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COPS Voter Guide arrives in mail, riles voters

Posted at 2:50 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 22:51:44-04

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) - Voters are expressing confusion and frustration after receiving a mailer titled 'COPS Voter Guide.'

Brandon Salgado was sorting through the mail this past weekend at his grandfather’s home in Santee when he saw the political mailer.

"It’s got the badge, says 'COPS Voter Guide.' On the back it says 'COPS' and it's red and blue. Looks like something law enforcement
would back," said Salgado.

Salgado has family members that work in and with law enforcement, and took a closer look at the mailer’s list of ‘priority’ propositions. At the top, next to Prop 16, which involves the issue of affirmative action, is the word 'NO,' and an arrow pointing to a mailer's description of the proposition: 'For Racial Equality.'

"I was shocked that someone should put out that law enforcement is 'No' for racial equality. Just didn’t sit well with me. It’s a bad look, bad optics," said Salgado.

Salgado, who thought the mailer had police backing, then saw the fine print, which says 'This organization does not represent any public safety personnel.'

So what does it represent?

A video on the the COPS Voter Guide website says the Folsom-based group is a non-partisan, public advocacy organization.

“The candidates we support have pledged to make public safety a top priority,” explains the group's director in the video.

During the 2016 presidential election, the Modesto Bee described it as a 'pay-to-play mailer,' disguising advertisements as endorsements. On the mailer itself, there is the phrase 'paid for' by the candidates or ballot measures.

"It’s completely misleading ... If I were law enforcement, I'd be upset they appear to be representing me," said Salgado.

Salgado, who says the mailer's law enforcement branding is convincing, worries other voters may not read the fine print.

"Everyone should want the truth and the facts to make a decision for themselves ... I’m concerned the voter will see this flyer and associate this with cops and vote based on that," said Salgado.

ABC 10News reached out to the COPS voter guide, but have not heard back.