It is essential to the integrity of our nation's elections that state and local election directors establish procedures for voting by mail that take into account the requirements of the U.S Postal Service® to ensure the timely delivery of the mail. This document outlines the options available to elections directors to provide voters with prepaid return envelopes for completed ballots in a manner that will facilitate the Postal Service's ability to process and deliver Election Mail.
Election directors are reminded to consult with the USPS® Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) helpdesk prior to printing the envelopes for Election Mail, in order to ensure that mailings are compatible with USPS automated processing. Failure to consult with an MDA may result in improperly designed mailpieces, which can cause delays in processing and delivery. In addition, the Postal Service's service standards, identified below, apply to BOTH outbound mailings to voters and return mailings from voters to elections offices.
The Postal Service recommends that you contact your USPS Election Mail Coordinator to help you understand how the timelines for designing, printing, and sending outbound Election Mail, and receiving return ballots can impact your ability to ensure that every ballot is counted.
The prepaid mail options below are available from the Postal Service for states looking for a solution for prepaying return ballots. Please consult with your designated Election Mail Coordinator and MDA for more information regarding each prepaid reply mail option prior to making your decision.