Monday, November 4, 2013

Will Your Vote Be Based On Robo-Calls and Junk Mail?

I just turned the ringer off on my house phones. Otherwise, I'd get no work done today. Since Friday, I've been getting one robo-call after another about candidates. I don't usually stay on the line long enough to hear who the calls are promoting, though on a few calls, the name was said first. Possibly they're ALL from her.

Robo-calls, in my opinion, are a candidate's way of saying, "I think I'm more important than you. You should drop everything you're doing to hear a message about me that gives you no useful information whatsoever." If you get more than one call a day for the same candidates, they're all the more annoying.

I know of no one who LIKES political robo-calls, so why do candidates do them? If you were interviewing for a job, wouldn't you, at all cost, avoid annoying the person making the final decision?  So add to the message above, "I'm more important than you AND not terribly bright in how I'm courting your vote." Can we expect candidates like this to make intelligent decisions if they take office?

Saturday, I received 2 pieces of junk mail from the same candidate. Not 2 copies of the same piece of junk mail that was inadvertently delivered twice, no, 2 separate pieces--one 8 1/2 x 11, the other 8 1/2 by 14. Both full color.

Being a writer, I'm acquainted with the publishing and print industry. Full-page, letter-sized, double-sided, full-color mailers printed in quantity, with mailing costs, run maybe 50 cents apiece. Legal-sized will cost more. Times that by the number of residential addresses in Montgomery County (maybe 300,000).

Not surprisingly, my junk mail came from the same candidate who apparently has been robo-calling me the most. I also received junk mail from her last week, and I'm guessing that my mailbox today and tomorrow will be filled with more. Times the cost above by the number of junk mailings from any one candidate you've received for this election. That's more money than many Norristown residents see in a lifetime.

If you're like me, the junk mail goes straight from mailbox to paper recycling bin. The message that kind of junk mail sends: "I think I'm more important than the environment AND I waste tons of money."

Yet, the candidates who send out the most junk mail and do the most robo-calls often get into office, because many citizens don't base their vote on more than name recognition and party affiliation. I've been keeping track the last 5 years or so of candidates who've gone on junk mail binges and robo-calling frenzies, then have been elected. What kind of public servants do they make? Pretty much what you'd expect. They don't manage our tax dollars well and they make bad decisions. Yet we keep voting them in.

Before you vote tomorrow, go to the League of Women Voters ballot page for Norristown, click on the candidates highlighted in blue and read their resumes and priorities. Do it particularly for judge candidates, because there isn't any other way to find out about them, besides their junk mail and robo-calls.

Be an informed voter.

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