California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation confirming that residents of California will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 general election.
The purpose of the bill is to provide an alternative to in-person voting to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The legislation, AB 860, which was authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman and Senator Tom Umberg, was signed on Thursday, June 18, after it passed through the state assembly.
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing AB 860 as soon as it reached his desk,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman, in a press release. “Californians will start voting in just over 100 days. In the midst of a deadly health pandemic, mailing a ballot to every California voter, and giving them the opportunity to vote from the safety of their own home, is the responsible thing to do. No Californian should have to risk their health – and possibly their life – to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
• Under the new bill, county election officials will be required to mail every active registered voter a ballot.
• Officials will also be required to process and count every ballot postmarked before and on election day, and arrive no later than 17 days after the election. The current law requires official to only county mail-in ballots that arrive three days after.
• Election officials will also start processing and counting ballots 29 days before Election Day, compared to the traditional 10 days before.
• The legislation will also set up a new tracking system for voters to check on the status of their mail-in ballot through text, voice call or email.
• Residents can sign up for the “Where’s My Ballot?” tool at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov.
Additionally, the State will still provide locations for in-person voting, but will set up safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.