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:
New for the 2018 Election Cycle
The Postal Service™ has improved ballot mail visibility by developing new Service Type Identifiers (STIDs) specifically for ballots. These STIDs have been developed to identify ballots on-hand, and enable improved ballot tracking in the mailstream. The benefits of using these new STIDs include: increased visibility of outbound/returning ballot mail within the automation environment and passive identification and tracking of ballot mail. These benefits, in turn, could increase public confidence in the voting by mail process. The new process leverages Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb®) scan data that is available via Informed Visibility® (IV®) reports. To learn more about the new ballot STIDs, see https://postalpro.usps.com/mailing/service-type-identifiers.
Tag 191, Domestic and International Mail-In 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 now 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.
APO/FPO Ballot Procedures
Election ballots for APO and FPO addresses need extra mailing time and special tags.
Returning Military Absentee Ballot Mail
Military personnel with APO/FPO addresses can now return absentee ballots via Priority Mail Express® using Label 11-DOD. “Waiver of Signature” and “Guaranteed by End of Day” endorsements are printed on the label, so ballots sent with it are delivered on the day they arrive at the destination Post Office.