PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Election Day is three weeks away, meaning many people are getting inundated with political text messages.
So why are campaigns targeting you with messages, and how do you stop them?
“If you feel like you’re getting more political texts, that’s because you are,” said Giulia Porter with RoboKiller.
In September 2020, call and text blocker app RoboKiller said Americans received 2.7 billion political text messages. That’s up from 1.8 billion the month before. The coronavirus pandemic is partly to blame.
“Because of COVID, because in-person campaign events are very limited, people can’t go door-to-door anymore, a lot of the election — in terms of generating support and donations — is happening over text message,” said Porter.
How are campaigns getting your number?
“Usually, when you register to vote, you provide your phone number,” said Porter.
Registering to vote is public record, and campaigns can also get your number if you’ve made a donation. Experts say most of these messages are legit.
“They do lead to legitimate organizations that are either the political campaigns or campaigning on a politician’s behalf,” said Porter.
They can also have an impact, like trying to mobilize voters.
“A campaign reaching out has a small effect, but that small effect in a close state may matter,” said Political Science Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University Jonathan Cervas.
If it’s just too much, how do you stop the text messages from filling your inbox?
“If people update their phones, that will filter out all of these political messages. But you can also respond stop in all caps and that will get you off the list,” said Robert Morris University Political Science Professor Philip Harold.
Experts say if responding “STOP” doesn’t work, you can always contact the campaign directly.