Va. voters complain about political ‘robocalling’

Posted at 7:43 PM, Oct 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-15 19:43:28-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Private investigator Aaron Weese says his business is suffering because of constant robocalls from political campaigns. 

Weese says five to seven confidential phone calls with his clients are interrupted each week when political calls come in to his cell phone.

“I wish I could give you a number, how much money or client’s confidence I’ve lost through these phone calls,” Weese says.

In fact, many Virginia voters say they’re being inundated with political phone call chatter from all the major candidates.

Analysts predict in swing states like Virginia, millions are being spent on advertising, grass roots campaigning and political robocalling.

A robocall is when campaigns or third parties use a computerized auto dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message or to simulate an actual personal phone call.  

The Virginia State Board of Elections says it is fielding complaints of potential illegal phone calls, but argues most robocalls are legal as long as the caller announces which political party or candidate they represent.

Political parties are not subject to federal “Do Not Call” regulations.

Donald Palmer, Secretary of the State Board of Elections, also says Virginia state law requires that election officials give out voter registration information to interested parties.

“The only information that is protected is your social security number,” Palmer says.  “The State Board of Elections is in an unusual position because  we have to provide certain information not only to political parties, but to those involved in the political process.”

That means your address, home phone, cell phone, and even your email address can be divulged to political parties and companies that run campaigns.

Aaron Weese says he’s counting down the days until the election is over.

“I hope my business doesn’t take any more hits.”

Weese argues while robocalls may be legal, he questions whether they’re ethical.