One of the primary goals of Common Cause is to increase the accessibility of citizens to their elected officials. Constituents can contact their Senators and Congressmen for a variety of services. Senatorial offices can make Congressional inquiries into individual issues with social security, immigration, and any federal agency. While a Congressional Inquiry does not guarantee any specific course of action, it can move forward a case and demand answers from agencies in a timely manner.
Citizens assume that their opinions and ideas are never passed onto their representatives. This is FALSE. When you make a call or send an email regarding a specific policy, your opinion is tallied down and sent to your Senator or Congressmen at the end of the day. The more tallies, the more weight an opinion carries. In short, your approval or
discontent with particular policies exerts influence over how your Senator will vote now and in the future. Everyone wants to be re-elected. Let your voice be heard.
Be prepared when you call or write. If it’s regarding a law, know the specific Bill Number for the piece of legislation you want them to support or not support. (Look up Congressional Bills here and State Bills here) Be clear about what you would like them to do. Spell it out in the beginning so there isn’t any confusion. If you want to address more than one issue, write more than one letter. Details are important. Make sure you address how a particular action (or inaction) will affect you and your community.
Keythings to remember are:
- Be polite and respectful
- Keep it short and simple
- Include your contact information, so he/she can respond to your request
- If you have any specific credentials that qualify you to give your opinion, list them out
Below you will find some helpful websites that can help you find and contact your lawmakers:
Congress.org makes contacting your legislators super easy. All you have to do is register for a free account and you’ll be able to contact both state and national representatives through their website. Register here. Once you’ve registered there is an option to send letters to all lawmaker at once, saving you time and effort. The site also has a handy feature that allows you to see how your Federal Reps have voted on previous bills.
ContactingtheCongress.org is an online congressional directory. Simply input your address and it gives you the name of your Representative is and provides you links to sites you can contact your Rep or GA Senators directly. Try it here.
OpenCongress.org has a helpful tool that allows you to send your representative a message regarding a bill right from the bill’s information page. Learn about the feature here.
Project Vote Smart allows you to find all your elected officials in one simple search. Once you’ve found them, clicking on their names give you their contact information, including phone numbers. Find out more here.
The Georgia Secretary of State My Voter Page, gives you access to your polling precinct, elected officials, and a sample ballot for an upcoming election. Check it out here.
Written by CCGA Interns: Lindsay Jacobs and Rachel Bradley