The following suggested checklist will help ensure a successful mailing:

Call Your Postal Service Election Mail Coordinator

▢ Discuss the specific purpose for the mailing (e.g., information, ballots, and voter registration)

▢ Discuss when you intend to present the mail to the Postal Service

▢ Discuss your delivery date requirements

▢ Determine if the mailing must go as First-Class Mail – USPS recommends the use of First- Class Mail postage on all outbound absentee or vote by mail ballots

▢ Determine where and when the mail pieces must be presented to the Postal Service to meet  your desired delivery dates

▢ Determine the size of the mailings

▢ Determine the best method of receiving return mail (e.g., P.O. box or Caller Service)

▢ Determine the best time to pick up the mail each day

▢ Determine the latest time when an election official can pick up returns

▢ Determine the final date for receiving return mail

▢ Determine the necessary postal equipment and supplies needed

▢ Determine payment method

▢ Determine what forms are needed for mailing and for postage payment

▢ Determine if the mailing must meet address or Move Update requirements

▢ Determine if the mailing needs to have an ancillary service endorsement (e.g., Return Service Requested)

▢ Determine if the mailing needs any Extra Services (e.g., Certified Mail, Registered Mail)

▢ Determine if the mailing needs to include a reply piece

▢ Decide if you plan to use Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail

▢ Decide if it is cost effective to use QBRM

▢ Prepare your address list

▢ Decide who should receive the mail pieces

▢ Compile your address list

▢ Ensure proper address list hygiene

▢ Validate physical address accuracy

▢ Validate that you meet the Move Update standard, if applicable

▢ File required forms for postage discounts and other mailing services (if needed)

▢ PS Form 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile (for Permit Imprint and Business Reply Mail permits)

▢ PS Form 3624, Application to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices

▢ PS Form 3623, Request for Confirmation of Authorization (or Pending Application) to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices

▢ PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box Service

▢ PS Form 1093-C, How to Apply for Post Office Caller Service

▢ PS Form 6805, Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) Application

▢ Mailpiece Design – Work with a Mailpiece Design Analyst to ensure mailpiece compliance

 Mailpiece Design Analysts (MDA) are trained to:

  • PS Form 3624, Application to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices
  • Provide pre-mailing pieces design consultation
  • Provide technical assistance to printers, graphic    designers, and envelope manufacturers
  • Offer guidance regarding automation rate qualification
  • Review mailpieces for adherence to USPS standards
  • Test paper and mail samples for thickness, color, flexibility, and barcode tolerances
  •  Analyze readability of actual mailpieces
  • Provide assistance with mailpiece design evaluations of Political Mail and Official Election Mail
  • Verify ZIP 4 & Barcode
  • Logo placement
  • Endorsements
  • Size, shape, weight
  • Barcode clearances
  • Review samples before printing

Before artwork is sent to printer:

  • Finalize design with MDA Official Election Mail Logo
  • Barcode
  • FIM
  • Return address Legend if needed
  • ​Submit pre-production proof

▢ Postal Service Recommendations

  • Voter communication is an essential component of preventing late ballots
    • Election Officials should consider including a voter notification in the ballot material packet to ensure the timely delivery of ballots
    • Return by mail date guidance based on state/local laws
  • Use letter-size reply envelopes
  • Board of Elections should use First-Class Mail postage on all outbound absentee or vote by mail ballots
  • Design reply envelopes to contain:
  • Use the Official Election Mail Logo on all Official Election Mail
  • Use IMb Tracing® a service which provides near real-time tracking information for your automation-compatible letters and flats
  • Use Tag 191 on all Domestic and International Ballot mailings

▢ Consider appropriate colors, weight limitations, proper wording, placement of postal markings, etc.

▢ Obtain an evaluation of the final mailpiece design before printing 

▢ Prepare and present the mailing

▢ Print mailing in time for preparation and delivery to Post Office

▢ Affix Tag 191 for Domestic and International Ballots

▢ Obtain postal supplies and equipment (e.g., carts, trays, stickers, rubber bands, tags)

▢ Prepare mailing for delivery to Post Office

▢ Obtain and complete postage statements to be presented with mailing:

  • If using Bulk First-Class Mail, you will need to use one or more forms in the 3600 series
  • If using Standard Mail, you will need to use one or more forms in the 3602 series

▢ Present mailing, postage statement, and check (payment) for postage account, if needed


Note: The following are trademarks of the United States Postal Service: ACS™, AEC II®, Business Reply Mail®, CASS™, Certified Mail®, Courtesy Reply Mail™, DMM®, DPV®, Express Mail®, First-Class Mail®, NCOALINK®, Official Election Mail®, Post Office™, Postal Explorer®, Postal Service™, Standard Mail®, USPS®,®, ZIP 4®. 

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checklist, election administration, United States Postal Service (USPS)