Vincent F. Bova of Hyattsville had to pay 55 cents in "postage due" on a letter that was delivered to him recently - 15 cents for postage and 40 cents for a "handling fee."

As you know, letters that do not bear a stamp or postage meter mark are usually returned to the sender to discourage mailings of this kind.

However, in this case the Postal Service found neither a stamp nor a return address on the letter. In an attempt to find out to whom to return the letter, USPS routed it to its Dead Letter Office, where the letter was opened and read.

The message inside said that Bova was invited to attend a campaign reception for Acting Gov. Blair Lee and his running mate, Steny Hoyer. A telephone number was supplied for acceptances, and the invitation was signed, "Democrats '78, Sponsored by Senator Breadwater and Team." No address. From these clues, the Dead Letter Office could not figure out how to return the invitation to its sender, so it finally forwarded the letter to Bova - too late for him to have attended the reception, even if he had wanted to.

Well, what can I say? Sending out campaign literature without postage does save candidates a lot of money, but one must wonder how productive the technique is. Bova figures he has become an involuntary contributor to the Lee-Hoyer campaign, and he's not very enthusiastic about the honor.