NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Legislature close to permanently authorizing prepaid postage for ballot return envelopes

Leg­is­la­tion to per­ma­nent­ly require that bal­lot return envelopes include pre­paid postage is on the the verge of becom­ing the law of the land in Wash­ing­ton State after the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives took action tonight on Sen­a­tor Joe Nguyen’s Sub­sti­tute Sen­ate Bill 5063, one of NPI’s leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties for 2019.

By a vote of eighty-three to ten, the House sent Nguyen’s bill back to the Sen­ate with amend­ments for final approval. Most of the cham­ber’s Repub­li­cans joined the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus in sup­port­ing the legislation.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5063
Bal­lots, pre­paid postage
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the House

Yeas: 83; Nays: 10; Excused: 5

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Boehnke, Caldier, Callan, Cham­bers, Chap­man, Cody, Cor­ry, Davis, DeBolt, Doglio, Dolan, Enten­man, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Gildon, Goehn­er, Good­man, Gra­ham, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hoff, Hud­gins, Irwin, Jink­ins, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Kretz, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Lovick, MacEwen, Macri, May­cum­ber, Mead, Mor­gan, Orcutt, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Ramos, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Rude, Ryu, San­tos, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Stan­ford, Steele, Stokes­bary, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Suther­land, Tar­leton, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Wer­ven, Vick, Volz, Walen, Walsh, Wylie, Ybar­ra, Young, Chopp

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Chan­dler, Dent, Dufault, Dye, Eslick, Jenkin, Kraft, McCaslin, Shea, Wilcox

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Hansen, Mor­ris, Mos­bruck­er, Shewmake

Among the Repub­li­cans vot­ing nay was J.T. Wilcox, the leader of the House Repub­li­can cau­cus. Most of Wilcox’s cau­cus, how­ev­er, opt­ed to sup­port the bill. Pre­paid postage for bal­lot return envelopes is fund­ed in both the House and Sen­ate ver­sions of the 2019–2021 oper­at­ing bud­get; SSB 5063 sim­ply changes the law to make pre­paid postage on bal­lot return envelopes mandatory.

We should have elim­i­nat­ed this bar­ri­er to vot­ing years ago. Now it’s final­ly hap­pen­ing and that’s a relief. This is a nice fol­low-on to last year’s ground­break­ing Access to Democ­ra­cy pack­age. Hope­ful­ly, not need­ing a stamp to return a bal­lot will fos­ter par­tic­i­pa­tion in this year’s local elections.

In 2015 and 2017, Wash­ing­ton set records for the worst gen­er­al elec­tion vot­er turnout in state his­to­ry. We don’t want to do that again in 2019.

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