Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on May 8 to ensure that Californians can exercise their right to vote in a safe and accessible manner during the election in November.
The order requires that each county’s elections officials send vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters for the General Election on Nov. 3. Californians who may need access to in-person voting opportunities – including individuals with disabilities, individuals who speak languages other than English, those experiencing homelessness and others – will still be able to access in-person voting spaces.
“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” Newsom said. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote. Mail-in ballots aren’t a perfect solution for every person, and I look forward to our public health experts and the Secretary of State’s and the Legislature’s continued partnership to create safer in-person opportunities for Californians who aren’t able to vote by mail.”
The governor plans to continue working with the Legislature and secretary of state to determine how requirements for in-person voting opportunities and other details will be implemented while preserving public health and giving county elections officials flexibility. If by May 30, counties do not yet have clarity for in-person voting opportunities and other details, it may be necessary to issue a further executive order addressing these issues, Newsom said.
“California will not force voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “[California will be] the first state in the nation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing every registered voter a ballot. We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure and safe election this November.”
For information, visit sos.ca.gov.
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