Archive for June 2009

New Legislation to Regulate Automated Political Calls

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You may think of robocalls as those annoying automated calls about warrantees that the FCC is cracking down on. But if you have a land line and regularly vote in elections, you probably receive political robocalls as well. These robocalls are subject to fewer regulations than commercial calls, although unsolicited calls may still annoy voters. As a result, states have passed a confusing array of laws that make it difficult for national campaigns and vendors to comply with. Legislators in a variety of states are considering further complicating the patch-work of state laws (see here here and here).

I have editorialized against legislation that has passed the Michigan House and is pending in the state senate in the Lansing State Journal because I believe that the regulation of political robocalls is best done at the federal level. The reasons why, the history of robocalls, the existing state and federal laws, and my specific proposal are set out in a forthcoming Note, Regulating Robocalls: Are Automated Calls the Sound of, or a Threat to, Democracy?.