[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 85 (Thursday, May 2, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25677-25678]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10347]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Balloting Materials Postage

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service proposes to revise Mailing Standards of the 
United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM[supreg]) 
703.8.0 to require all ballot types to indicate that the proper amount 
of postage must be paid and to require balloting materials indicate the 
amount of postage for the return of ballots, unless mailed under the 
special exemption for military or overseas voting or returned under 
Business Reply Mail[supreg] service.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before June 3, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the manager, Product 
Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 4446, 
Washington DC 20260-5015. You may inspect and photocopy all written 
comments at USPS[supreg] Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 
11th Floor N, Washington DC, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through 
Friday. Email comments concerning the proposed rule, containing the 
name and address of the commenter, may be sent to: 
ProductClassification@usps.gov, with a subject line of ``Balloting 
Materials Postage.'' Faxed comments are not accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Monteith at (202) 268-6983, or 
Garry Rodriguez at 202-268-7281.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With the growth of no excuse absentee 
voting, and the spread of vote-by-mail efforts throughout the country, 
the United States Postal Service[supreg] has noted an increase in 
ballots mailed back to Election Officials with insufficient postage. 
Each election cycle presents a different set of parameters for ballot 
creation and for the size and weight of the mail piece. As a result, we 
believe that many voters may not be adequately informed of the 
sufficient amount of postage required to return a ballot by mail.
    To rectify this problem, the Postal Service is proposing that the 
balloting materials for all types of ballots whether disseminated 
hardcopy or electronically not qualified under the special exemption 
for military and overseas voting or returned under Business Reply Mail 
service must indicate in a prominent location the proper amount of 
First-Class Mail[supreg] postage that must be paid. This information 
must be included in the ballot materials (i.e., on the ballot, ballot 
instructions, mailing instructions, or the envelope) with the marking 
``Sufficient First-Class Mail postage must be applied.'' Alternatively, 
the marking ``Apply sufficient First-Class Mail postage here'' could be 
printed in the upper right corner of the address side of the envelope 
used by the voter to return the ballot to election officials.
    Additionally, the Postal Service is proposing that the balloting 
material indicate in a prominent location the specific First-Class Mail 
postage amount required for the return of the ballot to election 
officials, unless the ballot qualifies under the special exemption or 
is returned under Business Reply Mail service.
    Although we are exempt from the notice and comment requirements of 
the Administrative Procedure Act [5 U.S.C. 553(b), (c)] regarding 
proposed rulemaking by 39 U.S.C. 410 (a), we invite public comments on 
the following proposed revisions to Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by 
reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.
    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 111--[AMENDED.]

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-
1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 
3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.

0
2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), as follows:
* * * * *

700 Special Standards

    [Revise the heading of 703 as follows:]

703 Nonprofit Standard Mail and/or Other Unique Eligibility

* * * * *
    [Revise the heading of 8.0 as follows:]

[[Page 25678]]

8.0 Balloting Materials

    [Renumber 8.1 and 8.2 as 8.2 and 8.3. Add new 8.1 as follows:]

8.1 Basic Standards

8.1.1 Definition

    Balloting materials include postcard applications, all ballot 
types, voting instructions, mailing instructions, and return envelopes.

8.1.2 Postage

    Unless a ballot meets the eligibility requirements under 8.2 or is 
returned under 505.1.0, Business Reply Mail service, ballot materials 
for any election whether disseminated hardcopy or electronically must 
indicate in a prominent location that the proper amount of postage must 
be paid. This information must be included in the ballot materials with 
the marking ``First-Class Mail postage must be applied.'' 
Alternatively, the marking ``Apply First-Class Mail postage here'' may 
be printed in the upper right corner of the address side of the return 
envelope. Election officials should consult with postal officials to 
assist with mailpiece design, barcode placement, and to determine the 
proper amount of postage required for mailing ballots to voters and the 
return of ballots to election officials.

8.1.3 Notification of Postage Requirement on Return Ballots

    Except for ballots mailed under 8.2 or returned under 505.1.0, 
Business Reply Mail service, all return ballot types for any election 
whether disseminated hardcopy or electronically must indicate in a 
prominent location on the balloting materials the specific amount of 
First-Class Mail postage required for return by mail to election 
officials.
    [Revise the heading of renumbered 8.2 as follows:]

8.2 Special Exemption

8.2.1 Definition

    [Revise the introductory text of renumbered 8.2.1 as follows:]
    Balloting materials 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:
* * * * *
    [Delete renumbered heading 8.3, Marking, and renumber 8.3.1 as 
8.2.5, Exhibit 8.3.1 as Exhibit 8.2.5, 8.3.2 as 8.2.6, Exhibit 8.3.2 as 
Exhibit 8.2.6, and 8.3.3 as 8.2.7.]
* * * * *
    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to 
reflect these changes if our proposal is adopted.

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Legal Policy and Legislative Advice.
[FR Doc. 2013-10347 Filed 5-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P