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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Monday enacting a universal vote-by-mail system in the state.
California sent vote-by-mail ballots to every registered voter in the state last year as part of its pandemic mitigation efforts, and that practice was left in place through this year as Newsom overcame an effort to recall him.
Newsom’s signature on Assembly Bill 37 will make that practice permanent by requiring the state to send ballots with prepaid return envelopes to all voters in statewide and local elections.
In a statement, Newsom said, “As states across our country continue to enact undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options and bolstering elections integrity and transparency.”
“Last year we took unprecedented steps to ensure all voters had the opportunity to cast a ballot during the pandemic and today we are making those measures permanent after record-breaking participation in the 2020 presidential election,” Newsom said.
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said in a statement that the bill will “permanently expand access and increase participation in our elections by making voting more convenient and meeting people where they are.”
“Vote-by-mail has significantly increased participation of eligible voters,” Weber said. “Voters like having options for returning their ballot whether by mail, at a secure dropbox, a voting center, or at a traditional polling station. And the more people who participate in elections, the stronger our democracy and the more we have assurance that elections reflect the will of the people of California.”
Critics of vote-by-mail systems allege that sending ballots by mail can lead to fraud.
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Original Author: Kate Scanlon
Original Location: Newsom makes vote-by-mail permanent in California