NewsNationalDemocracy 2018


What's up with the political text messages?

Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 30, 2018

DENVER, Colorado — Candidates and political parties are desperate to reach voters as Election Day approaches but one method feels a little more personal. Text messages are being used to target voters, and if you've been inundated, you're not alone. 

"But it is a little kind of like how do you have my phone number," said Andrew Drysdale, a voter who called the texts unsettling. 

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said his office has received numerous phone calls and emails about the text messages. Some of his own staff members have also received them.

"They're allowed to do it as long as they're following the law," said Williams.

The FCC has specific rules about campaign-related robocalls and texts, stating they cannot be sent to a cell phone "without the called party's prior express consent." 

"There are ways that they use to try and avoid some of the legal restrictions on it by having a live person as one of the steps, so it's not automated," said Williams.

On top of that, he adds the Do Not Call Registry does not apply to political calls.

Williams says you can visit to make sure your cell phone number is not attached to your voter registration. Even if you take those steps to ensure your phone number is not included, it might not be enough to stop aggressive political groups from tracking you down. Many of these groups are combining publicly available records with other databases and lists.

"But they will take the public information and then say there is a Sally Smith that lives on Rodeo Drive what do we know about this individual. Well let's see, we bought this subscription list and Sally subscribes to this magazine and we paid for this list that happens to have cell phone numbers on it," said Williams.