How to stop political candidates from sending text messages to your phone

Text from political candidate
Text from political candidate(wbrc)
Updated: Mar. 3, 2020 at 5:53 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Several presidential candidates using text messages as a last push to get your vote has some complaining the messages are a nuisance.

“I got two out of a week’s time and I didn’t respond to them,” said voter Nathaniel Butler.

Butler, who lives in Birmingham, called the messages “annoying.”

“Especially when they are back to back,” he added.

Butler claimed he didn’t sign up to get the messages.

“They sale your information,” he said.

That’s one method they use. We looked in to how campaigns get your personal contact information. Some companies do sell personal information to campaigns.

However, if you’re a registered voter, and your number is public and candidates can get your contact from the county supervisor of elections.

We responded to text messages from Democratic Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg. We asked how they got our phone number. Sanders’ camp is the only one who responded saying they got our number from “publicly available voter file.”

Whether the messages are legal can be debated.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), The Telephone Consumer Protection Act limits auto-dialed, pre-recorded calls and texts.

The Federal Trade Commission says you must give consent otherwise it’s illegal.

The way campaigns get around those rules is called peer-to-peer messaging. Some campaigns say it doesn’t violate federal laws as long as an actual person is sending the message or calling and it’s not a robot.

“It’s not only invading your privacy. It’s getting information you don’t want anybody to have,” said Butler.

To make the political text messages stop, simply reply “stop” to the sender. The campaign should respond acknowledging receipt and removal from their phone list.

If you feel a campaign is in violation of the law click here to file a complaint.

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