Projects: Usability in Civic Life
How to Contact Your Representatives
The most important thing any individual can do is to let your local and national representatives know how you feel about critical issues.
The fastest way to find information about a current bill in the Library of Congress' Thomas is to search the current Congress by bill number, using the search form at the top of the home page.
You an also search for all bills containing a word or phrase. The search finds all bills with any of the words entered. Try searching for "ballot usability" Each bill may appear several times, as it is amended and passed through both the Senate and House.
There are links in the left menu to descriptions of the legislative process.
Contacting Members of the US Congress
Both the Senate and House of Representatives have online directories. There are many other web sites with Congressional directory information, such as Contacting the Congress and the League of Women Voters.
If you write to your Congress-person, here are some guidelines to help you make your point effectively:
- Identify yourself. If you are a constituent, say so. Include your home address and phone number or email. Be sure your name is legible.
- Be timely. Too early, and your message will be forgotten. Too late, and the vote or action is already taken.
- Be specific. Tell them why you are writing, explain your position, and request a specific action.
- Be brief. Congressional aides read thousands of letters. Keep your letter to one page.
- Consider using paper mail. Also, see if the office has a web form for submitting comments.
- Avoid computer jargon and other acronyms.
- Tell them that that you are writing as a member of UXPA, the User Experience Professionals Association.
The ACM has additional information at their USACM page on Communicating with Congress