The King County Council has approved the budget request made by Executive Dow Constantine on behalf of Elections Director Julie Wise that will provide King County voters with prepaid postage on returned ballots for the remainder of this year, starting with the August primary election.
Wise cites two successful pilots conducted last year, the 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 Wise said in a county press release issued early this week. “Prepaid postage along with our ballot drop boxes makes it easy for everyone to exercise their civic right to vote.”
With overwhelming support from the council, the request is viewed as a positive way to remove yet another barrier to voting. As such, the hope is that prepaid postage will encourage higher ballot return rates and allow all communities to become further engaged in the elections process.
“When your director of elections comes to you with an idea to increase voter access, you listen,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, prime sponsor of the ordinance. “Director Wise has shown a lot of leadership on prepaid postage ballots, and I was happy to support her.”
The press release indicated that this action has prompted statewide discussions about prepaid postage, demonstrating how King County Elections is a leader in providing inclusive elections. By increasing the number of ballot drop boxes, partnering with the Seattle Foundation to provide the Voter Education Fund, delivering materials and services in multiple languages and now offering residents prepaid postage, King County Elections continues to remove barriers for its voters and ensure every voice is heard, the press release said.