Vote-by-mail elections in Union and Wallowa counties just got a lot more inexpensive. That’s because the county clerk’s offices in both counties have switched to using a private mailing service to prepare and send out the ballots for the November 6 election. County officials say the move is expected to slash their costs by half, because the mailing service uses a mechanical inserter to place ballots inside envelopes. That means no more paying people to insert by hand. Also, the U.S. Postal Service provides counties using the mailing service a special bulk rate because computers place address bar codes on envelopes.