Oregon considers making election ballots free to mail

Providing postage on mail-in ballots would cost taxpayers about $650,000 per year

Drivers line up to drop off ballots outside Multnomah County election headquarters. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two Democratic state senators are backing a bill to provide free postage for Oregon election ballots.

The Statesman Journal reports that Michael Dembrow of Portland and Richard Devlin of Tualatin pushed the idea Monday before the Senate Rules Committee.

Oregon is one of three states that conduct elections entirely by mail, eliminating polling centers.

Providing postage on mail-in ballots would cost taxpayers about $650,000 per year. Devlin says if the legislation were to increase voter turnout by even 5 percent, it would be money well spent.

Voters who want to avoid paying postage already have the option of taking their ballots to county-designated drop-off sites. Devlin says those sites are not as numerous or convenient as former polling places.

The rules committee has not taken action on the bill.