Postcarding

Indivisible Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap Indivisible wrote a lot of postcards in 2020 for U.S. Senate races in Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Texas and Georgia, plus for a U.S. House candidate here in Washington state and for state legislative candidates, as well as the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State. The grand total was 23,670.

We’re conducting small campaigns at home right now and gauging interest for in-person gatherings again post-COVID-19. If you would like to write postcards, please email Kathy.

Our address providers:

  • Postcards to Voters. Provides addresses for campaigns around the country.
  • Flip The West (now Activate America). For 2021, this organization, founded in 2018 to flip California congressional district seats, is focusing its efforts at reclaiming California congressional districts that flipped blue in 2018 and flipped red in 2020. They are also writing to voters in Wisconsin to remind them that their senator, Ron Johnson, voted against the last round of COVID-19 relief checks.
  • Reclaim Our Vote. This non-partisan organization is currently writing to voters in Arizona and Georgia. The Arizona campaign is to Arizona voters to contact Sen. Sinema and encourage her to radically reform or eliminate the filibuster. The Georgia campaign is different. It’s writing to rural utility customers in Georgia, some of whom are paying $600/month on incomes of $26,000 or less per year. The postcards ask recipients to attend a listening meeting that will form the basis of organizing for 2022. Watch Wan Smith’s delightful video here.
  • Postcards To Swing States – Formerly Postcards2WI.com, this alliance of Chicago-area Indivisible groups is currently focused on thanking voters in swing states for voting in 2020 and reminding them that Democrats delivered checks and got vaccines out so schools and businesses can re-open. We have addresses for voters in Georgia and Florida.
  • Postcards4VA – founded in 2017 to flip the Virginia General Assembly and active this year to keep the Virginia assembly and governorship in Democratic hands.

Taking a pause as of June 2021:

  • Vote Forward – Currently planning their next letter writing campaigns.
  • Navajo/Hopi Organizing Campaign. Native Americans were key to Pres. Biden’s win in Arizona. This group is not currently active, but we’re hopeful they will re-activate soon.
  • Grandmothers For a Brighter Future – formerly Grandmothers for Obama; formed in 2008 to support President Obama’s election in North Carolina. Now, the group has writers in 46 states.
  • Postcards4WA.com. Provided addresses for Washington state voters on behalf of Washington state Democratic candidates for the state legislature in 2018 and 2020.

How we get/make postcards
Most us buy full sheets of cardstock (requires a paper cutter or a visit to Office Max) or Avery postcard stock and print our own cards using templates provided by Postcards To Voters or that we design ourselves. Some of us make enough cards to distribute to our writers. Some buy USPS pre-stamped cards. Postcards are distributed to writers from the front porch of a writer who lives near the intersection of Finch and Wyatt on Bainbridge Island.

For the Reclaim Our Vote campaigns, we must use cards printed with the Reclaim Our Vote logo (available from VistaPrint) or completely blank cards. 

About stamps
We use .36 postcard stamps (they are less expensive than stamps for envelopes). They come in rolls of 100 for $36 or sheets of 20 for $7.20. 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. Arrangements can be made for writers who cannot afford postage.

Mailing postcards
Postcards mailed from the Bainbridge Island Post Office are processed in Seattle and get a Seattle postmark. Postcards mailed from Suquamish, Poulsbo and Silverdale get a Tacoma postmark. Sometimes, we have a contact in the state to which cards are addressed, and we bundle them up and mail them to that contact. Upon receipt, the contact mails the cards locally for a local postmark.

Postcard writing tips

  • The Post Office really appreciates it if we orient our cards and wrap them with a rubber band before dropping postcards in the mail slot. This saves them the time of having to gather them up and orient them in order to process them. This will give workers more time to process other mail, such as ballots.
  • Avoid red ink. At least 8% of men and .5% of women have red-green color-blindness, so 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 is preferable.
  • The purpose of postcards is not to persuade but to alert the voter about a candidate and an election that’s coming up or to do something like sign up for vote by mail. There’s not much space on a postcard for a lot of words, and most postcards campaigns give us a script that is not to be changed. However, sometimes we have to come up with our own words (postcardstovoters.org).
  • Decorate your postcard. 
  • Do not use the “flag” stamp or flag images. Research shows that people who see flags before voting tend to vote for Republicans. In 1775, Samuel Johnson is thought to have said “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Maybe he had a premonition about this guy:Our president loves the flag

What we’ve learned about postcard writing