Mayoral door knock data litters downtown bridge

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Part of a "door-knock sheet" asking potential voters who they expect to vote for.
James Brown is 32 and lives in Minneapolis. The biggest political topic for him is the environment.

How do we know this? It fell off a truck.

That's not a euphemism for theft. As far as we can tell, the information, which was originally collected by political foot soldiers, literally fell off a truck and littered part of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge on Friday.

"That's awesome," Brown told us, adding without irony: "Everyone knows I care about the environment."

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All told, City Pages picked up 13 pages that contain the name, age, phone number, and address of 64 registered voters -- much of which can be found in public databases. But in some cases, those pages also show the voter's top choices for the upcoming Minneapolis mayoral election and the topic that most concerns them.

Brown said he was "not particularly" bothered by the incident unless the documents contained his social security number. Then he paused.

"Is my social security number on there?"

No, it's not.

"Then I'm not totally offended by that."

Others named in the documents were equally unfazed, although they failed to see the humor -- as Brown did -- in what can be chalked up as another strange occurrence in another strange election year for the Twin Cities. One woman insisted we shred anything with her name on it.

Apparently the documents came from the Betsy Hodges campaign. The bottom left-hand corner of three pages says, "Hodges HQ." Plus her name is the only one that was typed, before printed, in several spots reserved for people's first and second choice for mayor.

Her spokesman, Aaron Wells, said volunteers use such paperwork when they go door knocking. The answers are then entered into computers and the paper is collected by a recycling company. He vowed to call "our collection people" to find out for certain how it wound up on the bridge.

"We try really hard not to let that happen," Wells said, and stressed that this was an isolated incident. "Our protocol is to shred the data."

At the very least, the documents suggest that there's a political volunteer out there with a funny bone. While standing outside a home in Northeast, he/she made this quizzical observation:

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-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com


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