Local News

Officials Start Push To 'Hang Up' On Campaign Callers

Posted August 16, 2004

— For many voters, automated, political phone calls are about as welcome as tax increases. Now, there is a push to hang up on campaign callers.

Voters recently complained about untimely telemarketing ads for state superintendent candidate June Atkinson.

"There's no candidate I know of that would want a call being made on their behalf to some voter around midnight," said Don Wright, legal counsel for the state Board of Elections.

Because of a flurry of complaints, Wright said the state Board of Elections wants lawmakers to take a closer look at unsolicited political phone calls.

"One would assume hours in which you can receive these calls would be reasonably restricted," Wright said.

The state Board of Elections does not have the authority to restrict campaign calls, only the Legislature can do that. Some calls are anonymous and another recommendation would require campaign callers identify who sponsors the ad, however, that could have constitutional challenges.

The campaign calls are not covered under the Do-Not-Call list because of the First Amendment.

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