Letters to Voters
At Swing Left, we’re not afraid to try new approaches. We're piloting an innovative combination of tactics that uses volunteer power to get voters to the polls - by mail- en masse. It involves us writing personal letters—lots of letters—to get people to the polls even if you are thousands of miles away. This is the power of a grassroots activist movement, and what we can do when we work together.
How Does Get Out The Vote By Mail Work?
Swing Left is partnering with Vote Forward to launch a series of Get Out The Vote By Mail House Parties. We’re asking volunteers to get their friends and neighbors together and write letters to likely voters in key states to encourage them to vote. At these parties, volunteers will personalize a pre-printed letter, hand-addressed to targeted potential voters. Volunteers or hosts supply their own postage and envelopes. It's fun, effective, and key to expanding the number of voters in key elections happening right now!
Ready to get voters to the polls? Here's what you need to host your own letter writing event!
- Create an event listing on for your house party here to allow folks to RSVP. Please create a house party on Action Network each time you plan to request names so we can plan ahead to have enough names for all the parties.
- Begin recruiting your friends and network to come help.
- Use your host guide to plan what you'll do at your event.
- Sign up for a Vote Forward account as soon as possible. It may take several days for approval. If you plan to download more than 240 letters, please email [email protected] for super volunteer statues.
- Get letters to personalize by logging into Vote Forward and downloading letters. Please plan to download letters for your event from the Vote Forward site at least 2 days in advance - it sometimes takes a while to download and print, and we want to be available if you need a hand.
- Gather the items on your Supply List and set up your space to allow a group to write comfortably.
- Follow the instructions in the How-To Guide to lead your event.
- Thank everyone and gather up the letters to mail (only you should mail them; and folks should leave their unfinished letters with you).
- Don't let anyone out the door without committing to hosting their own event or an RSVP to your next event!
- Mail your letters on the date Vote Forward assigns for this campaign; and then update your Vote Forward account by moving the letters from the left column to the farthest right column on Vote Forward (didn't get through all your letters? Drop us a line and we'll put them back in the queue).
- Pat yourself on the back—you're awesome!
- Rinse...and repeat!
- The return address can be found at the bottom of every letter.
- Every letter has its recipient's name and address at the bottom, so that you know to whom you're writing and can address its accompanying envelope.
- You can download letters in one PDF in Vote Forward by adopting all your voters and then using the blue "Download and print these letters" button at the top of the "Letters to Print and Prepare" column. However, we recommend you don't download more than 400 letters at a time or you may get an error! If you need more than 400 letters for your party, adopt and download less than 400 letters and then move those voters to the "Letters You've Prepared" Column (don't worry that you haven't prepared them yet) and then adopt more voters.
- Please don't send any letters home with your guests.
- Plan to mail your completed letters on the date provided by Vote Forward for the campaign.
- Didn't get through all your letters? Drop us a line and we'll put your addresses back for others to adopt.
- Here are Frequently Asked Questions from our friends at Vote Forward, and here's their how-to video.
Supply List: what will you need for your party?
For each attendee at your party:
- A copy of the instructions for each attendee (that's page 3 of this document)
- A pen: we recommend blue to make the message stand out
- Drinks & snacks: you can also ask guests to sign up to bring these
- Pro-Tip: provide a sponge cut into pieces along with water cups for envelope-sealing
Then, for the letters themselves, plan on 20 letters, per guest / hour. So, for each guest per hour you’ll need:
- 20 Vote Forward letters: download & print from your Vote Forward account
- 20 envelopes: standard #10 business envelopes
- 20 First Class stamps: you can ask people to sign up to bring stamps, or you can ask for cash donations to cover the cost of postage