California Counties to will have to Prepay for Postage for Mail-In Ballots for Elections Starting in 2019
In July, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires counties to prepay postage for mail-in ballots for elections. The bill, AB 216, was signed in the hopes of increasing voter turnout during elections. The bill was proposed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez as a way to remove what she believed was an obstacle to voting. Lorena Gonzalez stated,
Once again, California leads the way to make voting more accessible to all of our citizens. No stamps? No problem! Nobody should be disenfranchised because they forgot to put a stamp on their ballot.
Lorena Gonzalez believes that the change will be especially helpfully for younger voters who might be less likely to use the postal system. Ten of California’s 58 counties had already planned to provide prepaid mail-in ballots for the November midterm election. The law will go into effect next year and counties will be able to file claims with the state to get reimbursed for postage costs. According to state officials, county elections agencies would have paid about $5.5 million if this law had been in place for the 2016 general election. We will have to wait and see if the new changes actually increase voter turnout.