I have mixed feelings about a new site called Votetocracy. It identifies bills in Congress that are up for consideration (and are in areas you’ve identified as ones you’re interested in), provides two different types of summaries for them (one which is especially accessible to English Language Learners), lets users vote on if they support it or not, and then lets you send an email to your Congressional representative stating your feelings about it.
I really like the accessible and helpful information about the bills, and it might provide an opportunity for writing to an authentic audience.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised if emails from the site end-up getting immediately deleted from many Congressional mailboxes. I have the same concern with this site as I have with phoning into talk radio — it can give people the illusion of doing something about a problem without having an actual effect at all.
However, an actual “snail mail” letter to a Congressperson might actually be read, or perhaps an email from a personal email address. I can see this site, and the email written there, being used by students as a draft for a final version. Even better, it could be used as preparation for a face-to-face meeting with a Congressman or staffperson.