Every election season I get truly overwhelmed at the seemingly constant barrage of political arguments from both social media and mainstream media. Being the fight or flight person that leans very much to flight, around September, I usually begin to unfollow people or just take a social media break all together.
This past year has been a growth year for me and my family and this election season we’re continuing to push ourselves on this journey. Instead of unfollowing friends and deleting Twitter, I began looking for ways to make an impact. Something, anything to feel hopeful in a world of uncertainty. That’s when I discovered Vote Forward.
What is Vote Forward?
Vote Forward is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization aimed at empowering grassroots volunteers to help register voters from underrepresented demographics and encourage them to vote. Registration in most states has closed so now we focus on getting every American to the polls. Vote Forward believes that our democracy depends on everyone participating, and our family agrees. In recent studies, letter writing has shown to improve voter turnout among letter recipients by 3.9%! At the moment, 19 Million letters are scheduled to go out through the Vote Forward initiative. This is BIG!
How Does It Work?
- Sign up to send letters at Vote Forward.
- While you’re waiting on your approval, purchase #10 envelopes and stamps for however many letters you and your family plans to send. Walgreens carries #10 envelopes, 50 for ~$3.
- After a day or two, you’ll receive an account approval. This will allow you to login and select a campaign. Right now, we’re working on “The Big Send” which is a letter writing campaign encouraging Americans to vote in the November 3rd election.
- Select the state you want to target your letters to. Download 5 or 20 letter templates at a time with voter information.
- Print your letters (we don’t have a printer so we uploaded them to our local FedEx Office and printed 120 letters for $16).
- Write the voter name after “Dear”, complete the prompt “I vote in every election because” and sign the letter. Instructions here make it clear not to include policy, partisanship or personal agenda. Mark the items complete in your online dashboard.
- Stamp and address the envelope to the voter and use the return address provided at the bottom of your letter template. Match the address on the letter to the envelope before stuffing.
- Mail the letters on the date instructed (late October) for the greatest impact.
What Can Our Family Do?
Are you homeschooling? Looking for a citizenship activity to do with the kids after work? Need to do something to help you feel like you’re making a difference? This is the perfect activity to get involved in. Each letter takes about 2 minutes (add some time with kids). I let the little kids decorate Post It notes and I add those to the letters before stuffing. The big kids help come up with “why” phrases for us to write while they address envelopes. We ordered special 19th Amendment and Harlem Renaissance stamps so when those come in, we’ll all stuff and stamp together. On mailing day, we’ll go to the post office to put our letters in and then have a little ice cream or donut send-off celebration for our contribution to the cause.
You will be amazed at how the kids will enjoy this project and how much better you’ll feel having done something worthwhile. In this time of uncertainty and regular hits to our sense of well-being, a fool-proof, high impact project is just what we needed. I can’t wait to hear how your family gets involved!