Official Election Mail

  • What is Official Election Mail?

    Any mailpiece created by an authorized voting registration official that is mailed to or from a citizen of the United States for the purpose of participating in the voting process. Official election mail includes mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, balloting materials, voter registration cards, absentee applications, and polling place notifications.

  • Is political mail sent by candidates running for elected offices considered to be Official Election Mail?

    No, Official Election Mail does not include Political Campaign Mail (pertaining to a partisan or nonpartisan election that is sent by a registered political candidate, a campaign committee, or a committee of a political party to promote political candidates, referendums, or political campaigns) or political message mail (mail from organizations, such as labor unions, religious groups, retiree associations, and others that endorse specific candidates or political issues).

  • Is it okay to print on the back of return ballot envelopes?

    The U.S. Postal Service® recommends printing only the address and barcode of the election office on the front of the ballot return envelope and leaving the back blank. Some jurisdictions include a block for the voter’s signature, address, and delivery barcode on the back of the envelope voters use to return the ballot. 

    Although we are able to deliver these envelopes to their intended destination, occasionally our mail processing equipment may read the voter’s address and barcode on the return envelope instead of the election office address. This may cause the ballot mail to be delayed or returned to the voter.

  • Is the use of Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) required on election mailpieces?

    No. However, the Postal Service recommends the use of the Intelligent Mail barcode to aid mailers in tracking individual mailpieces.

Tag 191

  • What is Tag 191?

    Tag 191, Domestic and International Mail-In Ballots, is a mail container tag that is green in color. The tag may be used by election officials to identify trays and sacks of ballot mail destined for either domestic or international addresses. The tag provides greater visibility for ballot mail during Postal Service handling.
    Two sides of the same tag. Three-quarters is light green, stating that "This tag intended for DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL BALLOTS ONLY" and the other side says "BALLOTS ONLY." The bottom quarter of both sides is white, with the logo of USPS's Official Election Mail.

  • Can Tag 191 be used with any type of election mail that displays the Official Election Mail Logo?

    No, the green Tag 191 may be used only to identify ballots addressed for domestic or international delivery. The tag may be used to identify "sample ballots" sent by election officials, but may not to be used to identify containers of other types of OEM, such as polling place notices, voter registration notices, or other ballot-related materials. 

    Tag 191 may not be used by organizations or individuals who are not election officials or who send materials that promote political candidates, referendums, political campaigns, or a political message. To identify qualified Political Campaign Mail, registered campaign mailers may continue to use the red Tag 57, Political Campaign Mailing.

  • Is Tag 191 required to be on containers of ballot mail?

    No, the use of Tag 191 is strongly recommended for ballots, but is not required.

  • Can election officials use Tag 57 to identify their mailing containers?

    No, Tag 57, Political Campaign Mailing, is only to be used to identify trays and sacks of Political Campai

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