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Clinton Campaign Looks to Skirt Texting Regulations to Reach Voters

Built along the lines of an app used by Bernie Sanders, Megaphone is a potent new political tool.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks on Aug. 8, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks on Aug. 8, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There are lots of ways campaigns have to annoy voters, but one is, on its face, illegal. Federal regulations prohibiting the use of an automated dialer to interact with cell phones have long ensured that campaigns that happily bombard voters with phone calls, direct mail, door knocks, and digital ads steer clear of unsolicited text messages, despite their obvious promise as a tool for political communication.

That is why, within the swelling field offices Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spread across battleground states, there is uncommon enthusiasm for a new homegrown software product called Megaphone, which permits the deceptively straightforward task of managing individual conversations with supporters by text message and e-mail.