United States Postal Service Mail Guidelines
Guidelines for Election Mail
The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), acknowledgement cards, and other election materials can all be sent postage paid via First-Class Mail to citizens covered by Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
Envelope Design and Printing
Follow these USPS guidelines when designing and printing your absentee balloting envelopes for UOCAVA voters:
- Use black ink on white paper
- Place Facing Identification Marks at the top right-hand corner of the mail piece
- Place "U.S. Postage Paid 39 USC 3406" in upper right-hand corner. Print "PAR AVION" below
- Print "Official Absentee Balloting Material–First-Class Mail" on front of envelope with "No Postage Necessary in the U.S. Mail–DMM 703.8.0" below
- Use the Official Election Mail Logo
Ballot Transmission Envelope Sample
Use this envelope style to send balloting materials to voters:
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Ballot Return Envelope Samples
Use these envelope styles when designing your voter ballot return envelopes. We request that you include your local election office's return address on the front of the envelope. Additionally, there are two samples of the back of the envelope. One is for use when a witness is required and the other is used when no witness is required. Use whichever envelope style your state law requires.
Ballot Return Envelope - Back (Witness not required)
Ballot Return Envelope - Back (Witness required)
(All files open in a new window and require Adobe Reader 7)
Postal Tag for Election Materials
What Is It?
Tag 191 identifies both domestic and UOCAVA election mail prepared at the First-Class Mail or Standard Mail rates. Tag 191 has a highly visible lime green color that displays the Official Election Mail Logo and the words "Ballots Only". The tag is not required but may be used for official ballot mail addressed for domestic or international delivery that is prepared in trays or sacks.
Can I Use It?
Only election officials may use Tag 191 to identify ballot mail. Organizations or individuals who send materials that promote political candidates, referendums, or political campaigns may NOT use the Tag.
How Do I Use It?
Attach Tag 191 to mail under these guidelines:
- Strapped Letter Trays: Attach using a wire twist tie to strap at the end of the tray that bears the tray label.
- Non-strapped Letter Trays: Attach to the tray with a rubber band that is double-looped through the tray handhold at the end that bears the tray label.
- Sacks with Flat-Size Mail: Depending on the type of sack, attach to either the strap or label holder on the sack.
How Do I Get It?
Ask your local Postmaster, Mail Piece Design Analyst, or Business Mail Entry Unit Contact to order a supply, and remember to make your request early.
More Expedited Mail Options
At your own expense, you may send balloting materials to UOCAVA citizens faster than first-class mail. USPS provides several options:
USPS and MPSA provide an Express Mail option for Uniformed Services personnel, voting age dependents and civilians stationed overseas through the Label 11-DoD. This label is used in even numbered years for Primary and General elections.
For Overseas APO/FPO Addresses
Consider using Express Mail Military Service (EMMS). EMMS offers 2-3 day service to locations throughout the world. It is available at all USPS facilities that accept domestic Express Mail. For guidelines and specifications, refer to Section 703.2.6 of the Domestic Mail Manual. Contact your local post office for more information about EMMS and its availability.
For Overseas Non-APO/FPO Addresses
Consider using one of the many expedited service options. Some of these services include: Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, and Priority Mail International. For more information about these services refer to USPS International Shipments.