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Out of state groups attempt to influence voters through postcards and mailers

While you might see these kinds of messages as intrusive, they aren't illegal.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — People across the country have expressed interest in Kentucky’s Senate election.

You might have gotten emails, texts or flyers in your mailbox from out of state groups trying to influence your vote.

Over the past few months, our staff at WHAS11 has received election postcards and mailers from people out of state. Maybe you have too.

One volunteer group called Indivisible Chicago Alliance has an approved message to send to voters.

It reads, “Thank you for being a [previous/first time] voter! Who you vote for is secret, but whether you vote is public information. After the election on Tuesday Nov. 3, local organizations may follow up with you on your voting record.”

WHAS11 sent the group a message requesting an interview, and asked what kind of organizations are going to follow up with voters. We did not receive a response.

Whether you see this kind of out of state messaging as intrusive or not, it isn’t illegal.

“How I see it or how you see it is kind of irrelevant,” UofL Associate Law Professor Gene Mazo. “It’s how the Supreme Court sees it and they see it as speech.”

Mazo says the law of campaign finance, like funding postcards, is regulated under the first amendment.

He said a Senate race like McConnell vs. McGrath in Kentucky is more likely to draw outside interest, because who is in the Senate will influence who is on the Supreme Court or who is approved to be an ambassador. They can’t vote in Kentucky races, but they do have the right to try to tell Kentuckians who to vote for.

“Just like those people could drive into Kentucky and talk and hold signs downtown that say all kinds of crazy things, they can now you send you postcards that say crazy things or things that you think are intimidating,” Mazo said.

However, if you do feel intimidated by something you received, there is action you can take.

“If a voter feels like they’re being intimidated or something doesn’t look lawful or appropriate, contact the attorney general’s office and their election fraud hotline,” KY State Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing said.

Dearing said the best way to be informed is not to use third party groups for information, instead use a trusted source like GoVoteKY.com.  

RELATED: 6 things Kentucky voters need to know for Election Day

RELATED: Experts weigh in on Kentucky's Senate race

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