MINNEAPOLIS-- Election Day is less than two weeks away and besides ads and phone calls, campaigns have a new way to sway your vote. Texting.
Political text messages are the newest fad on the campaign trail, which makes sense. They're the fastest, and probably easiest, way to reach people.
Many of us here at KARE 11 have received them and we had a few questions, so we set out to Verify them.
Consumer law attorney Shawn Wanta, with the law firm Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta, says political texts are legal, but campaigns have to follow a few rules set forth by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
"The act states it’s OK for political campaigns to manually send text messages to individuals," Wanta explains.
“If a campaign volunteer or worker uses his/her cell phone to send a text message to another individual that would be OK under the law.”
So, if campaign workers are sending out text messages one a time, and are manually typing them in it’s OK, but using an automated system, that’s a different story. "It's illegal for campaigns to use an automated dialing system to send campaign text messages without the consent of the recipient," Wanta says.
Wanta says that consent can come in many forms, by clicking "I agree" on an email a campaign has sent out, or by signing up at a candidate's event or rally.
If that's the case, you can opt out of receiving their automated texts.
"You can send an email to the website, you can look up their campaign headquarters phone number and call them, or you can send a letter. Basically the law states you just have to reach out to them some way and request that you no longer receive their messages,” Wanta says.
But if you haven't consented to anything and you're getting text messages, it's because the campaign that’s sending them is manually texting you individually, which is legal. Wanta says you can't opt out of them.
"The 'Do Not Call List' does not apply to political campaigns who are sending informational text messages,” Wanta explains.
So, it’s Verified. Political text messages are legal under certain circumstances and there’s very little you can do to stop them.
Wanta says there’s also a chance the texts you’re receiving were sent illegally.
During the two most recent presidential elections the campaigns for both President Obama and President Trump were sued for allegedly using automated text messages to reach voters.
Earlier this week a class action lawsuit was also filed against the campaign for U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is currently running against Ted Cruz in Texas.
The lawsuit claims O’Rourke’s campaign also used automated text messaging illegally to reach potential voters.