If I had a dollar for everytime a voter got angry with me for calling them about an election and said “I am reporting you, we are on the do not call list!” I would have a few bucks (probably more if I put in more time on the phones 😉
I saw this letter in the NYT this weekend unforunately the article is behind a pay wall, but it would seem that it just talked about dreaded tele-marketers. It is the letter that talks about political calls.
Recorded political messages are even more intrusive than commercial calls and should be banned. During the past election campaign, all political calls to our household were recorded solicitations.
One-sided conversations are particularly offensive and show contempt for the recipients because the recipients are unable to respond. Asking to be removed from these lists has proved to be futile. Calls we made to the candidates in 2004 and 2005 requesting deletion of our names were all ignored.
Political solicitations have gotten out of hand and need to be regulated. Adding them to the Do Not Call list would be ideal. If this would violate First Amendment rights, perhaps the calls could be treated as harassment if candidates had prior notification.
ACCCKKKK! Prohibiting political phone calls!? This is probably just what we need. It is far to easy for politicians to dump hundreds of thousands of robo calls into a district in the week before an election. However you can’t treat political calls the same way as commercial calls. But voters should be able to be removed from specific politicians call lists, or set preferences for when they want to receive political calls. Integrating identity technologies like iNames into political data applications could go along way to solving these problems.
At CivicActions we are beginning to think about how we can integrate privacy and identity features into our voter data offerings. Candidates don’t want to waste money contacting people who do not want to be contacted. That money can go into contacting people who do, or be realocated to other forms of voter outreach that are less objectionable, like friend-to-friend voter contact.
There is a danger that 50 million people would sign up to not be called by political campaigns, and then we would all be worse off as more people would be able to ignore the elections and candidates would resort to carpet mombing the mailboxes and the airwaves.
One thing is clear. We will need to find a solution, because current strategies of mass media advertising, direct mail and robo calls are not getting through like they used to.