by Dannelle D. Stevens – Election Integrity Study Group
About five years ago I retired, just in time to see DJT elected and to begin to devote more time to politics. I began searching for ways to make a difference, a real difference. I knew the power of voting all the way down the ballot. I knew the power of voter registration, but there were several things I did not know, but learned. That knowledge changed my behavior dramatically and made me feel I really can make a difference.
Living in a bluish state meant that I often wondered if my voice really matters. Why write or phone my senators or representatives? I know they will vote the right way. The truth is that calling your representatives, even your Democratic representatives, makes a difference.
Remember, the most important thing for a representative is to be reelected. How do they do that? By paying attention to their constituents who make “noise”. Noise can be in the form of phone calls, emails on their websites, office visits, letters to the editor, and town hall questions. They look to these to temper, inform and strengthen their positions. I heard that every morning they check their call records to see the tally of phone calls and the positions the calls represent. How many calls did I get on voting rights? Those numbers can give them spine and can be used to persuade others that there is real “public sentiment” out there.
We have a job to do, then. A simple job. CALL AND WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. Only takes a couple of minutes.
Here are some best practices:
- Only talk about one issue when you call. Leave a message if you cannot talk to a real person, although it is grand fun to talk to a real person.
- Do not worry that you need to be super informed to call. Most of the time, staff are simply tallying people’s views.
- Put your reps phone numbers on your frequent call list so it is easy to call.
- If you cannot get Washington, D.C., then, have the numbers of the local offices available.
- I also call or put comments on Pelosi’s or Schumer’s websites: https://pelosi.house.gov/ or https://www.schumer.senate.gov/
- Sign up for their newsletters on their website to keep informed about town halls you can attend and to send emails.
You know what is important NOW: GET THOSE VOTING RIGHTS BILLS PASSED! CALL! WRITE!
Another alternative is to download the application Five Calls (https://5calls.org/getting-started/). After you select an issue, this app connects you with your representative’s phone automatically or sometimes with other government officials. I recall last year Five Calls connected me with the Oregon Attorney General’s office.
Here are the contact forms for our US Representatives: Washington DC Offices. Each has local offices, and you may find those numbers on these websites.
Senator Ron Wyden https://www.wyden.senate.gov/contact
Senator Jeff Merkley https://www.merkley.senate.gov/connect
Representative Earl Blumenauer https://blumenauerforms.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/
Representative Suzanne Bonamici https://bonamici.house.gov/contact
To identify your Oregon Senators and Representatives, go to this website and put in your address: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html
Need more ideas about how to get involved in this important election year?
Click over to the volunteer and committee opportunities linked on the MultDems “Get Active” page, HERE.
Clip art credit: Dreamtime