Jul 31, 2006

The Internet’s effect on Congress

Ever wonder what kind of impact the Internet, particularly email,
has had on Congress? It’s so easy to blast off an email to your
representative these days. It could also be easy for some no-gooders to
automatically submit those online contact forms, too.

Here’s a study from CMFWEB on how the Internet has affected Congress. Some highlights:

  • In 2004, the House received 99,053,399 communications by Internet. The Senate received 83,000,000 by internet.
  • Half of House and Senate senior managers surveyed also report their offices have reallocated resources to responding to communications over the last two years.
  • only 17% of House offices and 38% of Senate offices answer
    all incoming e-mail with e-mail. The large majority
    of
    offices respond to some or all of their e-mail with postal
    letters.

  • Half of congressional staff surveyed believe identical form
    communications are not sent with constituents’ knowledge
    or
    consent. Another 25% are unsure about the legitimacy of these communications.
  • Only 3% of staff surveyed say identical form postal mail
    would have “a lot” of influence on their Member of Congress if he/she had not
    reached a decision.
    In contrast, 44%
    report individualized postal letters would have “a lot” of influence.

Source: found this link in the latest Convio Connection newsletter.