LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Friday calling for every voter in the state to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the November election.
The state's 20.6 million registered voters will be mailed a ballot under the order, a first in the history of California.
Newsom pointed to public health concerns over voters showing up to polling places en masse and said he does not believe COVID-19 will have subsided by the time the November election rolls around.
The order requires that each county's elections officials send vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters. Californians who may need access to in-person voting opportunities – including individuals with disabilities, individuals who speak languages other than English, individuals experiencing homelessness, and others – will still be able to access in-person voting opportunities, Newsom said.
"Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy," said Newsom. "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 added if counties "do not yet have clarity for in-person voting opportunities and other details" by the end of May, a further executive order may be issued.
for more features.