Postcarding

Indivisible Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap Indivisible meet every Wednesday via Zoom from 2 pm to 3:30 pm. Join us! If you want to want postcards, email Kathy. There is no requirement to attend the Zoom meeting, but it’s nice to see people’s faces and talk about local, state and national issues. If you would like to receive an email reminder about this meeting, email Kathy.

Before Covid-19, we were a group of about 20 people who met in person at Town & Country in Winslow on Bainbridge Island to write postcards, almost exclusively for the Florida Vote By Mail Campaign conducted by PostcardsToVoters.org to encourage Democratic voters in Florida to sign up for Vote by Mail.

After Covid-19 struck in March 2020, we struggled to keep writing as a group. When it became apparent in the summer that Postmaster General DeJoy was monkey-wrenching the USPS, some of us started showing up at the USPS in Winslow, where we promoted postcard writing.

In the months before the November election, our postcard writing group swelled to over 200 writers. About 30 of us want to continue writing postcards after the Nov. 3 election. We expect to be writing for Democratic candidates in run-off elections, special elections and state legislative races in states that hold statewide elections in 2021, such as Virginia.

In 2020, we focused on these flippable U.S. Senate races, writing:

  • 2,900 postcards to voters in Alaska for Dr. Al Gross, an independent running to flip a Republican-held seat in the U.S. Senate.
  • 2,300 postcards to voters in Iowa for Theresa Greenfield, a Democrat running to flip Joni Ernst in the U.S. Senate.
  • 4,500 postcards to voters in Kansas for Dr. Barbara Bollier, a Democrat running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas.
  • 500 postcards on behalf of Sara Gideon in Maine, running to flip Susan Collins’ U.S. Senate seat.
  • 1,500 postcards to voters in Kentucky for Amy McGrath, running to unseat Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.
  • 1,000 Postcards2SwingStates.org to South Carolina indirectly in support of Jaime Harrison running to unseat Lindsay Graham in the U.S. Senate.
  • 402 postcards to North Carolina via postcardstovoters.org on behalf of Cal Cunningham, running to unseat Thom Tillis in the U.S. Senate.
  • 2300 postcards to voters in Georgia via postcardstovoters.org on behalf of Jon Ossoff.
  • 320 Reclaim Our Vote postcards to North Carolina indirectly supporting Cal Cunningham.
  • 200 Reclaim Our Vote postcards to South Carolina indirectly supporting Jaime Harrison.
  • 2750 Reclaim Our Vote postcards to Texas, indirectly supporting MJ Hegar, running to unseat John Cornyn.
  • 803 Reminder/VoteTripling postcards to voters in Michigan.
  • 310 postcards for Jaime Harrison running in South Carolina to flip Lindsay Graham’s U.S. Senate seat.

Here’s what we did to flip some U.S. House seats:

  • 480 postcards for Carolyn Long, running to flip Washington’s third congressional district.
  • 30 postcards to voters in Pennsylvania for Eugene Pasquale running for the U.S. House in CD 10.

Here’s what we did to flip some Washington state seats:

  • 1,450 postcards for Gael Tarleton running for Washington State’s Secretary of State position.
  • 1,256 postcards for Carrie Hesch, running to flip a state house seat in LD 26.
  • 269 postcards for Joy Stanford, running to flip a state house seat in LD 26.
  • 100 postcards for Ingrid Anderson for a state senate seat in LD 5.

And, just because:

  • 300 postcards for two Democratic candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court.

Grand Total: 23,670

Address resources:

  • Postcards to Voters provided addresses for Jon Ossoff in Georgia, Cal Cunningham in North Carolina and Jaime Harrison in South Carolina, as well as for the Democratic candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court and Eugene Pasquale in Pennsylvania.
  • Flip The West. This organization, founded in 2018 to flip California congressional district seats, focused on flipping U.S. Senate seats. They provided addresses for Alaska, Iowa and Kansas.
  • Reclaim Our Vote. This non-partisan organization focuses on voters purged from voter rolls in these states: North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Mississippi, Florida and South Carolina. We wrote postcards mostly to voters in Texas.
  • Postcards4WA.org – Run by Washington state Indivisible members and providing addresses to writers in support of Washington state Democratic legislative candidates. In 2020 Postcards4WA.org also supported Gael Tarleton and Carolyn Long running for the U.S. House to represent CD 3.
  • Postcards To Swing States – formerly Postcards2WI.com, this is an alliance of Chicago-area Indivisible groups focused on ten critical states (Montana, Kansas, Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Iowa, expanded to include South Carolina) to increase turnout in November. They mail postcards to postcard-writing groups for free (but a donation is a good thing). Postcard writers provided the stamps and mailed the cards in October. We have completed 1,000 addresses for South Carolina.
  • 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 the U.S. Senate. We have completed lists for Sara Gideon in Maine and Amy McGrath in Kentucky.
  • Postcards4VA – founded in 2017 to flip the Virginia General Assembly. 

Other writing opportunities:

  • 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.
  • Navajo/Hopi Organizing Campaign. Sign up for a “shift” at their web site. It looks like you’re signing up for a phone banking shift, but what really happens is this: within a few days you’ll get an email with 25 addresses of Democratic Native American voters in northern Arizona and a script urging the recipients to vote. This helps Biden flip Arizona and helps elect Democrat Mark Kelly.

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 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 . Now that we can no longer meet in-person, we are self-funding.

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

  • Postcards to Voters – What the Research Says
  • PostcardsToVoters.org – Results
  • PostcardsToVoters.org is been writing almost exclusively to Florida Democrats for the year, urging them to sign up for vote by mail. Why? Because of all the states, Florida makes it really easy to sign up for vote by mail, and once signed up, the voter gets mail-in ballots for every election for four years. All the voter has to do to get started is to call their local election office. As of July 2020, writers for PostcardsToVoters.org have sent over 900,000 postcards to Florida Democrats for the Florida VBM campaign. Surely that is why, at least in part, Florida Democrats exceed Republicans in vote-by-mail sign-ups by over 300,000 voters. More recently (Sept. 2020) Tom Perez said Democrats have a 700,000 voter edge over Republicans in vote by mail.