Political campaigns

Political campaigns increase robocalls and texts to voters

Political campaigns across the country are using robocalls and text messages in their election campaigns.

YORK, Pa. — The phones ring nonstop as political campaigns reach potential voters.

As Pennsylvania candidates try to woo last-minute voters, many people are turned off by the constant notifications.

“I vote every year and I vote in every local election,” said Pennsylvania resident Hope Mincer. “I don’t understand why I’m the target of all these calls.”

“I know who I want to vote for and who I don’t,” said local resident Joyce Turner. “No annoying text or phone call will make me want to vote for your candidate anymore.”

York County residents like Turner and Mincer say they are inundated with political messages. No matter how many times they delete and block numbers, the calls keep coming.

“In the past four days I’ve blocked 16 numbers and they were political numbers,” Turner said.

“I got too many phone calls and text messages, and all I do is delete them,” Mincer said.

“I’ve received text messages from, probably, two dozen different sources over the past few weeks,” said Scott Foulkrod, professor of legal studies at the University of Harrisburg.

He says political texting and calling has a lot of leeway when it comes to the do not call registry.

According to the FCC, calls to landlines and text messages to cell phones are permitted without the recipient’s consent.

“Usually these types of calls or texts require explicit consent,” Foulkrod said. “But political and other text messages are exempt.”

Although political messages enjoy certain exemptions, the FCC still has limitations in place. Robotexts can be deactivated by texting “STOP” and messages cannot be sent using automated technology.

Foulkrod adds that despite the boring nature of the messages, it’s part of the campaigns’ overall strategy to get people to the polls.

“It’s important that as citizens we not only vote, but be informed about campaigns and who wants to be elected,” Foulkrod said.

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