Campaigns go to new level of texting voters

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Campaigns vying for your vote have taken it to the next level. People are now receiving text messages asking for support. Some think it’s going too far, while others think it’s just normal in today’s society. We looked into where the texts are coming from and what people think.

“Face to face is much better than texting, I think so,” one man said.

“I mean I’m totally fine with it as long as they don’t like badger you and constantly send you texts,” a student said.

Two of our coworkers got the same text. One responded asking how her number was found. The response said they didn’t mean to bother her, they were just trying to get support for John Gregg. Political analyst Andy Downs says it’s not hard to get voter phone numbers.

“You can buy phone lists. So one way they could have gotten the list would have actually been either the Gregg campaign, or the Indiana Democratic Party, or some other candidate who has actually requested it, or they could purchase that file from a third party provider. You and I could do that right now,” he said.

NewsChannel15 called the Gregg campaign office and the communications director said they aren’t sending the texts. When you click the link in the message, it takes you to a website for Working Voices, paid for by Communications Workers of America– a labor union.

Downs said texting is a relatively new attempt but makes sense.

“A lot of people have these phones now so why not send a text? It’s just as simple an investment as it was when the emails went out or when the fax blast went out,” he said.

Research about political campaigning showed people start to get turned off after getting around eight or nine pieces of mail. That’s on top of phone calls and ads. Now there’s texting.

“I don’t think he should rely on texts he should just rely on faith,” a voter said.

“I think it’s just another way for them to reach people,” another student said.

Either way, it’s most likely not going away.

“It’s not surprising that people are upset and I know that I’m not looking forward to getting these texts but in the end it’s a way for campaigns to communicate. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when they do it,” Downs said.

What about opting out? Downs thinks that just like a do not call list, we could see legislation for a do not text list.

You don’t have to put your number on your voter file but if you’ve ever listed it somewhere, campaigns can find it. Downs doesn’t expect this trend of texting for support to slow down. In fact he thinks it could even start on an more local level like city and county candidates.