Vote Forward Overview for Letter Recipients

Vote Forward is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering grassroots volunteers, wherever they may be, to encourage voters to vote. 

Vote Forward volunteers encourage fellow citizens to participate in our democracy by writing and sending letters at their own expense. A diverse community of more than 150,000 volunteers from all over the country wrote letters in 2020, and many of these volunteers are writing letters again in 2021.

Every volunteer is vetted before they are permitted to participate, and volunteers who wish to write large numbers of letters are required to share their messaging and letters with Vote Forward to ensure they are following our guidelines. Vote Forward volunteers also agree to our terms of use, specifically promising “to be respectful at all times in [their] communications with fellow citizens.” When volunteers stray from this agreement or Vote Forward’s guidelines, we have a process to disable their accounts. 

Voter rolls are public information, with voter names and addresses made available upon request. Vote Forward requests voter rolls from election officials in key states, and connects volunteers with voters using an online platform. For most campaigns, volunteers write their name and "Vote Forward" on the envelope to let the recipient know they are affiliated with Vote Forward. Occasionally, for specific campaigns, we may ask our volunteers to use our in-state mailboxes as the return address to centralize the collection of returned mail. However, volunteers are not required to take either approach, and many send letters using their own return address. 

Vote Forward letter templates are nonpartisan, simply encouraging the recipient to vote and providing important election information. Each letter template includes a unique code that letter recipients can use to opt out of future mailings at https://votefwd.org/opt-out.

As a 501(c)(4), Vote Forward is permitted to do some political work but each letter uses nonpartisan language and volunteers, regardless of their political leanings, are instructed not to reference candidates or political parties in the personal messages they add to their letters. With volunteers writing letters safely from home, Vote Forward cannot monitor each message that volunteers add to their letters, but the instructions and getting started materials disallow partisan language. 

Vote Forward works to ensure that voter addresses are as accurate as possible. We receive regular voter roll updates, which include updated mailing addresses when voters update their voter registrations. Even with these updates, we know that voter rolls are imperfect, and that some letters will arrive at a voter’s former address. Even if a letter finds its way into the hands of someone other than the intended recipient, the underlying message of encouraging eligible voters to vote is still valid.

In 2020, Vote Forward volunteers wrote and mailed nearly 18 million letters to encourage more Americans to vote. We believe our democracy depends on everyone participating. And even if recipients are not pleased to receive a letter from a volunteer encouraging them to vote, we do hope they exercise their right to vote in all upcoming elections.