Good Question: Can political campaigns legally text you?

October 22, 2018 08:09 AM

Some of you have been getting unwanted text messages from candidates running for office. Is this legal, and how are they getting your number?

Pat Taney was asked about that for this week's Good Question report.


The day before last month's primary, Webster resident Jim Lodder's cell phone started going off.

"I got a text from one of the candidates for the primary," he said. 

He then got more.

"I got another one and it just kept going," Lodder said. "I got five of them." 

The text messages were from candidates running for attorney general and governor.

"That's what made me start wondering if this legal," Lodder said. "I am on the Do Not Call list."

News10NBC found out, it doesn't matter.

"Political and campaign communications are specifically excluded from the Do Not Call registry, so they are allowed to call and text your cell phone," said John Conklin, spokesperson for the New York State Board of Elections.

So where do they get your number? Voter registration forms.

That is also legal, but strangely in the texts Lodder received, they got his first name wrong.

"They were addressed to, 'Hi Linda,'" he said.

Taney: And you're not Linda?

Lodder: No

Again, his first name is Jim.

Despite that, Lodder has been a good sport about the whole thing, although he's looking forward to an end to the campaign season.
"They're all trying to get elected and I understand that, but it's just a further annoyance," he said.

Unlike robocalls,  these text messages are sent by actual people, not a computer so the name mix up for Lodder might have been human error.

If you have a question you'd like Pat to answer, send him an email at


Pat Taney

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