Junk Mail Received During the 2008 Elections

During the 2008 election cycle, which included for me the US Senate (Warner vs. Gilmore), US House of representatives (Connolly vs. Fimian) and President (Obama vs. McCain), I collected all the political junk mail that was sent to my home. I’ve finally gone through it all (32 pieces of mail) to present this summary:

  • Republican Party of Virginia: 2 Absentee Ballot Applications; 1 generic “Vote Republican”
  • Fimian for Congress (Republican): 2 mailings: combined anti-Connolly and pro-Fimian
  • Obama for America: one legal sized postcard
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: 15 negative ads about Fimian
  • Democratic Party of Virginia: 11 mixed ads, inside page usually split 2/3 vs. 1/3 with “info” about each candidate.

It is very surprising that I didn’t receive even more mail. For the 2007 election cycle, I received more than twice as much junk mail from the candidates and their parties than I did this time. But the mailings for this cycle were of much larger and heavier stock paper than a year ago. If the campaigns had used “normal” postcards or envelopes, they could have done even more mailings. Luckily, I think (hope, pray) that they have wised up: People are sick of political mail and are throwing it away without looking at it. So they make it more obnoxious by making it larger.

The Internet was better represented in these mailings:

  • The Democratic Party of Virginia included the Obama web site URL and their own anti-McCain web site URL in 13 of the 15 mailings.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee only referred people to their anti-Fimian web site URL.
  • The Republican Party of Virginia, Fimian for Congress, and Obama for America gave their own web site URL.

The other interesting thing I noticed is the shift on the addressing of the mailings. The mailings received early in the race were generally addressed to “The Clark Household.” The mailings received nearer to the election were generally addressed to my wife. I received no mailings addressed to me by name. There were also quite a few mailings addressed to “Current Resident” which is an insult. We know you’ve got the names, you’ve bought the registrar lists from the county, why waste money sending mail to “Current Resident?” And yes, I still wish I could opt-out of allowing the county to sell my name and information.

(Update: I forgot to link to this letter to the editor of the local paper concerning the political junk mail of the season. [Link removed on 2015-05-27, it was dead.])