California Legislature OKs bill to mail ballot to all voters

State lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a bill to require county election officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 6:04 AM
Updated: Oct 19, 2020 6:04 AM

Los Angeles (AP) — The California Assembly on Thursday sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a bill to require county election officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter, cementing into law the Democratic governor’s earlier order to mail out ballots statewide in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Newsom, citing health risks, announced in early May that the state will send every voter a mail-in ballot for the November contest, but that order has been challenged in court. If signed, the bill would give the order the force of law and provide “clarity” for election officials, said Assemblyman Marc Berman, a Menlo Park Democrat who sponsored the bill.

"No one should have to risk their health and possibly their life to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” Berman said in a statement. “In the midst of a deadly health pandemic, giving all California voters the opportunity to vote from the safety of their own home is the responsible thing to do.”

In-person voting places will remain available for those who might need them.

The spread of mail-in voting as a reaction to potential health risks from the virus has become a point of conflict between Democrats and Republicans nationally.

President Donald Trump has been among the skeptics and has said that “a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” without providing evidence.

The bill was passed 68-5, with six members not voting. The opponents were all Republicans.

Republicans who backed the bill noted that ballots will not be mailed to so-called inactive voters, who have not participated in recent elections.

Historically, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting. In the state’s March primary, more than 75% of California voters received a vote-by-mail ballot.

With the move to statewide mail-in ballots, California hopes to avoid the problems that plagued presidential primaries in Wisconsin and Georgia, where thousands of voters, some without protective face masks, were forced to wait for hours in long lines.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1145209

Reported Deaths: 18862
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3741347497
San Bernardino875421129
Riverside821751417
San Diego74361984
Orange719531556
Kern39437445
Fresno36688477
Sacramento34186550
Santa Clara31603467
Alameda27857499
San Joaquin24804504
Contra Costa22747258
Stanislaus20932420
Tulare19882304
Ventura18480175
Imperial15568355
San Francisco14662158
Monterey14265115
San Mateo13561170
Sonoma11608155
Merced11388179
Santa Barbara10944133
Kings1025987
Solano974581
Marin7596129
Placer614868
Madera593883
San Luis Obispo581135
Shasta447043
Yolo436374
Santa Cruz400328
Butte376559
Sutter294814
Napa281117
El Dorado20184
Yuba186610
San Benito176716
Lassen17153
Tehama152623
Mendocino144122
Nevada11319
Glenn8537
Lake84519
Tuolumne8068
Humboldt8019
Colusa6636
Siskiyou5652
Mono5073
Amador45716
Calaveras43421
Del Norte2961
Inyo28016
Plumas1810
Trinity1240
Mariposa1202
Modoc1180
Alpine420
Sierra190
Unassigned00
Chico
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Tuesday was another beautiful day for northern California as a cold front began to bear down on the West Coast. We can expect increasing clouds late tonight, stronger breezes, and a chance for mountain rain and snow showers.
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