Election officials should use First-Class Mail or a higher level of service for Election Mail. Using USPS Marketing Mail® service will result in slower delivery times and may increase the risk that voters will not receive their ballots in time to return them by mail.
State deadlines may not be compatible with the Postal Service’s established delivery standards. Election officials must keep the Postal Service’s mailing timeframes in mind if they choose to use mail as part of the electoral process. Additionally, election officials should take into consideration delivery times for different classes of mail when planning a mailing and follow our recommendations for Election Mail. To ensure that individuals who wish to use the mail to vote can do so successfully, it is critical that election officials take into account the time required for both legs of a ballot’s delivery through the mail — to the voter and back to election officials.
We recommend that jurisdictions advise voters to request ballots at the earliest point allowable but no later than 15 days prior to the election date, and that voters mail their completed ballots before Election Day and at least one week before the due date. Voters should contact their local election officials for information about deadlines.