State Legislators' Perceptions of the Use of E-mail in Constituent Communication


  • Mary Lou Sheffer

    Corresponding author
    1. Doctoral candidate in the Manship School of Communication, Louisiana State University. Her research focuses on political communication, especially computer-mediated communication, and the future of sports broadcasting. She has worked for the last two months as a media consultant for an Illinois state Representative. In addition to her political experience, she worked for ten years in both television news and production.
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This study measured and compared the attitudes and perceptions of state legislators toward e-mail on the basis of age and gender. Results showed that although e-mail is thought to be an effective means of communicating politically by legislators, it is not being implemented as a political tool. A comparison based on gender revealed that more male legislators have an active political e-mail account (95%) than female legislators (71%). The survey also revealed a significant difference with respect to the age of legislators and the political use of e-mail.