Capitol Alert

You won’t have to put a stamp on your mail ballot starting in 2019

California voters will save themselves a few stamps after Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a measure requiring elections officials to provide prepaid mail ballots in future elections.

The law takes effect in 2019, so you must still pay for your own postage if you vote by mail this November. A handful of counties already include prepaid return envelopes with their mail ballots.

Voting by mail has become an increasingly common practice in California over the past decades, and in the June primary, five counties, including Sacramento, made the switch to a new system where all voters are mailed a ballot. More than two-thirds of California voters in June voted by mail.

If Californians vote at the rate they did in November 2016 – when more than 8 million voters cast mail ballots – legislative analysts estimate that providing prepaid return envelopes will cost about $5.5 million per election.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a San Diego Democrat who carried the bill, said it would make voting easier, particularly for young and low-income people who are less likely to have stamps.

“Once again, California leads the way to make voting more accessible to all of our citizens,” Gonzalez Fletcher said in a statement. “No stamps? No problem! Thank you, Jerry Brown.”

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