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Labor Fed's Campaign Hang Up Calls Seem More Prank Than Pitch

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Photo by ‌Bahadorjn via Flickr

Photo by ‌Bahadorjn via Flickr
If your phone number is on file with your voter information, you may have been on the receiving end of a few campaign-time calls from groups hoping to get your vote. Over the past three weeks or so one such group has been making daily calls to several Los Angeles County voters, only their message isn't really being heard--because they aren't necessarily giving it.The first time (213) 365-1978 showed up on my phone around the third week of September, I picked up and offered a standard "Hello?" greeting. Silence. The whirr of an occupied room, muffled conversations, and, yes, a little heavy breathing followed. "Hello, hello?" I asked again. Nothing. I hung up.

Every day since, the number has called, and whether I reject it or send it to my voicemail, it leaves no message. With a little Google magic I find a discussion board about the number; like all curious web-searchers, I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone. The calls are coming from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and are, ostensibly, to urge voters to cast their ballots for Jerry Brown on November 2nd.

At the urging of other aggravated potential-voters, I placed a call to Caroline O'Connor, the LACFL Director of Communications, to ask first, to be removed from the list, and to find out why I, and others, have been getting what seem like prank calls. O'Connor confirms that the calls are coming from the LACFL (sorry to anyone who thought this was the work of the Whitman counter-campaign) and that they are to urge votes for Brown for Governor, and yes on Props 24 and 25.

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"The way the dialer works is that you can't leave a message," explains O'Connor. However, she had little insight into the repeat blank-air, heavy breathing episodes, or the allegations from others who have posted online that they have been insulted, or that the caller is looking to speak to males only. "We have talked to well over 100,000 voters," O'Connor said of their phone campaign.

How many voters they have not actually talked to, myself included, may be harder to calculate. A campaign phone bank is only successful if the callers actually talk to the people they're calling. Good news, though, if you've been getting the calls and want them to stop: Give O'Connor a call, and she'll take you off the list.

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