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I'm sad to say I'm interested in voting for someone who isn't very popular in my household, because I find the household's preferred candidate abhorrent. After months of keeping quiet on my voting plans in order to keep the peace, I would hate to waste it by putting my name on a mailing list of any sort. So, what parts of the election process should I AVOID if I want to stay off mailing lists? Things like voting in the primary of my preferred candidate, avoiding pollsters, etc.?

I'm located in Wichita, KS if it makes a difference.

  • Don't vote. Voting records are available anyone who requests them, sometimes for free, but usually for a small fee. If you vote, you will definitely be on the mailing lists of the Reps/Dems, especially if you vote in a primary. – user1873 Mar 1 '16 at 20:56
  • @user1873 I'm lead to understand that the US elections are via secret ballot. Do you have a source for that info? – Sidney Mar 1 '16 at 22:01
  • Sure, in Kansas you can get the whole database for $200. It doesn't indicate who you voted for (as you say, votes are secret), but likely indicates if you voted, your party registration, etc. – user1873 Mar 7 '16 at 23:50
  • user1873 is talking about voter registration records, which will tell that you are a registered voter, some address info, probably, possibly some demographic info, and party affiliation, if declared. It would NOT tell anyone who you voted for, so you would not get any mail that would indicate your specific preference, beyond any assumption they might make about your neighborhood, perhaps, or declared party. There's no way for anyone to know your exact preference unless you tell. – PoloHoleSet Aug 31 '18 at 16:53
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  1. Don't vote in party primaries. Your information will of course become available to the party holding the primary (as part of registering to vote).

    Please note that this is only relevant if you want to get no mailings at all, from that party - if you're OK with generic party mailings but don't want to get mailings from only one specific candidate, voting in the primaries is fine as your actual vote is secret.

    Caveat: you mentioned Kansas. That's a caucus, not a primary, and I'm not sure if caucus votes are private, unlike a primary. That may be worth exploring in a separate question.

  2. Don't give money to your preferred candidates's campaign above the limit where it has to be publicly disclosed (not sure what the limit is, if any, in USA, but large donations 100% certainly are publicly known).

  3. Don't register to vote as belonging to a specific party.

    Caveats: this is just as fine to do as #1 if all you want is to avoid mailings from a specific candidate be predominant revealing your specific voting preference; but OK for it to be revealed that you're registered to that party. But if you don't want any mailings PERIOD, don't register for a party.

  4. Frankly, don't even register to vote.

    Voter registration rolls are 100% public; and theoretically, you can get political spam by merely being a registered voter, which is of course a prerequisite to voting in the first place. Granted, such generic spam shouldn't really worry you given the context, as it reveals nothing about your individual preference to others in the household.

  5. Obviously, don't volunteer for specific campaign. That info is also public.

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Voting at all, in any election, can result in appearances on mailing lists. Heck, even registering can get you mail. That said, that kind of mailer won't be candidate specific. At most it would be party specific. It looks like Kansas does require party registration to vote (although you can choose Not Affiliated), although other states may not.

I tried reading the Kansas Republican caucus rules, but it's unclear if they are secret ballot or not. Republican caucuses normally are secret ballot, but Kansas can create its own rules. It looks like the counties determine the rules with oversight from the state party organization.

The Kansas Democratic caucus is not secret ballot. Anyone attending can see for whom each person votes. This is deliberate to allow people to lobby others to support their candidates. So if you want to vote for Sanders and they support Clinton (or vice versa), they'll be able to tell.

If your family and you favor candidates from different parties, it will be possible to tell. Just participating in the caucus is public information and may generate mailers. Of course, you aren't limited to getting mailers from the party you supported, so this may not be that big a deal. For example, if it's Clinton vs. Trump in the general election, Clinton may send mail to Republican female voters who are single. And Not Affiliated voters will be mailed in the general election. Probably for both candidates.

Note that you also face the possibility of the neighbor saying something like "I thought you were all Republicans, but I saw Sidney voting in the Democratic caucus." Or vice versa.

You absolutely should not indicate that you might be willing to donate to or volunteer for any candidate. Once on those lists, you'll get mailers forever. Unless you donate enough to get mentioned on a public filing, it's not exactly public information. But it's not secret either. Campaigns turn that information into the party which will show it to other campaigns.

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