States and localities are increasingly using mail in the election process. Election Mail is any item mailed to or from authorized elections officials that enables citizens to vote, such as:
Service Type Identifiers (STIDs)
In 2018, the Postal Service™ developed customized Service Type Identifiers (STIDs) specifically for ballots to improve ballot mail visibility. These STIDs have proven instrumental in identifying and tracking ballots on-hand and in the mailstream. In addition, STIDs have increased the visibility of outbound and return Election Mail within the automation environment. This has helped elevate the public's confidence in the Vote-By-Mail process.
STID processing leverages Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb®) scan data that is available via Informed Visibility® (IV®) reports. To learn more about the ballot STIDs, see https://postalpro.usps.com/mailing/service-type-identifiers.
Green Tag 191
Tag 191, Domestic and International Ballots, is a green container tag used by election officials to identify trays and sacks of ballot mail destined for either domestic or international addresses. Tag 191 can be ordered online and mailed directly to local election offices.
Political Mail is any material mailed for campaign purposes by a registered political candidate, campaign committee, or committee of a political party.
Planning Election Mail
Advance planning assures that your election mailings meet USPS® standards and arrive on time.
The Election Mail interactive map is intended to help you determine, based on your location, the correct USPS election & political mail coordinator contact. Contact your Postal Service election mail coordinator to discuss: mailpiece design, mailing preparation / entry, as well as delivery and pickup activities. The interactive map now includes Business Mail Entry Unit addresses and phone numbers, as well as a new ZIP® Code lookup feature to streamline the resource identification process.
Design Your Mailing
Properly designing a mailpiece can trim postage costs and speed up delivery. USPS mailpiece design analysts (MDA) can provide guidance on envelopes that meet postal standards and help you construct mailing plans.
Prepaid Reply Mail Options for Absentee Ballots
Prepaid mail options are available from the Postal Service for Election Officials interested in prepaying return ballots.
APO/FPO/DPO Ballot Procedures
Election ballots for Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and UOCAVA authorized Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) addresses need extra mailing time and special tags.
APO/FPO/DPO Returning Absentee Ballots
Military personnel with UOCAVA authorized APO/FPO/DPO addresses can return absentee ballots via Priority Mail Express® using Label 11-DOD, DOD Express Mail Label Absentee Ballot. The label includes “Waiver of Signature” and “Guaranteed by End of Day” endorsements, so ballots can be delivered the day they arrive at the destination Post Office.