Hold the phone! Robocall season is under way in Pennsylvania, along with election season. Political robocalls are exempted from National Do Not Call Registry regulations, and some families have been targeted for several calls a day.
Shaun Dakin founded the National Political Do Not Contact Registry in 2007, in hopes that candidates would use the list to refine their calling logs. He describes robocalls as "disrespectful" of voters because they're one-sided conversations.
He says many times, a call sounds like it's coming from a candidate, but it's really from a PAC, and the "disclaimer" is impossible to understand unless the call is recorded and listened to several times. In Pennsylvania, robocalls must disclose the identity of the caller and details of the call and are subject to time restrictions.
Dakin says the calls are more than annoyance. He's collected stories from around the country about how the calls tie up lines being kept open for emergencies, disrupt the sleep of night-shift workers, and cause disturbances for people with mental-health issues.
He adds that there has been some research done showing the calls are ineffective, and can alienate voters who support whatever candidate or cause they represent. He's also documented cases where families have received ten political robocalls in one day.