I would very much like to see them banned, and I'm not alone. The Citizens for Civil Discourse, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, is trying to encourage political campaigns to stop using robocalls with a National Political Do Not Call Registry. Some states have passed laws limiting the use of political robocalls, and in 2008, Senator Diane Feinstein of California introduced federal legislation that would limit political robocalls, but it went nowhere.
It occurred to me that I could take a stand on this issue as well.
As a Brookline resident and an elected member of Brookline Town Meeting, I've introduced an article for Town Meeting to consider when we convene again in May. The article, "A Resolution Against the Use of Robocalls in Political Campaigns," would ask our representatives and senators in the Massachusetts General Court and the United States Congress to introduce and/or support legislation banning the combined use of computerized autodialers and pre-recorded messages in political campaigns. Brookline has a long tradition of passing resolution on national issues, and frankly, this is one national issue that directly affects the quality of life of the residents of our town.
In fact, Brookline residents are so concerned with this issue that I managed to get three times the number of signatures needed to introduce the article at Town Meeting. Many Brookline voters, when they heard of my petition, grabbed for a pen and asked if there was any way they could sign twice.
We filed the article with the Selectmen's Office yesterday morning, and by yesterday afternoon, the Boston Globe's website had already published an article about it: Brookline Town Meeting to vote on resolution against political robocalls. My understanding is that the article will appear in the print version of the Globe West section on Thursday.
The warrant closes on Thursday at noon; I'll be interested in seeing what other issues Town Meeting will be debating come the spring.