Home>Articles>New Bill To Make Statewide By-Mail Ballots Permanent To Be Introduced This Session

Assemblyman Marc Berman. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

New Bill To Make Statewide By-Mail Ballots Permanent To Be Introduced This Session

New bill expected to make temporary AB 860 voting changes permanent

By Evan Symon, November 12, 2020 2:14 am

Earlier this week, Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) announced that he will introduce a bill this coming session to require by-mail ballots to go out to voters in every state election.

The bill would be a follow up to Governor Gavin Newsom’s mail-in ballot executive order and Assembly Bill 860. AB 860, also authored by Berman, authorized that by-mail ballots would be given to all eligible California voters for the 2020 General Election due to unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. While many Republicans were concerned that the system could lead to problems such as fraud and double voting, subsequent changes and assurances by election officials led to many GOP lawmakers to side with the Democrats and voted to pass the law in the spring. Governor Newsom then signed the bill in June, allowing for the ballots to be printed and mailed out on time.

The mail-in ballot bill led to higher than expected numbers of mail-in ballots being turned in by voters due to the ease of voting by mail or ballot drop box, as well as COVID-19 concerns. It also led to a drastic drop in voters turning out in many precincts. San Francisco County, with 443,000 voters, only saw 6% of all voters vote via precinct on election day. Other precincts and counties recorded similar figures.

The popularity of the mail-in ballots, long touted by Berman and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, led Berman to create a bill making the system of sending mail-in ballots to all eligible voters before election day permanent.

“Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates,” said Assemblyman Burns in a statement on Monday. “This year we saw historic levels of voter participation following the passage of AB 860, which required every county to send vote-by-mail ballots to all active registered voters. More than 68% of eligible Californians voted in the general election, which was the highest turnout since at least 1960. Now that we know these changes were successful, I will introduce a bill in the new session to make permanent the key provisions of AB 860.”

Democratic support, lingering questions from Republicans

Lawmakers such as Governor Newsom have already thrown their support behind the upcoming bill, saying that they are open to such a permanent change.

“I certainly am open to pursuing it,” noted Newsom earlier this week.

While many Democrats have spoken in favor of the bill, many Republicans have remained skeptical of implementing such a ballot system permanently.

“There was a large rise in mail-in ballots this year, but we have yet to analyze the results in full yet,” said Charles Hobbs, a Southern Californian election analyst. “We need to see how many people accidentally voted twice, such as voting by mail then accidentally going to a precinct to vote for example. It was mainly digital this year, checking on votes, but we need to do a rundown and make sure how good it really is. Also, did the system lead to a rise in fraud? A rise in provisional ballots? Did the ballot boxes have too many votes ruined by people as a result? We need to figure out the data before we push to make it permanent.”

“Honestly, on the surface, it seems to have worked quite well, and both parties saw gains or candidates or propositions pass that they wanted, so it certainly seemed that neither party benefited disproportionately like a lot of early worry was about.”

“But, like I said, we need to make sure this works first.”

Berman’s bill is expected to be introduced in time for the coming session this January.

Evan Symon
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12 thoughts on “New Bill To Make Statewide By-Mail Ballots Permanent To Be Introduced This Session

  1. This is the biggest SCAM in the History of elections in the US. They’re going to “wait and see” if there were fundamental issues with the process? How about investigate those issues now? No way I will support a bill like this UNLESS every single voter registration is cancelled out and every permanent RESIDENT of the state of California is required to re-register, in person, with proof of identification and permanent residency, CLEAR all voter registration records every 10 years, eliminating all the dead and nefarious.

    1. Do not EVER trust these people. Everything the democrats do benefits them and ONLY them.

      Why people continue to trust and believe them to this day is beyond me.

    1. “Winning” means they actually “competed.” A bill like this obviates competition forever. The only way I can see to deal with this is to get enough signatures on a petition to overturn or modify it by way of a “Proposition.”

  2. It’s going to happen. In writing to elected officials, here’s what I’m asking for. We should have one standard for all states to use that have a national representative being voted upon. 1. Audit the rolls and purge of all those no longer at an address or those that have passed away. 2. ALL mail in ballots should be requested with same criteria proof of citizenship, verification of address, etc. 3. Some type of safeguard used in the actual ballots such as is used in currency to stop counterfeiting. 4. Ballots THEN mail in voting could be trusted. 5. Ballots should be dropped off at U.S. Postal Offices (every town has them) and secure. 6. Ballots should be picked up and counted by National Guard. THAT should make our elections safe.

  3. (Edited) It’s going to happen. In writing to elected officials, here’s what I’m asking for. We should have one standard for all states to use that have a national representative being voted upon. 1. Audit the rolls and purge of all those no longer at an address or those that have passed away. 2. ALL mail in ballots should be requested with same criteria – proof of citizenship, verification of address, etc. 3. Some type of safeguard used in the actual ballots such as is used in currency to stop counterfeiting. 4. Ballots should be dropped off in special boxes at U.S. Postal Offices (every town has them) and secure. 5. Ballots should be picked up and counted by the National Guard to ensure integrity of votes. THAT should make our elections safe.

  4. What are they afraid of??? They legalized drugs, allow the homeless to roam freely, allow illegal immigration, free the criminals and they already have 70% of the voters behind them. What are they afraid of?????

  5. ALL viting in the USA should be in person, unless a specific situation allows for Absentee Ballots, which IS NOT the same as voting by mail. Voting by mail is an open door to fraud. And ALL voters, being legal and allowed to vote, should provide an ID at the polling station to verify that they are who is listed on the roll before the ballot is given. The argument about voter suppression is another lie designed to intimidate people to keep the status quo of fraud in the DemocRATS’ favor. I’m sure the poor and unemployed still buy alcohol and cash checks in the inner cities, since they need to provide IDs for that.

  6. Voting in person with id to prove you are entitled to vote is the only way it should be done. I did not even have to share my id how do they know it was really me.

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