Author Topic: Can I refuse political junk mail?  (Read 1541 times)

CheapScholar

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Can I refuse political junk mail?
« on: November 04, 2018, 11:16:35 AM »
Does anyone know if I can write “refused” or “return to sender” on card stock junk mail from politicians?  I tried it recently and my postal carrier is taking it from my box, but I have no idea if she/he throws it away or actually returns it to the campaign offices.  My goal in all this is to make the campaigns pay for the return postage.  I’ve read mixed things online.  Anyone know for sure?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2018, 11:27:00 AM »
If the postage paid area says anything like "bulk rate" then no, it goes right in the trash. In order for it to be returned, the mailer/mailing house must have paid extra for the postage and would be labeled "return service requested" or similar wording. All you're doing is adding an extra step for the mail carrier to deal with - trashing if for you instead of you trashing it yourself.

Political mailers typically are not first class mail, and only first class mail gets a return to sender service built in.

I'm not saying this with 100% certainty, but I worked with mailing/indicia before and remember there were levels of service/bulk rate differences.

If you want to reduce your political mailings, I'd suggest contacting the party/campaign houses specifically and voicing your concerns directly to them.

accolay

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2018, 11:31:08 AM »
I'm not a postal employee, but I'm sure that your mailman dutifully takes those political mailings from your box and sends them right back instead of shit-canning them.

Seriously though, I'm getting Democratic emails from every state in my region and I've had to unsubscribe twice now. Hopefully they've stopped.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 11:34:10 AM »
My husband works where those get printed. They ship directly from the print shop, not the campaign office. The ones for other countries get shipped in bulk to a distribution center there. I'm sure your mail carrier is just disposing of them for you. The amount of waste generated per election is staggering, but it is outside of any of our circles of control. If it is any consolation the system provides a lot of jobs.

shunkman

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2018, 01:06:01 PM »
You may refuse any US Mail item by writing "refused" on your address and returning it to the mail carrier. However, the mail carrier will simply put it in the undeliverable mail bin back at the Post Office where it gets recycled or disposed. Generally junk mail, bulk mail, and standard mail will NOT be returned to the sender. Conversely, First Class mail, Priority, and other package classes will typically be returned to the sender if marked "refused". The best and most efficient thing to do is just recycle the unwanted mail yourself.

Zola.

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2018, 01:14:23 PM »
I like to rip up junk mail that I get, and post it back to them with their prepaid envelope.

Sibley

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2018, 02:03:10 PM »
You do realize that you're spending about 100 times more thought and energy than it would be to simply drop it into the recycling bin? The election is in a few days.

Just make sure you vote.

CheapScholar

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2018, 02:44:32 PM »
You do realize that you're spending about 100 times more thought and energy than it would be to simply drop it into the recycling bin? The election is in a few days.

Just make sure you vote.

Yes, I do realize this.  I have a lot of spare time and I absolutely hate one of our political parties.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2018, 02:45:01 PM »
Don't piss off your letter carrier. Just throw it away.

galliver

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2018, 02:51:01 PM »
Delivering the campaign ad junk adds an hour or two to your mail carrier's day. Not to mention the physical weight of it all. I've a family member who does the job.

Don't make them the middleman in your counter-campaign. Just toss it. And if you really want to make a stand, contact the organization(s) sponsoring the mailer, eg by email.

Tempname23

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2018, 04:58:27 PM »
When my 6 year old daughter got an application to sign up for AARP.
 I wrote a letter back in crayon, saying, "My daddy said, all you want to do is take money from the young people and give it to the old people".
  She never got another letter!

Cranky

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2018, 06:29:53 PM »
I’m far more annoyed by the political ads on this site. I only wish I could drop them into the recycling so easily.

Sibley

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2018, 07:42:05 PM »
I’m far more annoyed by the political ads on this site. I only wish I could drop them into the recycling so easily.

My ad blocker seems to work well. I don't see ads.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2018, 07:57:52 PM »
You do realize that you're spending about 100 times more thought and energy than it would be to simply drop it into the recycling bin? The election is in a few days.

Just make sure you vote.

Yes, I do realize this.  I have a lot of spare time and I absolutely hate one of our political parties.

