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Oregon Lawmakers Consider Free Postage For Voting By Mail

Kevin Mooney
Northwest News Network
Oregon lawmakers will consider a measure that would mean voters returning ballots by mail wouldn't need a stamp.

Voting in Oregon could get even easier -- and cheaper. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would require the state to pay the postage when voters return their ballots through the mail.

The proposal in front of lawmakers would require the state to issue "business reply envelopes" when ballots are mailed to voters. This would let people return their ballots without stamps. The government would pick up the cost of postage.

Advocates, including the Oregon Bus Project, said millennials rarely mail anything and are often confused about where to buy stamps. They said having the state pay for postage would give younger voters more access to the polls.

The bill doesn't have a price tag yet, but if every eligible voter took advantage of the offer, it would cost the state more than $1.2 million per election.

In the last general election, however, only 38 percent of ballots were returned by mail. The rest were mostly dropped off at one of dozens of drop-box locations around the state.

The bill is scheduled for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee Tuesday.