California Senate Passes Universal Vote-by-Mail Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, California Democrats moved one step closer to overhauling their state’s vote-by-mail procedures. The state Senate passed Assembly Bill 37, ensuring all registered voters receive a mail-in ballot at least 29 days before every election. During the 2020 election cycle, numerous states altered their mail-in voting policies, but California took the proactive measure of sending a mail-in ballot to all registered voters, even if they did not request one. Consequently, 71% of eligible voters in the Golden State cast ballots in 2020, the highest turnout since 1952, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

California’s proposed system of all-mail voting is not new — states like Washington, Utah and Colorado have been facilitating elections in this way for numerous years, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. A.B. 37 also requires a tracking system and mandates a certain number of drop boxes based on county population. “Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman (D), when he indicated his intent to make permanent the successful 2020 reforms. The California Assembly passed an earlier version of A.B. 37, but will vote one more time on the updated proposal before sending it to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to sign it into law.

Read A.B. 37 here.