So far, I've had only one party-political leaflet for the local elections this Thursday. About a month ago the local Tories suddenly started delivering "regular" newsletters to keep us informed about its War On Potholes. All the other parties seem to have respected the 'No Junk Mail' sign on our door.
I only noticed the absence of political junk mail when I got an e-mail from someone who had delivered a party-political leaflet to a household with a 'No Junk Mail' sign on the letter box. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I gather the recipients took offence. Which raises the question: how should political parties treat anti-junk mail signs?
As I've mentioned many times on this blog, at the moment there isn't an official definition of 'junk mail'. The Direct Marketing Association refuses to acknowledge the existence of anti-junk mail signs (it's not mentioned in its Code of Conduct and they refuse to discuss promoting letterbox stickers with Defra) and so we have to muddle along. Personally, I think junk mail should be defined as 'unaddressed, commercial mail items' - a definition that includes items such as pizza leaflets and brochures from estate agents but not items such as free newspapers and political leaflets. But… you may disagree and argue that the definition should include all unaddressed, unsolicited mail items. For as long as the regulator is unwilling to do its job we're never going to agree.
That said, there are practical solutions.
Until a couple of years ago I used to deliver political leaflets for the local Greens. The question whether or not to ignore 'No Junk Mail' stickers came up once and it turned out that I was the only person in the party who always skipped letterboxes with such signs. The general feeling was that our leaflets were informative (i.e. free from negative campaigning) and an important part of the democratic process. To me that argument sounded rather pretentious and I proposed a compromise; we could check with people who got a 'No Junk Mail' sign on the door whether or not they would like to receive our leaflets. If people tell you they're not interested you don't have to annoy them any more (and they'll almost certainly appreciate that you took the effort to check); and if someone tells you they do want the leaflets you've made contact with a potential voter. The compromise got rejected - which tends to happen when you're in a minority of one - but I still think it was a sensible suggestion. Better, at least, than what the Greens in Brighton came up with a couple of years later.