After Recall Election, Newsom Could Sign Bill to Make Automatic Vote-by-Mail Permanent

Gavin Newsom smirk (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)
Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) could sign a new bill making California’s “temporary” system of automatically sending vote-by-mail ballots to every registered voter in the state permanent, whether he is recalled in Tuesday’s election or not.

The bill, AB 37, would make the emergency measures adopted in 2020, and later extended in February 2021, permanent. It has already passed both houses of the California state legislature, and merely awaits Newsom’s signature. He could sign it today; he could also sign it in the interim before the results of the recall election are certified Oct. 22, even if he is ousted.

Newsom may have held off from signing the bill to avoid the appearance of a power grab, as Republicans and independent voters head to the polls. He has also refrained from imposing water restrictions or coronavirus closures before the election.

Democrats generally support automatic voter registration and vote-by-mail, since the general population is usually more aligned with the Democratic Party than the population of Americans who are likely to turn out to vote on their own. Some Republicans, however, also prefer voting by mail — particularly seniors, who tend to be more conservative in their outlook.

Republicans oppose vote-by-mail by arguing that it is more susceptible to fraud; that it rewards the most poorly-informed voters; and that no other major democracy conducts elections this way, preferring in-person, one-day, photo-ID voting.

Democrats claim, in turn, that Republican objections to broader voter participation, including by mail, are simply racist.

As the New York Times recently noted, five states already have universal vote-by-mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Of those, only Utah consistently votes for Republicans; the others have become more Democratic.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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