LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - We've all heard of or received annoying robocalls.
But this election season, political campaigns have been doing something else: texting.
One THV11 viewer received a text and asked us to verify whether it's legal for campaigns to send them. So, our Verify team got answers.
THV11 viewer Shannon Farmer got a text last week from someone named Alicia. It reads, in part, “I'm your neighbor, and also a volunteer and supporter of Little Rock mayoral candidate Warwick Sabin.”
Shannon didn't want to be interviewed for this story but said the text was unsolicited. And she has some concerns. So, we took those concerns to the Secretary of State's Office. Spokesperson Chris Powell said texting is how most Americans communicate and campaigns say it works.
“Campaigns are turning to text message nowadays because everyone walks around with a phone in their hand and they're finding it an effective way to communicate," said Powell.
Political speech is protected by the First Amendment, so candidates can get around bans on spam. But back to our viewer, Shannon Farmer. Is this legal? "Yes, currently it is legal for campaigns to use text messaging as a communication medium with voters," said Powell. Powell said not only are such texts legal, but texting is also a modern, effective way to reach voters in a very personal manner.
Most texts begin with the name of someone claiming to be a neighbor. Campaign volunteers can reach thousands of people through this new phenomenon in politics.
“Not everybody welcomes hearing from political candidates but its part of the process," added Powell. He said campaigns could have gotten your number from the voter registry if you gave it when you signed up to vote.
Campaigns also buy contact lists as well. But again, we can verify it is legal for political campaigns to text you.