Non-profit’s attempt to boost voter turnout stirring controversy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -— If you haven't already, you might get a letter from an organization called The Voter Participation Center. If you get one, the letter will show your name, address, and whether or not you've voted in recent elections. It'll show the same thing for some of your neighbors too, with their names and home numbers blacked out.

The letters are stirring controversy. Some call it an invasion of privacy. After all, you only have so many neighbors and with a little investigating you might be able to figure out who is who.

Other people say it's no big deal. The letter points out who you vote for isn't public record but whether or not you vote is.

The Voting Participation Center is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that's always looking to boost voter turnout. The center says these letters are sent to people in groups that are often underrepresented in elections, like African Americans or Millennials.

In a statement, the center's president, Page Gardner, says "There are millions of eligible citizens in Tennessee who might sit on the sidelines of our democracy for this crucial election."

Linda Phillips is Shelby County's Administrator of Elections. She says the center has helped lots of people in our area get registered to vote.

"They've done good work," she says.

But she's not sure how effective the controversial letters will be.

The center was created in 2003 and has helped more than 4 million people register to vote since its creation.

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