Drafting Emails to Your Legislator

In today's high-tech world, many people find email an efficient tool to communicate with those they may not have previously. Indeed, any contact with legislators is better than none at all.  However, email has far less impact than a phone call or traditional letter. If you do use email to connect with your state legislators, here are a few tips:

1.    Be direct. Put the bill number or specific topic in the email's subject line.  This will allow staff members or legislators to quickly identify your email's subject.  It's unlikely you will keep their attention if it takes four paragraphs to determine what legislation concerns you.

2.    Be brief. Between huge numbers of constituent emails, spam, and emails from people who do not even reside in their district, the longer it takes you to make your point or request action, the less likely you are to hold their attention.

3.    Be specific. As mentioned, you should request a particular action from the legislator, whether it is active support of a bill or a vote to defeat it.  You should also identify as a constituent by including your full name and address.

Rules Of Thumb

Whether you are writing or calling, here are some general guidelines to follow:

·       Be courteous.  Insults won't get votes.

·       Be specific. Explain what you want the legislators to do and ask for an answer.

·       Be brief.  Give one or two reasons why you are requesting the specific action.  Short letters or calls are remembered better.

·       Be registered to vote! Your opinion may be valued if you are not registered, but it won't count.

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