Oregon passes bill providing free postage for election ballots

Oregon passes bill providing free postage for election ballots
© Greg Nash

Oregon lawmakers on Sunday passed a measure that will no longer force voters in the state to put a stamp on a ballot when mailing it back to election officials.

The bill, passed in the final hours of the 2019 legislative session, would require ballot return envelopes to include prepaid postage, according to the Oregonian.

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Gov. Kate Brown (D) is expected to sign the bill, putting the law into effect in January 2020, in time for that November's presidential election.

The law will allow Oregon voters to mail their ballots from anywhere in the United States without needing a stamp. Election officials will send out a “business reply mail” envelope with each requested ballot. Vote by mail is reportedly the standard for voting in Oregon.

The Oregonian notes that the U.S. Postal Service will instead collect the money from postage from the county election offices instead of the voters.

The bill passed the Democratic-controlled state House largely along party lines.

One lawmaker who opposed the legislation, state Rep. Jeff Reardon (D), said he doesn’t see the need for the new law.

"I can’t get my head around the necessity of doing this,” he said. “Stamps are pretty readily available.”