Hate is a strong word.

It makes me quite sad for you that instead of using your spare time to work for the greater good with whatever party you support and being a positive role model, you're trying to find a way to be petty and mean spirited and hurt others who you don't agree with - you hate them so much you want to stick it to them even if it means hurting other neutral parties in the process.

I'm very sorry you're so consumed with hatefulness that you've let it subvert your better self. Choose the high road and let this petty nasty behavior go. It won't help you or your cause, it won't hurt those you say you hate, and it is a very sad and lonely path you're choosing to walk down. And if you have children, they're watching your actions and hearing your words. If you want to make the world a better place, maybe you need to start in your own head and heart?

Cranky

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2018, 05:19:11 AM »
Oh, I think there are some things in the world worthy of hatred. I just think we need to channel that into action.

chasesfish

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2018, 05:27:28 AM »
You do realize that you're spending about 100 times more thought and energy than it would be to simply drop it into the recycling bin? The election is in a few days.

Just make sure you vote.

Yes, I do realize this.  I have a lot of spare time and I absolutely hate one of our political parties.

I'm an equal opportunity hater.  Currently in a contested senate state, contested congressional district, and have two state representatives in tight races.  The state rep situation is a complete cluster, our likeable rep got out primaried for not being FAR ENOUGH (to one side or the other) then a reasonable person is running against him/her.

I'm at 6+ pieces of junk mail a day, the mail is not delivered on time anymore because the postmen/postwomen can't keep up.  I taped my early voting sticker on my door to get the campaign workers to stop coming to my door.

We're also in the outright lying portion of the campaign:   Candidate:  "I don't take PAC Money".  Next three commercials are PACs running ads against your opponent.

GodlessCommie

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2018, 01:29:20 PM »
We're also in the outright lying portion of the campaign:   Candidate:  "I don't take PAC Money".  Next three commercials are PACs running ads against your opponent.
I'm sure your candidate appreciates their support - but they have a choice in accepting money or not in addition to PACs running independent campaigns (except Super PACs). So while the distinction may not be as big as he or she is trying to present, there is no outright lying, either. And not accepting money is a step in the right direction.

sol

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2018, 01:37:03 PM »
Washington is a vote-by-mail state.  We have found that all political mail stops after all eligible voters in a household have sent in their ballots.  I think the state must keep some sort of list of who has voted and who has not, by address.

So we just vote as soon as the ballots come, and that puts a stop to it for us. 

Schaefer Light

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2018, 01:45:28 PM »
I wish there was a way to opt out of the sack full of ads & coupons that shows up on my driveway once a week.

Tempname23

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2018, 04:59:32 PM »
It's not that big of a deal, I get the mail, I enter the garage and drop the junk into the trash can,
anything that is not a bill I put on the kitchen counter for my wife and bills I put on my computer desk for payment. The question is, do I keep the Harbor Freight catalog for perusal this month or not.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2018, 06:46:23 PM »
Washington is a vote-by-mail state.  We have found that all political mail stops after all eligible voters in a household have sent in their ballots.  I think the state must keep some sort of list of who has voted and who has not, by address.

So we just vote as soon as the ballots come, and that puts a stop to it for us. 

I really doubt it's that sophisticated. There's enough lag time between when you mail your ballot to when the county would verify your signature to when the campaign might be able to receive the list of already-voted citizens to when they have to get mailing lists into the print shop that there's probably not much to be gained by trying to filter out a few early voters. They just know that a lot of people vote shortly after receiving their ballots, so they make sure to send all the junk mail a bit earlier than in other states where most folks have to go vote in person on the actual election day.

sol

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2018, 07:15:17 PM »
I really doubt it's that sophisticated. There's enough lag time between when you mail your ballot to when the county would verify your signature to when the campaign might be able to receive the list of already-voted citizens to when they have to get mailing lists into the print shop that there's probably not much to be gained by trying to filter out a few early voters. They just know that a lot of people vote shortly after receiving their ballots, so they make sure to send all the junk mail a bit earlier than in other states where most folks have to go vote in person on the actual election day.

