Concerns over Monkeypox, murder hornets, supply chain shortages, and inflation are some of the stressful conversations heard around the Political Water Cooler recently. Anyone involved with a campaign less than two weeks before Election Day are understandably stressed, however, the most serious concern is the impact of inflation and paper shortages.
Political consultants received warnings at the beginning of the year if not earlier, that production costs related to mail and printed material could be up 50% or more since the 2020 election cycle. And, that was the good news. The bad news was that paper shortages could be so significant that it would be difficult to find paper by late spring.
Any likely voter in California with a mailbox has an idea of how much paper is used during an election. Demand was expected to be much higher than normal because there are so many more campaigns since California moved most local elections to even-numbered years (previously most city and school board elections were held in odd-numbered years).
International issues also impact the paper shortage – U.S. companies and U.S. paper mills that produced paper for the U.S. market are being bought by Chinese companies. Trump Tariffs have had a negative impact on prices. The ever-increasing need for more shipping boxes to be produced was a problem even in the pre-pandemic years. Add those issues to the global supply chain challenges and it’s the perfect paper storm.
So what is a campaign to do? Talk with your printer, mail production team, and be prepared to pay for paper in advance. And be prepared to pay a lot more.