Back in early February I blogged about writing postcards to Democratic voters. At that point, I was writing for my seventh campaign, for Conor Lamb, running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. This was, by my count, the 54th undertaken by the volunteer-fueled organization Postcards To Voters. Conor made a big splash when he won the March 13 special election in a district that was handily carried by Trump in 2016.
I’m still at it, and so is Postcards To Voters (PTV). I just finished writing for my 21st campaign. PTV is on its 88th. There are now more than 20,000 volunteers writing postcards from every state in the union, and with election season moving into high gear, more are needed! The more volunteers there are, the more campaigns PTV can take on. Here are several ways to sign up:
- Use the form on the PTV website.
- Send an email to join@TonyTheDemocrat.org
- Text HELLO to Abby the Address Bot at 1-484-ASK-ABBY (1-484-275-2229)
As a new writer, you’ll be sent complete instructions and asked to write a sample postcard. Once that’s approved, you can get addresses for any active campaign by texting Abby the Address Bot or (if you’re on Facebook) friending Abby and private-messaging her for addresses.
Volunteers donate postage and postcards (and/or the material to make postcards) as well as our time, but Postcards To Voters welcomes donations of money to keep running and to help grow the volunteer ranks so we can write for more campaigns between now and November. You can donate via PayPal or the old-fashioned way, by check; I just used my credit card to make a modest monthly donation. Here’s how to do it.
So why am I (still) so excited about Postcards To Voters?
- For each campaign I participate in, I learn something about the district. So far I’ve written for candidates in Alabama, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, Tennessee, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts (Emily Antul for Chelmsford board of selectmen — she won!), Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska, Georgia, Mississippi, and California.
- I’m awed by the caliber of the candidates. The statistics alone are impressive, of how many Democrats, especially women, have taken up the challenge of running for public office. Learning about some of the individual candidates adds depth to the statistics. They’re a pretty amazing bunch.
- I never realized how many special and local elections take place around the country between one November and the next.
- I’m now paying more attention to state legislative and other “down-ballot” races than I was before.
- The postcards are positive. After consulting with each campaign, PTV sends out instructions to volunteer writers. Typically these include three “must-haves” for each card, which include the candidate’s name and office, the fact that s/he’s a Democrat, the date of the election, and a key talking point. They also include a longer list of optional points, from which each writer can devise a personalized message. The message and address are always handwritten, and the focus is always on each candidate’s experience and what they want to do in office.
- Postcard parties are fun, and a great way to get new people engaged in writing postcards.
- Every Tuesday is election day somewhere. PTV writers and friends get together in the Postcards To Writers Facebook group to hear the results for the candidates we wrote for and for Democrats running in other races across the country. We also share images of the postcards we wrote. This is a positive, upbeat, and creative group — a great antidote to the pervasive gloom-and-doomery of the national news.
Many PTV candidates win, sometimes in races that receive national attention, like Doug Jones in Alabama, Patty Schachtner for Wisconsin state senate, Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Rebecca Dallet for the Wisconsin supreme court, and Helen Tai for Pennsylvania state representative. Those who lose often have done better than any Democrat in their districts in years, even decades; in some cases, no Democrat has even run recently.
Here are some of my recent cards. At first I personalized them for each race, but some people thought they looked too professional, as if they might have come from the campaign itself (which is never the case), so I started making them generic. So far I’ve managed to devise a different one for each campaign, using Avery.com templates and my own messages, but with more and more campaigns to write for, I’m thinking of having a bunch of my favorites printed up instead of printing them on my sometimes finicky inkjet.