Part of what I love about being a photographer is meeting people I wouldn't ordinarily meet and seeing things I wouldn't otherwise witness. In college and early in my career I would photograph hearings and press conferences up on the hill. This is the side of democracy that is most visible to the public, and what happens in these hearings have a great impact on our country.
The other (more personal) side of democracy happens when citizens meet with their elected officials and tell their own stories. I don't know if the statistics back it up, but I'm sure meeting with constituents and hearing the personal impact of legislation has to have at least some influence on a lawmaker.
Sometimes advocates are experienced with sharing their stories , but Just as often, this is the first time they've shared their stories with anyone involved in making policy. I'm constantly amazed by the passionate and articulate stories they tell.