Prior to the 2000 elections, I was besieged by political phone calls, all from the Republican Party. The prerecorded messages, as many as two to three per day, every day, were mostly from Barbara Bush and Elizabeth Dole, urging me to vote for George W. Bush.
I got so fed up that I called Republican Headquarters and complained to an obviously bored and indifferent flunky. He didn’t even bother to take down my telephone number, and the calls continued.
This year, all the calls came from the Democratic Party instead. Leading the pack was Mary Brennan, but Sen. Jon Corzine also got into the act.
As an independent voter, I am sometimes undecided between two candidates. In such cases, repeated, unrelenting nuisance calls can be enough to tip the balance.
To my mind, there is no difference in nuisance value between political and telemarketing phone calls. Both are unwelcome, aggressive intrusions into one’s peace and privacy.
There is a difference, however, in terms of one’s ability to defend against them. You can tell telemarketers off and get your name removed from their calling lists by writing to the Direct Marketing Association, but there is no way to fend off prerecorded political calls.
If you are also outraged by these unrelenting invasions of your privacy, consider contacting the offending candidates.
Also, the Federal Trade Commission can be reached at (877) 382-4357, or www.ftc.gov.