Robo-call legislation

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In the days and weeks surrounding the 2006 congressional elections, there were numerous reports of malicious automated telephone calls (robo-calls) in districts across the U.S. FCC regulations mandate that the calls must “at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call.” In many reported instances, those responsible for the calls did not comply with this rule.[1] In the wake of the election, many legislators felt as though this regulation was clearly not deterring the calls, and called for stronger laws.

In January 2007, the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act was introduced in the Senate by Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in an effort to criminalize robo-calls. It remains stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Contents

Legislation in the 110th Congress

Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007

In January 2007, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) introduced a bill (S.453) aimed at criminalizing robo-calls as well as fraudulent flyers. After it's introduction, this bill attracted 9 Democratic co-sponsors, but no Republicans.[2]

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it currently remains.


Previous legislation

Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2006

On November 16, 2006, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) filed the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2006, which would make it illegal for anyone to knowingly attempt to prevent others from exercising his or her right to vote by providing deceptive information. The bill would require the Attorney General to fully investigate these allegations, and in conjunction with the Election Assistance Commission, provide accurate election information when allegations of deceptive practices are confirmed. Obama stated, “One of our most sacred rights as Americans is the right to make our voice heard at the polls...But too often, we hear reports of mysterious phone calls and mailers arriving just days before an election that seek to mislead and threaten voters to keep them from the polls. And those who engage in these deceptive and underhanded campaign tactics usually target voters living in minority or low-income neighborhoods. This legislation would ensure that for the first time, these incidents are fully investigated and that those found guilty are punished."[3]

Violators would face a punishment of up to one-year in prison and a $100,000 fine.[4]

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and never received a vote. Obama reintroduced the bill at the beginning of the 110th Congress. (see above)

Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Philip Elliott, "How do you like those nasty telephone calls from the campaigns?," Associated Press (via Boston Globe), November 1, 2006.
  2. Elana Schor, "Sen. Barack Obama tries to flesh out his record with an election-fraud bill," The Hill, February 1, 2007.
  3. Paul Kiel, "Robo Callers Punished Under New Obama Bill," TPM Muckraker, November 17, 2006.
  4. Paul Kiel, "Robo Callers Punished Under New Obama Bill," TPM Muckraker, November 17, 2006.

External resources

External articles

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