California will distribute mail ballots to all voters indefinitely.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Monday requiring the state to send voters mail ballots in all elections.
The statute extends the practice of county election authorities mailing a ballot to every active registered voter for every election, whether they request one or not, that began in the 2020 election in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters still have the option of voting in person at a polling station if they so desire.
California is enhancing voter access, extending voting alternatives, and bolstering elections integrity and transparency as states throughout the country pass undemocratic voter suppression measures, according to Newsom. “Last year, we took unprecedented steps to guarantee that all voters had the opportunity to vote throughout the pandemic, and now, after record-breaking participation in the 2020 presidential election, we are making those measures permanent.”
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Assemblymember Marc Berman of Menlo Park, also extends the deadline for postal votes to arrive at election offices from three to seven days after the election.
According to state data, almost 70% of eligible Californians voted in the 2020 election, the greatest turnout rate for a general election in the state since 1952.
Furthermore, since 2012, more than half of all votes cast in general elections in the state have been mailed, despite the fact that voters formerly had to request a ballot from county officials.
In an effort to increase mail-in voting and avoid the spread of COVID-19, California will distribute mail ballots to all registered voters in May 2020. The practice was extended until 2021 and was used during the recall vote against Newsom on Sept. 14.
Many states, notably Florida, Georgia, and Texas, have passed legislation to make it more difficult to vote by mail or at other sites other than polling places.
The US Department of Justice has taken steps to combat these laws, including filing a lawsuit against Georgia and publishing guidance informing states of their legal obligations when performing post-election audits and revisions to voting rules.
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