Email Messages With Link To Committee Opposing Driver’s Licenses For Illegal Immigrants Went To Spam, Comcast Customer Says

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Ever wonder why some email messages go to Spam?

Olympia Caswell says she found one cause:  a link to a ballot referendum committee opposing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants in Massachusetts.

After two calls to Comcast customer service, the problem disappeared. But she notes that solving her individual problem does nothing for other people trying to send email messages with a link to the political web site.

She told NewBostonPost she asked a Comcast customer service representative why her email messages with the link kept going to Spam.

“Probably because people have reported it,” Caswell says the customer service representative said.

The link is for Fair and Secure Massachusetts, a ballot referendum committee authorized by the state to raise and spend money to campaign for a No vote on Question 4 in the Tuesday, November 8 general election. A No vote would repeal a state law allowing illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license, which the Democrat-dominated state legislature enacted earlier this year over the veto of Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican.

Caswell, who lives in Franklin and volunteers for the town’s Republican Town Committee, made the spam discovery on October 15, while she was working on an email message pitching the head of Fair and Secure Massachusetts, Maureen Maloney, as a possible guest on a national podcast. Caswell wanted her husband’s advice on her draft, so she emailed it to him, from her Comcast email address to his Comcast email address. They are connected to the same Internet provider account with the company.

It went to Spam.

She emailed the message to herself — from her Comcast email address to the same Comcast email address.

It went to Spam.

Spam is a folder in an email account that diverts email messages the system deems unwanted, such as unsolicited commercial pitches and junk messages. While most people who have email check their inbox frequently, most rarely or never check their Spam folder.

The problem did not just affect Comcast accounts, Caswell said. An email message she sent from her Comcast account to a Verizon email address never arrived. Ditto for an email message she sent to a Gmail address.

Yet the same email message (in substance) that she sent from a Gmail account arrived in someone else’s inbox.

Puzzled, Caswell tried to figure out what was going on. She worked for about 10 years testing software for a chemical engineering company, and she currently designs web sites, so she knows something about email.

Her draft email message had a bunch of links. So she took them out, one at a time, and resent the email message each time. Each time it went to Spam.

Until she took out the last link:  Fair and Secure Massachusetts.

Once she removed that link, an email message she sent from her Comcast email address appeared in the regular email inbox of her husband’s Comcast account.

Yet when she sent an email message to herself with just the link in the body of the email message, it went to Spam.

Caswell told NewBostonPost that she called customer service for Comcast on October 25. The man who answered first told her to put her husband in her contacts. She says she explained to him that that was not the problem.

“The problem is you’re reading the email,” Caswell says she told the Comcast representative, “and you see the link as spam and it goes to Spam.”

“He said, ‘Yes, that’s true. But we’re going to take care of it’,” Caswell said.

She says she replied:  “I never gave you the link. How are you going to take care of it?”

“Oh, we know,” she says the man told her. “We’re going to remove it.”

He said the problem would be solved in two hours. But the problem persisted, she said.

So she called customer service again on October 26. She says she was on the line for nearly two hours, without a resolution, when the call got disconnected.

But sometime after that call, the problem disappeared. Now, when she sends email messages with the Fair and Secure Massachusetts link from her Comcast email address it goes to the inboxes of other Comcast email accounts, including her own.

Maloney, the head of the Fair and Secure Massachusetts referendum committee, described Caswell’s email problem as unacceptable.

“Comcast was flagging emails with the Fair and Secure MA web address ( and sending them to spam. It definitely has hindered our ability to communicate with people,” Maloney said by text message to NewBostonPost, with the link in the original. “It is outrageous that Comcast has censored a ballot question committee!”

Even though Caswell’s email problem was eventually solved, she said she is going public with her experience to call attention to what she describes as censorship of a political point of view by an email provider.

“If they do this, it’s very bad,” Caswell told NewBostonPost.

Does Comcast do this?

NewBostonPost contacted a spokesman for Comcast asking that question twice during the past 10 days. The spokesman did not respond.


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