For the 2008 General Election, the United States Postal Service® and the Military Postal Service have again joined forces to expedite delivery of absentee ballots to overseas military personnel during the period of September 15 through November 3, 2008. Both agencies recognize the important role mail plays in the election process and are committed to ensuring that everyone who votes by mail experiences a smooth, well-organized process — one that provides them with the highest levels of trust and confidence. The following Special Procedures for APO/FPO Absentee Ballots are provided for election officials and postal employees.
- Election officials should mail absentee ballots at least 30–45 days prior to the November 4, 2008, General Election. All military absentee ballots mailed by election officials between September 15 and November 3, 2008, will be subject to special handling procedures.
- Local election officials are requested to separate military absentee ballots to each of the three International Service Center (ISC) military gateways: New York, Miami, and San Francisco. The facing slip templates used to identify the ISCs can be found at www.usps.com/electionmail/absentee.htm, or obtained from the local MDA or BMEU.
- Trays or containers of absentee ballot mail may be identified using Tag 191 and presented to the Post Office. Election officials should contact their local Post Office for more information on standard procedures for ballot mail.
- APO/FPO absentee ballots will be sent from local Post Office locations to the nearest Processing & Distribution Center (P&DC) for further processing.
- The P&DC will expedite all military absentee ballots via the Express Mail network to each of the ISCs at no additional charge to the election office.
- At the ISC, absentee ballots receive special handling including accelerated sortation, special tray identification, and priority transportation.
Election officials should be requested to separate military absentee ballots by preparing direct bundles for each of the three ISC military gateways. Each bundle must be identified using a facing slip for the appropriate ISC. If there are less than five pieces to make a direct bundle, a mixed bundle may be prepared. Mixed bundles must have the facing slip marked, “APO/FPO MIXED — Absentee Ballots.”
When in doubt, election officials should check with the local Post Office. The latest information will be posted online at www.usps.com/electionmail/absentee.htm.