the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

September 9, 2006

Robo-Calls for Candidates Are Out of Control


I agree with Bill Adler and Peggy Robin, administrators of the Cleveland Park e-mail list (definitely worth joining if you live in or near the neighborhood):

Today we received six pre-recorded calls from candidates for various offices. (And the day’s not yet over.)

To any candidates or their staff who read our listserv: Stop! These pre-recorded calls (which are usually displayed as “Unknown” on our caller ID) are disruptive and irritating. Do you think that voters like being summoned from the shower, lunch, or reading to hear a taped political pitch,
let alone a half dozen in an afternoon?

So, please, think creatively in the remaining days of your campaign. Don’t buy into the consultant’s glossy brochure that tells you how many voters you can reach cheaply through these calls. These calls can easily become an I-won’t-vote-for list.

My ancient answering machine is filling up with pointless and annoying messages. Some years ago, I tended to vote against candidates that used the technique, but nowadays it’s so pervasive that that policy would leave me with no one to vote for.


  1. Equally annoying are the massive amounts of spam email I get from a certain political party and afrom a certain candidate to whom I once donated small amounts of money. While I’m glad to know that the candidate & party have embraced email technology, the floods of emails on topics that were on the news or in the papers two to four days earlier strike me as a bit desperate–especially coming from a party that badly needs to project a little confidence.

    circumlocutor9:38 pm

  2. I’m not that bothered by the e-mail, since I get so much from various sources already that it’s easy to ignore it. Besides, since it’s not real spam it should be possible to unsubscribe. I do get irritated when some congressional candidate somewhere apparently decides to share their email list with every other candidate in the state, so that I start getting invitations to fundraiser barbecues thousands of miles away for local candidates. But phone calls are still far more annoying.

    And then there’s the paper junk mail — maybe the Sierra Club should revoke some of its endorsements for that. I must be duplicated on a list somewhere, because I’m getting two copies of some of these glossy mailers. Also, if you’re a group with a mailer promoting your endorsement of two candidates, and one of them is Scott Bolden, it’s probably better for the other candidate if you don’t send it to me, and certainly better if you don’t send it twice.

    Keith10:08 pm

  3. The calls are super annoying, and directly misleading if not comprised of outright lies.

    I particularly liked the one by “my neighbor” Sarah. Um, certain Ward 3 candidates don’t think much of the voting public..

    There is one Ward 3 candidate who clearly obtained my email address from his former place of work. I can’t imagine that is legal, either.]

    I can’t wait until the 12th.

    —Luke • 12:01 pm, September 11

  4. Ok, here’s my follow-up comment on the robo-calls. I spoke with an 80 year-old Van Ness resident who’s an old friend….she has lived in Washington for 50 years. The robo-calls were highly disturbing to her and to her elderly friends. As she pointed out, many seniors have vision problems and found themselves stumbling throuh their apts & homes–a big ordeal for many of the elderly–too many times for the robo-calls. That’s my follow-up.

    circumlocutor7:09 pm, September 16

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