The Uncoöperative Organization

Programming and other human stuff.

An Open Letter to Prospective Cambridge City Councilor Jefferson R. Smith


Today I received a flier for your campaign for City Council. This in itself is not particularly surprising. The method by which it was delivered, however, is wholly unacceptable.

When campaign workers stuff campaign fliers haphazardly into the edges of urban mail boxes, it sends a clear signal: this campaign is about the candidate, not the voters. There are several problems with stuffing fliers into mail boxes this way: illegality and dangers you’re placing on voters being the most obvious.

Make no mistake — this behavior is illegal. Under DMM 508, section 3.1.3, your campaign owes postage on fliers delivered this way. Defrauding the government is a fairly bad sign for your dedication to the rule of law. If you’re willing to violate such simple regulations for a quick buck, why would a voter think you’re not willing to violate other laws?

Additionally, leaving mail dangling from a mail box places the recipient’s property in danger. Most urban mail boxes are closed and locked for a reason. If you leave mail dangling outside an urban mail box, you’re sending a message regarding that residence was last checked in on. Especially in the late Summer, this is a clear way to measure the vulnerability of a residence to theft.

Aside from the above, it’s sloppy and insulting to have your flier include a signature and a hand written note which are clearly in different hand writing, especially if the names in the note clearly include outdated entries from voter roles which don’t match the names printed on the actual mail box. I know your campaign workers are just going door to door and stuffing them in mail boxes, and that these fliers have been prepared ahead of time, but the careless failure of attention to detail just seems patronizing.