California to expand mail-in ballot for the November election

California State Seal

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved legislation requiring county officials to send a mail-in ballot to every active registered voter statewide before the November General Election.

The newly-approved law, Assembly Bill 860, cemented Newsom’s earlier executive order to ensure that the November General Election is safe, secure, and accessible for every registered voter.

In a statement, Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), author of AB 860 and Chair of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee said, “Californians will start voting in just over 100 days. In the midst of a deadly health pandemic, mailing a ballot to every California voter, and giving them the opportunity to vote from the safety of their own home, is the responsible thing to do. No Californian should have to risk their health — and possibly their life — to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

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A majority of Californians are already voting by mail. In March, before the state’s Primary Election, around 78% of registered voters received a mail-in ballot.

California will not eliminate in-person voting. It will still be available to voters who prefer to cast their ballots at the polling centers. County officials will conduct in-person voting in a way that protects the health and safety of voters and election workers.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla commented, “California is moving in a swift, bipartisan manner to fortify our democracy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Padilla added that it is necessary to expand the vote-by-mail across the state to protect Californians’ right to vote and the public health.

“Voting by mail has worked safely and securely in California for decades. Mailing every voter a ballot for this election is simply common sense,” said Padilla.

Most Republicans in the State Legislature opposed expanding the mail-in-ballot. Those who supported the law explained that the so-called inactive voters, who did not participate in the previous elections, will not receive a mail-in ballot.

Last month, President Donald Trump slammed the proposal to expand the vote-by-mail, suggesting that it will result in a “rigged election.”