This election season, like those before, will likely lead to an increase in calls and texts from political campaigns. While campaign calls and texts are exempt from the Do Not Call List requirements, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act contains specific rules they must follow.
In general, robocalls and robotexts to mobile phones require prior consent and calls to landlines are allowed without prior consent. But there are exceptions detailed below.
Political Robocall Restrictions
Political campaign-related autodialed or prerecorded voice calls, including autodialed live calls, autodialed texts, and prerecorded voice messages, are prohibited to cell phones, pagers or other mobile devices without the called party's prior express consent. The same restrictions apply to protected phone lines such as emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities.
Political campaign-related autodialed or prerecorded voice calls are permitted when made to landline telephones, even without prior express consent.
All prerecorded voice message calls, campaign-related and otherwise, must include certain identification information:
- The identity of the business, individual, or other entity initiating the call must be clearly stated at the beginning of the prerecorded message.
- If the calling party is a business or corporate entity, the entity's official business name must be stated clearly at the beginning of the message.
- The telephone number of the calling party must be provided, either during or after the message.
Robotexts – text messages generated through autodialing – are also considered a type of call and fall under all robocall rules.
As text messages generally go to mobile phones, robotexts require the called party's prior express consent. However, political text messages can be sent without the intended recipient’s prior consent if the message’s sender does not use autodialing technology to send such texts and instead manually dials them.
Report Unwanted Calls and Texts
If you think you’ve received a political robocall or text that does not comply with the FCC’s rules, you can file an informal complaint with the FCC at fcc.gov/complaints. If you are receiving texts that you didn’t ask for, report the sender by forwarding the texts to 7726 (or "SPAM"). Campaigns should also honor opt-out requests if you reply "STOP."
For more information about robocalls and texts, visit fcc.gov/robocalls. Our consumer guide includes tips to help you spot scams and avoid unwanted calls and texts, along with links to call-blocking resources.