Communicating with Elected Officials

Having done some investigation into how mail, email and phone calls are handled by senators' staff (see below),
we feel the best grassroots method is an

email plus a follow-up petition personally presented to the elected official
ideally presented by known past campaign supporters with some friendly press present.

Useful tips and information:

The Statistics at the lower part of this page help illustrate why it is generally good to keep your communications brief, reasonably courteous, and to the point when communicating with elected officials.

The information comes from Federal Capitol staff who must process the mail, email, phone calls and faxes that elected officials receive.

  1. On letters, put your address at the top or bottom of the page, envelopes get lost.

  2. In a clearly separated area from the body of the letter write:

    • The Legislation Name and/or Bill Number
    • If you are for or against the legislation.
    • If you are are a voter in the Representative's District

  3. In email, include the above information in the subject line if there is enough space.
At the state and federal level, in most cases the elected official never reads your mail, their hired staff does. Staff tallies the number of "for" and "against" on a given issue, and creates a few "form" letters which can be used as answers to letters received.

In many legislator's offices a set of weekly reports are generated which allow the elected representative to see the "Top 10 Issues" for the week and how many "for" and "against" communications were received.

These "Top Ten" reports are created for each means of communication (mail, email, phone and fax), in many offices.

US California Senator Barbara Boxer receives the most mail and email of all elected Congressional officials. The numbers listed below were provided by her staff.
  • Emails: on average 7,000 - 10,000 per day
  • Regular Mail: 4,000 to 5,000 per day (up to 10,000 if Hot issues occur)
You can use voting statistics representing various elected office as a very rough estimate of the volume other elected office holders may receive in mail and email. By deduction, a typical member of the California congressional delegation would receive between 100 and 300 letters a day.

Links with names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, of elected officials