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.
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.
- On letters, put your address at the top or bottom of the page, envelopes get lost.
- 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
- In email, include the above information in the subject line if there is enough space.
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.
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.
- 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)
By deduction, a typical member of the California congressional delegation would receive between 100 and 300 letters a day.
- 8,312,905 people voted in the US California Senate Race in November of 1998. There are two Senators.
- There are 52 California congressional representatives, the November 1998 vote ranged approximately from 233,000 votes to 145,000 votes depending on the district turnout.
- There are 40 California State Senators, voter turnout ranged from about 270,000 to 188,000 in November 1998.
There are 80 California State Assembly elected officials, voter turnout ranged from about 141,000 to less than a 100,000 in November of 1998.
names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, of elected officials