Write a Letter to the Editor
Writing an opinion piece for your local newspaper or online media outlet is an influential way to educate your community about voter ID requirements and the impact of voter ID laws. An op-ed is an article that expresses an opinion about an issue in the news. The name op-ed comes from its usual location in the paper, opposite the editorial page. A letter to the editor (LTE) is usually shorter, and responds to a recent article or event.
Here are some suggestions for writing a great LTE or op-ed and getting it published.
- Respond directly to a recent article, commentary or event - in the previous 2-3 days for daily publications, or in the previous issue of weekly or monthly publications. You can expand on a key issue, make a point that was omitted, or disagree with/correct misinformation that was previously published. Even if your piece isn't published, it helps bring awareness to the issue. The more letters a publisher receives on a topic, the more likely they are to pursue a story.
- Keep letters direct and to the point. Stay focused on one subject. An LTE is generally under 150-250 words and an op-ed is usually under 400-1200 words.
- Check with each local publishers/media outlets for submission guidelines, including word count, as well as their preferred delivery (usually via email or website, though mailed letters may still be accepted).
- Provide your full contact information (name, address, phone and email) so the recipient can verify it’s you. You can confirm that they will only publish your name.
- You can reference VoteRiders™ as a resource for more information. Please remember we are a non-partisan organization. If your letter is partisan or you identify yourself in the letter with a particular political party or candidate, it’s best to leave us out.
- If you include any URLs, double check to make sure they are working links.
- Insult those who support stringent voter ID laws. It won’t help the cause and may even increase opposition.
- Exaggerate or overstate your points. This reflects poorly on the topic and the author.
- Never use all capital letters or bold text to emphasize a word. It will rarely be printed that way and may prevent your submission from being considered.
Resources for Writers
- Our curated feed of the Latest Voter ID News is a good place to start.
- For points to make in your letter, see our FAQs and What Is Voter ID? pages.
- See stories from real voters who have experienced obstacles to voting because of voter ID requirements.
- The Brennan Center's "Research on Voter ID" is a collection of reliable social science research on voter ID and its impact.
We are happy to assist in providing any additional information we can. Contact us via the website, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like information or help with your op-ed or LTE. Thank you, and please let us know if you’re successful in being published!