e-mailing v. letters to Politicians


February 10, 2004, 08:56 PM
Is an actual letter more effective than an E-mail? i could probably burn through plenty of stamps but e-mail is free.

I do want to be effective though.

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Mark Tyson
February 10, 2004, 09:16 PM
E-mail is so easy to use it has become virtually worthless. Penning a letter takes time and effort, and it shows. Write letters instead. It's only 37 cents for crying out loud. Don't just mail that postcard the NRA sends either - they are universally annoying to congressional staffers.

An e-mail to a politician is like a fart in a hurricane.

February 10, 2004, 09:26 PM
An actual letter is more effective than an email. Better still is to send both.

When you send an email, make the subject line very, very, very clear. Something like, "vote AGAINST HB 2367" or "SUPPORT SB 2631." Chances are, only the subject line will ever be read -- and that by a lower-level functionary who is only counting numbers. Make it easy for them to count your email on the side it should be counted.

For both email and regular mail:

Make your letter as clear as possible. Eloquence doesn't matter much, but clarity matters a lot. It has to be easy to read, or they won't read it, and easy to understand so that it will be counted on the side you want it to be counted.

Open your letter with the same boring sentence that you put in the subject line: "Please SUPPORT SB 2631." If you have a quick follow-up sentence or description of the bill, add it.

Follow up with two or (at the most) three reasons why you want them to support the bill in question. Separate each reason into paragraphs. If any paragraph has more than four sentences, or more than one compound sentence, it is too complex. Make it simple so it will be read.

Conclude your letter with a restatement of your subject line. "Please SUPPORT SB 2631."

Sign your letter with your full name and your location. You want them to know where you are, so that they know whether you can vote against them in the next election. Even if you are not in their district, sign with your location so that they know which of their colleagues does care about your opinion and is coming under heavy fire on the issue.


February 11, 2004, 01:22 AM
those guys have to get email bombed daily

a carefully written letter is much better.

February 11, 2004, 02:36 AM
You'd think they'd welcome the e-mail more with all the deady poisons coming through in their regular mail. I wonder if they are even opening it for fear of getting killed by some guy producing ricin in his back yard.

Bartholomew Roberts
February 11, 2004, 09:47 AM
Actually, regular mail may no longer be as effective. At least one of my Senators has a request on her website to use the website generated email to contact her due to anthrax and ricin concerns since regular mail often suffers serious delays now.

I occasionally send snail mail just to reiterate that I am serious about the issue and care enough to take the time; but I rely mainly on phone calls and email contacts - however, I never email the Representative or Senator directly. I use the email form provided on their website and I make sure they know I am a constituent and not some random Joe.

lee n. field
February 11, 2004, 12:07 PM
In general, sending email is a good way to get ignored.

February 11, 2004, 05:47 PM
I heartily encourage posters to conduct a little research. Pick up the freakin' telephone and call the Washington office of your congressional vermin. Ask them their preferred method of written communication. Let them tell you what they want to see. Don't make assumptions.

I polled 2 senators and one house member. All three told me basically the same thing.
--They will take written letters but prefer not to for obvious reasons. Paper letters should be sent to district offices where they are opened, logged, and pouched to DC.
--Email is fine if it is an electronic substitution for paper. A staffer is tasked with opening email and printing it out where it is logged and pouched to DC.
--FAX is acceptable also as long as it is a substitute for paper.

My take away is there is no difference between paper and email. The rules and niceties are the same as has been discussed in this thread. There is apparently nothing magical about a postage stamp. What is important is the format and content.

February 11, 2004, 06:05 PM
"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." -- Emmerson.

Standing Wolf
February 11, 2004, 06:34 PM
In general, sending email is a good way to get ignored.

In general, expecting our elected misrepresentatives to pay attention to us is an exercise in frustration.

February 11, 2004, 06:53 PM
Write your elected official a very polite letter describing your intent. Be very clear about the specific bill #, etc. & it's points.

Print it out.

E-mail it.

Fax it. A fax machine is really pretty dirt cheap these days & if nothing else, fake a "home improvemnent" business & write the thing off as a business expense .... I'm not kidding here.

Phone them up & talk to yon staffer-folk about it.

& then snail mail the darned thing.

You've covered it 4 ways, with one typed/written/printed letter.

An interesting read is What makes you think we read these bills, by post-Sen Bill Richardson/CA & founder of GOA - that, & Confrontational Politics" - same guy.

Interesting side-light into politics,how they work, how they don't.

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