I remember my first election like it was yesterday. In fact, whenever I think of voting, I think of that election. This will date me, but the year was 1988 and the race was Bush v. Dukakis. I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma and my polling place was on a side of campus with which I was unfamiliar. Even though my candidate lost, it was still a seminal moment for me. It was the day I became a voter and being a voter is an integral part of my identity. Every election day, I look forward to voting because it is the one absolutely concrete way I get to participate in democracy. My concerns don’t get lost in a Congressional staffer’s inbox; they get counted.
To say this election is important is an understatement. It may be the biggest election in my lifetime and therefore not one any of us can afford to sit out. That’s why Red Barn Mercantile and Penny Post are partnering with Threadleaf and Old Town Books to get folks #VoteReady with several Get Out The Vote Initiatives.
The first initiative is Nicole’s brainchild. Starting on September 17th, with each purchase at any of our stores, you will receive four of these postcards designed by the talented Katie Gastley of Idlewild Co. The first one gives you steps to get #VoteReady this fall. Check your registration, buy stamps for your mail-in ballot, get your mail-in ballot, know where your polling place is, etc. The other three are for you to send to your friends and family to remind them why you are a voter and to nudge them to get #VoteReady. Send them near and far to anyone you think needs to hear this message.
In addition to the postcards, Katie designed a lapel pin for us. If you are like me and you identify as a voter, then you will want to wear this pin proudly. To celebrate National Voter Registration Day (September 22nd), we will be giving a free pin to anyone who spends $50 or more in our stores from September 17th to September 22nd. Or, if you just want the pin, you can buy it at any of our stores for $10.
As you know, we love mail and believe that a handwritten note is the most wonderful way to receive a message. That’s why we are spreading the word about Vote Forward’s The Big Send. Their goal is to send 10 million letters to traditionally underrepresented registered voters in key swing states who are believed to be relatively unlikely to vote. In experiments, they found that people who receive a message in a hand-addressed envelope are more likely to vote. It’s easy to participate. Register on Vote Forward’s website, adopt as many names as you can, print out the letters they send you, tell why you’re a voter, and then pop them in the mail on October 27th, the day of The Big Send. I did check with them and as long as you don’t put anything partisan on the outside of the envelope you can have as much fun as you like. So, pick up brush lettering pens and washi tape and have at it! (PS: There is a big kick-off week starring the cast of Hamilton if you want to participate!)
Finally, on September 21st, Old Town Books will host a conversation with Martha S. Jones, the author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insist on Equality for All. This timely discussion will talk about the importance of voting and the historic (and current!) barriers many still face in casting their ballots. The book, released on September 8th, can be ordered here.
In 2016 only 58% of eligible voters voted in the Presidential election. The more folks we inspire to vote, the stronger our country will be. We thank you for inspiring us and for inspiring others to get #VoteReady. Voting is our superpower, so let’s use it this fall.
Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.
We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.
1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314