End the Robocalls
With all the recent flap about the mysterious robocall initiated by a consultant of the Ehrlich campaign, I’m actually happy about one potential outcome of this mess. In the future, voters will hopefully send a clear message to our candidates that their robocalls are not wanted and no longer trusted as a tool of campaigning.
During the District 9 Council race, I received multiple robocalls from Sydney Harrison and Mel Franklin, who were the two biggest spenders in the race to become the next Council representative. They told me who endorsed them and why they were the best candidates. Mel provided a testimonial from a local teacher, and Sydney had his own son call to tell me he was a great father. While that’s all nice to know, neither of them bothered to knock on my door, visit my homeowners association, or attend any local meetings on issues that concerned me.
If you take every person’s vote very seriously, I think voters deserve a candidate that personally explains their platform and is already well known for their advocacy in the community. Robocalls are a low-cost way to introduce a candidate to residents, especially when they don’t have any proven track record in the community and are merely depending upon money and name recognition to win the race.
Because the First Amendment protects political speech, political calls are specifically excluded from the Federal Do Not Call Registry. It is a quite convenient loophole that allows candidates to pester voters with dozens of campaign messages, regardless of whether the phone calls are legitimately or deceptively made. Fortunately, you can opt out of receiving robocalls by registering your phone number with the National Political Do Not Contact Registry website, www.StopPoliticalCalls.org. The National Political Do Not Contact Registry fills a void in the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call (DNC) registry.
Furthermore, voters can collectively send a message to candidates who use these patronizing phone calls that assume the electorate is too uninformed to research their choices. Get out and vote, and choose a candidate who has actually achieved recognition not by their name, but by what they have already accomplished for their community.