how long does it take to send mail from New York to DC?
January 17, 2017 6:35 AM   Subscribe

How long does it take for a letter mailed from New York to reach the recipient in DC?

If my niece writes a letter to President Obama tonight and I mail it tomorrow morning first thing will it get to him by Friday?

Relatedly, does mail sent to outgoing Presidents get forwarded if they arrive after the new President takes office?

(if so, can we trust the cheeto's administration to responsibly forward mail or should we assume they will just put anything addressed to Obama in the dumpster?)

posted by thereemix to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In my experience First Class USPS mail typically takes 1-2 days from New York to DC. If you want to guarantee it, send it priority overnight mail.

However, it's unlikely to reach President Obama by friday - since the anthrax scares all mail to federal agencies go through additional screening and irradiation - in my experience that usually meant an additional week or two for the mail to actually be delivered to the recipient.

Don't have the answer for the second question, unfortunately.
posted by Karaage at 7:00 AM on January 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

No, assume this will not work. Obama receives 100,000 emails, 10,000 paper letters, 3,000 phone calls, and 1,000 faxes each day. He reads ten letters form the public every day. Here's the loose process. Mail gets screened and that adds a lot of time to processing such that this will not, at all, be reliable. You can check this page for an estimate on turnaround times if, for example, a letter was forwarded to the Department of Defense. Obama has 50 people dealing with his mail. She'd be better off sending mail to his post-presidency address. But yes, mail is forwarded. Putting mail in the dumpster is a federal offense. Not like Trump is a stickler for laws, but this is something that staffers would be taking care to handle.
posted by jessamyn at 8:15 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks jessamyn - that's useful info!

OK then, follow-up question: where do I find out Obama's post-presidency address?
posted by thereemix at 8:56 AM on January 17, 2017

They're staying in DC. Address is 2446 Belmont Rd NW Washington, DC 20008. President Obama's office will be at 1250 24th St. NW.
posted by jessamyn at 9:32 AM on January 17, 2017

With all that, you could still send a fax, which is less subject to anthrax scrutiny and will be one fax in a small sea of 1000. I think there are two things here: messaging him while he's still in office, and him actually reading it. To wit, I'm still glad I was able to have my niece mark my ballot for Hillary, even though it was election day and my ballot wound up not being counted because you have to mail them in before election day (as I subsequently learned).
posted by rhizome at 10:24 AM on January 17, 2017

As jessamyn points out, the chance of the President actually reading any given letter from the public is slim at best. My brother worked for a time in one of the offices which handled letters to the President, and most of the operation concerns tabulating and summarizing the contents of these letters into reports which are then received and reviewed by the President's staff. Letters which got special attention were few and far between.
posted by Rash at 2:34 PM on January 17, 2017

Understood that he probably won't read it but my niece still would really like to write to him and I'm not going to be the asshole aunt who rains on her parade about this. She's 14 and not expecting to become his pen pal; she knows better than that. She is very upset about the election results, she finds Obama inspiring, I think it will bring her some closure. I'd like to foster her interest in politics and world events as opposed to giving her the message to not bother to care.

Thanks to everyone for the information, I'm happy to pass it along.
posted by thereemix at 7:24 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by rhizome at 1:03 PM on January 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

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