VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Two Virginia residents thought it was a joke when a nonprofit group sent voter registration forms to their homes.
That's because the forms were addressed to a cat and a dead dog.
Ursula Angeles of Virginia Beach posted a picture of the form sent to her cat, Scampers, on her Facebook page.
"Some said Republicat, some said Democat, and I thought, well he would have voted for Paw-lenty if he would have stayed in the race," Angeles told WAVY-TV ( http://bit.ly/Lle4zS).
Tim Morris' dog, Mozart, also received a form, addressed to Mo, the Bedford County family's nickname for the canine. Mozart died two years ago.
"I opened it up and looked at it and I just laughed," Morris told WSLS-TV ( http://bit.ly/MjD886). "I thought it was a joke at first and it turns out it's real."
The forms were sent by the Voter Participation Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that works to increase voter turnout, particularly among the young, minorities and single women.
Center officials told the TV stations that it buys mailing lists from vendors.
"What is a real concern is that a simple piece of mail - an understandable mistake - has gotten so much attention and created a bogus `crisis' in this toxic atmosphere designed to discourage citizens from registering and voting to make our democracy stronger and healthier," Page Gardner, the center's president, said in a written statement.
The center has made a video in response to critics of mailings it mistakenly sent to pets. In it, a talking dog says, "Get more people to the polls. And don't sweat the cats."
The Virginia Board of Elections said it has received similar complaints but it can't stop a private organization from sending voter registration forms, unless there is evidence of fraud.
Angeles said Scampers' mailing could be used to promote voter participation.
"I thought about making a little T-shirt, just to encourage people to vote," she said. "He could be a spokescat."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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