Your Congressperson Has An Email Address Now, Whether They Want it Or Not

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 09:57 AM

(Chris Martino/flickr)

It’s surprisingly hard to email your elected officials. There’s a forest of forms and hoops to jump through, presumably because politicians get tons of spam and want to make it so that the only people who email them are real humans who have made a dogged attempt to do so. Which is good for their inboxes, but arguably a little wobbly as a democratic idea.

The Sunlight Foundation just introduced a pretty elegant fix for this. They’ve created email addresses for every member of Congress. So if you want to email, for instance, Rep. Aaron Shock, (the fittest member of Congress, according to Men’s Health) you just email The Sunlight Foundation will send an email back asking you to confirm you’re a human (as opposed to a spambot) and then they’ll ferry your email through whatever myriad forms exist on Shock’s website so that it reaches his congressional inbox.

The one restriction on the Sunlight Foundation’s site is that they ask you for your zip code up top to try to stop you from emailing a Congressperson besides your own. Here’s the logic:

A lot of people dislike this. We do, too. In an age of increasing polarization, party discipline means that congressional leaders must be accountable to citizens outside their districts. But the unfortunate truth is that Congress typically won't bother reading messages from non-constituents — that's why those zip code requirements exist in the first place. Until that changes, we don't want our users to waste their time.

(via Techdirt)


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Comments [2]

Long Island resident from Hempstead, LI

I would publicly like to let you know my representative on Long Island in the NY State Assembly refuses to use email, tells her staff they are not allowed and won't use a computer. Why Assembly Member Arlene Hooper is still in office is amazing, but I suggest you do a story on her luddite ways and how proudly she will say, "we don't use the internet".

Jun. 18 2014 09:49 PM
greg from New Hampshire

This is nice!

I suspect that they probably don't ignore or decline $$ donation$ from outside their district.

Money is what really influences politicians. Check out the growing movement at aimed at meaningful campaign finance reform.

Jun. 18 2014 11:27 AM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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