Marriage referendum mass mailing campaigns may cost over €8,000 a throw

Post boxes in Estonia (photo is illustrative).
Post boxes in Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: Mirjam Nutov/ERR

Mass mailing campaigns ahead of the planned marriage referendum next spring would cost around €8,000, plus printing costs, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

One organization planning to mass mail ahead of the referendum, brought forward from next fall following a coalition pact on the matter, is the Foundation for the Protection of the Family and Tradition  (SAPTK), whose head Varro Vooglaid told ERR Monday that: "Ideally we would reach all households in Estonia with our mailing materials, which is over half a million [households]. So it's not exactly a cheap bit of fun."

According to Omniva's website, for example, sending 100,000 letters would cost around € 1,890, 300,000 letters would already cost € 5,550 and the largest amount shown by the calculator, i.e. sending 450,000 letters, would cost more than € 8,200.

State-owned postal service Omniva's website suggests 100,000 mailings would cost €1,890, 300,000 would come to €5,500 and 450,000, or close to the SAPTK target, would be €8,200.

Omniva spokesperson Mattias Kaiv told ERR that the final price may be different, because the website calculator only takes into account the main population centers of Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu.

"If we include rural areas, the price will be a bit higher, the roughly the same," he said.

Kaiv said that last year there were a total of eight posts, where more than 500,000 advertisements were distributed. The largest post was 516,619 letters.

Kaiv added that in 2019, there were a total of eight mass mailings with over 500,000 units – the largest being 516,619 letters, while this year there have been five on that scale, both addressed and unaddressed, one of which came to 600,000 units.

"Certainly direct mail is an effective and efficient means to get your message to a target group. /.../ The final price depends on the weight, quantity and geographical distribution of a mailing," Kaiv said.

The referendum is sponsored by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), who got the policy included in the April 2019 coalition agreement ahead of entering into office with Center and Isamaa.

While EKRE wanted to run the referendum simultaneously with the fall 2021 local elections, this has been moved back to spring. Critics had said holding the referendum, which would likely be a straight yes-no question on whether to define marriage as between one man and one woman within the Estonian constitution, at the same time as the municipal elections would confuse the electorate, obscure real local issues at stake and lead to a two-tier voting system, since while all residents of Estonia can vote in local elections, only citizens are eligible to vote in referendums.

Meanwhile the Green Party has initiated a petition to define marriage within legislation, rather than in the constitution. The online petition had received over 24,000 signatures as of Monday morning, which means it can potentially be considered at the Riigikogu.

The referendum itself is likely to cost an estimated €2 million.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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