Peoria County voters will pay mail-in ballot postage next year
PEORIA (WEEK) - Until recently, Peoria’s mail-in ballots were free to receive and free to mail back but next year that will change.
“Starting in 2023 there won’t be postage prepaid on return vote by mail ballots,” Peoria County Election commission Executive Director Thomas Bride said
Bride said it costs the county from $14,000 to $18,000 in the 2020 general elections to pay for postage. In the June board meeting, the Board of Election Commissioners decided to end that commitment.
“It’s going to be a change and it’s something that the voters haven’t had to think about before,” Bride said.
The cost of the postage is still up in the air but they plan to keep the postage with a first-class stamp which runs about $.60. The election commission is working on a design that may keep the costs low.
“Ironically, because we’ve been paying prepaid postage we’ve always been very frugal and try to design the return materials and actually the outgoing materials related to vote by mail as efficiently as possible, we use every square inch for the notices we have to do,”
Some community members believed this wouldn’t deter voters but could be a barrier.
“Depends on their financial status, if they are able to get to a post office or to a store that has stamps where they can purchase them. If they can afford that,” Peoria resident Marie Lindahl said.
Others were against the idea completely.
“I feel like that’s really crappy, it feels like it could impact a lot of people negatively. It feels a little like a poll tax to me,” another Peoria resident Emily Winfield said.
Mail-in Voters can still use free drop boxes - two more will be added in Peoria for convenience.
“We’ll have one in the downtown area and one in the downtown Peoria area and one at the north edge of Peoria,” Bride said.
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