How political calls get around the Do Not Call registry

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by Meredith Yeomans

azfamily.com

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 7:33 PM

GLENDALE -- Ernest Morrison says he's had enough of politics. Between all of the political signs and TV ads it's overwhelming, but it's the political robocalls he's gets on his phone that really bother him.

“Annoying!” he said.

For the past couple months, he says his cell phone has been ringing off the hook from automated political surveys and politicians asking for his support.

“I've listened to the whole thing before and I said, ‘unsubscribe me’ and I just keep getting them,” he said.

Morrison added his number to the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call registry hoping it would help, but he says it hasn't cut down on political calls at all and there's a reason why.

According Steven Gonzales, a political science professor for the Phoenix School of Law, all of those political calls are exempt under the Do Not Call registry and are completely legal, even if you are on the Do Not Call list.

“I think that in probably the majority of cases, the consumer is not aware of the exception,” Gonzales said.

Other exceptions under the Do Not Call registry include charitable calls and political surveys.

Gonzales says they are given a higher level of protection under of the first amendment than a typical telemarketer calling to sell you something.

It's a right Gonzales says politicians probably appreciate more than voters, like Morrison, who say the robocalls are unrelenting.

“This is one of those interests where I think political leaders can successfully hide behind the law,” Gonzales said.

As for Morrison, from now on he says he'll just hang up on the political calls.

“I think it’s frustrating that some people don't want to be bugged with those types of calls. They don't even want to be around the political area and to be honest wish they would stop bugging people,” he said.

If you are on the Do Not Call list and are still being contacted by telemarketers, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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