A good way to encourage voters

I tried to sign up for phone banking and I just couldn’t see doing it, I don’t answer unknown calls and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to right now. I wound up with the Vote Forward letter-writing system, votefwd.org, which I like for a variety of reasons.

It’s really well organized. You get batches of five or 20 letters that are for voters who are likely to be under-represented, and/or have not voted recently. The templates just ask the person to vote, not specifying for whom, and provide links to localized voter info.

They also leave space for you to hand-address the recipient, add a handwritten message, and sign your name.

The last couple of batches I prepared are heading to South Carolina. The letters won’t go out until October 17, though, for maximum impact. This was a compromise, the original plan — backed by research — was for letters to arrive closer to the election. But now that the threat model includes USPS sabotage, the date had to be moved earlier.

Vote Forward claims to have evidence showing that this method makes a difference on the margin. I haven’t seen that evidence, and would like to, but it seems plausible. The recipients are getting a hand-addressed stamped envelope with a return address that has my name atop an address in their region, which is slightly deceptive but feels like a good way to get them to open the letter.

You buy your stamps, so there’s a bit of financial contribution that way.

As a bonus I am re-learning cursive handwriting, which I forgot was primarily about speed. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Cloud, who tormented me about my handwriting, would approve.

I’m finding the process to be therapeutic, and it was a much better way to spend an hour and a half the other night than watching the so-called debate.

There’s plenty of time until October 17, so if you’ve been looking for a way to do something and haven’t found it yet, I can recommend this one. I’ve never done anything like this before, I hope the fact I am doing it now is representative of what a lot of others are doing in a lot of ways.

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2 thoughts on “A good way to encourage voters

  1. Amen and amen. Some amount of self-actualization, or effect is a good thing right now. The serial helplessness one feels internally in the face of each new disaster is overwhelming. THIS is something. And something is better than nothing.

  2. I signed up and got verified yesterday based on reading your post. I live in South Carolina and was hoping to adopt some voters here. I’m a little more extreme – I really hate the fake return address and instead wanted to just use my real address. I don’t even see South Carolina as an option so I guess I will do as they ask. I believe I will go a little farther and ask my daughter to make some small “Please vote” bits of artwork to put in each envelope.

    I am finding myself a little more drawn to the analog lately anyway. I’m preparing an old-school paper photocopied zine for the first time in 30+ years because I just feel like making them, folding them and dropping them in the mail. This campaign is something I’ve already got a taste for, just at the correct time.

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