Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Should political robo-calls be banned?

When the N.C. legislature adopted a no-call law in 2003 and the Federal Trade Commission set up a national Do-Not-Call Registry, they pretty much prohibited organizations from making telephone calls to customers who didn't want to be bothered by solicitations for this and that.
But the registry exempted certain kinds of calls -- those from businesses or organizations that already had a working relationship, for example. Charities. And political calls.
If your home telephone is like mine, you've gotten bombarded by such calls lately -- sometimes from a live person, and more often from an automated machine delivering a message in behalf of one party or another.
In recent days I've heard from former Gov. Jim Martin, former Gov. Jim Hunt, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, enough appellate judges and candidates to fill out three or four tables of bridge and I don't-know how many others. These calls get the delete button about as fast as I can punch it.
This morning I read about how one party in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania had used these robo-calls to irritate potential voters from the other party, apparently in hopes of holding down the opposition turnout. It's a sad commentary on politics when the best idea is to discourage folks from taking party in this basic act of democracy.
Here's what the FTC says in part in its online FAQ about the no-call registry:

Will All Telemarketing Calls Stop If I Register?

29. If I register my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, will it stop all telemarketing calls?

No. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls.

30. Are calls from political organizations or calls soliciting for charities covered?

Political solicitations are not covered by the TSR at all, since they are not included in its definition of “telemarketing.” Charities are not covered by the requirements of the national registry. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.


31. What about telephone surveys?

If the call is really for the sole purpose of conducting a survey, it is not covered. Only telemarketing calls are covered — that is, calls that solicit sales of goods or services. Callers purporting to take a survey, but also offering to sell goods or services, must comply with the National Do Not Call Registry.


So here's the question: Should political robo-calls be prohibited? Or would you prefer to keep getting them?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?:

http://forums.charlotte.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=kr-cltissues&msg=2533.4&ctx=0

There are some precincts in Charlotte where Democrats outnumber Republicans 40:1. Tell me that there isn't something dishonest going on here... 40:1 is insanely high. Stuff like this changes the outcome of elections, and it sure seems fraudulent to me.

Anonymous said...

Should the robocalls be prohibited? Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes!!! These calls have disrupted my day too many times and do nothing to help me decide for whom I will vote. I even received a call from someone running for an office in OHIO and I live in Anson County, NC! I have already gone to the Do Not Call registry and emailed them asking them to please rehtink allowing the political calls. Maybe, if more people will contact the Do Not Call registry, they will add these hugely annoying calls to the Do Not Call list.

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA JIM BLACK got in despite efforts of the Charlotte Observer and the KKK they represent to stop JIM BLACK. The Charlotte Observer is an ultra - conservative newspaper that represents Old ideas about how the South should stay as a PLANTATION type of State. They Hire a Few "Old Time Religion" Blacks and Uncle Toms to spell it out for Blacks in North Carolina,in other words you aint goin ' nowhere. Now Jim Black gets in and the Charlotte Observer walks with their tail between their racsist legs.

Anonymous said...

The Charlotte Observer has "WHITE POWER" and represents the same type of "WHITE as rice "Goverment. The Racsist are hard to tell anymore they wear suit and ties and blend in . Wheres your hoods Charlotte and white cloaks that run a 30% black city for the betterment of the white angelo businessmen and Governmnet.

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