It’s political season so here’s some information about political and election mail you might find helpful by Ann Plunkett

From Labor Day to Election Day is likely to be a busy time for many mailers. Why? Because Political Mail is a cost effective and easy way to promote candidates and get messaging across to voters. In addition, a large number of voters across the nation will cast their ballots by domestic absentee ballot or by mail.

Advanced planning assures that Political and Election mailings meet USPS® standards and will arrive on time.

Political Mail vs. Official Election Mail. What is the difference?

Political Mail

Political Mail is material promoting political candidates, referenda, or campaigns. Political candidates, federal, state or local campaign committees, or political parties can all send Political mail.


Election Mail

Official Election Mail is any item mailed to and from authorized elections officials that enables citizens to vote. Ballot materials, voter registration cards, absentee ballot applications, and polling place notifications are all examples of Official Election Mail.

Election officials should consult with Postal officials to assist with mailpiece design and barcode placement and to determine the proper amount of postage required for mailing ballots to voters and the return of ballots to election officials.


Political and Election Mail can be sent under the following mailpiece types and mail classes:

  • EDDM® – flats
  • First-Class Mail® – postcards, letters or flats
  • USPS Marketing Mail® – letters or flats
  • USPS Marketing Mail, Nonprofit – letters or flats

Consider the following when setting mail dates and targeting in-home dates:

  • USPS Marketing Mail Delivery: 3 -10 business days
  • First Class Mail Delivery: 1-3 business days
  • Travel time, distance from BMEU – urban vs. rural
  • APO/FPO ballots need extra mailing time and special tags
  • Drop Shipping opportunities – bring the mail closer to its final destination

As with any mailpiece, it is critically important for the mailer to comply with the USPS specifications regarding size, weight, stock and mailpiece design. It is best to contact a Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) to assist with mailpiece design and artwork prior to printing and mailing. Contact an MDA by calling 855-593-6093 or sending an email to mda@usps.gov.

For additional details go to  https://pe.usps.com/MailpieceDesign/index?ViewName=MDASupportOverview

Political and Election Mail is flagged with Red/Green tags attached to the containers to alert the USPS.

Effective July 27, 2020, new IMb Political and Election Service Type IDs were released. https://postalpro.usps.com/mailing/service-type-identifiers

So hopefully this is enough information to get you started. As with mailings in general, there are so many things to know and it’s not feasible to cover everything here. The resources I mentioned along with the DMM should get you moving in the right direction.

Have fun and good luck!


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