California Governor Signs Universal Vote by Mail Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Assembly Bill 37 into law, requiring all registered voters to receive a mail-in ballot at least 29 days before every election. During the 2020 cycle, California proactively sent 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 that election, the highest turnout since 1952. “Vote-by-mail has significantly increased participation of eligible voters,” said California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber (D). “Voters like having options for returning their ballot whether by mail, at a secure drop box, a voting center or at a traditional polling station.”

By making this reform permanent, California joins states like Washington, Utah and Colorado that have been facilitating elections by mail for years, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. A.B. 37 also mandates a tracking system for accessibility and drop boxes based on county population. The law takes effect in January 2022 and will be implemented in statewide elections in June and November. Newsom also signed nine other political reform, campaign finance or election-related bills today.

Read A.B. 37 here.