Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



State Government & Tribal Relations Committee

HB 1209

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Providing prepaid postage for all election ballots.

Sponsors: Representatives Hansen, Jinkins, Tarleton, Rude, Valdez, Dolan, Ortiz-Self, Kilduff, Thai, Frame, Slatter, Bergquist, Leavitt, Macri, Tharinger, Goodman, Riccelli and Stanford; by request of Governor Inslee.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires prepaid postage to be included on all ballot return envelopes for all elections.

  • Requires the State to reimburse counties in all elections for the cost of return postage.

Hearing Date: 2/1/19

Staff: Desiree Omli (786-7105).


State Share of Election Costs.

The State must pay a prorated share of the cost of any primary or general election in odd-numbered years when state officers or measures are on the ballot. The State must also pay a prorated share of costs associated with elections held to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate or House of Representatives. In addition, the State is required to pay the costs of mandatory recounts for statewide measures.

Elections Materials.

The county auditor must send each voter a ballot, security envelop in which to conceal the ballot after voting, a large envelope in which to return the security envelope, a declaration that the voter must sign, and instructions on how to obtain information about the election, how to mark the ballot, and how to return the ballot to the county auditor.

A person may return a ballot by various ways, one of which includes by mail at his or her own expense.

Summary of Bill:

The return envelope for all elections must include prepaid postage. The State must reimburse counties in all elections for the cost of including return postage on mailed ballots.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on July 1, 2019.