April 6, 2011

POLLING PLACES FADING INTO HISTORY

WASHINGTON WILL become the second state in the nation (Oregon is the other state that allows all mail elections) to have all vote-by-mail elections under a bill that Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law Tuesday afternoon.

Senate Bill 5124, will replace a 2005 law that let all counties choose whether to have polling places or mail-in ballots, a move that supporters say will add clarity to state law and save money, but opponents say isn't fair to Pierce county, the only Washington county still to have in-person voting.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, said he had been a long-time supporter of bills to increase voting by mail in Washington, and it didn't make sense for his office to have to provide special outreach about in-person polling in Pierce County because so few people use it.

Reed said he had found mail-in ballots to increase voter participation, save money and give people time to do their research about the things they're voting for.

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