Lawmakers do pay attention to messages from voters. They pay the most attention to messages from their constituents i.e. the people who live in their election district whom they directly represent.
So the best place to start is with your elected representatives in Harrisburg (one House representative, one senator). If you don’t know their names, you can find out here.
Also important to any message you want to send about the redistricting issue are the chair and ranking minority member of the House State Government and Senate State Government committees, because those are the panels that will do first review of any redistricting reform panels.
Once you know whom to contact, think about what message you want to send.
You might just want to let them know about Draw the Lines PA and ask them to support the effort and share information about it.
If you or someone in your family has finished a map on DistrictBuilder that you’re proud of, by all means share it with your elected representatives.
If your DTL experience has helped you reach an opinion about how the redistricting process should be reformed, we highly urge you to tell your lawmakers what you think.
In recent years, a number of experienced activists have put out guides on the most effective ways to contact lawmakers. The consensus is that phone calls are better than emails, which are better than tweets. But all of them count; all have impact. Do whatever combination of message forms works for you. If you’re sharing your map itself, obviously you need to do that through email or social media.
The Humane Society of Pennsylvania has done a great job of gathering all Harrisburg lawmakers’ emails and phone numbers in one easy-to-scan directory. We could not do it any better, so we’ll just offer the links to their House directory and Senate directory.
Here are five good tips on how to craft an effective message to a lawmaker:
1) State the purpose of your message at the very top.
2) Explain briefly why you personally care about this issue.
3) Tell the lawmaker what you’d like him or her to do in response.
4) Be polite. No insults to the lawmaker, or anyone else.
5) Avoid partisan language. This issue is not about red vs. blue. It’s about fair and transparent.