Postcarding

Indivisible Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap Indivisible meet every Wednesday via Zoom from 2 pm to 3:30 pm. Join us! There is no requirement to attend, but it’s nice to see everyone’s face. If you want to be on our weekly email, which includes updates on the postcard campaigns we’re working on, email Kathy.

We get addresses from:

  • Postcards to Voters – focusing on encouraging Democratic voters in Florida to sign up for Vote By Mail
  • Flip The West – after completing lists for Arizona and Colorado, Flip the West is currently focusing Democrat Theresa Greenfield in her campaign to flip the the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Joni Ernst. On July 18, 2020, Flip the West announced their support for Dr. Al Gross an independent candidate running to replace Republican Senator Dan Sullivan.
  • Reclaim Our Vote – focusing on voters who have been purged from the voter rolls in southern states, such as North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and, possibly, Florida and South Carolina

Other potential sources:

  • Postcards4WA.com – in support of Washington state Democratic legislative candidates, still in process of launching for 2020.
  • Postcards4VA.com – in support of Virginia assembly Democratic candidates.
  • Postcards To Swing States – formerly Postcards2WI.com, this is an alliance of Chicago-area Indivisible groups now focused on ten critical states (Montana, Kansas, Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Iowa) to increase turnout in November. They send the writer the postcards for free. The writer provides the stamps and mail the cards in October.
  • 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 and they are focused on getting rid of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and replacing him with Democrat Cal Cunningham. North Carolina had become a blue state until the 2010 re-districting done by tea-party-crazed Republicans. Now they have a Democratic governor and they ought to have a Democratic senator.
  • Vote Forward – You sign up and adopt a set of from 5 to 20 voters from one of several key states, such as Texas. These are voters thought to be unreliable Democratic voters. The Vote Forward web site automatically generates a form letter for each voter. You print each form letter and hand write a few sentences of why you always vote. Put each letter in an envelope, address it and stamp it. Mail the letters on Oct. 27, though Vote Forward seems to be thinking of advancing the mail date to something sooner.

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 designed by 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. Deliveries can be arranged by emailing Kathy.

For the Reclaim Our Vote addresses, we must use cards purchased from Reclaim Our Vote or completely blank cards, also available from the front porch. Email Kathy for addresses. 

About each address provider

  • Postcards To Voters – Many of our writers have their own accounts with Postcards To Voters. When someone needs addresses, we request addresses from Postcards To Voters (either via their text messaging robot or their Facebook page) and e-mail the addresses to the requester. Turn around via the text message is nearly instantaneous. Postcards To Voters addresses are just addresses – there are no names – so we address the card to “Fellow Voter,” “Concerned Voter” or something similar, on the card’s address side and “Dear Fellow Voter” or “Dear Concerned Voter” on the message side. Postcards to Voters allows some flexibility in the message but requires three sentences that are supposed to be written exactly as given.
  • Flip the West – At least two of our writers can get addresses from Flip the West, which is currently making addresses available for Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and now has its eye on flipping a congressional district in Alaska from Republican to Independent. Flip the West addresses come with names, so they are addressed as “Dear [firstname],”. The message (a.k.a.) “script” is to be written exactly as given. Turn around to get addresses is usually a day. We can provide postcards for Flip the West addresses or print your own. 
  • Reclaim Our Vote – At least two of our writers can get Reclaim Out Vote addresses. The addresses include first and last names, and usually they are addressed as “Dear [firstname],”, BUT when writing to certain southern states, the form of address will change, as in “Dear Mr. Clinton,” or so we’ve been told. You can watch an eight minute video on writing postcards for Reclaim Our Vote. For Reclaim Our Vote addresses we must use Reclaim Our Vote postcards or a completely blank card. Do not use images of flags (don’t use a “flag” stamp, which is more expensive anyway, or images of dogs. The Reclaim Our Vote script must be written exactly as given. 

About stamps
We use .35 postcard stamps (they are less expensive than stamps for envelopes). They come in rolls of 100 for $35 or sheets of 20 for $7.00. The Bainbridge Island, Suquamish and Poulsbo Post Offices usually have them in stock; rolls of 100 can also be ordered from the USPS but you have to “subscribe” on a monthly or every two week basis. We shared stamps when we met in person before the pandemic. Now that we can no longer meet in-person, more postcard writers are self-funding. We do accept donations, and many of us donate stamps to our fellow postcard writers. We really appreciate any donations to keep this effort going. Email Holly about making a donation.

Mailing postcards
Postcards mailed from the Bainbridge Island Post Office are picked up and processed in Seattle. They 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. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to get rid of Trump? Yes!

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 them more time to process other mail, such as ballots, more quickly.
  • 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 change. 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 associate the United States flag with voting for Republicans. “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” said Samuel Johnson, allegedly on April 7, 1775. He must have been thinking of the current “president.” Our president loves the flag

What we’ve learned about postcard writing