In March 2003, the Do Not Call registry was signed into law by president George W. Bush. This law allowed the FTC to create a voluntary registry of phone numbers whereby some entities could not legally call these numbers.

When registering to vote in Massachusets, there is a mention of an "Unlisted" phone number: Cropped image showing the phone entry

These two concepts seem to be closely related, but I am confused about their precise natures. The close association these two concepts have is in this procedure to put your cell phone on an unlisted phone registry:

  1. Tell your service provider that you do not want your cell phone number listed when you sign up for service. Your carrier might offer two options: "unpublished" and "unlisted." Choose both. If you sign up for service online or through a store that is unable to modify this feature, call your carrier's customer service department to request either or both options if available.
  2. Visit the National Do Not Call Registry (link in Resources). Click on the "Register" button to add your name to the list. Input your phone number and email address. After you click "Submit," an email confirmation will be mailed to you within a few minutes. Open the confirmation email and click on the link to complete the process.


For the purposes of voting, does adding a phone number (or cell number) to the Do Not Call registry mean that it is unlisted?

2 Answers 2


"Do Not Call" registry

The "Do Not Call" registry has nothing to do with citizenship or voting. There are no citizenship questions asked to register. You essentially only have to input the telephone number that you want on the registry. The purpose is solely to prevent unsolicited phone calls, especially robo calls.

Unlisted numbers

In the olden days there were yearly phone books. If you had an unlisted number then your name and number were not listed in the book, and no one could call the information service and get the number.

Now pretty much all phone number lookup is via the web, but the same logic applies. When you have an unlisted number you simply are not in the list.

However for robo calls it doesn't matter if you're in the list or not. Generally robo calls just dial numbers sequentially with no regard whom the call is trying to reach.


For the purposes of voting, does adding a phone number (or cell number) to the Do Not Call registry mean that it is unlisted?

No. As explained in the other answer, these are completely different things. A listed number can be on the do not call registry, or not, and the same is true of an unlisted number.

  • Nice point. I agree.
    – MaxW
    Jul 8, 2019 at 5:09

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