California Governor Gavin Newsom has been busy signing new laws into effect since he escaped recall two weeks ago. Now he has just enacted a law that cements mail-in balloting in California, a process that doubtlessly helped him hold onto power.
The process that was inspired by California’s response to the COVID pandemic is becoming a permanent part of the state’s election code. As a replacement for in-person voting on a single election day, every registered voter in the state will be mailed an official ballot to be completed and submitted by return mail.
California joins seven other states with a law requiring ballots to be sent to voters by mail. The bill’s principal sponsor was Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), who said mailing ballots to voters “provide access.”
The new law applies to local elections as well as state-wide contests. Cities and counties will be responsible for the cost of preparing ballots and pre-paid postage.
The law codifies executive orders issued by Newsom previously as pandemic relief measures. The governor was sued regarding Republican state legislators Kevin Kiley of Rocklin and James Gallagher of Yuba City. He alleged that the state constitution requires changes in the election code to be made only by formal legislation.
The Republican lawmakers won their case at the trial court level, but the case is now likely irrelevant given the formal change in the law made by the legislature.
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) served as California’s secretary of state as Gov. Newsom was busy issuing unconstitutional executive orders to permit the mail-in process. Padilla fought against and ignored court orders that required California to purge its voter rolls of deceased or ineligible persons to vote.
Without authorization from the state controller, he signed a $35 million contract with a private firm with close ties to Joe Biden to make the California 2020 election “safe.” Padilla was rewarded with an appointment from Newsom to the Senate seat opened up with the election of Kamala Harris as vice president.
The permanent mail-in procedure will work alongside California’s “motor voter” law, automatically registering anyone who obtains a license or state identification card to vote. The registration to vote is automatic for all persons, including non-citizens.