Oregon to pay for ballot postage to boost voter turnout

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon will pay for prepaid postage on mail-in ballots for next year’s general election in an attempt to boost turnout.

The House voted 37-18 Sunday to allocate nearly $1.7 million to pay postage costs. The program could cost the state more depending on how many voters send in ballots.

Oregon switched to a vote-by-mail system in 2000. Gov. Kate Brown made prepaid postage a priority this year. She said low-income and younger residents don’t always have access to postage stamps.

Opponents say the move won’t noticeably increase voter turnout and that the money could be better used elsewhere.

Washington state and California also covers postage costs for mail-in ballots.