Maryland May Ban Political Robo-calls

Sounds good to me. After the terrible suppression techniques used by Republicans in Maryland in 2006, its time to end this practice. I was volunteer for the co-ordinated campaign, and when we would make our person to person calls, we received numerous complaints about robo-calls coming from Cardin and O'Malley. The thing is, most of these calls were not coming from Democrats, but from Republican political groups which started their calls with references to Maryland Democrats. When the voter hung up early, they had no way to hear the sponsor message at the end of the call.

This amounts to voter suppression through irritation. I can think of no other reason for the numerous, repeating robo-calls from Republicans other than to irritate Democratic voters and turn them off from their candidates.

I don't really see the inherent value of these calls over person to person calls, other than the fact that you need volunteers for person to person calls and all you need for weeks and weeks of robo-call irritation is a phone list and computer.

This would be similar to a Republican candidate finding a Democratic email list and sending hundreds of unsolicited emails to these addresses every day, in which the subject line declared the mail was from a Democratic candidate.

Now, perhaps there are regulations that don't go as far that could fix this problem. I think requiring disclosure of the calling organization at the start of the call would be great. Perhaps a required message for all calls that says "THIS IS AN AUTOMATED POLITICAL MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY '________' " I have a feeling that such a requirement would at least cut down on the number of calls and their effectiveness.


Greg Kline said...

A little more irony for you perhaps. One of the bill's sponsors, Del. J. King (R-33A) used multiple robocalls in the primary to claim endorsements by both Ehrlich and Steele. He received no such endorsements and lied further that no other canididates in the races had been endorsed (Del. McConkey was the only candidate endorsed by Ehrlich).

Now he wants to ban the practice he abused so effectively.

They have a word for that don't they?

Andrew Kujan said...

Ironic yes, but that doesn't make the bill any less necessary. Former Lt. Governor Steele also claimed to have been endorsed by Kweisi Mfume (though not through a robo-call).

I feel the issue is not the message that is being read during the calls, but the numerous amounts of calls that are designed to harass voters.