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Thread: US: Contacting Your Elected Officials

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  1. #3
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    On the Server
    Methods of Communicating

    • In terms of effectiveness, right now the preferred methods from best to less effective are: Phone call, Personal letter/postcard via US Mail, and email.
    • Consider a phone call if you have a specific and concise concern. There's some data that suggests currently a phone call is the most efficient and effect communication. See this piece for advice on calling.
    • While email is efficient for both recipient and sender, be aware that the ease of sending off an email is matched by the ease of processing it via a script and sending an automated reply.
    • A carefully crafted personal letter indicates that you take an issue seriously. Moreover, it can be passed directly hand-to-hand.
    • Postcards may have some utility still; I'm not sure that this is as true as it used to be. FAX options are still present for many elected officials.
    • No matter what method you use, be aware that you're dealing with a franticly busy staffer.
    • Don't be dismissive. Just as in publishing, the person who reads slush or processes constituent communications may seem powerless, but has the power to pass your message up the food chain.
    • Be courteous.

    Barney Frank's Suggestions about Effective Communication

    Representative Barney Frank on Here's how to not waste your time pressuring lawmakers

    The article is a two minute read, with specific suggestions on how to effectively make your voice and vote count.

    The key to doing it right is being clear about the goal, which is to persuade the Senator or Representative receiving the communication that how he or she votes on the issue in question will affect how the sender will vote the next time the legislator is on the ballot.
    Lawmakers don’t care about people outside of their district.
    The communication must be individual. It can be an email, physical letter, a phone call or an office visit. It need not be elaborate or eloquent — it is an opinion to be counted, not an essay. But it will not have an impact unless it shows some individual initiative.
    Legislators do not simply vote yes or no on every issue. If enough people in a legislator’s voting constituency express strong opposition to a measure to which that legislator is ideologically or politically committed, it might lead him or her to ask the relevant leadership not to bring the bill up.
    Say "thank you."
    Last edited by AW Admin; 02-08-2017 at 06:12 PM.

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