The 90 day blackout period before a State Primary or a General election prohibits Members from sending out unsolicited mass mailings to their constituents using public funds. Mass mailings are defined as a single message that is sent to more than 500 individuals; this rule applies to paper mailings and E-Newsletters.
One of the advantages of utilizing our E-Newsletter software is the ability to collect subscribers to your E-Newsletter. The Franking Commission has allowed Members to send E-Newsletters to those constituents that have subscribed at any time and throughout the 90 day blackout period. It is important to amass your subscriber list so that you can send your E-Newsletters to as many of your constituents as possible at any time but especially during the blackout period.
One approach is to simply inform your constituents of the approaching blackout period, explaining what it means and how they can continue to receive updates. Once your message has been approved by Franking, we recommend that you send this message to your "All Contacts" list two or three times, excluding your subscribers each time, before your blackout period starts. This will allow you to collect as many new subscribers as possible from your "All Contacts" list. Below in italics is some sample text that you can use as a starting point to customize your own message:
I want to stay in touch with you about the work that I am doing for the XXth District. However, by law I will be unable to e-mail you from (type start of Blackout Date Here) until the (Type date of your State's Primary Here) primary election unless you indicate that you want to receive updates from me.
It’s an easy process. All you do is click the link below and I will be able to send you updates on legislation and issues important to you, including health care reform.
Thank you for taking a moment to read this e-mail. I hope you will subscribe.
Click here (Link to your Profile page) to receive periodic e-mail updates.