SD Candidates Receiving Anonymous E-Mail Survey: Don’t Click Unknown Links!

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.


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.

14 Responses to SD Candidates Receiving Anonymous E-Mail Survey: Don’t Click Unknown Links!

  1. Click it, Mr. H. Click it! We want to know what the misleading questions are! At least if you are an interested blog you could maybe get the metrical data afterwards like they say and you could post it. If this is being analyzed, it might be something Mr. Sibby is doing.

  2. Can you put the blue link here and let all of your bloggers who are willing to click it click it? It might mess up the survey and be entertaining.

  3. I went to it, it’s a simple Survey Monkey link. If you’re concerned, make sure your ad blocker is on (better yet, just disable scripts from running). Open it in an incognito window. Outside of the FAR right questions, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

  4. Darin Larson

    Cory, some of us don’t have time for anonymous surveys. I’m too busy helping a Nigerian prince who needs $600 from me in order to bring millions of dollars to the US. I’m going to earn a large fee for my work. I’ll let you know about it later.

  5. Gary, any identifying information on the purported survey?

    Grudz, I’d give you the link, but (a) the email claims it is personalized survey, and (b) friends don’t send friends spam.

  6. No, it’s just a generic format. I didn’t fill it out, so I don’t know if it says anything at the end.

  7. Democrats don’t put out stuff like this. Sounds to me like the work of right-wing GOP Party people. You know, the kind who hate their own party as much as they hate Democrats. Golly gee we can anticipate the results before they are ever released. Stacey Nelson is the quickest to answer and right in tune with the radical right slant of the questions.

  8. The beliigerence of the language suggests Trumpists.

    I sent an e-mail to the survey sender yesterday morning requesting confirmation of identity. It’s been 24 hours—I have still not received a reply. So much for their willingness to practice what they preach about non-dilatory responses.

  9. Mathew Wollmann

    The Clock Starts NOW! This survey is meant to determine where candidates stand on the issues important to South Dakotans AND as a test to see if and how timely candidates (and thusly their party) responds to constituent inquiries.

    * 1. If the vote was held today, would you vote FOR Gov Daugaard’s proposed Medicaid expansion?



    * 2. Did you vote FOR (or support) any of the increases in taxes, fees, and budgetary spending 2015-2016?



    * 3. Should law-abiding persons be allowed to carry a concealed weapon on state college or university campuses?



    * 4. Will you support legislation (Constitutional/Permitless Carry) that would (without diminishing the enforceability of any other firearms laws regarding prohibited persons, places, or conduct) repeal the permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun?



    * 5. Do you support the legalization of assisted suicide?



    * 6. Do you support repealing the death penalty?



    * 7. Do you support legislation banning dismemberment or decapitation of living fetuses inutero?



    * 8. Should a juvenile child’s legal parents be the deciding authority on all matters affecting their child? (i.e. whether a child receives an abortion; whether a child receives sex education; whether a child is required to submit to school testing; whether data is collected on a child; whether a child receives vaccines; etc.)?



    * 9. Do you support legislation that would require presumptive joint custody of children be awarded to both parents?

    Yes, absent any disqualifying factors, both parents should have equal time and custody of their child


    * 10. When it comes to education, which best describes your position?

    I oppose state and federal government control of education via Common Core State Standards

    I support state and federal government control of education via Common Core State Standards

    * 11. Do you support legislation that would prohibit government entities from entering into any confidential settlements that involve taxpayer dollars?



    * 12. What is your position on government/private agencies resettlement of foreign refugees into South Dakota?

    I support it

    I oppose it

    * 13. What should happen to undocumented immigrants/illegal aliens that are identified as being in South Dakota illegally?


    SD government officials should enforce federal immigration statutes (as they do with other crimes by US citizens, i.e. bank robbery, etc.)

    * 14. Do you support repealing statutes which require public notices be posted in newspapers of record in favor of allowing government agencies to post them only on the internet?



    * 15. Do you support efforts reducing restrictions, easements, and regulations making it easier for large Confinement Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) to establish themselves in rural South Dakota communities?



    * 16. Do you support legislation repealing restrictions, and ordinances prohibiting ownership of domestic livestock (i.e. 1 cow, 1 goat, 1 horse, 1 pig, 3-4 ducks/turkeys/chickens/geese) on private property within city limits?



    * 17. Do you support making all of the legislative leadership election process open to the public, to include who you vote for?


    No, the voters do not have a right to know who I will support

    * 18. Do you ____________ the current practice of excluding the public from discussions about legislation in closed caucus or precommittee meetings?



    * 19. What is your position on empty “vehicle” bills, and bills containing multiple subjects (omnibus bills, i.e. 2013 SB70, 2015 SB1, etc.)?

    No problem

    They are illegal and violate SD’s Constitution: “Article III § 21. One subject expressed in title. No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”

    * 20. If House leadership elections were held today, who would you vote for Speaker of the House?

    Mark Mickelson (Current Speaker Pro Tem)

    Don Haggar

    Mike Stevens

    Voters do not have a right to know who I will support

    Other (please specify)

  10. Mathew! Thanks for sharing! It’s been 45 hours, and the anonymi still haven’t replied to my e-mail, so I haven’t clicked.

    My responses to those questions (25 min after receiving them from Mathew, a non-anonymous GOP legislator and potential rival in the Capitol, and with 15 of those minutes occupied by appearing live on the Greg Belfrage Show on KELO Radio):

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. No
    4. No
    5. Undecided
    6. Yes
    7. No
    8. No (can’t go for the absolute)
    9. No
    10. No (but flawed question, since feds don’t control Common Core)
    11. Yes
    12. Yes
    13. Insufficient options: immigration enforcement is federal jurisdiction
    14. No
    15. No
    16. Yes but not all, since some regulation is necessary so we don’t have chicken poop all over kingdom come
    17. Yes
    18. Oppose
    19. Insufficient options: I dislike carcass bills, but it’s just bad practice for transparency and public participation, not a Constitutional crisis.
    20. Shawn Bordeaux!
  11. “The clock starts NOW!” also rewards hasty, poorly researched, ill-thought-out gut responses. Deliberate legislators and candidates who take time to consult with voters get lower scores.

  12. Mathew Wollmann

    Not a problem Cory. I chose not to respond to an anonymous poll, and also asked who was responsible.

    Have a great day!

  13. You didn’t get a reply either, Mathew?

  14. Mathew Wollmann

    I did not. Not expecting one either.