Trump. Who could blame someone for coming to that conclusion? After all, Trump's sons, his daughter, his son-in-law and daughter-in-law are involved with the Trump administration and/or the Trump campaign.
The e-mail didn't mention the name of either President Trump or the Democratic Presidential Nominee, Former Vice President Joe Biden. The majority of the e-mail was vague enough that I didn't think it was trying to sway me to vote for one candidate or another. It simply asked me some questions. Then, she invited me to RSVP to participate in a Zoom call with a LGBTQ+ youth advocate, the president and CEO of GLAAD, and the founder and CEO of VoteAmerica.
It still didn't seem like it was biased, except for the involvement of Mary L. Trump. I clicked on RSVP to see if it would give me more information. That's when I was redirected to a page on actblue.com. As I scrolled down, it said again that VoteAmerica was a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. It also said that donations were processed through Actblue.com.
I also checked VoteAmerica.com's Terms of Service. The first sentence on the page read, "VoteAmerica is a nonpartisan, nonprofit entity that is dedicated to increasing voter turnout in US elections." I scrolled down to almost the bottom of the page before I found the information that said that donations would be processed by ActBlue.com.
I recognized ActBlue as a fundraising organization for Democratic candidates. I scrolled down a little and I found the phrase "Democratic donors," something that led me to believe this was indeed a site to raise money for Democrats. I scrolled more and found another reference to Democrats. At the bottom of the page, there was a disclaimer that read, "Paid for by ActBlue (actblue.com) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee." There was another disclaimer that read, "ActBlue Charities is not responsible for any political content on this page."
I found this to be confusing, so I checked the "About ActBlue" page on the website. That's where I read a statement that the platform was available to Democratic candidates and committees, progressive organizations and nonprofits.
To be fair, I didn't find anything that directly said that anything from VoteAmerica.com was going toward Democratic candidates. The only thing I found was the RSVP page said that it was secured by ActBlue and donations were processed by Actblue. It was enough to make me wonder.
To be clear, I am not officially endorsing either Trump or Biden. It's not about the fact that this started with the invitation to an event of someone who had written a negative book about President Trump. The problem is a nonpartisan organization sent out an e-mail about an event that could be seen as biased.