Getting Ready to Mail

Thanks for all your letter writing! 

Here are some tips to help you get ready to mail.

If you’re unable to mail your letters on the mail date for any reason, including post office closures, please send them as close as possible to that day.

We gathered this information from postmasters and mail carriers, who in some cases are also Vote Forward volunteers!

Make a plan

  • Do you have enough stamps? With USPS.com delays, it's too late to order stamps online. You can get stamps at your post office, where you may be able to skip the line and buy stamps 24 hours a day if there is a self-service kiosk. Many grocery, drug, office supply, and wholesale club stores sell stamps too.
  • Where will you mail your letters? Take some time to locate your post office (100+ letters) or a nearby blue mailbox (<100 letters). If you are mailing 400+ letters, you will want to reach out to your post office now to see if you can borrow a tray or trays. 
  • What time? Earlier is better, particularly if your post office has limited hours. Your post office may have a place where you can drop your letters even when the post office counter is closed. If you’re mailing up to 100 letters, you can use a blue mailbox at any time.
  • Stick to your plan — and please take photos! You can share photos with the Vote Forward team using this form, or share them with us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram). 

General mailing tips

  • Blue mailboxes are suitable for mailing up to about 100 letters, double-check that all of your letters drop down into the box.
  • Remove all rubber bands.
  • We’re mailing first-class, so sorting by zip code is not necessary.
  • If you live in a rural area with a small post office, there’s no need to take your letters to a larger post office, so long as there is one pickup by USPS to transport mail to a larger facility each day. You can call your post office to check on this.
  • If your local post office is closed on the mail date, just send your letters as close as possible to that day or drop your letters in a blue mailbox if you're mailing 100 or fewer letters. 

Large batches of letters

  • If you can, take your letters to the post office to help your mail carrier out.
  • Be sure to warn your local post office in advance if you're concerned about overwhelming them.
  • If you are mailing 400+ letters, visit your post office ahead of time to borrow a tray. You'll want one for each batch of about 400 letters. 
  • If you can’t borrow a tray, use a box.
  • We’re mailing first-class, so sorting by zip code is not necessary, but you should remove all rubber bands and check that all your letters should face the same way.
  • If you are mailing a very large quantity of letters and live in a major city or near a USPS sorting facility, it's possible to drop your letters off there, which will cut processing time. You should ask your local post office or mail carrier about how to do this. See our Mailing 1000+ Letters guide for more information.
  • If you’re not sure where your sorting facility is, ask your mail carrier or at your local post office.

Mailing from outside the continental US

  • From overseas, Canada, or Mexico, mail one week early (or earlier based on your experience sending mail to the U.S.). If you're not sure about how early to mail, reach out to your local post office early to ask about delivery times to the U.S.
  • From Alaska, Hawaii, or a U.S. territory, mail 3 days early.
  • From an APO, please check on mail delivery times from your location. You may need to use General Delivery from your APO for the return address on your letters instead of Vote Forward's U.S.-based return addresses, so please check with your APO before addressing your envelopes.

Service interruptions

  • If you're mailing from an area affected by severe weather or the COVID-19 pandemic, check here for service interruptions; you might need to take your letters to a different post office.

COVID-19 precautions

  • If you are quarantining or don’t feel safe going to your post office, make arrangements with a friend, neighbor, family member, or neighborhood mail carrier to pick up and mail your letters for you. Dropping your letters in a blue mailbox may also be an option if you feel you can do it safely.

For letters you're still writing

  • Remember that handwritten addresses are best.