Using POPVOX to Email Congress
Here is the best tool I could find for all of you to get involved, and I wanted to take a minute to help you understand how to use it.
The most important thing we can do is to send messages to Congress about bills that support veterans. Stop complaining on Facebook forums and TAKE ACTION.
It is VITAL that you do this. Normally, Congress can flip flop on issues and refuse to take action because they “lack information” or constituent support. I was sunk and could not advocate for you as effectively as I wanted because I had no visual tool to show them that veterans DO care about what goes on in DC and will vote on it.
Now, thanks to POPVOX, we no longer have this problem. The tool is great because it ensures that your representative actually receives your message. And Congress can now know how many voters in their state support veterans legislation.
Best of all, because everything is verified, they cannot back down and refuse support. Instead, they will need to vote in support of bills like the “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.”
For example, every year, may veteran organizations get their legislative proposal batted down right when it comes time for a vote. The reason? The legislators claim there is no support. Before POPVOX, you could not prove them otherwise. Now we take the wind out of excuses like that by whipping out my trusty iPad to display the voter map.
So, take advantage of this tool and take actions. Stop bitching about issues on web forums and write your Congress person now. Take advantage of this awesome tool.
Help us help you by allowing us to show up on Capital Hill with real data. Keep reading for specifics on how POPVOX gets it done.
Specifically, Why POPVOX?
DisabledVeterans.org provides a service called PopVox, which enables you to send your email to Members of Congress.
POPVOX helps congressional staff by including specific information on the bill you want to support or oppose, as well as your information so they can easily respond. PopVox also has the option to post those messages in public, showing members of the media and others what a district or state thinks about a bill.
We recognize that using this service requires you to enter your information and authenticate your email address, and those steps can be inconvenient, but they are necessary steps to using POPVOX, which is the best way to use email for accountability.
How It Works
Comments left on POPVOX are delivered to your Representative and/or Senators in Congress. Your POPVOX home page displays the status of the delivery of your message.
POPVOX delivers messages to Congress electronically* because that’s how the offices prefer to receive them. Your message goes into the office’s database that lets them track their constituents’ sentiment on bills and group similar letters together for their replies. (Printed letters and faxes are so much harder for offices to process. Your name and address would be keyed into their database by the nearest intern, and what you wrote will probably never be seen by a policy staff member.)
*A small number of Congressional offices do not accept electronic delivery from third party services. In those cases we will actually print out your message walk down to Capitol Hill and deliver your message in person.
Either way, you’ll see a note on your POPVOX Home page that we’ve delivered your comment once we hand it off to the Congressional office
POPVOX: Frequently Asked Questions
Why does POPVOX ask for personal information? In order to post emails to Congressional inboxes, POPVOX forms need to gather your name, address, and other contact information. We ask so that your message can make it all the way to your Member of Congress’s staff. POPVOX remembers your information so you only need to fill it in once, but never sells or distributes your private information.
Why does POPVOX send me email before it sends my message to Congress? POPVOX follows a best practice of email confirmation to ensure you are a real person. Confirming your email address also ensures that you will receive your Member of Congress’s response to the email you send. After clicking through from one POPVOX confirmation email, you won’t need to do it again to send another message.
Why do I need to create a POPVOX account? POPVOX creates accounts for people using their tools so that you can track when your message was delivered to Congress. With an account, you can also weigh in on other bills without having to go through the verification process each time. POPVOX works because each user is verified so their Members of Congress know that they are a “real person” and a constituent of that District or State. Then positions taken on a specific bill using POPVOX are aggregated to bring transparency and accountability into the policy-making process.
POPVOX asks for detailed contact information, including your home address and in some cases your phone number, because we need this in order to ensure that your message to Congress reaches the appropriate Congressional office.
You can see exactly what we know about you at popvox.com/legal.
Why doesn’t DisabledVeterans.org offer form letters I can click once to send? As the former staffers on our team will attest, congressional offices ignore form letters, faxes, and other identical messages. We can’t change this practice, so we want to make sure your messages get through. We provide suggested talking points, but urge you to take a few seconds to write your own short, clear statement in each email.
What if I don’t leave a comment? As you weigh in on bills, you have the option to skip the personal message. When you skip the personal message, POPVOX sends a simple notification to legislators (if they accept electronic delivery), which says: “(your name) supported/opposed this bill on POPVOX and chose not to leave a comment. He/she is not expecting a response.”