A volunteer was handing out campaign literature for John Hall at a local grocery store in New York’s 19th District yesterday. He received a conspicuous response from several voters along the lines of: “I was going to vote for John Hall, until I got all those phone calls. I got seven or eight robo calls, right at dinner time.”
In Eastern Washington, Peter Goldmark’s campaign hadn’t used robocalls in two weeks when suddenly people began complaining that they received as many as five or six calls in a row. Again, instant call backs every time the voter hung-up on the recorded caller.
Nancy Boyda, the Democratic challenger in the 2nd District of Kansas, received so many complaints along the same lines that she posted a response on her website.
And the Philadelphia Daily News reports of calls to voters on the Do Not Call list – seemingly from Democratic challenger, Lois Murphy. “The calls, which begin by offering ‘important information about Lois Murphy,’ are designed to mislead voters into thinking the message is from her. Most recipients slam down the phone before finding out otherwise – and then call to complain.”
In each case, the calls appear to be from the local Democratic candidate. If the recipient hangs up, the number is redialed. If the caller listens to the entire message the source is eventually identified. But most voters are so annoyed that they don’t stick around for the duration – and they are turned-off by harassment they mistakenly attribute to a Democratic source.
At the center of many of these calls seems to be the work of Conquest Communications Group. Its list of lovable clients includes: Tom DeLay; the Louisiana Gambling Alert, run by Jack Abramoff; the right wing Family Research Council; Gun Owners of America; and Sen. George Allen.
All of this underscores a lesson we’ve learned too well: the necessity of being vigilant in sharing information regarding any underhanded tactics. We need to protect our votes from those who would undermine our rights in this election. On that score, later tonight I’m going to post a voter protection resource guide.