Today I received what amounted to a bulk email from my congressmen Jay Inslee which attempted to answer a question I wrote down at one of the town hall meetings back in August... unfortunately his office conveniently ignored my question and opted instead to address one that is tangentially related.
That's not the problem.
I hit Reply in Outlook, typed a response, clicked send... and got a nice little bounce back a moment later which said:
Please do not respond to this message. This is an auto-response to notify you that this email address is no longer active and you can send your message at my "web form" message system which can be found at: http://www.house.gov/inslee/contact/. This email address has been closed because an overwhelming amount of spam messages and comments with non-standardized sender information have made it a less effective means of hearing from and responding to constituents.
To ensure that all constituent comments are received and are responded to, and as the rest of Washington's House delegation has been doing for some time, Congressman Inslee is operating a more commonly-used web-based system to receive messages.
Congressman Inslee both needs and welcomes your thoughts. As email correspondence to Congressional offices has more than doubled in the past five years, the web-based message system is a way to improve the accuracy and timeliness with which your comments are viewed and replied to by Congressman Inslee. Thank you for your understanding.
Again, your comments can be sent at any time to Congressman Inslee through the following link: http://www.house.gov/inslee/contact/
Not being a big fan of web forms as they don't offer the same kind of paper trail (for me) as email, I went looking for another email address that I saw in his bulk email which ended with
DISCLAIMER I cannot guarantee the integrity of the text of this letter if it was not sent to you directly from my Congressional Email Account: email@example.com. If you have any questions about the validity of this message, please email me at: Jay.Inslee@mail.house.gov or call my Washington, DC office at: 202-225-6311. If you would like to be removed from my email update list, please email me your name and address at: Jay.Inslee@mail.house.gov and type "REMOVE" in the subject line.
With this new address in hand (one he also mentioned at the town hall meetings), created a new reply, and a couple of copy and paste jobs later later clicked send... only to get another bounce with the same text as above... but from the same address as the first.
That's right... the Congressmen and his office are giving out an email address that doesn't work. Rather than allowing his constituents to use a communication medium that most are well accustomed to, are forced to use a web form with a broken tab order (Issue comes after Zip, not the check box) and asks for more information that I should have to specify to reply to an email which has all of the same information.
Way to go Jay!