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Quick Link, Sans Babble

I was peeping around the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s web site, and I came across an interesting bit of information on the best ways to contact your representatives, along with search assistance, etiquette tips, and a killer list of do’s and don’ts. One of the things that surprised me was a bit on why its best to call your representatives, as opposed to emailing or snail mailing them:

Because of the post-9/11 security issues, it can take up to THREE MONTHS for postal mail and package delivery services to get through to legislators and their staffs. All incoming mail and parcels are subjected to thorough analysis for bombs, poisons and biological agents like anthrax. This means that sending physical letters is, in 2002 and for the forseeable future, practically useless for activism purposes. The same goes for sending mail to the White House.

The situation is not as bad for Federal agencies, nor for state and municipal government, but even in those cases, fax and e-mail will probably be more efficient and effective. What a turnabout from the 1990s, when most government bodies and legislators more or less ignored e-mail as a valid communications medium!

And why you should supplement emails with phone calls:

Presently, most legislators do not fully take e-mail seriously, but you may wish to e-mail them anyway. It can't hurt, and it doesn't take much time. Also, the more used to e-mail that Congress gets, the more seriously the medium will be taken. The White House, by contrast, already treats e-mail with at least some degree of respect and interest.

Consider e-mailing legislators an afterthought, however, until legislators are "up to speed" (2 years? 5? 10?), - something to do in addition to calling, faxing, writing or visiting.

The whole thing is extremely informative, and I strongly encourage everyone to give it a gander.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
That site and all the how-to information seriously kicks ass.
Jun. 29th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
I thought it was great, too. Totally opposite of what I'd assumed -- I thought phone calls would be summarily discarded, so I tended to write emails more than anything else. The notion of anthrax worries and whatnot holding up snail mail hadn't occured to me, either.
Jun. 29th, 2008 08:19 am (UTC)
I was actually really impressed with it. I have always done email if that's available and on top of that, there was always a nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "Does this sound right? Am I doing this right?"

So, yeah. It's nice to have all that information laid out in one place. Bookmarked!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )