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PLS 201 – Intro to American Politics
Congressional Letter assignment – assignment for non-US citizens
The primary purpose of this assignment is to provide students with the opportunity for civic
engagement and to help demonstrate the process of how to understand the links between a voter
and their representative. This includes looking into how well that representative fits their own
I will not require that you write a letter to your home representative; however, with this
assignment you will need to demonstrate a few points:
1) explain the relationship between representatives and voters in your home country: In
answering this consider:
a. How you vote? What is the voting process – both at the national level and
domestic level? Are local elections important?
b. How do you know who your representatives are and what their policy
positions are – if you were to be civically engaged in your country how would
you go about informing yourself on the information necessary to contact a
c. What form of civic engagement in common in your community? How
responsive are representatives?
2) Compare the information you have above to what you have learned thus far about the
US system. Here it might be helpful to look at a link to looking up representatives
(type in the address of the Cal Poly Pomona).
a. Does it seem easier or harder to become civically active in your country
compared to the US? Explain the logic behind your answer.
b. In what system does it seem more likely that voters contacting their
representatives are more likely to be effective? While we haven’t covered all
of these topics provide your first impression compared to what you know
about your home country.
3) Provide a brief discussion on your own civic engagement. You do not need to get
into specific issues but consider points like how you show support? Do you
volunteer, do you share information about candidates and policy issues? Do you keep
up with any legislative proceedings on issues that matter to you, if so how?
You must answer all three sections discussed above in your paper; however, each section does
not require equal attention, some sections can be longer than others. Make sure that your
discussion for each section does connect course material to your own experiences and opinions.
In total your paper should be 3 to 3 ½ pages length (double spaced).
You will be graded on how well you demonstrate your understanding of how to become civically
engaged in your country through each of the three sections outlined above. You should edit your
paper carefully and each section should be in paragraph form with a clear introduction or topic
sentence for the section you are answer rather than bullet points for each section or sub-question.
Papers are due at the start of class on Thur. April 20.