Editorial: Voters can only hope
Roy Cooper issued a timely suggestion Monday: Candidates should show some respect and not call numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. Voters on those lists can only hope this year’s candidates listen.
Lawmakers listened back in 2003 when the public grew sick and tired of telephone solicitations that interrupted the dinner hour and otherwise caused irritation. The U.S. Congress, the N.C. General Assembly and other state legislatures passed laws making it illegal to solicit people who place their phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. But every law has its loopholes. In a display of self-interest ó and claiming freedom of speech ó lawmakers created an exemption for political candidates.
Hence we have the “robo-call” nuisance. You pick up your ringing phone, expecting a living person on the other end of the line. All you hear, though, is a recorded message for Candidate X. According to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of registered voters received computerized calls in the final stages of the 2006 elections, and 2008 is off to a busy start. Pew said 80 percent of likely voters received robo calls leading up to the Iowa caucuses.
The Georgia Senate passed a bill last week that bans political robo-calls. An election year is the perfect time to ask the N.C. General Assembly to do the same. It would make a lot of voters happy.
Cooper, who is up for re-election himself, reiterated details of the current state law. Campaigns making pre-recorded calls must identify who is making the call, the nature of the call and provide contact information. While they’re at it, they can tell us how the candidate feels about a ban on political robo-calls.