You may be right, but our neighbors are still getting political mailers and we are not.  Not a single one since voting roughly two weeks ago.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2018, 08:55:08 PM »
Very interesting.

sui generis

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2018, 06:57:34 PM »
I can verify that @sol is right.  Working with campaigns this election, they would dutifully get lists each day from the county elections office and remove the folks listed as already voted from further communications. It was super easy for most of them to do and took them only a few minutes, so they were very interested in saving the money and keeping their volunteer time directed toward getting outstanding votes.  While there might be some lag in that, especially with print communications, since the mailers get exponentially bigger each day, you are saving your mailbox a lot with every day you vote early.  While this is for some reason not widely available in some states (a whole other topic), if you have the option, I highly recommend you vote early - fewer mailers, fewer calls, fewer door knocks and fewer text messages.

Daisy

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2018, 09:01:43 PM »
Do any ads sent by mail change any votes? I wish so many resources were not wasted with this effort. I wish there was a way to opt-out, if only for environmental reasons.

Now campaigns are resorting to sending texts constantly. This is very annoying too and a waste of resources as well.

sui generis

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2018, 09:34:40 PM »
Yeah, I believe the research, such as it is, shows these outreach efforts are effective - that they can make a 2-3% difference, IIRC.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2018, 10:26:44 PM »
Do any ads sent by mail change any votes? I wish so many resources were not wasted with this effort. I wish there was a way to opt-out, if only for environmental reasons.

Now campaigns are resorting to sending texts constantly. This is very annoying too and a waste of resources as well.
Of course it works. Well organized campaigns have extremely granular voter data and can target with surgical precision.

If it makes you feel any better, sending text messages is practically free, both financially and environmentally.

$100 lets you text around 20,000 voters in a couple of seconds. Your average congressional district has maybe 400,000 eligible voters, so you could theoretically text every single one of them for about $2,000, a couple of hours worth of your campaign payroll.

And in terms of wireless resources, SMS costs next to nothing. This is why authorities ask people to use text instead of voice/data in natural disaster situations.

TrMama

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2018, 12:59:55 PM »
I wish there was a way to opt out of the sack full of ads & coupons that shows up on my driveway once a week.

There probably is. If the coupons are distributed by a newspaper carrier (ie a kid or retired person) just call up the distributor and ask to have your address removed from their distribution list.

My daughter had a paper route for a while and about 20% of our neighbourhood was on the Do Not Deliver list.

In Canada, I tape a note inside our community mailbox that says, "No community mail, please." This eliminates all non-addressed junk mail from our box.

Johnez

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2018, 01:57:49 PM »
Yeah, I believe the research, such as it is, shows these outreach efforts are effective - that they can make a 2-3% difference, IIRC.

And I wonder who conducts this research? I honestly cannot imagine anyone going through 5-12 of these mailers every single day. I rip off my address and toss em without looking, as do every other person where I live judging from how packed the trash by the mail box is.

Cassie

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2018, 03:30:51 PM »
We voted early and still got them.  The glossy ones can't be recycled here. Ugh!

Schaefer Light

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2018, 06:23:43 AM »
I wish there was a way to opt out of the sack full of ads & coupons that shows up on my driveway once a week.

There probably is. If the coupons are distributed by a newspaper carrier (ie a kid or retired person) just call up the distributor and ask to have your address removed from their distribution list.

My daughter had a paper route for a while and about 20% of our neighbourhood was on the Do Not Deliver list.

In Canada, I tape a note inside our community mailbox that says, "No community mail, please." This eliminates all non-addressed junk mail from our box.
Thanks for the tip.

acepedro45

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Re: Can I refuse political junk mail?
« Reply #31 on: Today at 02:35:37 PM »
Quote
Washington is a vote-by-mail state.  We have found that all political mail stops after all eligible voters in a household have sent in their ballots.  I think the state must keep some sort of list of who has voted and who has not, by address.

So we just vote as soon as the ballots come, and that puts a stop to it for us.

If that was universally true, oh what an incentive to actually vote and participate in the governance of our communities. I'm imagining ten years down the line, once our Facebook overlords have effectively made all advertising targeted advertising, people being able to end the silliness of campaign season by dutifully voting early. What a powerful motivation! Utopias have been built on less.