A Gateway to Activism, Postcards Win Close Elections

How it all started

The 2017 Women’s March and the thousands of grassroots resistance groups that formed in the following days created a huge amount of political power. From the start, many of these groups began to write postcards. If you recall writing postcards or letters to the White House and Mitch McConnell in living rooms and libraries, you’re not alone. Few of us thought those efforts would change the political landscape, but we learned an important lesson: taking action and building community made us feel powerful.

Postcard writers in 2018

How do we know that postcards work?

It’s common to break voter engagement into two categories: turnout and persuasion. Turnout refers to rallying more Democrats to vote, and persuasion refers to convincing more voters to cast ballots for Democrats, rather than Republicans or third-party candidates.

What does it mean to be data driven?

A data-driven approach starts with proven methods to increase turnout, innovates to push the boundaries of our knowledge, and shares both successes and failures with the broader progressive community.

Postcard writers in early 2020
  1. What was the effect on turnout of sending voters 1 vs. 2 vs. 3 postcards?
  2. What was the effect of handwritten postcards with a social pressure message compared to standard printed voter report cards?

How do postcards complement other volunteer voter engagement?

We’re often asked which method of contacting voters is the most effective. For volunteers, here’s what’s far more important: All voter mobilization tactics are worthwhile. The effect of various means of voter contact are all relatively similar, and it very much depends on the quality of the program, its goals, and what you choose to measure.

Postcard writers in Evanston, IL

What’s next in 2022 for Postcards to Swing States?

Our midterm postcard programs have been underway since April 2021. We’re sending three waves of postcards to first-time Democratic voters in states with key 2022 Senate races, totaling 4.9 million postcards in all. Tens of thousands of volunteers will mail the third and final round of these postcards to voters in early January 2022.

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