It's hard not to want to post here in this election year.
I was going through some of my "piles" of papers and rediscovered an old PETA envelope I have had for years... it is titled, "How to Write a Lifesaving Letter to the Editor." It doesn't have a clear date when it was created, but there is an 09 in the coding, so that might be the year. It offers six steps for writing to your favorite media. I will try to share the main steps and a few of their notes that would apply to this or any year.
1 - KEEP IT SHORT.
Sometimes, one short, pithy paragraph is enough. Try to stay under 300 words (about one typed page). Focus on a specific topic.
2 - TYPE YOUR LETTER IF POSSIBLE.
Otherwise, print legibly. Be sure to use correct grammar and spelling.
3 - GIVE AN "EXPERT" OPINION.
Mention anything that makes you especially qualified to write on the topic.
4 - BE POLITE.
Avoid name-calling and personal attacks. Stick to the facts.
5 - ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE.
Don't give lip service to.... Instead, focus on sharing important information and facts.
6 - BE INCLUSIVE.
Help your audience identify with your message by assuming that they agree with you....
I was so impressed with it that I kept it and shared it back then... somewhere. I don't remember where, but I thought it was a great reminder and guide to writing letters to an editor. I wrote a letter to an editor once, in a small Midwest town, very long ago, but it was meant to be a letter to the editor as a person, not for publication. They published it anyway. So, make sure that doesn't happen to you.
I don't like the mistreatment of animals, but I am not fond of PETA's tactics. I don't follow them much anymore. You can decide for yourself. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
The AFA Journal had some political helps back in May 2017 that I also found in that batch of papers. I assume most of this is still current, but you may have to check... especially the phone numbers and links I will share from that resource.
FYI for your personal use ::
The White House
Washington DC 20500
Comment line :: 202-456-1111
The Honorable ___________________ (enter your Senator's name)
Washington DC 20510
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable ___________________ (enter your Representative's name)
Washington DC 20515
Washington Switchboard :: 1-877-762-8762
I have tried to contact legislators outside of my area about topics that were important to me (through online paths), but they don't go through. Letters would be the only way to send your thoughts to someone involved in making decisions beyond your voting district. This also included committees and other groupings.
I would like to see online options for comments, maybe limited in number of characters or words, with some kind of designation about whether they are registered, and maybe what state, or other check-off details that would say whether they were directly voting on that topic or just want to make a comment.
In my state, and probably every state, a printed book is made for each election. To enter your comments in that statewide delivery system, you had to pay $500 a page when I last checked on it - a very long time ago. It probably costs a lot more now. To make the online version more worthwhile to the government, it could charge $5 a comment.
With the printed version you have to submit your comments so far ahead that no ordinary person has the time or money or inclination to get involved... so, that means all those opinions are really from PAC's and other political activists. Ordinary people don't have a say in the issues that matter to them. An online version can be available to everyone all the way up to a cut-off date near the actual election.
When I was younger, there was a media boundary line for reporting on the results of elections because of our time zones. People might still be voting somewhere else even if your time zone has stopped. This limitation doesn't exist anymore. Why it mattered is some people didn't get to the polls until late in the day.
Media influences votes when they "declare the winner" before the polls have closed. People who haven't decided who they want to vote for, those without enough information to make their decision, and those who just want to be part of the "winning team" will vote for whoever the media says is winning.
I'm not sure what the rules are now, but these were the rules when I was younger, and going to the polls to vote made it a really great part of being an American.
With mail-in ballots instead of going-to-the-polls voting, the tallying window is really long. It is one reason the process is tainted when big topics are at stake. There is always a place for corruption in anything, including voting. If we remember our history right, it's been going on for a lot of years already. I assume it is just getting more sophisticated with technology.
Now we have the whole world watching the voting process.
I don't know if there will ever be a good solution to our problems with the voting process, but I also know that being able to vote is important. It is really our only moment to share our view of a problem, or who we want in leadership.
Life is so hard these days, we are all so busy, and no one can keep up with all the problems we have or the people who want to be our leaders. I think my online access would be better for all those empty spots in the printed election guides. A lot more information can be provided for each issue and each candidate.
I tend to use those printed guides, and others, as a way to decide who and what I will vote for. The information they provide is important... and I love to read other opinions as part of my decision-making process...even when I know they are biased. Everyone points out their own issues and arguments, and somewhere in all those words are the key points that need to be noticed.
Ihope you will find your way to share your opinion with others, through the Letters to the Editor or through contacting legislators.