Slate mailers: 3 things to look for

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By Jake Rome via Flickr

Buyers beware. Slate mailers decked with large fonts and glossy images have bombarded California voters as they prepare to cast their ballots in tomorrow’s primary election. Adorned with pictures ranging from John F. Kennedy to Orange Country firefighters, the mailers urge Californians to vote a certain way on set of candidates and/or issues. Many mailers come from political parties or organizations that advocate certain ideologies or issues. But in some cases, there may be more than meets the eye. Allan Hoffenblum, a veteran of moderate Republican politics who used to run his own mailer, tells voters what misleading tactics to expect on a slate mailer.

Three things to watch for:

The Organization: See if the organization funding the mailer is one that you identify. “If it just has nothing but a donkey and an elephant on it and it says ‘taxpayers for,’ be very suspicious because you don’t know who is really sending that mailer out and who is paying for it,” Hoffenblum said.

The Candidates: Check that the candidates on the slate mailer actually represent what the mailer says that they do. Many slate cards that are for-profit include candidates with contradictory positions because they have paid to be on the mailer. “Many times, the first person in with the checkbook is the one that gets on that slate,” Hoffenblum said.

The Asterisk: If a candidate has paid to be on a slate, an asterisk will be listed next to his or her name. But even this can be misleading. Hoffenblum said if an independent expenditure committee pays a slate mailer to place a candidate on the card, no asterisk appears.

Listen to Warren’s interview with him below: