Voters rights and free postage

So, this week, after I got done giving Buddy his weekly trim, I took time to catch up on the news.

I discovered a new bit of legislation that really puzzled me.

Our state lawmakers are considering providing prepaid (see that as free) postage for all election ballots. That is interesting as the U.S. Postal Service just raised the Forever stamp to 50 cents.

Washington voters, have been mailing in ballots since 2011 and providing the postage, which I see as a small price to pay to voice our opinion concerning the people leading this state and the nation.

I’ve been voting since I was 18, a fact I’m proud of because I was the first teenager in Klickitat County to register when the bill went into effect in 1970.

I always enjoyed going to the polls, and seeing other people standing in line to cast their vote.

The poll gatherings were social occasions as most people stood and visited while waiting for their turn in the voting booth.

I know that tradition continues in some states. But in Washington, the voting process is done while resting in your pajamas and slippers, sitting in your comfy recliner on a Saturday morning with your yapping Yorkie helping out. Well… at least that is how it happens at my house.

I put a stamp on the envelope and mail it back to Charlie Ross, the Yakima County Auditor and… Voila! I’m done.

The basis for having free postage has to do with those people who don’t put a stamp on the ballot and mail it anyway. People probably don’t realize that somebody has to pay the return postage, and that is a burden on counties.

This new bill, SB5063, would require the state to reimburse counties for the cost of return postage on election ballots. That free postage is still being paid by you, the voter, through your taxes. But never mind that.

One of the stranger reasons for simply eliminating postage to voters is that younger voters apparently have never heard of stamps.

Well, for those voters, maybe one day we’ll all vote like they do in the Mocking Jay book series — en mass using a cell phone. At least in that case, the popular vote would count.

Many counties have tried to help out those voters who don’t have a stamp. They have put big ballot boxes in public places so the ballots can be deposited there.

But I guess even that is a little too strenuous for some of us.

Ironically, in Sunnyside the ballot box is located next the Post Office, another popular social gathering place.

How funny is that?

No word if that bill has passed yet.


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