Politicians' Automated Calls Possibly to Get Do-Not-Call Status

As the presidential primary season heats up, voters' voice-mail boxes are starting to fill up with the usual batch of message-intense, pre-recorded calls pulling for a candidate, bashing another, or singling out an election issue.

But all that could be put to a halt if a few lawmakers get their way, giving such calls a similar status as the marketing calls forbidden in the widely popular do-not-call registry, reports CQpolitics.com

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CQpolitics reports that the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections is considering a bill that would place stricter limits on automated phone calls. Subcommittee chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., is considering adding a provision that would make the callers for the politically oriented messages subject to the national do-not-call list.

Two versions of a plan to do so already exist. Both bills would prohibit the automated political messages from being directed to numbers already on the do-not-call registry.

Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., who won a hotly contested House seat in last year's Democratic takeover, testified at a hearing Thursday about some of the negative messages directed toward voters during her campaign -- messages paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the standing GOP organization on Capitol Hill aimed at boosting party ranks in the House.

Voters, Bean said, "would describe how the calls woke up their babies, interrupted their dinner, kept leaving them messages on their cell phones that were received late at night or forced them to run to grab the phone, and all they would hear is ‘Hello, I am calling with information about Melissa Bean,’ for the second, third, fourth time a day,” Bean told the subcommittee.