election checklist, week three.

August 10, 2020

We have 85 days until the 2020 election in the US. That’s 12 weeks during which I’ll be trying my damnedest to get leaders elected who will move the dial toward equity, inclusion, and progressive policies that will do the least harm and the greatest good.

I love lists. I love checking things off of lists. I’d hazard the guess that lots of folks reading this do, too. So, every Monday until November, I’ll be listing one specific action to take in preparation of the election. Electoral politics won’t solve everything, but voting is a tool in the box and it needs to be sharpened, oiled, and ready for action.

Week Three: Send postcards.

What’s going on with the mail? The news around the deliberate gumming up of the works at the US Postal Service would be terrifying in any circumstance but it feels downright catastrophic, not to mention criminal, in an election year where an unprecedented number of voters will be casting their ballots by mail.

A few weeks ago, a reader suggested I look into the postcard writing campaign of MomsRising. They’re a grassroots organization working to achieve economic security for mothers, women, and families in the United States. This fall, they’re launching a Get Out The Vote initiative to reach out to mothers who have voted in years past, but who might need some extra encouragement to vote in the upcoming November Election. The process is simple enough: Fill out their online form and request a pack of 10 or 100 postcards. The postcards will arrive pre-stamped and pre-addressed in September, and all you need to do is write a personal note encouraging some civic participation from the recipient. I signed up for a pack of 100 and I’m already imagining sitting on the stoop of our new place, penning my pleas.

Postcards to Voters is another group working on a similar initiative, helping volunteers send postcards to targeted registered Democrats encouraging them to get to the polls (or the mailbox) and vote. This election year, groups like GOTV Moms are supporting the efforts and designing postcards to help spread the word.

(Here’s a fascinating guide to GOTV postcard writing if you’d like pointers!)

After you’ve gotten yourself a whole bunch of new penpals, text USPS to 50409 and have a letter automatically generated to your members of Congress asking them to support the USPS. It took me about 1.5 minutes!

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  • Reply Heather Hall August 10, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I just signed up for postcards! I am so excited! Thank you so much for sharing this. I often feel that I am powerless to affect change because I am just one small voice, but this is actually a manageable, doable thing for me, that might actually help.

  • Reply Evelyn Squadrille August 10, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Just signed up for the postcards and donated!

  • Reply Kate Unger August 10, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I love this series you’re doing. I have been writing postcards to nonregistered voters through my local Democratic Party. I worked on a bunch yesterday and requested another batch of 50. It feels good to be doing something to help.

  • Reply kali v Tate August 10, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    I just signed up for postacards! I am so excited for this. I havent been able to contibute this year through volunteering or canvassing, Im so happy and excited I can contribute!

  • Reply Stepher August 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing these ideas! Always trying to be more pro-active to help improve our world.

  • Reply Maryann August 10, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Done and done. Thanks, Erin, love this checklist. I will be joining you on the stoop (well, my stoop!) to write postcards. That USPS text took me less than a minute – so fast and easy. I’ll spread the word.

  • Reply Emily August 10, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    I know it’s not your area of expertise, but would you ever consider having a guest post to address the expats who would love some pre-election ideas? I know ahistoryofarchitecture on Instagram is a fellow American-living-in-Toronto who seems particularly knowledgeable about expat involvement. I’m always bummed I can’t do a lot of the things I’d do if I were in the US!

  • Reply Sondra August 10, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Signed up for post cards! Thanks for giving us these doable suggestions. Life with a newborn and four kids under ten leaves little time for big commitments. I like that you are giving us some easy big impact projects. Keep them coming!

  • Reply Mimi August 10, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Really like this idea! I signed up for 10 postcards, and forwarded along your post to several friends (along with sharing on my Instagram)! This series is super motivating and helpful – I hope you can keep it going, even after the presidential election as a gentle reminder for civic participation in all elections on the regular.

  • Reply Erin August 10, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    I just signed up!

  • Reply Britt August 11, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Just signed up for postcards and donated. Thank you!

  • Reply Lindsay August 11, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    We were tiny apartment dwellers when our son was born, so we went with a mini crib. Our son is now 13 months old and we live in a house, but he is still quite comfortable in his mini crib. We think it will last him until he is ready for a bed!

    • Reply Lindsay August 11, 2020 at 10:40 pm

      Wrong post! For head slap! But yes, we ALL need to vote!

  • Reply HDBD August 13, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Wonderful post. Before leaving a reply i already signed up for the postcards.
    You are doing a great job.
    Please keep up the great work.
    Let’s hope for the best.

  • Reply Erin August 15, 2020 at 8:23 am

    This is happening! Love the checklists ❤️Late reading this, but signing up today! I read an OpEd this AM https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/14/opinions/55-cent-mail-in-ballot-campaign-andelman/index.html
    about putting a 55 cent stamp on your ballot envelope to ensure it is mailed first class instead of bulk to expedite. It called on donations for postage stamps. Thought I’d pass it on since you can reach so many:) have a beautiful day!

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