Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All That Matters (to Some People) Is Winning

If you were bombarded with recorded phone calls in the past few days, check out this little story in this morning's Washington Post:
This year's heavy volume of automated political phone calls has infuriated countless voters and triggered sharp complaints from Democrats, who say the Republican Party has crossed the line in bombarding households with recorded attacks on candidates in tight House races nationwide.

Some voters, sick of interrupted dinners and evenings, say they will punish the offending parties by opposing them in today's elections. But critics say Republicans crafted the messages to delude voters -- especially those who hang up quickly -- into thinking that Democrats placed the calls. It's a Candidate Calling. Again. Republicans Deny Subterfuge as Phone Barrages Anger Voters

As I understand it, some of these "robo-calls" are programmed to call back if you hang up on them. The calls often start out sounding like they come from a Democrat, but later in the script the real party calling identifies themselves, as required by law. But ... a lot of people don't listen that long. I wouldn't. So you hang up. So they call again. And you hang up on them again. And they call you again. It's a computer, it doesn't get tired.

There are reports of these things happening repeatedly at two and three in the morning.
An Ohio woman, who did not leave her name, called The Washington Post in tears yesterday, saying she could not keep her phone line open to hospice workers caring for her terminally ill mother because of nonstop political robo-calls.

So, listen -- if you've been getting these kinds of calls, don't let them affect your decision today in the voting booth. Unless you're sure who it was, then ... do whatever you have to do. You've got one vote, put it where you like it.
Many voters hang up as soon as a robo-call begins -- without waiting for the criticisms or the NRCC sign-off at the end -- so they think it was placed by the Democratic candidate named at the start, said Sarah Feinberg, spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Our candidates are inundated with phone calls from furious Democrats and independents saying . . . 'I'm outraged and I'm not going to vote for you anymore,' " she said.

Yes ... that's how it works.
Hour after hour and day after day for two weeks, [Pamela] Lorenz's home [in California] has received the same NRCC recorded message attacking Charlie Brown, the Democrat who is challenging Rep. John T. Doolittle (R) in a hard-fought battle in northeastern California. "It is a recorder calling," Lorenz said. "I can't call it back to get them to stop."

Some states have stopped these calls, and others are considering charges, but, you know, the election is today, it doesn't matter if they go to court in a month. The expected fines are just a cost that's worked into the budget when they plan this sort of thing. If it works, it's still cheap.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And right here at home:

Misleading GOP Handouts Called a Political 'Low Point'

By Ovetta Wiggins and Avis Thomas-lester
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 8, 2006; Page A29

At least six chartered buses carried mostly poor, black men from as far as Philadelphia to hand out inaccurate voter guides in Baltimore and Prince George's County yesterday as part of an effort by backers of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and U.S. Senate candidate Michael S. Steele to woo black voters.

The glossy voter guide, paid for by the Ehrlich and Steele campaigns, pictured three of Maryland's most prominent black Democrats above the words "These are OUR Choices," even though two were not on yesterday's ballot and the other was running unopposed. Inside, under the heading "Democratic Sample Ballot," it listed mostly Democratic candidates as the preferred choices -- along with Ehrlich and Steele, who were not identified as Republicans..."


November 08, 2006 9:56 AM  

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