Consultant: Pandemic behind increase in texts from campaigns

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SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — While the countdown to Election Day continues, the texts from political candidates and campaigns have also ramped up. 

Whether it’s a message from a local politician or a new proposition on the ballot, voters like Joseph R. Domingo in Solano County told FOX40 the texts are a nuisance.

“Quite pestering, quite annoying,” Domingo said. “It’s been ramping up to four. I remember at the beginning of me getting my ballot, it used to be one a day.”

Lee Neves, a political consultant with Cross Currents LLC, told FOX40 that voters may be seeing more texts than ever due to the constraints of COVID-19.

“We can’t go door-to-door and talk to voters face-to-face this year. So, this is the best way to do it,” Neves explained. “So, by text messaging, you’re actually able to talk and, possibly, if the voter wants to engage, have a conversation with voters.”

Neves said the texts should have an opt-out option.

“And they’re legally mandated to take your name off of that campaign’s text list,” Neves said.

Neves adds that some of the time the entity on the other end are actual volunteers who legally do not have to provide an option to stop.

“Identify yourself, as, ‘Hi, I’m Lee, I’m volunteering for the Sam Jones campaign. If you’d like to stop receiving these texts, please just reply stop.’ That’s the good neighbor policy,” Neves said.

But a good neighbor and an ethical volunteer will stop communicating when asked, according to Neves.

“A lot of times there’s an actual person on the other end of that text and they’re doing their part for democracy,” Neves said.

As for Domingo, he uses the filter on his smartphone.

“Luckily I have a filter, so it has just been hard to keep up with these text messages given the pandemic,” Domingo said.

Campaigns legally have to remove voters from their contact list if they opt-out or ask campaigns to stop.

If the messages still persist after opting out, recipients may file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. 

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