Friday, November 17, 2006

Democrats To Push Legislation To Make Fraudulent Election "Robo-Calls" A Crime

Democratic leaders want to craft legislation that would make it a crime for political campaigns to flood voters with "robo-calls" peddling decpetive information about rival candidates -- a tactic allegedly undertaken by several Republican candidates during this month's election.

"These robo-calls, somehow, constitutionally, we are going to have to find some way to stop this," said incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)..

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) are looking at a host of deceptive practices.

Among those that were practiced in the 2006 election cycle were robo-calls in New Jersey and elsewhere that were designed to sound as if they came from the Democratic candidate. If a voter hung up the phone, the robo-call would redial again and again. If the caller stayed on the line, the message went from positive sounding for the Democrat to negative.

In other examples, the calls peddled disinformation -- such as the location of a polling place. Criticizing the robo-call dirty tricks, Schumer was blunt. "It's despicable" and the perpetrators "should go to jail for 10 years."

Schumer said he and Emanuel are looking at legislation applying criminal penalties to certain kinds of campaigning and creation of a separate unit at the Justice Department to prosecute.

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