Go Old-School: Get Some Stamps

In a time when legislators are so inundated with emails that they can’t read them all, what’s old is new again. Go get yourselves some stamps and blank postcards.

I heard this from a state legislator this week as he handed me his card: “Oh, I never check my legislative email.” I hear that all the time, from legislators around the state. A legislative inbox at any given time can have hundreds and even thousands of messages. Any subject line that doesn’t include a hint that the sender is a constituent is likely to yield a quick “delete.”

So spoil your legislators. Write to them. Give them something to read besides bills.

My town has eight at-large state representatives. (One town nearby has 11. I got off easy.) I have their legislative email addresses, and I use them, but I’m planning to use postcards more this term.

I went to my local office supply store and bought a box of plain postcards – the kind that can go through a printer at home. I will be hand-writing messages, but the printer-style postcards are economical. I bought a roll of postcard stamps at the post office. I have the legislators’ home addresses thanks to the state web site. I’m good to go.

Why postcards instead of letters? Because they cost 35 cents to send rather than 55 cents, which is what first-class letter stamps now cost. Also, a postcard forces me to get my message across briefly.

Someone more organized than I would probably think to address a batch of postcards in advance. If that’s you, I salute you.

Phone calls to legislators are always in style, if that’s your preference. Ignoring a call is definitely harder than ignoring an email.

No matter how you reach out to your legislators, remember to keep your message brief, clear, and courteous. If you write it down and put a stamp on it, so much the better.

Today’s civics lesson

Somewhere in Manchester, New Hampshire are a few dozen voters who stayed away from the polls yesterday and could have tipped the mayoral election. Seen on Twitter Tuesday evening:

Apropos of nothing, challenger Joyce Craig was endorsed by EMILY’s List.

Get to the polls when there’s an election. Your vote counts.