What’s Up With Political Text Messages?

It started about two weeks before the election.

I glanced down at my purse while we were out having lunch with my in laws and saw my phone flashing. I’d been texting with a friend who isn’t always consistent with her replies [because of her job], so I immediately looked to see if it was from her, to let her know we were out with family and I would get back to her soon.

It wasn’t my friend. It was a political text message, something I’d never experienced before that day, and which annoyed me continually until Election Day.

I feel I should inform you I’m a registered Independent. I have no problem studying the candidates and their stance on issues in order to make my decision on Election Day. Imagine my surprise when the only text messages that continually arrived on my cell phone were from one specific candidate. I have no idea how they got my phone number, but I sent a “STOP” message any time I got one.

I also feel I should let you know I had no intentions of supporting the candidate the messages were coming from. She’s been spoofed on Saturday Night Live, so I don’t guess I have to tell you who I’m talking about. It wasn’t just the way she ran her campaign, though that left a bad taste in my mouth. I watched the debate on CNN and C-SPAN, and that was a lot of the reason I chose not to support her.

I digress.

The unsolicited text messages came daily and sometimes several times a day. It seemed like for each time I responded with “STOP,” I got another three. Several of the messages had e-mail addresses attached to them and when I got very frustrated, I went so far as to e-mail and ask to be removed from their lists.

It didn’t work.

I really hope this was something they were testing out this election cycle and they realize it’s not working. I know a lot of people probably read the texts and deleted them, but I was genuinely bothered by it, the same way I was annoyed with the phone call I got [from the same candidate] while we were out to dinner with my in laws one night, inviting me to participate in a conference style call scheduled for 7-8 p.m. that night. The call came in around 7:30.

I understand that political callers don’t have to follow the Do Not Call list. Most of the calls I got, I answered then politely hung up on the robotic voice asking me to support Insert Candidate Name Here [the calls were a much wider spectrum than the text messages].

I know I live in a state that was a . . . I don’t want to call it a battleground state, because it wasn’t, but it was definitely a unique situation. I have to wonder whether the Senatorial race would have been so ugly if the candidate who sent me so many text messages hadn’t won the primary.

I can only say I hope this was just a test run with this election and it doesn’t happen again. It probably will, though, and I’ll probably have zero patience for it next time. Technology is great for some things, but not so much with auto texts.

One Reply to “What’s Up With Political Text Messages?”

  1. Well, if you changed your registration to a different party affiliation, it wouldn’t have happened. 😉

    Phones, doors, and suchlike ‘voter contact’ is based on a massive amount of data that sorts voters into categories. You were identified by this campaign as “likely to vote/persuadable.” Since the campaign had ridiculous amounts of out of state money and no native ground game, they relied on these automated approaches.

    Registering for a party doesn’t control who you vote for. But, at this time and place, it has a lot of advantages, including the ability to vote in primaries.

    You’re right, I fear, that Citizen’s United has opened some pretty darn evil floodgates on such approaches. Millions of dollars in untraced cash is bad for the process. I counted over 100 yard signs in front of a polling place with 600 voters. Think of the money that could have been spent on schools, roads, and hospitals. 🙁

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