California becomes 8th U.S. state to make universal mail-in ballots permanent


LOS ANGELES, Sept.27 (Reuters) – California on Monday became the eighth and by far the largest US state to make universal distribution of mail-in ballots permanent, a practice that has become widespread during the COVID crisis. 19. Election cycle 2020.

The measure requiring the systematic sending of postal ballots to every active registered voter has now been enacted by Gov. Gavin Newsom as the centerpiece of a package of bills aimed at improving the overall electoral system of the State.

Its passage in one of the country’s most heavily Democratic and populous states contrasted starkly with a wave of new voting requirements and limits passed this year by Republican-controlled legislatures in Texas and the battlefield states. from Georgia, Florida and Arizona.

Republicans who advocate such restrictions have spoken of the need for tighter election security to root out suspected frauds which former President Donald Trump said without evidence cost him the November election. Trump and other members of his party have wrongly referred to mail-in ballots, in particular, as somehow vulnerable to tampering.

Democrats and some Republicans countered that these claims are unfounded and that improving voter comfort through ballots that can be delivered by mail or to “drop-box” collection sites only works. ” increase voter turnout.

“When voters receive a ballot in the mail, they vote,” California lawmaker Marc Berman, chief author of the Postal Voting Bill, said in a statement. “We saw it in the 2020 general election when, in the midst of a global health pandemic, we had the highest turnout in California since Harry Truman was president.”

California voters still have the option of voting at polling stations on election day if they choose.

California was one of four states – along with Nevada, Vermont and Utah – to adopt universal mail-in ballots during the 2020 election cycle as an alternative to in-person voting in response to the COVID-19 crisis .

Like Utah, California had already started allowing county-by-county postal voting before the pandemic, but extended it to all voters in 2020. The practice has been extended statewide temporarily until 2021 , including the recent recall election of governors.

The bill that Newsom signed on Monday makes California the eighth state – along with Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Hawaii – to make the arrangement permanent, according to electoral reform advocacy group RepresentUs.

Utah is one of a handful of states where Republican-majority legislatures have adopted measures that make voting easier, not easier. Read more

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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