Many key issues are presented, not as legislation, but as regulations. You are able to have your supporters submit comments to the regulatory agencies dockets on regulations.gov. VoterVoice will sync with any comment form on this site at no additional cost and in a manner that adds no addition hassle for your supporters - to them, the process is just like any normal campaign.
This articles covers three important topics:
- Targeting a Regulations.gov Comment Form
- Syncing with a New Regulations.gov Comment Form
- Additional Considerations
You will find a list of all the active comment forms that are currently set up on the Targets page of the campaign editor under the dropdown menu that says “regulations.gov targets.”
If you see the one you are interested in, simply click on it and proceed to create the rest of your campaign as normal. You can still provide a suggested message for your advocates to submit to the form, and you can still target legislators with a separate message.
If the comment form you wish to submit to is not already in the list provided on the Targets page of the campaign editor, you will need to have VoterVoice sync with the new form. To do this, first go to regulations.gov and search for the docket concerning your issue.
You will see a blue “Comment Now!” button to the right with a due date below. Click the button to submit a comment. In your browser’s URL bar, copy the full URL of that comment form. Next, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking the VoterVoice Support team to sync with the form at that URL.
*These have to be done individually, so please allow a business day for completion. We will let you know as soon as the comment form is ready to be targeted.
Every docket on regulations.gov has a due date for submitting comments prior to the agency deciding whether or not to move forward with the proposed rule. This due date is found directly under the “Comment Now!” button on the regulations.gov search page. In order to ensure that your advocates don’t mistakenly believe they are submitting comments after that period is over, please set the end date of the campaign to match the due date of the comments. You do this on the Options page of the campaign editor. Make sure to hit continue to save the change.
When your supporter clicks the send message button, the comment is submitted immediately. The comment, however, will generally not appear immediately. Most regulatory agencies manually sift through comments to weed out inappropriate language, off-topic submissions, duplicate submissions, etc… A note to this effect is posted on the comment page itself. They also typically reserve the right to publish only the comments they wish to publish. Because of this process, it usually takes at least one day to see the comments posted to the docket.
Also because the submitted comments undergo a manual review prior to posting, duplicated comments are not commonly published. If you provide a pre-written sample message for your users to submit, there is a good chance that the messages they send will never see the light of day. We highly suggest any regulations.goc campaigns be set to “blank message” so the users have to craft their own comments.
Many dockets on regulations.gov allow users to submit comment anonymously. VoterVoice, however, does not have the ability to not collect the user's name. If you want to advise your supporters how to submit anonymous comments, you can add a note to the alert section of the campaign to either suggest they enter a name like "Concerned Citizen" or you can link them directly to the comment form on regulations.gov. Keep in mind that if you do the later, you will not have a record of their submission.