Election robocalls jam N.H. phone lines

Nov. 2, 2010 at 8:29 AM
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CONCORD, N.H., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- New Hampshire Republican and Democratic campaign workers say they regard each other with suspicion after both parties lost pre-election phone service.

Comcast suggested a spike in the number of automated campaign robocalls may be the culprit for loss of phone service at the various field offices for both parties, CNN reported.

Democratic Party officials in Concord said they contacted the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office after volunteers in 11 locations were unable to place calls beginning at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

"Comcast -- and we believe, other local phone carriers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts -- are experiencing severe call volumes on the evening before the election due to auto dialing activity that is generating a massive number of inbound political phone calls to our network," said Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman.

"Considering the crimes committed by the state Republican Party in past elections, unfortunately we felt the need to contact the authorities so they can be aware of the situation," New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley said in a statement.

Republican spokesman Ryan Williams said, "We are using our backup phones to make calls. The Democrats know they will be beaten ... They are just making things up to deflect from the coming losses." Williams said six New Hampshire GOP locations lost phone service.

James Tobin, a former New England regional director of the Republican National Committee, was convicted in 2005 of participating in a scheme to jam Democratic phone banks in a 2002 New Hampshire election, and sentenced to 10 months in prison.

A former New Hampshire Republican official, the head of a telemarketing firm, pleaded guilty to his participation in the scheme.

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