While Oswego County voters were divided on candidates, they were united on how candidates run campaigns.
One sentiment echoed throughout the election season was the overwhelming number of phone calls and campaign flyers — something almost every voter said they wanted to stop in future years.
Voters around the county said their mailboxes were flooded and their phones never stopped ringing. Several voters said they became so annoyed, they took matters into their own hands.
A Town of Minetto resident said he has a solution to the problem of excessive mail. “I mark it all return to sender and put it back in the mail.”
Quite a few voters said they are returning their campaign mail to the candidates and one resident in the Town of Hannibal took to some creativity this year. “I drew moustaches and glasses on their pictures before I put them in the mailbox marked them returned to sender,” he said. “Hopefully it gets back to them and they take the hint.”
Several voters said they called the campaign offices and asked to be removed to no avail. The most notable mailings were stated as being from State Senator Patty Ritchie and Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle. Some votes said they received three to four mailings from Buerkle in one day.
Returning campaign mail may be becoming more popular and one woman’s idea could catch on as well.
The City of Fulton resident said she is going to mail her trash disposal bill to one particular candidate to request a partial payment. “These politicians should have to pay for the cost of throwing out all this junk,” she said. “I can’t get over the junk I got from just one politician.”
There is a way to help alleviate and possibly end the stream of phone calls during the campaign season. Many people fill in the line requesting a phone number on the voter registration card, however, it’s not required.
According to Oswego County Board of Elections Commissioner Dick Atkins, eliminating a phone number can help to alleviate the calls. Candidates often request a list from the Board of Elections that includes phone numbers.
Registered voters can re-register without adding a phone number and that could help to cut down on the number of calls or eliminate them altogether, depending on where the candidate obtains the voter information.
Atkins cautioned that candidates sometimes get the information from other sources, such as purchasing mailing lists from companies that collect information such as phone numbers from shoppers, particularly online.
“Someone might shop online and give out a number and the candidate buys that mailing list,” Atkins said.
The best defense is to exclude the phone number from the voter registration and to limit sharing a number with online shopping companies.