Don't Bother Emailing Your Congresscritter

from the email?--whazzat? dept

Ah. A government for the people by the people… who ignores the people. Email should be great for politicians. It allows their constituents to communicate with them easily. Especially in this time when any postal mail heading in the direction of Washington D.C. might be a bit scary, you would think that politicians would embrace email. You would be wrong. A NY Times test shows that most Congressional and Senate offices really really (really!) would prefer that you not send them email. Fewer political offices list public email addresses, and very few respond. I can understand that non-email requests or letters get more attention because the person has obviously put more effort into it. However, to ignore and shun email altogether seems like a positively shortsighted plan. Perhaps someone needs to come up with a good email management program designed for folks in Congress. It could help automatically sort emails by whether or not the writer was a constituent, and what they’re issue of choice was. It would be like an automatic polling system. “Look, Senator, we’re receiving twice as many emails for responding to email than against…”

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Comments on “Don't Bother Emailing Your Congresscritter”

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Will (user link) says:

Article leaves out important points

I have interned in a congressional office and there are two primary reasons why Congress is apathetic to email:
(1) It is nearly impossible to verify that the person is within the representative’s constituency unless they provide an address and means of contact, or even if it is a real person and not a spam bot. The representative is primarily concerned with what their constituency thinks, not what some random person with access to a computer thinks. Additionally about a third of those people that include their address are emailing the wrong congressman anyway. Until digital signatures that for certain verify a person is who they say they are, another means of contact is going to be required.
(2) It takes much less determination to sit down and write an email than it does to write a letter. The primary job of a congressional office is to represent the people to Federal agencies (i.e. INS, IRS, etc.). If a case worker is going to spend the incredible amount of time that it takes to deal with a Federal agency, they want to know that the constituent really wants assistance and is not just angry and pounding off an email that they will not follow up.
Don’t be so quick to judge the government because there is usually a reason things are the way they are.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a bit old... anyone have an up to date sou,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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