You gave money to one candidate one time and now, it seems, everyone who has ever looked at a photo of the U.S. Capitol Building has your e-mail address — and the e-mails never stop.
There are a few steps you can take to reclaim your inbox once and for all.
First, the Easy Stuff You’ve Probably Already Tried
Ye Olde Unsubscribe
The most obvious step — I know — but it must be mentioned. E-mails sent through an e-mail marketing platform must, by law, include an “unsubscibe” link in their message.
It is worth noting that while they must include the link, what happens when you click the link may vary. Some platforms make it look like you’ve successfully unsubscribed but in truth require an additional step or two once you land on the linked page. Make sure you read carefully.
If that doesn’t work:
Reach Out to the Sender Directly
Hit the reply button or go to their website and find the contact info. Be polite — there’s a human being on the other end of that e-mail — but to the point. Remind the person they have a legal responsibility to remove you from an e-mail list once you’ve asked they do so.
Use Filters to Send E-Mails Straight to the Trash
Every e-mail service provider offers some kind of filtering or blocking system. Gmail users can tap “more,” then “block” on any open e-mail which will send all future e-mails to the spam folder.
You can also set up filters to automatically delete e-mails containing specific words or phrases commonyl found in political donation solicitations.
But that may not be enough. The unfortunate truth is these political campaigns and organizations often sell their e-mail lists which means that even if you unsubscribed from the e-mail list of Candidate A, you can still hear from Candidate B.
That’s why we have:
The Nuclear Option: Stopping Political Donation E-Mail Solicitations at the Source
Leveraging your “right to delete” rights is the e-mail marketing equivalent of taking something out at the roots.
In 2023, several states began requiring tech companies comply with something called “right to delete.” These laws broadly state a consumer has the right to request a business delete their personal information including (importantly) “personal data provided by or obtained about the consumer.” This is important because it covers the unfortunate practice of e-mail list sharing/selling.
These laws state a consumer can demand a business delete their personal information (including e-mail address) and the business must comply within 45 days. This law passed with an eye on social media and advertising companies who do unsavory things with your personal data but it also applies to the software services political campaigns use to send e-mail marketing campaigns.
How to Demand an E-Mail Marketing Platform Remove your Info
- Identify the e-mail marketing platform that has your information. This information is easily accessible by scrolling to the bottom, looking for a tag like “Sent via ActionNetwork.org” as seen in this screenshot:
- Navigate to the platform website and locate their contact information.
- Sent a request for delete message. The message could look something like:
Hello, my name is [FIRST LAST]. I’m writing with a demand to delete my account and all associated data from [COMPANY NAME] servers. It has come to my attention that users of your platform have been abusing my personally identifiable information. Please remove all entries for [E-MAIL ADDRESS] [AND SECOND E-MAIL ADDRESS, IF APPLICABLE], and prevent users from sending e-mails to those accounts in the future. Please let me know if there is any additional information necessary for the processing of my request. I would like to receive a message notifying me when this process has been completed. Thank you for your assistance.
- Follow up. By California law, these companies have ten business days to acknowledge receipt of your request and forty-five days to comply. Gently remind them of this fact.
When an e-mail marketing platform scrubs your personal information, it should remove your personally identifiable information from all campaigns currently in the system and end those pesky political fundraising e-mails once and for all.