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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: October 2023 | Voting & Elections

Blocking Political Ads

Michael L Goldblatt

Blocking Political Ads Heimlich

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About 60 years ago, attack advertising was introduced into political campaigns by Doyle Dayne Bernbach, a Madison Avenue advertising agency now known as DBB International. During the 1964 Presidential Campaign, DBB used a television ad to generate an emotional response that helped Lyndon Johnson defeat Barry Goldwater. Political ads continue today in newspapers, radio, social media, and television. Advertising and fundraising increase substantially in the weeks before elections as candidates, parties, and groups spend billions to persuade voters.

You can protect yourself from the onslaught of political ads by blocking them on cellphones, computers, and other smart devices. Below are tips for blocking ads and a list of additional resources. Take action now to avoid becoming overwhelmed by ads.  


Browsers – use an ad blocker to stop ads from appearing in browsers.

Calls – block unknown callers or have their calls sent to voicemail.

Emails – report spammers and move their messages to spam folders.

Internet – check privacy settings for accounts on Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

Notification – disable notifications for email and texts to avoid distractions.

Radio – listen to ad-free podcasts and music on streaming services to avoid radio commercials.

Search Engines – turn off ad tracking on search engines.

Social Media – enable privacy settings on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, X, etc.

Texts – block texts from unknown senders or segregate them in a separate folder.

TV – replace live TV with ad-free streaming services.

Unsubscribe – opt out of mailing lists that distribute political messages.


Political advertising can be aggravating and distracting. Protect your privacy and keep political ads out of your life by following the strategies mentioned above. For additional help, use the resources listed at the end of this article. Take immediate action on the communication channels that matter most to you and follow-up with the others when convenient.


Andy Anderson, How to Keep Annoying Political Ads From Clogging Up Your Newsfeed, Medium, Sept. 24, 2022.

Keith Dunlap, A Trip Down Memory Lane: These Might be the 10 Most Unforgettable Political Ads,, Sep. 15, 2020.

Steve Israel, Unsubscribe! The Tyranny of Political Fundraising Emails, The Hill, Nov. 17, 2021,

Phil Nickinson, If You Have A Smart TV, You Need an Ad-Blocker, Digital Trends, Jan. 19, 2022.

Lata Nott, Political Advertising on Social Media Platforms, ABA Human Rights Magazine, Jun. 25, 2020.

Katie Teague, Swamped With Election Campaign Text Messages? Here’s How to Stop Them, CNET, Nov 5, 2022.

Lance Whitney, Stop the Madness: How to Block Spam Calls and Robocalls, Facebook, Aug. 7, 2023.


John Bandler, Cybersecurity for the Home and Office: The Lawyer’s Guide to Taking Charge of Your Own Information Security, ABA Book Publishing, Aug. 9, 2017.

Kevin Mitnick, The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data, Bay Books, Sep. 10, 2019

Katharine Jarmul, Practical Data Privacy: Enhancing Privacy and Security in Data, O’Reilly Media, Jun. 6, 2023.

Daniel Solove and Paul Schwartz, Privacy Law Fundamentals 6th Ed, International Association of Privacy Professionals, Jan. 1, 2017.


Adblock PlusAdClear, and AdLock (Ad Blocker)

DuckDuckGoFirefox Focus and Opera (Ad Blocking Browser)

Ghostery (Anti-Tracking)

Hushed (Temporary and Second Phone Numbers)

NoMoRobo (Call and Text Blocker)

ProtonMail (Private Mail)

Privacy Badger (Anti-Tracking)


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