California voters can now vote postage-free by mail as lawmakers to sign it into law

By , in Los Angeles on .

Votes in California will no longer use stamps for their ballots to vote under a  legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown for postage-free voting.

If approved, Assembly Bill 216 would require county elections officials to deliver prepaid postage slips with ballots mailed to voters. The people of California frequently avoid putting enough stamps on an their voting slip, or sometimes, send the ballot box back without any postage. Some of those ballots are ultimately delivered by postal officials.

Supporters of this bill express their interest stating, the long length of ballots in some elections sometimes stretching to multiple slips can leave voters unprepared. Some counties in the city of California provides postage-paid slips to return ballots, others don’t.

“These inequities and confusions will only increase as voting by mail becomes more prevalent,” state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said during a brief floor debate Thursday.

The bill, however, offers no funding to counties for the cost of prepaid ballot slips. A Senate analysis used the number of mailed ballots in the November 2016 election to come up with a rough estimate of $5.5 million! But that number depends solely on the length of the ballot boxes, the number of candidates and propositions that stretch into several pages in some counties & the number of people who choose to vote by mail, these are the factors that will affect the cost.

Absentee vote will steadily be on the rise as more counties adopt a 2016 state election law that allows counties to close polling places in favor of a more limited number of all-purpose “vote centers.”

Staff analysis points out that California’s past budgets have suspended the mandates that require counties be paid for services, often including election rules. In most cases, local officials simply pay the extra costs out of their existing budgets.

This bill was passed in the Assembly last year and first introduced in early 2017. Brown, who has taken no position on AB 216, now has 12 days either to allow it to become law in 2019, or veto it.

 

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Bob Allen

Bob Allen

Bob Allen is The Daily Telescope''s senior editor. He is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a bestselling author. He lives in Los Angeles and covers the intersection of money, politics and finance. He appears periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com. He also has served as a journalist and consultant on documentaries for NPR and ShowTime. In 2014, he was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' investigative journalism award, and the winner of the Izzy Award for Journalism from Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media. He was also a finalist for UCLA's Gerald R. Loeb Award and Syracuse University's Mirror Award. Before becoming a journalist in 2006, Sirota worked in Washington for, among others, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Minority Staff and the Center for American Progress.
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