Friday, May 3, 2013

Mailing the Voter's Guide--A Team Effort

While much of the club's effort each year focuses on the fundraiser and endorsement weekend, our candidate selections can only have an impact if people know about them. That's where the mailing comes in; the final step in our recipe for electing progressive Democratic public officials:

1) Engage with candidates and vote for those
who best reflect the club's values
2) Review ballots and tally results
3) Print the club's endorsements in a voter's guide and mail to
thousands of registered Democrats in the 14th Ward
In preparation for the May 21 primary, the club will do its 2013 Voter's Guide mailing on Saturday, May 11. A number of endorsed candidates have already pledged to send volunteers to help process approximately 9,000 pieces of our signature colored paper. You know, the yellow slate card that so many 14th Warders carry to the polls with them.

Total cost of the mailing--printing and postage--runs about $3,000 - $4,000, depending on the number mailed and postage rates, which seem to creep up every year. It is by far the club's biggest expense. The club also does a much smaller newsletter mailing or two each year to members only.

In 2010 the club departed from its traditional do-it-yourself mailing party, instead engaging a professional mailing house to handle the task. As luck would have it, the move bombed. For whatever reason, the mail house (which will remain unnamed) accidentally used the wrong mailing list and the club's voter's guide was sent to the 20th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Don Walko's old seat. State Rep. Jim Ferlo reported to the club that his office was getting calls from constituents about receiving our mailing,  the Post-Gazette's Tim McNulty got it on the North Side, and reports also came in from Bloomfield, Aspinwall and Brighton Heights.

Fortunately, all the contested offices that year were state and federal (the club endorsed Joe Sestak for Senate and Joe Hoeffel for Governor), as opposed to more local races where the club's endorsement can have a major impact, so perhaps not much harm was done by the errant mailing. However, some concerns were raised that a candidate for state Democratic committee who just missed the cut might have gained a few votes if the slate card had made it to the 14th Ward.

Thus proving the old adage: If you want something done right, do it yourself.

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