Postcards to Swing States F.A.Q.

If the following Frequently Asked Questions don’t answer your question, just email us at!

Why send postcards to voters?

Writing postcards to voters is a gateway to activism for hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country. Postcards help grassroots groups recruit new members, build community, and win elections. Writing postcards is an especially great option for remote activism. They’re also fantastic for folks who have brief windows of time to help rather than blocks of a couple hours on weekends or evenings, when door-to-door canvassing shifts and phone banks are normally scheduled. 

How do we know postcards work?

Our award-winning research proves that postcards increase Democratic turnout by 1.3%. In 2020, our postcard program added thousands of votes in states critical to President Biden’s victory. In the 2022 midterms, our postcards added 22,500 votes in key races across the nation. This impact is roughly equivalent to 45,000 hours of door-to-door canvassing!

Our five published randomized controlled experiments with handwritten postcards have won three Expy Awards from the Analyst Institute. We have tested 14 total handwritten messages, all but one of which found statistically significant increases in voter turnout. The enormous size of our programs allows us to test messages, timing and volume with a high degree of statistical confidence. 

We explain our strategy in more detail in this blog post.

What messages do we write?

The instructions we send with the postcards include three message options:

Message A: This “social pressure” message is the most effective based on many studies:
Thank you for being a voter! Who you vote for is private, but whether you vote is public record. Please vote in the Tues. Nov 5 election!

Message B: This plan-making message is also very effective:
Thank you for being a voter! When will you vote in the Tues. Nov 5 election? Please plan ahead!

Message C: This “friends-and-family” message makes both the recipient and their networks more likely to vote:
Thank you for being a voter! Your friends and family may need your reminder to vote. Please ask them to vote in the Tues. Nov 5 election!

As noted above, we have tested 14 total handwritten messages, all but one of which found statistically significant increases in voter turnout. Our Message A option has consistently boosted turnout more than any other message.

In addition to our research, numerous organizations and political science academics have conducted large randomized controlled experiments on turnout messages over the past 15 years.

Of all the message frameworks proven to successfully boost turnout, social pressure is the most effective. Regardless of whether voter contact is through mail, text message, a phone call or in-person conversation, messages that include social pressure are more effective than those that do not. This holds true regardless of geography, age, race, ethnicity and all other demographic variables.

Social pressure refers to messages that reinforce that voting is a social norm — a “good” behavior that society rewards. There are many forms of social pressure, but they all leverage our human nature to do what’s expected of us.

We recommend a great book called “Get Out the Vote,” which is widely regarded as the most authoritative book on voter mobilization. It includes a discussion on social pressure and cites numerous public and private studies—including our large 2022 experiment—on social pressure and other voter mobilization frameworks (“Get Out the Vote” by Donald Green & Alan Gerber, 5th ed., 2023).

Who do we send postcards to?

At Progressive Turnout Project, our mission is to rally Democrats to vote. We send postcards to voters who are extremely likely to support Democratic candidates but might not vote without a nudge. 

Please note: A small number of voters’ addresses are outside of the target state. Please write postcards to these voters as well. These voters are registered in the target state, but their best mailing addresses are out of state. One example is a student going to college out of their home state but still registered to vote at home.

How do we pick where to send postcards?

Our volunteers have sent postcards to voters in 31 states since 2020 — everywhere from California to South Carolina. Electing Democrats and advocating for progressive policies are important at the federal, state, and local levels.

Our postcards rally Democrats to vote in state and federal elections where our programs are most likely to make the critical difference and help elect Democrats. That includes presidential swing states, competitive Senate races, key House races, and districts with competitive state legislative races.

What about stamps?

You are responsible for providing the stamps. Remember to buy Postcard Stamps, which are less expensive than Forever Stamps for letters. Postcard Stamps can be used to mail a postcard forever, regardless of the current price. 

The easiest way to get stamps is online at, but keep in mind it can take up to two weeks for them to deliver. You can also buy Postcard Stamps at your local post office. You can also use stamps with specific monetary values, as long as they add up to the right amount. Stamps go in the top right-hand corner on the blank side of the postcard.

How do I mail the postcards?

Mail them loose and unsorted rather than in rubber bands. Either drop them in a collection bin or at the post office. 

Should we mail them from the destination states?

Please mail them from wherever you are. Postcards increase turnout regardless of where they’re mailed from, and most people don’t look at the postmark anyway! 

How do postcards compare to canvassing, phone banking and letters?

All voter mobilization tactics are worthwhile. The effect of various types 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. We provide a more detailed answer to this question in this blog post.

Who are we?

Postcards to Swing States is a Progressive Turnout Project initiative. Our postcard program started in a volunteer’s garage in December 2019. In just three years, our volunteers in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. territories have sent more than 43 million handwritten messages to voters, more than any other organization.

Progressive Turnout Project is the largest voter contact organization in the country, specifically dedicated to mobilizing the Democratic Party and defending democracy. Our mission: rally Democrats to vote.

Are there other volunteer opportunities?

Yes! Check out all our volunteer opportunities on Mobilize.