Yes, NYT, Postcards Do Work

August 3, 2022 by Christine Brown

Yesterday, the New York Times published an op-ed about Democrat’s failures. I agree that, yes, those fundraising emails are awful (that’s one reason we started TP2B). I also agree that door knocking is an important tool, however, they left out that the reason we didn’t door knock for 2020 was a deadly pandemic. And yes, we at Indivisible and Turn Purple to Blue totally agree about nurturing and empowering grassroots groups.

But then they attacked postcarding. Robert Hubbell has thoroughly addressed the op-ed in his August 2nd and August 3rd newsletters. I encourage you to read them in their entirety. But here are some important points:

The Study Cited was Flawed: From Robert Hubbell “…another person familiar with the study described it

          as tiny and poorly done. It was extremely small (a few thousand postcards). It wasn’t a randomized or controlled experiment. The postcards supported particular down-ballot candidates, but the researchers measured increase in turnout overall (which was not the purpose of the postcard campaign).

          Another reader posted a comment saying that she provided the data for the study cited in yesterday’s NYTimes article. She remarks that “although well-intentioned, the postcard study was flawed from the beginning and its conclusions, therefore, were suspect, due to a lack of communication between me and the researchers when the article was written.

 There are Numerous Postive Studies:    From Robert Hubbell “I received many emails pointing to much larger studies showing a positive effect of up to 3% in voter turnout in response to postcards. For a general discussion of that research and links to studies, see a blog on MediumA Gateway to Activism, Postcards Win Close Elections.

          Another reader from Reclaim Our Vote reported on several campaigns run by that group. She notes that

It’s worth underscoring that a relatively small percentage increase in voter turnout among the communities targeted for postcarding can have significant impact:

* In 2019 in Onslow, NC, 26% of purged voters to whom ROV sent postcards subsequently registered to vote.

* In 2020 in the Georgia primary, 3.3% of the 143,000 purged Black Georgia voters postcarded by ROV registered to vote.

* In 2021, in Petersburg, VA, there were 6100 voters with no phone number so ROV postcarded them, and 43% of them voted, compared with 40% voter turnout by all Petersburg Black voters.

          You might also enjoy this article from DemCast Usa summarizing earlier studies about the effectiveness of Postcards.

So, Powerful Postcarders. Thank you for your support and engagement. Postcards are an important tool. So is canvassing, phonebanks, and textbanks. I always say that there is so much to do: Choose what you like to do, and the topic that you are passionate about. As of this writing, Turn Purple 2 Blue has distributed almost 33,000 postcards to our writers since January 2022. You rock!