How to Contact Your Elected Officials

Did you know that every politican tracks the amount of correspondence they receive on different issues? Did you also know that after a certain amount of correspondence, their team has to reexamine their position on the issue? This is why calling, emailing, and writing letters to your political representatives at every level of government is extremely important! Contacting your representatives, besides voting, is one of the easiest ways to make a difference in your community.

Step 1: Find out who your representatives are

The Participatory Budgeting Project has developed a web tool that can help you easily find out who your local, state, and federal representatives are. Just enter your address, and all of your current representatives will pop up!

Step 2: Find your desired representative's contact information

After your enter your address and your list of representatives populates, find the representative you want to contact. If you click the "Contact" button on this site, their phone number and office address will pop up. If you rather email them, click on the globe icon to be taken to their website.

Step 3: See if there is any pending legislation related to the issue you are contacting them about

If there is a pending vote or pending legislation related to the issue you are writing about, it is important to mention that specific bill or rule in your correspondence. To find out about pending legislation, you can simply google something like the following: "environmental bill in South Carolina state house" or "anti-bullying bill in U.S. House of Representatives". 

Step 4: Craft your message

It is important that you know what you want to say before initiating contact with your representative. This is easier over email and physical mail since you have to write it out. However, it is very easy to go on a rant over the phone. Remember, you will almost always be speaking to a member of your representative's staff rather than the representative themselves, so be kind but assertive. 

When writing or speaking, be sure to mention the following things:

  1. You are a constituent (that means you have the power to vote that elected official in or out of office) hoping to voice your opinion on an issue that is important to you.
  2. Clearly state what the issue is and your personal opinion on the issue.
  3. Note if there is any current legislation related to the issue that you would like them to vote for or against. 
  4. Thank them for their time and their service.

There are many sample letters that you can find online if you need more help or guidence about how to write to your representatives. 

Also, follow the Center for Civic Engagement on Instagram (@cofcvolunteer) and Facebook (CofC Center for Civic Engagement) for prompts regarding specific legislation to write your elected officials about.

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