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Helpful Hints for Calling from Abroad
When calling Congress, make sure you:
1) Are respectful, regardless of how angry you may be about an issue or recent congressional action;
2) Call all three of your specific representative and senators; do not call other members of Congress as calling them only ties up their phone lines and prevents them from hearing from their actual constituents (the exception is if a member of Congress or a congressional committee specifically ask for “the American public’s opinion”);
3) Immediately identify yourself as the congressperson’s constituent and be prepared to give your U.S.-based address. Use the U.S. address which you use as your voting address*. You do NOT have to currently live there;
4) Stick to a single issue;
5) Know any specifics beforehand in case their office asks you for further guidance (i.e. a bill number you’re referencing);
6) Calmly and rationally state your case when voicing your opinion;
7) Respectfully have a specific ask in mind of the legislator;
8) Ask the staffer where the legislator stands on your concern/issue – do not hang up the phone until you ask this important question.
Most staff will not know the legislator’s position on expat issues; this is normal. If you are comfortable in doing so, leave your phone number and request to receive a returned phone call with the congressperson’s response once he/she has taken a stance on your issue. If you know beforehand that your legislator has taken the opposite position of DA’s stance, be sure to inform the congressional office that your Election Day ballot will depend on the congressperson’s vote or position on your issue;
9) Thank the staffer for listening to your comment, and request that your message is passed along to the representative or senator.
10) Relay the congressional office’s response back to DA (if the issue is expat-related), and be sure to also share on social media if the lawmaker has taken the opposite stance of DA’s official position.
If the purpose of the phone call is simply to bombard Congress with constituent calls in voicing an opinion on a bill/issue, it is okay to call your elected official’s D.C. office, identify yourself as a constituent, state your opinion, state your specific request, and repeat this process with all of the legislator’s in-district/state offices.
* If you have never voted from abroad, you are eligible to vote from the address where you last resided in the U.S. If you are a U.S. citizen born abroad, you may vote from the address where your U.S. parent(s) last resided. Any questions, please let us know at [email protected].