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Sending Political Campaign Mail at USPS Bulk Postage Rates

 Postage $aver Software

Political candidates and campaigns can send mail at the same bulk mail rates that businesses can use. There are a few extra steps that USPS requires to help make sure political mail gets delivered in a timely manner (though bulk mail is always a secondary service, with no particular deadline for delivery).

Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy

You need to know:

More details, including rates, below:

red dotPolitical mailings using Every Door Direct Mail.

red dotPolitical mailings using Marketing Mail.

red dotPostage Rates for Political Mail.

red dotSpecial Preparation Instructions for Political Mailings.

red dotTracking Your Political Mailings.

Political Mailings Using "Every Door Direct Mail"

"Every Door Direct Mail" (EDDM) is the cheapest and easiest way to mail to every residential address in an area. The postal carrier simply puts one piece in every mail box on their route (just like grocery ads).

It's simple for you, because you don't have to address the pieces, or even have an address list. And, unlike all other bulk mail, you don't have to sort the mail in any order and no USPS mailing permit is required.

It's cheap for USPS to handle, because they don't have to worry about getting the correct piece to the correct recipient. USPS passes that savings on to you, charging no more than just 30¢ per piece, often even less, for pieces up to 12" x 15". Large pieces like this would cost $1.50 each to mail if you used regular First Class!

Instead of addressing each piece, you just choose the postal routes where you want your mail delivered. USPS provides a nifty mapping tool to help you find the routes you want to target, and how many pieces are needed for each route.

Then you just take the correct number of pieces to USPS, with each stack of pieces marked by zip and route according to USPS rules. (The stacks are marked, not the individual pieces.)

Unfortunately, EDDM does not work well in every circumstance. Here's why EDDM may not work for your campaign: If you think EDDM will work for you, here's where to get started with Every Door Direct Mail.

What if EDDM won't work for you? Say your district lines don't match up well with the postal routes, or you have to send a letter-size piece, so EDDM won't really work. What then?

In that case, you get the cheapest postage rates by using "Enhanced Carrier Route Marketing Mail". To do that, each piece will need an address, and pieces will need to be sorted in the exact order that the carrier delivers the route.

While there is software that will prepare Enhanced Carrier Route mailings, it's expensive. And you'd have to make sure to keep every piece in the correct order.

Unless you know what you are doing with bulk mail, I'd recommend you use a professional mailing company to prepare Enhanced Carrier Route mailings if EDDM won't work.

Or, if it's a small mailing (or you're not trying to go to every residence), for a small increase in postage you can use regular Marketing Mail (not Enhanced Carrier Route), which does not require pieces to be sorted in carrier route order.

Keep reading to learn about regular Marketing Mail.

Political Mailings Using USPS Marketing Mail

Marketing Mail is the most popular type of USPS bulk mail. It's what's typically used for targeted political mailings where you don't have many pieces to any one particular postal route.

You'll typically pay 31.3¢ - 40.8¢ for regular business envelopes or half-sheet cards, and 61.2¢ - $1.072 for larger pieces. See more rate details below.

Unfortunately, to get these rates, you can't just take your mail to the post office. You have to get a mailing permit, sort your mail into specific trays the way USPS wants them, and fill out paperwork.

Unless you're mailing to just one zip code, the sorting and postage calculations can get complicated, so to do this in-house, you'll need software like our Postage $aver Pro that will figure all of that out for you.

Or, if you'd rather have someone do it for you, try one of these local print/mail shops that use Postage $aver Pro to prepare bulk mail.

If you think Marketing Mail will work for you, here are more details on getting started with USPS Marketing Mail.
Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy

Postage Rates for Political Mailings

As discussed above, political campaign mail is generally mailed as either "Every Door Direct Mail" (EDDM) or USPS Marketing Mail (bulk mail). There is no single postage rate that applies to all EDDM or all Marketing Mail. In fact, in any Marketing Mail mailing, you may pay different postage rates on different pieces, depending on where the pieces are going.

For budget purposes, here are some examples of what you would pay.

Normal envelopes or cards:
Up to 6 1/8" x 11 1/2"
Oversized envelopes or cards:
Larger in either dimension than 6 1/8" x 11 1/2". Maximum size: 12" x 15" Within each range of rates, the rate you pay depends on what post office you take the mail to, how many pieces you have in certain areas, etc. For more details, you can use our Marketing Mail postage rate calculator.

If you already have a targeted list you want to mail to, we recommend you download a free trial copy of our Postage Saver Pro software, and run your list through it. It will figure out the exact postage you'd pay for mailing that specific list, and let you try various options.

Special Preparation Instructions for Political Mailings

USPS is aware that political mail is time-critical. Even though they don't promise delivery in a certain number of days, they don't want it hanging around the sorting center either.

To make sure they can spot a tray of political mail, USPS has special red tags that you should attach. You should be able to get these from any post office, and attach them with a rubber band to each tray of political mail that you submit.

Red tag for political mail

There is also a Political Mailing Notice web form that you should fill out to let USPS know that you are bringing in a political mailing. This gives USPS the chance to catch any issues with the piece or with the postage calculations before you actually get to the post office or bulk mail center. They ask for two days' notice, but the form is voluntary so any advance notice you give them is appreciated.

Tracking Your Political Mailings

Once you've sent your mailing, you'll probably want to know if it actually gets delivered. While there is no record of the mail actually being put in the mailbox (since most mail is not scanned when delivered), USPS can tell you where the mail is in the sorting process, and when it has been prepared for the carrier to deliver.

Tracking your mail is free, but you have to sign up for it, and your mail has to have the correct barcode. It's also helpful to have inexpensive software like our Quick Lettertracker that retrieves the tracking information from the USPS system and translates the postal-speak into something you can understand.

Tracking does not work for Every Door Direct Mail, since that mail does not run through sorting equipment.

Here are details on tracking your mail.

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Scott started Postage Saver Software in 1994. He's been helping small businesses and nonprofits save postage with postal bulk mail for more than 25 years, and has extensive experience with political mailings. Scott's based in Austin, Texas. He's happy to answer your bulk mailing questions!