Don’t forget extra postage when you vote by mail

Voters are still confused about how much postage to put on their vote-by-mail ballots.

Here’s the low-down:

If you live in Contra Costa County, it will cost 59 cents to mail your ballot.

In Alameda County and Solano County, a single, first-class stamp will the do the trick.

Why is it different in each county? Because each county designs its own ballot. That process includes the selection of the card stock used for the ballot, which contributes to the weight of the ballot. Other factors include the font size used for the words on the ballot, which will determine the size of the ballot. Some counties have more ballot measures than other counties.

Neither the U.S. Post Office or Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir are particular about what kind of stamps you put on the ballot as long as it adds up to at least 59 cents.In fact, the post office loves it when you paste two first-class stamps on it; they make an extra quarter.

“You would be amazed at how many people place two first-class stamps on their ballot and could care less about the extra postage,” Weir said.   “Then, again, it is amazing how many (not many) place exact postage, a 42-cent plus two eight-cent Eisenhower stamps and a one-cent kestral stamp!   Then, there are those philatilists who place 10 stamps that make up $0.59.”

What happens if you don’t put enough postage of any variation on your ballot? Contra Costa County has a postage due account that will cover the cost, so it won’t get returned to the sender. But the ballot goes into a special pile for hand processing and it  will delay the delivery of your ballot to the election office.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen