November 11th, 2010

2010 election in dead trees

Meg Whitman's campaign sent me ten different pieces of mail. Jerry Brown's campaign sent me six. However, the California Democratic Party sent four MW attack mailings, for a JB total of ten. Governor's race: tied.

Five ads from Don Perata for mayor, plus one independent mailing supporting him. Three for Rebecca Kaplan. One for Jean Quan. Oakland mayor's race: Perata by a mile. (He lost.)

Ray Bradburn for BART board sent me four pieces of mail. FOUR?! For the freakin' BART board? I don't know why you want to be on it that badly. Really.

I got two mailers in support of Mike Villines for insurance commisssioner. One for Strickland for controller.

Yes on 20, no on 27 sent me two mailings.
No on 26 and Yes on 26 each sent one.
No on 24 sent one.

I got five mailings in support of random local stuff.

I got a COPS voters guide, a Green voters guide, an LGBT voters guide, an independent voters guide (no idea who was responsible), a Democratic Election Education Guide, and a Women's Election Guide for Democrats. Strangely, nothing from the Republicans, even though I'm registered independent.

And finally, two different election guides and sample ballots, plus two educational mailings about ranked choice voting.

Election total: 57 mailings, a pile about two inches thick.

How much of it did I look at? I glanced at the voters guide to see where my polling place was.

Total weight of the mailings: just over 2.5 pounds. The two election guides alone were nearly 11 ounces.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, there are 17 million registered voters in California. That means that election mailings in California produced just over 21 thousand tons of paper. One number suggests that it takes 24 trees to produce a ton of paper, which means that it took just over half a million trees worth of paper to send mail to California's voters. That's one tree for every 33 voters.

(Handwaving and disclaimers: I grabbed random numbers from the internet without a lot of cross-checking. I like round numbers. I'm assuming everyone got the same amount of mail. And I'm assuming virgin paper, even though much of it was probably recycled.)