King County testing pre-paid postage for ballots

img_8920In 2016, King County Elections added heavily used ballot drop boxes including the one on Broadway in front of Seattle Central that collected 16,000 ballots in November. In February, elections officials will test another much-requested feature for Washington’s all-mail ballots — pre-paid postage:

We’re excited to announce that King County Elections is testing pre-paid postage for the February special elections in Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District. During last year’s General Election, we received some questions from voters about why we didn’t pay for the postage on ballots returned through the U.S. Postal Service. We have considered the idea in recent years, but before we can implement pre-paid postage, we knew we had to test it out first.

“This is something I’ve wanted to test since I ran for office,” Julie Wise, King County Elections Director said in a statement. “Pre-paid postage is another tool to remove barriers to voting and increase convenience – and this pilot will help us understand what it might look like for King County.”

Officials say they are testing the pre-paid ballot envelopes “to determine a number of things, including whether paid postage results in more voters returning their ballots.”

The county estimates the cost of of the tests will be around $21,000 $12,000 to serve the 64,032 registered voters in Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District. King County Elections is predicting a 30% voter turnout rate. The county is only charged for ballots returned through the U.S. Postal Service.

How much would it cost to deploy across all of King County? With around 1.2 million voters across the county, the math works out to around $400,000  $225,000.

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2 thoughts on “King County testing pre-paid postage for ballots

  1. This seems so obvious for everyone, and if a minor tax increase needs to be implemented, so be it. A vote should be frictionless. Maybe it could be an option for where to spend our democracy vouchers?

  2. I think it’s ludicrous that taxpayer money is to be spent on furnishing stamps for voters. How damn difficult is it to buy a stamp and use it to vote? You don’t even have to go to the Post Office….almost all grocery stores sell them!