Whew, the election is finally over and mailboxes — both physical and virtual — are no longer stuffed with endless campaign flyers that veer from comical to darkly foreboding.

And the incoming text message tones on phones are not buzzing nearly as much.

But text messaging, which was a bigger wave in Florida this year than the much-talked-about blue wave that was supposed to sweep Democrats into office, will surely rush back in with the next election.

Campaigns and political groups have learned that texting is cheap, reaches voters far more directly than mailers and emails that are quickly trashed or tossed in the recycling pile, and can be effective at motivating voters. But they also run the risk of being an annoyance.

Bryan Eastman of Everblue Communications, a political consulting firm, had just pressed “send” on a mass political text message when he answered a call from The Gainesville Sun on Tuesday.

Eastman said text messaging may not be good at persuading a voter about your cause but can develop goodwill with voters by reminding people of their voting location or that it’s Election Day.

“On the Democratic side, that’s mostly what I’m seeing ... any kind of information that a voter would need to get out on Election Day,” Eastman said. “Florida was a little bit behind in getting text messages. When I was doing campaigns in other states, they had been doing text messages for a while. This year we are really seeing the proliferation of them in Florida.”

Under federal law, spam texting is illegal unless the sender has gotten permission first. That permission can be in the fine print of agreements, which are rarely read before the “accept” or “agree” button is hit.

Non-commercial messages, including political messages, are exempt from the anti-spam law, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

It is easy enough for campaigns or political organizations to get cellphone numbers from voters who have participated in a political activity and gave their number to the group. Organizations will then share their databases with others.

Third-party vendors can also sell cellphone data. Every time you give your phone number for, say, a reward program or a promotional event, it becomes part of a database that can be sold.

And in Florida, with its fairly liberal public records laws, phone numbers can be gotten from government agencies and other organizations that fall under the Sunshine Law.

TJ Pyche, spokesman for the Alachua County Elections Supervisor, said some numbers likely came from the elections office.

“I know our office is one source. Our records, if voters give numbers, is certainly one of the sources,” Pyche said. “On the voter registration application, you can put a telephone number.”

Text messaging should be used cautiously or risk turning off voters who may get peeved at getting unwanted texts, Eastman said.

Candidates in Alachua County have generally not used text messaging, Eastman said, adding that most of the texts flooding some county residents are from out-of-state groups.

“You do get pushback, but if you are an outside group that is texting to get out the vote, that is not so important — annoying people is less of a worry for you,” Eastman said.