Designing Election Mail

Ballot Envelopes and Postcards
Mailpiece design begins with the envelope, both the outgoing and reply envelope. The envelope used to send balloting material and the envelope or postcard enclosed for return mail need identification markings as required by state laws and the US Postal Service™. Leave the back of the envelope blank. Mail processing machines can misread and reroute envelopes with printing on both sides.


Design return mailpieces and envelopes to weigh 1 oz or less, so voters can return ballots with one First-Class Mail® stamp. Printing on both sides of your ballot literature is one way to reduce weight and cost.


Election mailpieces sizes should fit the USPS definition of a letter. The length of the mailpiece divided by its height must equal a ratio of 1.3 to 2.5.

  • Maximum thickness is 1/4".
  • Minimum size is 5" long x 3 1/2" high.
  • Maximum size is 11 1/2" long x 6 1/8" high.
  • Maximum weight is 3.5 oz.

Guidelines for Ballot Envelopes ›

Only federal, state, and local voter registration and election officials may use the Official Election Mail™ logo. This logo shows that a mailpiece is from an official election organization.

Learn more about the Official Election Mail logo, place, clearance, areas, and colors.
Election Graphic and Logo Guidelines | PDF

The Official Election Mail logo can be obtained by contacting a Mailpiece Design Analyst at (855) 593-6093 or

You may use different envelope colors to distinguish ballot types, districts, elections, parties, or inserts. For readability, we suggest limiting colors to the upper left corner of the design, keeping the rest of the envelope white or a light pastel, and using dark ink for the delivery address and markings. Check with your Mailpiece Design Analyst about using colored paper and ink.

Color and Print Specifications | PDF

Observe the correct white space and clearances for markings and logos. When using window envelopes, make sure the delivery address and any barcode are visible. Window content should have the correct margins from window edges.

Logo Placement | PDF

Clearance Areas | PDF

Mailpiece Design Analysts

USPS® Mailpiece Design Analysts (MDA) are specially trained postal employees who can answer questions about mailpiece design, give advice on evaluating mailpieces for automation discounts, provide technical assistance on envelope standards, and help construct mailing plans.

Contact the MDA Customer Service Help Desk: (855) 593-6093 or