Henry David Thoreau approves of today's batch of #postcardstovoters #p2vchallenge

Last month I started volunteering with Postcards to Voters, a nationwide grassroots network that sends handwritten get-out-the-vote postcards to registered Democrats across the country. Since I joined, I’ve written postcards to voters in Utah, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama urging them to vote for Democratic candidates in local, state, and national elections: a friendly, handwritten reminder from one citizen to another.

One last batch of #postcardstovoters for #MaryAliceTN

I’m not new to postcarding: ever since the 2016 Presidential election, I’ve kept plenty of postcards and stamps on hand, as writing a postcard to an elected official is easier than writing a letter. I sometimes refer to postcarding as “old school Twitter” since you have to condense your thoughts into something that can be succinctly stated on one side of a card: no room for rants. Even if a particular member of Congress isn’t moved by my or others’ input, there’s a certain satisfaction in imagining bags of mail arriving at a Congressional office. If nothing else, other postcard-writers and I have left an impression on the hapless mailroom clerks who have to sort through it all.

Thirty #PostcardsToVoters written this weekend, all under the watchful eye of Desk Hillary, who provides moral support.

When it comes to campaigning, postcarding is my preferred mode of communication. Some people volunteer to make phone calls while others knock on doors, but writing postcards from the privacy of my house is more in line with my personality and proclivities: activism for introverts. In many ways, postcarding is a perfect fit for me. I like to write things by hand and have neat, legible handwriting. I love stationery and stamps, and writing postcards to voters gives me an excuse to buy lots of pretty postcards and colorful pens.

I find it relaxing to write postcards: Postcards to Voters provides both talking points and addresses, and once you’ve written one postcard, you basically copy that message and format to the others. It’s a small, tediously mindless thing, but it feels both helpful and hopeful, like I’m part of a positive movement focused on connecting (albeit anonymously) with people whose values I share.

Another #postcardstovoters pinwheel, this time for #MaryAliceTN

I like the personal, handwritten aspect of postcard-writing. With each card, I try to imagine someone going to their mailbox and finding something handwritten and pretty among the usual bills and junkmail. A postcard is a small, tangible thing: a nicety from a simpler time. Nobody is going to change the world by mailing a single postcard, but a postcard is a simple way of staying connected and sending hope and well-wishes from one locale to another.

More #postcardstovoters

I also like the grassroots nature of the effort. Postcards to Voters consists of individuals who buy (or make) our own postcards, pay for our own postage, and spend our own time on a collective task sandwiched between our other responsibilities. It makes me feel part of a larger movement to see social media posts tagged #postcardstovoters. Thousands of men and (mostly) women across the country are writing postcards along with me, and we belong to a community of writers who might never meet in person but who share a simple faith in civic outreach in the service of the public good.

Another day, another batch of #postcardstovoters

Often when I’m writing postcards, I think of the secret group of volunteers (including a woman from Framingham) who addressed envelopes for Jackie Kennedy after her husband was assassinated. Jackie wanted to thank every citizen who had sent a card or letter of condolence, so she had thousands of thank-you cards printed. Not having the time or energy to hand-write addresses on every envelope but believing every card deserved a personal response, Jackie enlisted a small army of women with good penmanship to address envelopes. It was a tedious and time-consuming work, but the women who participated were heartened by it. At a time when the nation was grief-stricken and feeling helpless, there was something–a small but specific task–these women could do to be helpful.

Today's postcards. #postcardstovoters #gotv #DougJonesAL

As I write postcard after postcard to voters I’ll never meet for candidates I previously never knew, I feel a similar kind of satisfaction. Regardless of whether any candidate I’m writing for is elected because of a postcard I send, it feels good to send them out: a small but hopeful act.

They say that many hands make light work, and Postcards to Voters is always looking for new volunteers. At the moment, we’re focused on sending postcards in support of Doug Jones’ Senate race in Alabama: the list of Democratic voters is long, and the election is near. If you’d like to send a handful of postcards (or more), please CLICK HERE to join.