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Non-Partisan Group Seeks To Shut Down Political Robocalls In California Before Fall ElectionMonday, July 28, 2008
Contact: Shaun Dakin
Washington, D.C. – Monday, July 28, 2008 – The
National Political Do Not Contact Registry
(NPDNC), the nation’s only political do not
call advocacy group located at
StopPoliticalCalls.org, today announced it is
investigating a California law that bans
robocalls. The NPDNC will move to demand
that the California Public Utilities Commission
(CPUC) enforce the code on its books, Sections
2871-2876. The law requires that
most automated calls be introduced by a live
person, which almost never happens, but the
California PUC has not enforced the law.
With the support of California voters who are
willing to make an official complaint to the
CPUC, the NPDNC hopes to be able to shut down
robocalls in California in time for this
“We hope to bring the first legitimate complaint under the CPUC code and stop robocalls in California in time for the election this fall,” said Shaun Dakin, founder and CEO of the NPDNC Registry. “It is time that California voters are able to protect their privacy. Robocalls in the state are illegal, but no one has enforced the law to date. In fact, during the most recent primaries California voters were inundated with millions of robocalls from both McCain and Obama.”
The CPUC Code Sections 2871-2876 clearly prohibits any form of auto-dialer calls or robocalls being made in California unless the call is preceded by a live voice: “only after an unrecorded, natural voice announcement has been made to the person called by the person calling.”
The NPDNC is the nation’s first non-profit group that is working to bring back voter phone privacy during the election season. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project 81 percent of Iowa voters in the presidential caucuses received robocalls. Also, according to Pew, robocalls are now the top form of Congressional communication.
The NPDNC has already received thousands of complaints by California voters who have been robo-called in their homes this year. As CEO Shaun Dakin testified in the U.S. Senate this past February, voters complain that they are sick and tired of having their privacy invaded by politicians who seem to have no regard for their constituent’s quality of life. For example, senior citizens have told the NPDNC that they live in fear of having a health emergency occur while being on the receiving end of anywhere from 10 to 15 robocalls a day during an election season; many stay-at-home mothers have said that they are tired of having their infants woken up by the calls during the must-have naps in the afternoon; and night shift workers have commented that they are dead tired at work after being unable to get a full nights’ sleep during the day as politicians call them at home all day long.
The NPDNC has consulted with several California-based legal organizations to ensure that the complaints brought to the CPUC are relevant, valid and timely. The first complaints may be filed in early September.
“With the 2008 presidential election garnering more attention than elections in the recent past, it is a sure bet that campaigns will turn to robocalls as a way to get their message out, particularly in California which has a very large and expensive media market,” said Dakin. “While we have a base of voters that have registered their number for free at StopPoliticalCalls.org to start with, if other California voters want to join the registry, we will be happy to hear from them and will include them in the complaint filed with the California PUC.”
For California residents interested in joining the NPDNC’s complaint to the CPUC they should:
1. Go to the NPDNC website at www.StopPoliticalCalls.org and register their phone number for free.
2. After activating their account, they should return to the home page and click on “CA Robocall Complaint Form” or go directly to www.StopIllegalCaRobocalls.org and fill out the requested information. The questions include the following and should take no more than one minute to complete:
• Who called you?
• What day and time was the call?
• What is your contact information?
The NPDNC will make a public announcement once the first complaint is filed.
“We hope to put a robo-hold on all California campaign robocalls this fall,” said Dakin. “Campaigns at levels local, state, and federal - will be calling at their own peril if they continue to ignore the law.”
About the National Political Do Not Contact Registry
The National Political Do Not Contact Registry is a program of Citizens for Civil Discourse (CCD), non-partisan, non-profit organization (federal 501(c)(3) status pending) dedicated to elevating political discussion in the United States. CCD is based on the premise that the decline of civility in American political dialogue has diminished our nation’s capacity to address urgent problems. Founder and CEO Shaun Dakin believes that citizen action is required to restore decency, respect and common sense to public debate in this country. Unfortunately, political robo calls do not have a place in political discourse. Robo calls invade our privacy and you simply cannot have a two-way discussion with a robot.
Since launching in October 2007, the NPNDC registry has registered over 50,000 concerned voters nationwide and approximately 3 million voters have already received relief from Candidates that have taken the “do not robo call” pledge. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-KS) were among the first candidates to join the registry. Democratic Dialing, a leading robo call vendor, has also joined the Registry by agreeing to scrub voter phone lists against the NPDNC registry database. CEO Shaun Dakin has testified at the U.S. Senate as the only representative of ordinary American voters at the national level. Learn more at www.StopPoliticalCalls.org.