Contents Index

E000 Special Eligibility Standards

E080 Absentee Balloting Materials


E080 describes the eligibility standards and required markings on envelopes or postcards for mailing absentee balloting materials.

1.0 Basic Standards


Balloting materials, consisting of postcard applications, ballots, voting instructions, and envelopes, may be sent through the mail without prepayment of postage to enable persons in the following categories to apply for registration and vote by absentee ballot when absent from the place of voting residence and otherwise eligible to vote as an absentee:

a. Members of the Armed Forces in active service and their spouses and dependents.

b. Members of the U.S. Merchant Marine and their spouses and dependents.

c. U.S. citizens residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia and their spouses and dependents residing with or accompanying them.


To be mailable without prepayment of postage, the balloting materials must be deposited at a U.S. post office, an overseas U.S. military post office, or an American Embassy or American Consulate.

1.3Between Officials

Balloting materials may be mailed between state and local election officials, individually or in bulk, without prepayment of postage. Packages of materials mailed in bulk must bear an address label as described in 2.0.

1.4Elections Affected

Materials may be for any general election of electors for President and Vice President, or of senators and representatives in Congress, and other general, primary, and special elections.

2.0 Marking


The envelope used to send balloting material and the envelope supplied for return of the ballots must have printed across the face the words “Official Absentee Balloting Material—First-Class Mail” (or similar language required by state law) in a rectangular box. Immediately below, the words “No Postage Necessary in the U.S. Mail—DMM E080” must be printed. Envelopes previously approved with the citations “DMM 137.3” or “DMM 138” must not be rejected. In the upper right corner of the envelope, in a rectangular box, the words “U.S. Postage Paid, 39 USC 3406,” must be printed. An appropriate inscription or blank spaces for the return address of the sender must be shown in the upper left corner (see Exhibit 2.1).


The federal voting registration postcard application must be approximately 5 by 8 inches. The design shown in Exhibit 2.1 must be printed on the address side of the card.


The correct facing identification mark (FIM) as described in S922 must be printed on the address side of envelopes and cards.

Exhibit 2.1Balloting Material Formats

Shows the format for a balloting material envelope and a voting registration postcard.

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)