5 Things to Know about Resistbot’s Hand-Deliveries
A look inside the how and why of our people-powered letter drops into Congressional offices in the Capitol.
by Athena Fulay
1. In 18 months, 10+ million letters have been delivered to your elected officials by Resistbot. 25,352 of these were hand delivered.
It’s been a busy year and half! From 100 days to our 1 year anniversary, Resistbot has grown and evolved into a resistance fighting machine. You can tweet us, you can embed us, and we’re getting you ready to vote. We’ve marched together, even protested together. Hand deliveries were part of the plan from the beginning and while the stacks, and my hair, have grown quite a bit since then, at our core, we’re the same bot you’ve always loved. 100% volunteer powered and resistance approved.
2. Which messages get hand delivered versus electronically delivered:
Your merry band of Resistbot volunteers reads the political winds and makes a judgement call on if a hand delivery campaign could sway the opinion of undecided or leaning votes. It’s a case-by-case basis, but long story short, we hand deliver when electeds need to hear from you the most. This is usually right before a vote, or in the case of this past week, right before a hearing.
3. Why we hand deliver:
There is no difference in content between an electronic message, delivered straight by the bot, and what is hand delivered. But delivering these letters in person gives a heightened sense of how important the issue is for constituents. Seeing a physical stack of 1,200 letters makes an impression.
Take this article for example:
There’s clear intensity on the issue of the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, but if Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski aren’t seeing it, we’re here to ensure they hear from you and understand how much their constituents care.
4. How we print them out:
First, we identify a target set of congress-critters and a window in which to deliver to them. Then send out a call to action through our networks and divert the messages that marked for hand delivery. You send your messages through the ‘bot, and it (with the help of our amazing team of volunteers) does the rest of the work — capturing them by office and queuing them for hand delivery. Depending on the size of the batch, a local printing company in D.C. needs few hours to a day in order to print the thousands of individual letters. The D.C. team then sorts, collates, and hauls the letters to Congressional offices and live streams the deliveries.
5. What it’s like to hand deliver:
We are messengers, an extension of a product built to make your voices heard, and we take this role very seriously. Our role is to facilitate the process of direct constituent communication. Logistically speaking, we go through security, stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes. There are three Senate buildings, we generally start on the top floors and make our way down. Sometimes we prioritize the larger stacks, in order to carry less throughout the day. For this last round of Supreme Court nomination related deliveries, we delivered to 16 different offices, across all three buildings, in 90 minutes. Have a look at our over 50 videos thus far, or read more about our hand deliveries at DCist or watch a segment from WUSA9.
How you can help
Keep writing. Keep calling. Keep up the pressure. Persist. If you believe in us, please support us by donating. Resistbot is powered by Resistbot Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, and it takes a lot of infrastructure to keep this all going. If you can’t donate, you can volunteer either as an engineer, or by submitting users’ letters to the editor, or just tell your friends about us! If you haven’t used the ‘bot before, get started by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference but considerably longer to hand-deliver 12,000 letters.