All California voters to receive mail-in ballot for November election, but in-person voting will remain

All registered voters in California will receive...

Posted: May 8, 2020 2:30 PM
Updated: May 8, 2020 4:15 PM

All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot for the upcoming November election, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during his daily pandemic briefing.

The state is not moving to mail-only, however, and in-person voting will remain an option.

'Mail-in voting is important, but it is not an exclusive substitute to physical locations,' Newsom said, noting that some people are simply not comfortable mailing in a ballot.

The move, resulting from an executive order Newsom signed earlier Friday, makes California the first state to make voting by mail in November an option due to the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

'This election is slated to be the most consequential election of our lifetime,' Padilla added, noting that postage on ballots will be pre-paid. 'We remain committed to providing as many safe, in-person opportunities to vote as possible on and before Election Day.'

The move coincides with the first day of California's partial reopening and comes as concerns about in-person voting during the coronavirus outbreak have brought the longstanding political clash over voting by mail to the fore.

Newsom announced Monday that shops including clothing stores, florists and bookstores will be allowed to offer curbside pickup services starting Friday.

All reopenings in the state will be subject to active monitoring and surveillance, though Newsom noted that some counties will be allowed to move further into the reopening process if certified by health officials and county supervisors.

'We will afford them that right with conditions and modifications that meet the health needs of the entire state,' he said Monday.

Newsom has proceeded with caution in reopening the Golden State, which has seen more than 62,500 cases and 2,500 deaths to date, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. California was among the first states to issue a stay-at-home order in March and joined in a pact with fellow Western states Washington and Oregon in April to begin incremental release of stay-at-home orders.

The vote-by-mail program marks the first time in California's history that ballots will be mailed to every registered voter in the state, according to Padilla's press secretary, Sam Mahood.

Republicans lambasted the move by the California governor, saying the election is now susceptible to voter fraud. They floated taking legal action to stop the decision.

Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh called the move 'a thinly-veiled political tactic by Gov. Newsom to undermine election security' and 'a wide open opportunity for fraud.'

'Everyone is concerned about the safety of voters, but jeopardizing election security is the wrong way to go about it,' he said in a statement, asserting that the state 'has a bad record' of maintaining its voter rolls.

Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest said in a statement that 'we are weighing our legal options to ensure the integrity of the election.'

'While we have always supported absentee voting, California is a case study in why automatically (sending) this many ballots is a problem,' he said.

But multiple states are looking to such options as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Ohio held a vote-by-mail primary last month, on the heels of at least 19 people in Wisconsin testing positive for coronavirus who said they voted in-person or worked the polls for the state's primary election, according to the state health department.

Groups with backers ranging from anti-Trump conservatives as well as former first lady Michelle Obama have come out in support of voting by mail to protect voters' health and safety. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has led the Republican charge against the effort.

Trump lied about mail-in ballots at a White House press briefing last month, claiming that 'people cheat' and that 'the mail ballots are corrupt, in my opinion.'

Vote-by-mail advocates point out that a handful of states, including the GOP-dominated state of Utah, already conduct their elections entirely by mail, and that a number of studies have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 578946

Reported Deaths: 10523
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2108744999
Riverside41983820
Orange40527724
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24995183
Fresno17846171
San Joaquin13870235
Alameda13631205
Santa Clara12962207
Sacramento12274179
Tulare11549198
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9867244
Contra Costa9787146
Ventura874093
San Francisco769267
Santa Barbara699672
San Mateo6431122
Merced573670
Monterey549437
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma375350
Madera246339
Placer237724
San Luis Obispo227817
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12876
Butte12388
Napa112911
Sutter9967
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6664
Mendocino47210
Shasta46910
Glenn4363
Colusa3965
Nevada3571
Tehama3031
Humboldt2864
Lake2402
Amador1853
Mono1581
Tuolumne1552
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
Oroville
Clear
94° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 94°
Paradise
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Chester
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 84°
Red Bluff
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 91°
Willows
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 90°
Warm temperatures and a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger are ahead for our region today. The heat ramps up this weekend and that will prompt an Excessive Heat Watch for the valley and foothills.
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