National grassroots effort utilizes snail mail to get Missourians to the polls

   

A national grassroots group that sends handwritten reminders to voter via snail mail is being utilized in a highly competitive House race in Missouri. Postcards to Voters successfully aided now-Rep. Mike Revis in flipping a red seat blue in the 2017 special election, and now they are aiming to help him keep his position.

The group that sends postcards to targeted Democratic voters from coast to coast is at work in the Show-Me State where Republican candidate Mary Elizabeth Coleman is looking to “take back the 97th.”

One of the volunteers that has been with Postcards to Voters since the beginning wrote postcards for Revis during the special election and she was back at it this fall for his re-election bid.

“I wanted to do something positive,” said Carrie Loats, from central Ohio. “I wanted to do something to counteract all [the negativity].”

Hailing from a very red area in a red state, Loats said that writing postcards is a way to show solidarity with other Democrats and let them know they aren’t alone. In total, she has written more than 4,000 postcards for roughly 115 different campaigns across the United States. 

Revis utilized Postcards to Voters during his bid to represent his district during the special election in February 2017, which he won by 107 votes. That win in HD 97 is listed on the organization’s website as a success — the only Postcards to Voters success in a Missouri legislative district.

“Reflecting and think back on these last few months and back to February when [Postcards to Voters] helped me flip a seat here in Missouri…the overwhelming support, the volunteers from all over the country that got involved and helped us with the campaign to help us flip a seat,” Revis said in a message to the organization’s founder that is posted on YouTube.

And the group is back at it again for the general election, hoping to help Revis retain his seat in the neck-and-neck battle with Coleman, an attorney and city councilwoman.

Postcards to Voters is an effort that was started by Georgia resident Tony McMullin, who is also known as “Tony the Democrat,” in March 2017. The group provides volunteers with addresses of registered voters along with highlights of the Democratic candidate(s) seeking election in the individual’s district. Volunteers — of which there are more than 20,000 who have sent out close to 3 million postcards since the group’s founding — use talking points provided by the campaigns to write a message and reminder to vote in the election.

“A lot of times people are hesitant to get involved in campaigns, cause they are nervous to knock doors, they are nervous to make phone calls but postcard writing is something that anyone who is concerned about the state of our country or their local race can get involved with and help make a difference,” said Revis in his message to McMullin.

Volunteers themselves provide the physical materials needed to create and mail the postcards. Postcards can be bought through the organization for $13.50 to $15.00 for a set of 100. Postage is 35 cents per stamp. All the organization does is provide the addresses and talking points, some of which they get from the campaigns.

Loats noted that when time allows, she will do her own research on the races and make the postcards as personalized as she can.

“It is hard for me to volunteer in person,” said Loats, who has a son with a disability. “Postcards to Voters is something I can do while he is in therapy and while he is in bed. It is really flexible and portable — canvassing and phone banking isn’t something I can do at 10 o’clock at night.”

Those wishing to get involved can sign up to volunteer online and, after a sample of their work is approved, Postcards to Voters will provide the addresses, which could be for voters in any competitive race in any state in America. Thus, those writing reminders to Missouri voters can be from anywhere is the United State — such as Loats, who is from Ohio.

“It has just been such a positive experience,” said Loats. “I would really recommend it for someone who wants to be engage in something positive.”


Postcards to Voters is not a registered campaign committee with either the Federal Ethics Commission or the Missouri Ethics Commission. The Public Integrity Alliance filed an FEC complaint against the group on April 16, 2018, for failure to register and report as a political committee.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.