Postcards to Swing States F.A.Q.

If the following Frequently Asked Questions don’t answer your question, just email us at postcards@turnoutpac.org!

What are Neighborhood Letters?

In the 2021 Virginia primary election, we successfully piloted a new program called Neighborhood Letters, which proved highly effective.

We’re currently signing up volunteers for our 2022 Neighborhood Letters program! It’s open to folks who live in these seven states with key Senate races: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In the Neighborhood Letters program, volunteers personalize and print copies of a letter from them to neighbors to encourage them to vote. We email each volunteer a letter template, instructions, and a list of about 100 Democratic neighbors in their own neighborhood. The volunteer prints the letters at home after adding a personal touch. Then, in the final weeks before the midterms this fall, volunteers will deliver the letters to the doors of the Democratic neighbors on the provided list. Volunteers can also opt to mail the letters, but they’ll need to provide the envelopes and stamps.

House postcard program overview

You’ll need to provide your own postcards and stamps for this program. We recommend progressivepostcards, which sells postcards for less than most online sellers. This is a third-party VistaPrint shop with our designs, but we’re not the seller and don’t make any money on the sales.

We’ll email you a list of voters and instructions, which will include an October mailing date and three message options to choose from:

  1. “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 8 election!”
  2. “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 8 election!”
  3. “Thank you for being a voter! When will you vote in the Tues. Nov. 8 election? Please plan ahead!”

The House postcard program includes 41 competitive districts in 19 states. It does not include House districts in AZ, GA, NC, NH, NV, PA or WI, as likely Democratic voters in these states will already receive two similar postcards through our Senate program.
If you’d like to request voter lists from a single Congressional District in our program, please email us at postcards@turnoutpac.org.

What about Senate states?

We sold out our Senate postcards program in July. Our volunteers ordered 7 million postcards for 7 key Senate states, which they’ll mail in October! Thanks to the tens of thousands of volunteers who are helping with that incredible effort.

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?

We’ve proven that postcards increase Democratic turnout in numerous studies. In 2020, our postcard program added thousands of votes in states critical to President Biden’s victory.

We’re data-driven and follow the best tactics shared within the progressive political science community through organizations such as the Analyst Institute. We explain our strategy in more detail in this blog post.

Who are we sending these postcards to?

We use the latest predictive analytics to identify inconsistent Democratic voters. We send postcards to registered voters and rally them to turn out in races where our efforts are most likely to make the critical difference and elect Democrats.

How do we pick the states for our postcard campaigns?

Electing Democrats and advocating for progressive policies are important at the federal, state, and local levels. Our programs usually focus on rallying Democrats to vote in federal elections where our programs are most likely to make the critical difference and help elect Democrats. In 2022, our focus will be on states with key Senate elections, and we will consider competitive House races across the country, as well.

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. Right now Postcard Stamps cost $0.44. The easiest way to get stamps is online at USPS.com/store, 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 at least $0.44. 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. Multiple studies confirm that 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.

How do we decide the best mailing date?

We very carefully plan when to have volunteers mail the postcards, based on a program’s goals, data on when they’re most effective, and actual USPS delivery times.

For most of our programs, we send each voter two postcards. One is timed to arrive at the best opportunity to promote early and mail-in voting, while the second is aimed at increasing Election Day turnout for those who didn’t opt to vote early or by mail. It’s important to follow our mailing date guidance! When postcards arrive too soon, they’re far less effective.

We closely monitor USPS delivery times to make sure our postcards will arrive at voters’ homes when they are most effective. Over 80% of first-class mail delivers in 1-3 business days, and over 95% arrives within 5-6 days. Our last mailing date of October 28th is 9 business days before Election Day in 2022. While a tiny percentage of postcards will take longer, sending them earlier to guarantee no postcard arrives after the election would reduce the effectiveness of our program and result in fewer Democratic votes.

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 two years, our volunteers in all 50 states have sent 29 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.