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California bill requires free postage for mail ballots

FILE - In this July 17, 2017 file photo Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is requiring counties to provide free postage for vote-by-mail ballots statewide.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that he signed the bill requiring that return ballot envelopes have prepaid postage.

Currently, 10 of the state's 58 counties plan to provide postage ballots for the November election. Counties would bear the cost but they may be able to claim reimbursement from the state.

It would have cost $5.5 million had the law been in place for the 2016 general election. The measure affects elections starting next year.

Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego says the bill eliminates a barrier that disproportionately discouraged voting by young adults because they are less likely to regularly use the postal system.

She says postage can cost up to $1 per ballot.

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The bill is AB216.

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