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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: Jun 18, 2020 3:50 PM
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: 3213222

Reported Deaths: 37543
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles107967215314
San Bernardino2660281678
Riverside2643632857
Orange2377082704
San Diego2286322375
Santa Clara985831264
Kern90564591
Fresno858081067
Sacramento841101185
Alameda70823896
Ventura66402525
San Joaquin59665835
Contra Costa55245489
Stanislaus49065796
Tulare43574542
Monterey37527259
San Mateo34294340
San Francisco30559293
Santa Barbara27149267
Solano27041115
Imperial25707510
Merced25575331
Sonoma25141251
Kings20138161
Placer17839188
San Luis Obispo16957158
Madera14000151
Santa Cruz13009135
Marin12024165
Yolo11210138
Shasta10054129
Butte9820136
El Dorado818462
Sutter806983
Napa800548
Lassen526916
San Benito522351
Yuba517630
Tehama446846
Tuolumne347740
Nevada335574
Mendocino329336
Amador306733
Lake272432
Humboldt262427
Glenn202622
Colusa18719
Calaveras170423
Siskiyou149913
Mono11454
Inyo105129
Del Norte8742
Plumas6135
Modoc3903
Mariposa3555
Trinity3065
Sierra950
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Cloudy
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Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 28°
Oroville
Cloudy
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Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 33°
Chico
Cloudy
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Hi: 39° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Red Bluff
Cloudy
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Hi: 25° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: 28°
Red Bluff
Cloudy
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Hi: 41° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 28°
Chico
Cloudy
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Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 28°
A Pacific storm is now moving into northern California. The clouds have arrived, the wind is getting stronger, and we can expect areas of rain and snow tonight, and it will be heavy at times. Snow will fall down to the valley floor through Wednesday morning.
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