An anonymous message popped into my campaign inbox and that of at least a few other candidates for South Dakota Legislature this morning:
Dear Senate Candidate,
South Dakotans want to know where you stand on the issues and how quickly (or if) you will respond to them when they contact you with an issue. This survey tracks your responses individually and will also allow us to track and compare the timeliness of responses by race, as well as overall party registration. We have made every effort to identify and include every candidate’s personal contact email address in this poll to effect an accurate gauge of all legislative candidates’ receipt and response times to (or lack thereof) the most common way constituents contact their SD elected officials.The resulting detailed metrics of this survey, and constituent timeliness response (refusal to respond) gauge, will be provided to all of SD’s TV & radio stations, all interested blogs, all of South Dakotas numerous newspapers, and any candidate who requests the results.
PLEASE NOTE: As in real life when contacted by a voter, your dilatory response (or refusal to respond) to this survey will negatively reflect on you and your party.
***THIS SURVEY ENDS ON OCTOBER 16, 2016***
Thank you in advance for your time, consideration, and your willingness to run for office.
SD Nonpartisan Poll 2016 [anonymous e-mail, received by Heidelberger Campaign Fund 2016.10.09]
Indeed, when voters ask candidates questions, candidates should respond in a timely fashion. But when candidates receive anonymous requests, are we obliged to respond? Might not fiddling around with anonymous requests divert attention that is better directed to real, verifiable South Dakota voters?
I’d click on the Survey Monkey link included in the e-mail to see what questions are asked, but aren’t we all told not to click links in anonymous e-mails? Without some personal or organizational name and alternative contact information that allow me to verify that this request is legitimate, how can I tell this isn’t just spam or a phishing attack meant to sabotage candidates’ computers and steal their data?
Maybe this is just cybersecurity research: maybe kids at DSU are studying the spam-susceptibility of our political candidates. If research is afoot, in lieu of my clicking, here’s my answer: no, I won’t click links in anonymous e-mails.