graphic of several political texts Courier Newsroom Illustration/Rebecca Russ

There’s a better way to stop political texts than just replying “STOP.” 

Your phone buzzes with a text. You pick up, thinking it’s a friend replying in your chat. 

But the message is from an unknown number. It’s a political campaign on the other end, pestering you to promise to vote for them, or donate, or volunteer.  

With early voting underway and less than a month to go before the Nov. 3 election, candidates are scrambling to pick up as many votes as they can and actually get people to turn out. 

But there are some ways you can duck out and get some peace on your phone. 


Vote!


The best thing you can do to stop the onslaught of messages is to vote as soon as you can. 

If you’ve already voted, you won’t be seen as much of a target anymore and will likely be removed from contact lists. 

Public voter files are updated quickly—some within 24 hours after you vote—so the change should happen fast.

It’s also a good service to help the campaign you align with—the earlier you vote, the earlier they’ll stop spending campaign funds to send messages your way. Think of it as a roundabout donation. 

Arizonans who registered to vote by Oct. 15 can still request early ballots for the upcoming election through Oct. 23. The last recommended day to mail them is Oct. 27, but you can also return them at any voting center or drop-box location.

You can track the progress of your early ballot online, so you know when it’s been received and accepted.

In-person early voting is also available through Oct. 30, and in some counties, through Nov. 2. Check for your nearest location here.


Text them back


For a quicker, more direct way to get political texts to end, you can often reply to them with “STOP” or “UNSUBSCRIBE” to get yourself off their list. 

If you encounter any problems, you can reach out the campaign or group directly and asked to be removed.

This won’t stop political messages as whole from coming through, though—just from the number you replied to.


Your information


How did the campaign get your information to begin with? 

Political organizers can obtain names and phone numbers from any public record, including voter registrations. If you donated to a campaign or signed other forms for them, like for an email newsletter, they can also get information that way. 

Text messages have become so popular in recent years because of their effectiveness. According to USA Today, while they only cost about five cents to send, texts have a 98% open rate compared to 20% for emails. 

According to RoboKiller, an app designed to block spam calls, Americans will receive 3 billion political texts related to the Nov. 3 election this year.