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How do politicians get my phone number? I recently received a message from Bill Nelson telling me to vote for him in the next election. This is really weird considering I never gave him my phone number. How do these politicians get ahold of my phone number?

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    I sense here that you are as irritated by this practice as I am in Britain. The chances are that you cannot return calls to the politician concerned, because the number the message has come from does not receive incoming calls. So these supposedly friendly politicians presume they have the right to message you, but do not acknowledge any right on your part to message them. – WS2 Oct 27 '18 at 21:32
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    I assume this is in the United States? I added that tag, but please edit if it's not accurate. – user11249 Oct 27 '18 at 22:00
  • Maybe it was last call at the bar and you were really intoxicated when you gave Bill your number. – PoloHoleSet Nov 5 '18 at 20:53
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+50

Your voter registration is public information and is available to political campaigns. They use it to find voters to ask for signatures to get on the ballot among other purposes.

There are a variety of ways that they can get your phone number, including:

  1. Look it up in the phone book.
  2. Get it from your voter registration (if it's there).
  3. Get it from another campaign that you gave your number.
  4. Get it from someone else who has your number. For example, someone from whom you purchased something may donate or sell a list of phone numbers.

We can't know which way they used. Perhaps you could eliminate one or more, but we can't (except possibly for the information being available on your registration).

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    In addition, politicians frequently exempt themselves from the rules they create. For example, political callers do not have to check against the National Do Not Call registry. Seems like a big conflict of interest to me, but I have to admit that the political callers are generally less offensive than the phone scammers I continue to be plagued with. – Burt_Harris Oct 27 '18 at 20:32
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    @Burt_Harris: Thankfully, they aren't exempted from all of the rules (although they like to ignore them anyway). Consider the class action lawsuit against the Beto campaign for US Senator for Texas for use of robo-dialer equipment with cell phone numbers. – Ben Voigt Oct 29 '18 at 0:10
  • @Burt_Harris: There is a way for the citizens to get around the exemption: Be a registered independent and make a claim to the people on the other end that you're voting for the candidate that supports the Do Not Call Registry (this is how I got the Obama Campaign to stop spam calling me during the 2008 elections... Helped that I was also voting in the state of Florida, where the general voting practice is along the lines of "we could elect an Alligator to be President, don't try us" and that can actually be a valid threat. Florida Man is crazy enough to do it!). – hszmv Nov 5 '18 at 21:35
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In a lot of cases they don't have your phone number at all, or even need you to have provided it at some point. Robocalling (where you literally dial every phone number in an area code) is a cheap and easy method to reach everyone in a given area. The FCC can't regulate them

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act limits the use of autodialed calls or texts and prerecorded voice calls (all of which are sometimes called "robocalls"). The TCPA and the FCC's rules do apply to political campaign-related calls or texts.

A quick Google search showed some people advertising political robocalls for as little as $0.01 per call.

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