Postcarding

In the long ago, we met in person to write postcards. Despite Covid in 2020, together with North Kitsap Indivisible, we developed a distribution system and wrote 23,670 postcards.

With Omicron in 2022, we’re ramping up distributed postcard writing again. We distribute cards from the front porch of a house on Bainbridge Island. We also distribute cards from a home off-island in Suquamish, WA.

We are focused on winnable U.S. Senate races. As of January 2022, we are writing postcards to voters in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We get addresses from Activate America. In the coming months, Activate America will provide postcard writing opportunities for the U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina and to defend Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). We expect to be writing for them, too.

Activate America has experience in flipping California congressional districts from red to blue, and has identified four flippable California congressional districts and three California congressional districts that need defending. We’ll participate in those postcard writing campaigns, too.

Why Activate America? Because of the way Activate America is organized, they can do real campaign advocacy. That means their messaging is free to advocate for a candidate. Activate America also works closely with the candidates to develop the messaging. Organizations like Reclaim Our Vote can’t advocate and as a result, their messaging is bland.

When Activate America tackled U.S. Senate campaigns in 2020 as “Flip the West,” their messaging was rather bland, too. Over time their messaging has become stronger. Or maybe it’s that with control of the White House, Senate and House, Democrats have more to brag about.

How does our postcarding program work?

1. Pick up postcards from the front porch of the home of an Indivisible Bainbridge Island member. If you want to use your own postcards, skip to step 3.

  • If you plan to write many cards, for example, 100, over the next couple of months and you want to save trips to the front porch, pick up that number of cards.

2. If you use our cards, if possible, please reimburse for the cost of the cards you write. This year, we’ve had postcards printed and they cost about 5 cents each. So, for example, 10 cards would be 50 cents. There’s a “reimbursement” box on the front porch table for reimbursements. If paying for postcards will prevent you from writing, please ignore this step!

3. Reimburse us for stamps. If you use your own stamps, skip to step 4.

  • There are postcard stamps on the front porch table. If you use stamps from the table and can afford to do so, please leave your reimbursement in the “reimbursement” box on the table. This year, postcard stamps cost 40 cents each. If paying for stamps will prevent you from writing, please ignore this step!

4. Email Kathy and say how many addresses you need.

  • If you have a preference for a particular state, say what your preference is. We will try to accommodate.

  • If you picked up enough cards to write over a couple of months, only request the number of addresses you can write in the next two weeks. This is because our script and address provider, Activate America, often asks for a list to be written and in the mail within two weeks.

5. Within a day, Kathy will send an email to you with the instructions and script, as well as the number of addresses you requested, and, if possible, the state you requested.

  • PLEASE DO NOT WRITE AHEAD! You may think you know what the script will be, but it may change drastically between one set of addresses and another, especially as we get closer to November. Also, addresses may not be available for the script you’ve already written. So, please wait for the script before you write it.

6. Return the written cards to the front porch where there is a box for written cards. We’ll mail them in Poulsbo for a Tacoma postmark.

About stamps
We use 40 cent postcard stamps (they are less expensive than stamps for envelopes). They come in rolls of 100 for $40 or sheets of 20 for $8.00 The Bainbridge Island, Suquamish and Poulsbo post offices usually have them in stock; rolls of 100 can also be ordered from the USPS. Each writer should plan to provide their own stamps if possible. Arrangements can be made for writers who are on a limited budget.

Mailing postcards
Postcards mailed from the Bainbridge Island post office are processed in Seattle and get a “lefty” Seattle postmark. Postcards mailed from Suquamish and Poulsbo get a Tacoma postmark. For that reason, we pick up written postcards from the front porch and mail them at the Suquamish or Poulsbo post office. As much as it would seem that when mailing 20 or more postcards bundling them with rubber bands would be a good idea, the USPS tells us not to do it.

Postcard writing tips

  • Don’t write with red ink. At least 8% of men and .5% of women have red-green color-blindness. If you use red ink for highlighting, it doesn’t look like a highlight to these people. Plus, red is the color of that party. Blue or black ink with yellow highlighting is preferable.
  • Write legibly. Printing often works best. If the recipient can’t read the message, what’s the point of sending the card?
  • Decorate your postcards. Some writers use stickers or draw stars or flowers, or use color to make the card more attractive to read.
  • Do not use the “flag” stamp or flag images. Research shows that people who see flags before voting tend to vote for Republicans. Do not use images or stickers of dogs no matter how cute, especially when writing to southern states, as dogs were and are used to intimidate.

How to get started with our postcarding program: Email Kathy.

What we’ve learned about postcard writing