Section II. Using Reply Mail and Sending Mail to Armed Forces Personnel and Overseas Voters

Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM): If you provide return envelopes for mail such as ballots, consider using BRM or QBRM service. BRM is a First-Class Mail service that enables you to pay the return postage (including a per-piece fee) for those mailpieces returned to you. You can distribute BRM cards, envelopes, self-mailers, cartons, or labels and have them returned to you at any Post Office. The mailpieces you distribute need to conform to a specific format, including use of a unique ZIP+4 code assigned by the Postal Service.

QBRM is best if you are anticipating an annual return mail volume of approximately 621 or more return letters, or 547 or more cards. QBRM service provides you with discounts on postage and per-piece fees; however, it applies only to automation-compatible cards and letter-size mail weighing up to and including 2 ounces. The design must be approved by a Postal Service mailpiece design analyst before distribution, and there are requirements for advance deposits and accounting fees.

For more information on BRM and QBRM, see Quick Service Guide 505, Business Reply Mail and Qualified Business Reply Mail Fact Sheet for Election Mail located within Kit 600, and DMM 505.1.1.3 to 505.1.2 and 505.1.6 at https://pe.usps.gov/text/dmm300/505.htm#1_0.

Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM): CRM consists of pre-addressed postcards or envelopes that you provide to voters both to expedite their responses and to ensure their responses are sent to the correct return address. CRM differs from BRM in that the voter is responsible for applying the correct postage when mailing back the reply piece and it does not require a permit account or payment of fees. For further information, see Courtesy Reply Mail Quick Service Guide 505a, https://pe.usps.com/text/qsg300/Q505a.

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service: Balloting materials for any election, whether disseminated in hardcopy or electronically, must indicate in a prominent location the proper amount of First-Class Mail postage that must be applied, except in certain circumstances for balloting materials for military and overseas voters or where postage is prepaid. This information must be included in the balloting materials (i.e., on the ballot, ballot instructions, mailing instructions, or the envelope) with the marking “First-Class Mail postage must be applied.”

The marking “Apply First-Class Mail postage here” could be printed in the upper-right corner of the address side of the envelope used by the voter to return the marked ballot to election officials. The Postal Service will also accept approved variations of the indicia enumerated above.

The marking requirements will not apply to balloting materials that meet one of the following exceptions:

Shortpaid and Unpaid Absentee Balloting Materials: Shortpaid and unpaid absentee balloting materials will not be returned to the voter for additional postage. Postage is collected from the election office upon delivery or at a later date. The Postal Service will not delay delivery of balloting materials with insufficient postage.

Absentee Balloting Materials for Military Personnel and Overseas Voters: You may send absentee balloting materials through the mail without prepayment of postage for certain elections when the absentee balloting materials allow eligible persons in the following categories to apply for registration and vote by absentee ballot when absent from their place of voting residence:

You must prepare balloting materials in accordance with DMM 703.8.0 at https://pe.usps.gov/text/dmm300/703.htm#ep1174014.