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King County Council disappointed state won’t fund their ballot postage

The early bird gets the worm. But before waking up early it’s worth checking to make sure the state isn’t about to give away a bunch of worms for free.

Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman released a joint statement this week, announcing state-funded prepaid postage for ballots in every Washington county except one: King County. Joe McDermott, the chair of the King County Council, is frustrated.

“When a state is going to make an investment in elections, I believe they should do that statewide,” McDermott told KTTH’s Jason Rantz.

Just a week ago the King County Council passed their own measure funding paid postage for ballots for King County voters. This passage forced the hand of state officials. They worried the paid postage would boost turnout, so they’re spending $1.2 million to pay for the ballot postage of all the other counties to keep things fair.

“They’re going to front the money for 38 counties,” McDermott said, “and the 39th county, they will go to the legislature and ask for reimbursement come January. You know that you can’t count on anything the legislature is going to do until it’s done.”

None of this is to say McDermott isn’t supportive of the idea, in general.

“I’m glad that everyone in the state will have postage paid ballots to return their ballots this fall,” McDermott said. “I think that’s an important investment in democracy and one we’ve seen in King County dramatically improve voter participation, the number of ballots that are returned.”

The Associated Press reports that Wyman originally asked Inslee for the $2 million to fund all 39 counties, but ultimately they said they could only come up with  $1.2 million. McDermott is asking them to keep trying to find the money.

“I’d invite the Governor and the Secretary of State to dig deeper into the budgets,” Mcdermott said.

 

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