SACRAMENTO–Today, Governor Newsom issued an executive order requiring county elections officials send vote-by-mail ballots for the November General Election to all registered voters.
In response to this action, Brittany Stonesifer, Voting Rights Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, said:
“We applaud Governor Newsom for ensuring today that California’s response to this pandemic includes a commitment to inclusive democracy and are appreciative that his Executive Order both expands access to vote-by-mail and acknowledges the need to preserve in-person voting options this November. Earlier this week, legislators also committed to establishing additional elections protections, including by setting a statewide baseline for in-person voting locations. These essential first steps by the Governor and Legislature affirm that Californians should not have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote, while also recognizing that vote-by-mail alone will not be enough to safeguard our democracy for all Californians.
We know that in-person voting locations provide critical services to voters in underrepresented communities, such as accessible voting machines, voting materials and support in non-English languages, and same day registration. Together, the direction from the Governor and the Legislature uphold the principle that a healthy California must be inclusive of all voices – including those of voters of color, younger voters, voters with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, people with lower incomes, and voters who are unhoused or housing insecure.
We ask that the Legislature and the Governor build on this order by enshrining into law requirements that all counties both maintain at least 1 voting location for every 10,000 voters and to keep those locations open for at least four days. We are committed to working with the Administration, the Legislature, and state and local elections officials on these critical next steps to ensure meaningful implementation and robust public education regarding these measures for the November election.”