Primary, general election ballot return envelopes don’t need stamps this year

Primary, general election ballot return envelopes don’t need stamps this year

Your mail-in ballot will get to the election’s office without a stamp this year in Washington. It’s part of an initiative happening in every county in the state to make voting easier and more accessible.

The Spokane County Elections Department staff are busy this week sorting, stacking, and shipping out hundreds of thousands of voting packets so they make it to mailboxes in time for the August 7 primary election. Those packets should arrive in Spokane County voter’s mailboxes between Thursday and Monday.

Once voters get those packets, they’ll notice something different on the return envelope. The words no postage necessary are in the corner. That means no stamp is required.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said she’s excited for the change and hopes it will get more young people involved.

“Some of the younger generations are not accustomed to mailing and many of them don’t have stamps. So, this will make it much easier for all generations to be able to return their ballot, get it back to us, and have their vote counted,” Dalton said.

Prepaid postage already showed signs of increasing voter turnout. According to Dalton, a pilot program in King County last year revealed an increase between five and 10 percent in voter turnout.

Earlier this year, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the state will pay for prepaid postage on mail-in ballots in this year’s primary and general elections in every county, but King County.

Dalton said it’s created some challenges for her department, but she thinks it could make a big difference.

“We are looking forward to having more ballots to count and more people involved in the choice of who will be their elected official,” Dalton said.

Spokane County voters can drop their ballots in the white ballot drop boxes located across the county. The deadline to use those drop boxes is 8 p.m. on August 7 for the primary election.

Voters can also use the blue USPS drop box, but Dalton said look carefully at when the last pickup time is because the Spokane County ballot must be postmarked no later than August 7 for the primary election.

You can track the progress of your ballot here.