The Investigators

Oct 16, 2012 1:00 AM

Investigators look into the rules of robo calls

TUCSON - By the time Election Day arrives in November, you'll have gotten an earful of robo calls.

That's what bothers Deborah Winn the most about election season: those incessant, automated political calls.

"Like every day, three or four," said Winn.

Deborah is a political independent, and her home phone, her land-line, is fair game for these calls. No law keeps politicians from calling that home number.

Winn said, "you should be able to get away from that in your own home. When the phone rings, it shouldn't be someone trying to pound you with their thinking and opinions."

But more and more people are getting political robo calls not just at home, but on their cell phones.

That's against the rules according to the Federal Communications Commission.

In fact, the government's been getting so many complaints about that this election season, they've re-issued their rules on these calls.

It says pre-recorded voice messages, auto-dialed calls to cell phones, are prohibited. And they can cost you money for air time and the texts you receive.

So why is it happening?

More and more often, the cell phone is the only phone voters use as many people ditched their land lines. And robo callers don't know the difference.

Beyond that, political watchers say the politicians can't afford to miss these voters with their message.

Professional pollster Maragret Kenski says that's because politicians have found robo-calls to be effective.

She said, "everyone seems to think they have to do it. and consequently, everyone does, and it annoys the public no end."

But she says for a candidate to get out the vote, it takes multiple calls.

Kenski said, "I think it's also the annoyance of campaigns now, their negative nature, all the calls we get, and the early voting - whatever its virtues, just means we're annoyed even more."
TUCSON - By the time Election Day arrives in November, you'll have gotten an earful of robo calls.

That's what bothers Deborah Winn the most about election season: those incessant, automated political calls.

"Like every day, three or four," said Winn.

Deborah is a political independent, and her home phone, her land-line, is fair game for these calls. No law keeps politicians from calling that home number.

Winn said, "you should be able to get away from that in your own home. When the phone rings, it shouldn't be someone trying to pound you with their thinking and opinions."

But more and more people are getting political robo calls not just at home, but on their cell phones.

That's against the rules according to the Federal Communications Commission.

In fact, the government's been getting so many complaints about that this election season, they've re-issued their rules on these calls.

It says pre-recorded voice messages, auto-dialed calls to cell phones, are prohibited. And they can cost you money for air time and the texts you receive.

So why is it happening?

More and more often, the cell phone is the only phone voters use as many people ditched their land lines. And robo callers don't know the difference.

Beyond that, political watchers say the politicians can't afford to miss these voters with their message.

Professional pollster Maragret Kenski says that's because politicians have found robo-calls to be effective.

She said, "everyone seems to think they have to do it. and consequently, everyone does, and it annoys the public no end."

But she says for a candidate to get out the vote, it takes multiple calls.

Kenski said, "I think it's also the annoyance of campaigns now, their negative nature, all the calls we get, and the early voting - whatever its virtues, just means we're annoyed even more."

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