By Grace Aspinall:
Neither snow nor rain nor sleet nor a pandemic can stop the dedicated individuals determined to get out the word that every vote matters, especially for the Democratic candidates – they’ve just turned to an innovative solution – the postcard. No longer able to go door to door for political campaigns and candidates, handwritten messages on postcards are the new initiative to reach voters on issues and people running for office.
The goal of the volunteer teams is to write postcards to voters with positive messages that will help get out the vote among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters. Some postcards mention specific candidates while others remind people that every vote counts. This has been true of this endeavor since its inception in 2018, but it certainly increased in value with the onset of Covid-19.
Prior to the pandemic, the postcard-writing occurred in meeting places such as the one started by Mary Farrell and Missy Dixon in August 2018 at the Whole Food Market in Vienna. When Dixon stepped down, Natalia Parmly and Julie Sterns rose from the rank to ensure campaigns were coordinated with ample addresses and postcards.
Members would meet three days a week to participate as a group, but their final in-person meeting was on March 13, 2020, when writers were asked to pick up packets of 60 addresses and postcards to be written at home. After the initial postcard handout, hundreds of packets were distributed to be written at home.
“We miss seeing each other at Whole Foods every week” said co-chair Julie Sterns. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of new writers who’ve joined us since we all started writing from our homes in March and are heartened by the community we’ve formed. While we don’t always agree on every campaign, candidate, or issue, we always respect each other’s opinions and learn from each other every week.”
Instead of their gatherings at Whole Foods, a weekly Friday morning Zoom meeting helps keep the group connected and emails announce other important information to the more than 150 people on their email list.
Each packet comes with an instruction sheet that specifies the message for each card and a deadline for returning the completed cards, which are then reviewed for quality, then stamps provided by donation are affixed and the completed cards hit the mail. At times a specific mailing date is assigned by the “sponsor.”
Addresses are provided by several organizations including Postcards2SwingStates.com, which began as Postcards2WI; the group has written 2,000 post cards for this organization. They are also connected in partnerships with local Democratic committees including the Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee, the Dranesville District Democratic Committee and others to continue their mission.
A handwritten postcard might just be the ticket to target undecided voters. And these volunteers are giving it their best. Contact Julie Sterns at email@example.com, Mary Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Natalia Parmly at email@example.com to jump in with this crew of dedicated campaigners.
Grace Aspinall is a technical writer/editor and campaigns for local, state and national Democrats in every election. She lives in Clifton and contributes a monthly blog to Her Nexx Chapter.
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