Sometimes it doesn't pay to be first.
Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Tuesday announced a new law that would fund pre-paid postage for mail-in ballots statewide—except King County.
King County voted last week to adopt pre-paid postage for ballots to increase voter participation. In response to criticism from some state officials who said it would disproportionately bring a stronger voice to King County residents for statewide measures, Inslee and Wyman said they would pay $1.2 million to fund 38 of the 39 counties—leaving King County to fund its own pre-paid postage.
In a joint statement from King County executive Dow Constantine, chair Joe McDermott, and elections director Julie Wise, urged the state to reconsider and said they'd seek a vote in the Legislature.
"The decision to exclude King County—and only King County—from the state reimbursement plan for prepaid ballot postage is grossly unfair," they said. "Our 2.2 million residents already fund a disproportionate share of the state's budget. King County will continue to make voting easier and more accessible, and if needed we will go to the Legislature next year to again seek fair treatment for our residents."
King County would've cost the state another $600,000, according to Inslee's press release.
Wyman said Inslee would sign the bill in 2019 and would make Washington the first state to adopt permanent pre-paid postage for voting by mail.
"This is about leveling the playing field and making elections equal for all citizens of Washington state," Wyman said.