- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004

The flood of calls from former President Bill Clinton, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the Rev. Jesse Jackson leading up to the election are legal — although millions of people have signed up for the government’s do-not-call registry.

The Democrats said they had made more than 23.5 million telephone calls and knocked on more than 8 million doors this year for Sen. John Kerry.

In 15 key states, 150,000 volunteers for the Republican Party have called on 4 million homes and made more than 9 million telephone calls in three days in a bid to contact 18 million people, spokeswoman Christine Iversen told Agence France-Presse.

The do-not-call registry, regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, exempts political organizations and charitable groups. Nearly 65 million telephone numbers have been put on the registry since it was created in October last year.

“There’s nothing consumers can do about political calls,” said Jen Schwartzman, an FTC spokeswoman. “This time of year it can’t be stopped.”

Political automated phone calls have been used for years as an inexpensive way to reach constituents.

Officials at Politicalcalling.com were too busy to discuss their operation yesterday — the busiest day of the year for the California company, said a person who answered the phone.

“If you’re targeted as a voter, you’ll be touched a lot,” said Tim Searcy, chief executive officer of the American Teleservices Association, which represents the telemarketing industry.

Some households may have received as many as 10 calls in the days leading up to the election, he said. “By and large it’s not about persuasion; it’s about get out and vote.”

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