King County moves ahead with plan to pay for your ballot stamps

(Image: King County)

In an effort to buttress sagging turnout — especially among populations most likely to be disenfranchised by voting barriers — the King County Council voted Monday to move forward with prepaid postage for 2018 elections in the county:

King County Elections Director Julie Wise cites two successful pilots conducted last year, the unwavering support of councilmembers and the overall community need for the approval of this request as proof that prepaid postage works and is supported by all as a means towards stronger voter participation.

“I am grateful to the Council for their unwavering support in giving me the tools I need to continue removing barriers for our voters,” said Director Wise. “Prepaid postage along with our ballot drop boxes makes it easy for everyone to exercise their civic right to vote.”

The postage decision joins the county’s ballot drop boxes added in 2016 to locations including Broadway in front of Seattle Central across from E Howell as part of a King County-wide effort to increase turnout. In 2011, Washington shifted to all-mail elections but the percentage of eligible voters participating in midterm elections fell below 40%.

The decision would make $381,000 available to fund the free postage for King County voters. Gov. Jay Inslee is considering an emergency request by Secretary of State Kim Wyman for $2 million to fund prepaid postage for mail-in ballots statewide this year.

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2 thoughts on “King County moves ahead with plan to pay for your ballot stamps

  1. If postage free voting is not made available in every county then it will likely be struck down by the courts. Voters are supposed to have equal access to the ballot box. Providing some voters with a subsidy will at the very least piss off eastern Washington pols and is probably illegal.

    • As long as the state is providing equal access opportunity across the state, I think that passes legal muster. If an individual county wants to spend additional county money to improve voting access, I believe that’s on them. Take ballot boxes as example, not all counties provide them, especially not in the capacity that King County has done in recent elections, but there has never been a court case for “unequal access”.

      Eastern Washington politicians probably won’t like the statewide free postage proposal, because conservative politicians tend to thrive when less people vote.

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