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Where do commercial and political call centers get call lists, including cell numbers?

John Peaspanen


According to the New Hanover County Board of Elections, many of the numbers are acquired through voter registration lists, which are public information.

Elections Outreach Coordinator Sally Shepherd said, “Political parties and candidates will make a request to county and/or state Board of Elections for voter registration lists. Voter registration records (other than birthdates and ID numbers) are public information.”

“There are many fields of information, which can be requested,” Shepherd said. “If a voter provided a phone number when he or she registered, political parties and candidates can gain this information when they make their requests.”

Unfortunately, political calls do not fall under those under the Do Not Call Registry, which allows you to opt out.

The good news is that you can get your phone number removed from the record, so that political entities cannot use it. A written request that includes your signature must be hand-delivered, mailed or faxed to the county board of elections.

Shepherd said, “No one else can request that a voter’s record be changed. (After receiving the request), we will then scan and attach the request to the voter’s record and remove their phone number. When future lists are generated, their phone number will not be available to the party or candidate making the request. As far as if this will stop phone calls altogether, I am not sure. It should, in theory, reduce the number of calls received.”

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, said, campaigns must follow certain laws if they make “robo calls,” or pre-recorded calls.

According to Talley, the attorney general has pursued action against campaigns and other political and advocacy groups that didn’t follow laws when making those calls and forced them to pay fines.

Under state law, political campaigns and nonprofits making pre-recorded calls must identify who is making the call and the nature of the call. Contact information for the group that makes the call must also be provided.

If you believe you are getting harassing calls from a political campaign, there are two options: report the calls to the campaign office and request that the campaign stop calling, or file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at www.ncdoj.gov or by calling toll-free 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

As far as non-political calls, the National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. You can register your home or mobile phone for free at www.donotcall.gov. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they continue, you can file a complaint at the Web site.

Your registration will not expire. Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008.


Is there any way to stop the harassing political phone calls?

How do I get off of the delivery lists for the multiple phone books I keep getting?

User-contributed question by:
Wanda Tsangarides

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