03-21-2019  4:27 am      •     
Betsy Toll of Living Earth Gatherings
Published: 07 May 2008

The implications of the US Postal Service's pending rate increase could be very significant for Oregon voters.  The US Postal Service has scheduled a 1-cent first class rate increase, to take effect May 12.  There has been very little publicity about this pending increase, particularly regarding how ballots mailed after May 12 with 41-cent postage will be handled by the Postal Service.  Oregon voters who participate in the state's vote-by-mail election need this information to be sure their ballot will be delivered and counted.    
If ballots are mailed after May 12 without the additional 1-cent postage, will those ballots be delivered to the appropriate elections offices in time to be counted, or be returned to sender? Do the state or county elections boards intend to pay the postage due on all these ballots? Experience shows that the Postal Service can take weeks to return mail deemed "undeliverable" back to the sender. 
In a vote-by-mail election with highly contested races across our state, this rate increase could inadvertently disenfranchise a significant portion of voters and even skew the election outcomes. 
The public needs to be informed about this change and how their ballots will be handled in the event that the new postage rate is not affixed to their envelope.
Betsy Toll
Living Earth Gatherings

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