Postcards to Swing States FAQ

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

Why send postcards to voters?

Postcards are a gateway into activism for millions of volunteers. Postcards are proven to increase turnout and help win elections for Democrats! Rather than competing with other forms of activism, postcards help grassroots groups recruit new members, build community, and win elections. 

How does it work?

We’ll send you postcards, voter addresses and instructions for free. You provide postcard stamps (now $0.36) and mail the cards to voters on the instructed date. The voter address sheets have 25 addresses per page.

Who are we sending these postcards to?

We’re mailing postcards to registered voters who are extremely likely to support Democratic candidates when they vote. Our job is to help encourage them to get to the polls. 

What are our current postcard programs?

We have two postcard programs in 2021. Please stick to the message that comes on the instructions that we send you with the postcards. 

1. Senate Swing States

We’re writing postcards to first-time voters in six states with key Senate races in 2022: Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We’re sending these voters three postcards over the course of 2021 to make sure Democrats stay engaged and make voting a habit.

Rather than asking volunteers to commit to sending three cards over this year, it’s based on when you sign up:

PostcardSign UpMailing Deadline
#1April 1 – June 15July 7
#2June 16 – September 15October 7
#3September 16 – December 15January 7, 2022

The message on the first card is as follows:

Thank you for being a voter in 2020! Democrats delivered relief checks and got vaccines out faster so that we can open schools and businesses. Please vote in every election so we can build a stronger community!

2. New Jersey & Virginia

Both New Jersey and Virginia have statewide elections in 2021. Right now, we’re writing postcards to voters ahead of their June 8 primaries. We know that when we increase turnout in the Democratic primary, we also increase turnout in November. Help us keep these states blue! The mailing window for these cards is May 28 to June 1.

The message on these cards is as follows:

Thank you for being a voter! The primary election on Tues. June 8 is important for our community. Have you made a plan to vote? Visit [short state-specific website] for polling locations and hours.

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 increasing Democratic turnout in potentially close federal elections. In 2021, New Jersey & Virginia are the two states with statewide races, and we’re helping to make sure both states stay blue. Our Senate swing states list will grow beyond the first six states above if there’s enough volunteer demand. We’re specifically considering expanding to Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire and Ohio. In 2022, we’ll likely expand postcard programs to many contested House races, as well. 

What about stamps?

You are responsible for the $0.36 postcard stamps. The easiest way to get stamps is online at USPS.com if you order at least two weeks before the mailing deadline. You can also buy stamps at your local post office. Postcard stamps are “forever” stamps, so if you have leftover stamps from last year when they cost $0.35, they’re still good.

Can I help if I can’t write 200 postcards or donate that many stamps?

Absolutely. The sign-up form starts at 200 because it’s much more economical for us to ship at least that many, but we want to accommodate anyone who wants to help, regardless of capacity or finances. First, please try to recruit people you know or a local grassroots group to join together for a bulk order and pooling for a stamp budget. But if that’s not possible, just email us at [email protected].

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. We aren’t trying to trick voters. They’ll increase turnout just as much, and most people don’t look at the postmark anyway!

How do we know postcards work?

We measure the efficacy of our postcards in randomized controlled experiments. They work. We’re data driven and follow the best tactics shared within the progressive political science community through organizations, including the Analyst Institute. 

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

It always depends on the message, timing, voter selection, and other factors. Generally speaking, talking to voters in your personal network is the most effective thing you can do. Door-to-door canvassing is often the most effective thing you can do on a per hour basis. Phone banking only reaches a small subset of voters and is possibly declining in its utility, but it’s still an effective tactic.  

In terms of comparing letters and postcards, once you adjust for the postage, envelope, and time, the best evidence is that they’re roughly equal in terms of efficacy. You can send more information in a letter, which helps with getting voters set up to vote by mail. For increasing in-person turnout among registered voters, we think that postcards are a bit more effective than letters on a per dollar basis. 

Who are we?

Postcards to Swing States was founded in 2019 in a garage in the Chicago suburbs by volunteers. We’re now part of Progressive Turnout Project, a grassroots-funded organization focused on getting Democrats to vote.

Are there other volunteer opportunities?

Yes! Check out all our volunteer opportunities on Mobilize.