How To Write a Letter to Your Elected Official

Concise, well thought out, personal letters are one of the most effective ways Americans can influence law-makers. But, elected officials may get hundreds of letters every day–make sure yours has an impact!

DOs

1. Identify yourself. Include your name, title (if you have one–and mother counts!) and address.
2. Stay on topic–one issue per letter.
3. Keep it short–no more than one page.
4. Be respectful without gushing.
5. Be specific–cite facts and examples. (See our fact sheets for details!)

DON’Ts

1. Use vulgarity, profanity, or threats. The first two are just plain rude and the third one could get you a visit from the Secret Service.
2. Demand a response.
3. Fail to include your name and address, even in email. Your letter won’t count if it doesn’t come with an address!

Writing Your Letter

Paragraph 1: Why you are writing and who are you?
1. Say who you are. Anonymous letters go nowhere. Include your correct name, address and email address.
2. List your “credentials”–your title of mom/aunt/kindergarten teacher is important! As is your status as a resident of your state or someone who voted for a politician/might vote for them in the future.
3. Provide specific information about how the topic affects you and others. If a certain bill is involved, cite the correct title or number.

Paragraph 2: Provide more detail.
Use specific examples or evidence to support your position–(see our fact sheets for details!)

Paragraph 3: Close and request the action you want taken
1. State what it is you want done or recommend a course of action (i.e “vote yes on…”)
2. Thank the member for taking the time to read your letter.
3. Your signature should include your name and address.

VISIT OUR PETITION PAGE FOR LETTER WRITING IDEAS