Well, not free. But fairly cheap. Less than twenty bucks, anyhow.
(This is another post about SFWA--if you don't care about that, just skip to the bottom for a puppy picture.)
Okay, for those of you who've been following it, obviously there's a lot of stuff going on with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America organization. And lots of people are hanging back, deciding whether to join or not based on the outcome of the current officer elections.
Well, as Will Shetterly has pointed out in various places, with SFWA's pro-rated membership rates, if you wait until April 1st you can join for $17.50. Next year's dues come due on June 30th, so essentially it's a two month trial membership, like at the gym. It's not entirely clear right this second whether you'd get a chance to vote, mainly because of timing issues with joining, getting a ballot, and getting it back in by the April 28th deadline.
I don't have a good answer right now for "why join SFWA" (although I can tell you that this document does not answer it to my satisfaction, and I'm in the club), because I think SFWA is changing, maybe a lot, hopefully for the better, and definitely right now. Maybe you can influence that change for less than twenty bucks.
Check and see if you qualify, then go to the goofy webform. I don't have anything to do with membership applications, but if I were you I'd take a look at that contact info in the lower left of that last page and ask about sending in scans of the requested documents instead of waiting on the mail.
Thank you for your patience. Now, here's Puck, Emma, and their pal Pickles the Neighbor Pup not exhibiting patience.