How many times have you sent an email to an elected official? How about a phone call? A letter?
How many times have you gotten a response?
I don’t write to my Senators, Representatives, State, or local officials very often, but when I do it’s for a reason. I would like to think (as I am sure anyone else would) that when I do, my inquiry merits a response. I am usually frustrated however in the fact that I almost never receive a response back. Many of our elected officials now have email addresses or contact forms on their websites. Most even add a statement proclaiming their joy at receiving letters and their love for the opportunity to assist and discuss the issues with their constituents. Some of these vary from the rather vague statement on whitehouse.gov:
President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history. To send questions, comments, concerns, or well-wishes to the President or his staff, please use the form below:
To the rather florid intro by Representative Rodney Alexander which basically says if you’re in his district let’s have coffee, otherwise bugger off:
I am very interested in hearing your views on issues of importance to you and your family. I am only able to accept messages from residents of the 5th Congressional District of Louisiana, due to the large volume of U.S. Mail, email and faxes that I receive. Congressional courtesy dictates that representatives be given the opportunity to assist their own constituents.
If you are resident of another district, I encourage you to contact your U.S. Representative by clicking the following link to the Write Your Representative Service.
From the rather specific instructions on Sen. Landrieu’s website:
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments and concerns!
If you are writing from Louisiana, be sure to include your full name and address in the web form below so that I may respond to your question by postal mail. If you’d prefer to contact me by letter or telephone, I have several offices that can help you. Click here for a list.
To absolutely nothing (no instructions, thank you, or acknowledgment) on Sen. Vitter’s site.
Now, I would like to say that I have personally written to and called each of the people listed above at least 2-3 times in the past couple of years. I have never gotten a single response to an email (ever). Other than a tacit phone call back with a promise for a followup call (which never came) from Sen. Landrieu’s Alexandria office, I have never once received a response to a phone call either and that includes calling Washington and the local offices — nothing.
So I would like to know if my experiences are unique or if our elected officials are forgetting who their bosses are. I’ve included a poll below. Please take the time to vote in your results:
(Please answer all polls that apply to you)
Drew, great polls, but you forget two options:
– I’ve never attempted to contact.
– I’m involved in pending litigation.
The intention is that people would only answer polls for the people they have attempted to contact. Hopefully that’s happening.
It’s a good intention, but it’s definitely prone to abuse by people with their own partisan or personal agenda.
Then again, the same can be said of the vast majority of online political polls.
Twice, one by snail mail, one by e-mail. Results were 50/50, got an e-mail response. Maybe because it is easier and faster???
I usually end my messages to elected reps with: “The courtesy of a reply would be appreciated,” or, “Please reply and let me know your thoughts on this issue.” I don’t know if that helps, but I do get a reply almost 100 percent of the time. It is always a form letter from my Washington representatives and sometimes a personal response from local reps.
Over the years I’ve learned the game they usually play with form letter responses. If the rep agrees with your position, they will reply with an enthusiastic, “Thanks, I agree” and then point out all they’ve done or are doing in that regard. If the representative disagrees, they will not say so. The form letter will be vague and include things like, “Thank you for letting me know your opinion on this matter, ” and, “I will keep this in mind when the time comes to vote on this issue.”
I find that usually when you don’t get a response from a politician, its because the question/complaint/comment is “outside the grounds of legal debate.” The only issued that are accessible to the public are simple issues. Everything else is off limits, and will be ignored or written off as a “crackpot conspiracy theory.” Examples of this are any questions involving Secret Societies, or their New World Order, or the Banking System ect. I was sexually abused as a child by these people (Secret Societies) and when I reported it to police and politicians, I have been met with total silence. Read my blog: