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March 24, 2020

Effective Calls to Elected Officials

While social distancing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the 24-hour news cycle. Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re powerless! Demonstrate the power of your voice by calling, not emailing, your representatives.

Think about how many unread emails you have in your inbox—it’s way easier to scan through unread emails than to a full day of phone calls.

Before you plan your call, it’s important to know that your elected officials keep track of how many constituents call about specific issues. If a large number of people call about what a community needs, it’s likely that your official’s office will make that issue a priority.

If communities work together to organize their calls, it disrupts the work of the elected official’s employees. In this case, disruption is okay! When folks spend most of the workday answering calls about a problem, elected officials are more likely to see that the public cares about the problem.

Use 5 Calls to find officials that are relevant in passing 65 different causes. See the sample script for each cause to get your formula down! If your concerns aren’t represented, visit Ballotpedia for a list of every elected official from circuit court judges to the president. In this case, don’t underestimate the impact that local officials can have on your community. As a Chicagoan, calling Illinois state representatives and senators, aldermen, and ward representatives can make a go a very long way!

Once you have the phone number of the official’s local office, write a plan of your 2-3 main points and an explanation of how you are affected:
         ● Provide your name and address to identify yourself as a constituent.
         ● Identify what you’re asking the official to do about an issue or a bill.
         ● Build a relationship. Ask for the name and contact info of the staff member you spoke with. If you call again, you can ask for them again.
         ● Thank them for their time, and follow up with a thank-you email.

Let’s build some people power!

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Sample Scripts

Can you find the number of the bill and the appropriate elected officials?:

Hi my name is [ name ] and I live at [ address ] in Chicago. I’m a constituent, and I’m very concerned about [ issue ].

I’m calling in [ support of/opposition to ] [ bill ] . This is important to me because [reasons you’re calling].

Can I take your name and contact info? Thank you for taking calls, and thank you for listening to me!

Can’t find the bill number?:

Hi my name is [ name ] and I live at [ address ] in Chicago. I’m a constituent, and I’m very concerned about [ issue ].

This is very important to me because [ reasons you’re calling ]. How are you planning to bring the community together with the government to address it? I would like to see you [ action item ].

Can I take your name and contact info? Thank you for taking calls, and thank you for listening to me!