On August 10 members of the Charlotte County Democratic Women’s Club (DWC) and members of People Like Us (PLU) met at the Isles Yacht Club to design voter postcards in support of Amendment 4 that would restore the right to vote for most people with felony convictions upon completion of their sentences. Under the present subjective system, 10% of Floridians over 18 cannot vote. Twenty-one percent of African Americans are disenfranchised. A Herald-Tribune opinion column says that the current law bars thousands of veterans in Florida from voting.
Teresa Jenkins, the DEC’s legislative liaison, led the project. The volunteers worked with a list of addresses and helpful suggestions to send the message that voting “Yes” on Amendment 4 was the right and fair voter choice to make. Sharing brightly colored pens and creative ideas, the group completed 300 postcards during the hour and a half session.
The event was inspired by the Postcards to Voters movement that began on March 11, 2017, when 5 volunteers on Facebook shared 5 addresses apiece that they could mail to voters in Jon Ossoff’s race, a Georgia special election for Congress. According to the project’s Web site, the movement now consists of over 20,000 volunteers in every state who have written over a half million postcards to support Democratic candidates in dozens of key, close elections.
The Web site lists a results section that shows the wins and losses in races where the postcards have been used. No definite research has been done on the effectiveness of the postcards, but there are a lot of Wins on that list of races.
Rose Hendricks, a researcher at FrameWorks Institute, a communications think tank in Washington, D.C., says in a blog post that the primary goal of the postcards is not to persuade but to increase voter turnout. From her research perspective, Hendricks would like to see more data analysis about the project’s effectiveness but does note that “whether it’s effective for the recipient, I know that creating the postcards is a positive outlet for my political angst. I don’t need research to show me that.”