As our country, states, and communities approach yet another Election Day, political campaign organizations will once again be mobilizing to convince voters to support their respective candidates and issues. This means that, especially if you are a regular voter, it is likely that your phone will be ringing frequently. While "direct voter contact" is still a highly effective method to "Get Out the Vote" for a candidate, calls can become obnoxious for those who prefer their phones to stay quiet in the evenings. Because of the First Amendment (reference 1), there is no blanket "Do Not Call" list or method that applies to political committees (reference 2). However, with a little bit of patience, it is possible to ensure that political calls come much less frequently.
Preemptively Get Off of Each Committees' List
Make a list of the various committees and campaigns that will be likely to contact you. Since every campaign is a new organization and even those candidates in the same party don't necessarily share information, you want to make sure to make your list various and comprehensive. Start with the major political parties, at both the state and county level, and work your way down from larger candidates to smaller ones. Don't forget prominent political organizations that aren't for any particular candidate, such as Organizing for America if you're a Democrat or the Club for Growth if you are a Republican.
Locate contact information for each committee you identified. Approaching Election Day, almost every one of them will have a website, Facebook page, or some other kind of web presence. If a committee isn't on the internet, the state or local party to which each committee is affiliated will likely have contact information available.
Contact each committee or organization on your list. While most organizations do read e-mails and messages sent through their websites, it will be more effective to call and speak to a live person. Be sure to be polite as you respectfully explain your situation and that you would prefer not to be contacted; remember, the person with whom you are speaking is most likely a volunteer, not a paid staff member, who is donating his or her time in service to something he/she believes in.
If you are comfortable doing so, tell each committee you contact how you will be voting related to their particular interests. Most voter-contact phone calls made by political campaigns are made for two reasons: 1.) to identify supporters and opponents, and 2.) to remind supporters to vote. If you preemptively identify yourself as an opponent or supporter, also explaining that you would like not to be contacted, an organization will have less need to contact you in the future.
If you still receive a phone call from a political committee, politely but frankly ask the caller to refrain from contacting you again. Since campaigns and organizations don't always communicate or share information, the caller may not have any idea that you had asked to be removed from call lists. If an organization contacts you after you have asked them not to, it is likely an error, and the caller is likely a volunteer, so be polite and explain again that you would like not to be contacted any further.
If you wish, you may register your phone number with a "political do not call" registry such as The National Political Do Not Contact Registry. Keep in mind, however, that, despite it's official-sounding name, this list is administered by a nonprofit organization and has no enforceable legal effect. Additionally, should you wish to be included during each and every Election Cycle for free, you will be required to re-register every time. Lifetime memberships cost a nominal fee (reference 3)
- Because many people respond rudely to being called at home, making phone calls for a political campaign is a difficult and taxing experience for a campaign volunteer. If you are contacted, be patient and honest with your caller, keeping in mind the sacrifice that he/she is making for his/her beliefs.
- Even if you have contacted every possible official political committee you can think of, it is still possible that someone will call you, whether from a newly formed political committee or from an older group that you failed to identify.
- If stopping political calls is important to you, you will have to repeat these steps twice for every Election Year (once during the Primary Election season, once during the General). Even if the major political parties carry their information into the next election cycle, it is less likely that all of that information will be shared with every candidate on the ballot.
- It might seem like a lot of work simply to keep your phone from ringing, but it's a one-time effort that will likely pay regular dividends in evening silence.
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