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OLYMPIA – The state Senate has voted to require prepaid postage for ballot envelopes during all elections.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-White Center, is the latest effort to eliminate barriers to participation in Washington elections.

While both ballot drop boxes and prepaid postage are crucial to voter participation, an analysis by the King County Elections Department found that more voters took advantage of prepaid postage in 2018. The digital age has dramatically reduced, and even eliminated, the need for postage stamps for many Washingtonians, said Nguyen’s office.

Prepaid postage will allow everyone an equal and easy means of submitting ballots by Election Day, he said.

Washington authorized prepaid postage on a one-time basis for the 2018 midterm elections and Nguyen said he is optimistic that expanding the practice statewide on a permanent basis will increase participation.

Senate Bill 5063 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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