One Democratic governor is moving forward with the mail-in ballot plan, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order on Friday that allows all of the state’s residents to vote by mail in the upcoming presidential election. “Every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov election,” Newsom announced on Twitter Friday.
Newsom has been one of those governors who has tried to push mail-in ballots as a solution to the potential problem of spreading the coronavirus among voters at the polls. Now, he’s announced that his plan is moving forward.
“I signed an executive order that will allow every registered voter in California to receive a mail-in ballot,” he said on Friday. “That mail-in ballot is important but it’s not an exclusive substitute to physical locations.”
Despite this option, Newsom said that physical voting locations will still be open.
“People that are otherwise not familiar with mail-in ballots, are uncomfortable with them, may have disabilities, may have other issues that may preclude that as an appropriate option, we still want to have the appropriate number of physical sites for people to vote as well,” he said.
“There’s a lot of concern and excitement around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way and to make sure your health is protected and to make sure we are reaching out to all registered, eligible voters,” Newsom added. “And giving them the opportunity, giving them the choice not to feel like they have to go into a concentrated, dense environment where their health may be at risk but provide an additional asset and additional resources by way of voting by mail.”
While other states are also considering expanding their mail-in voting options, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) said that Newsom’s order makes California the first state in the union to automatically send all voters a mail-in ballot for the November general election, CBS News reported.
CA is now a vote by mail state.
Every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov election.
We’ll also provide safe in-person voting options.
The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. No one should be forced to risk their health to exercise that right.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 8, 2020
A “thinly-veiled political tactic”
Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have long criticized the plan of using absentee ballots for voting during the coronavirus.
“I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” Trump said in April. “It should be, you go to a booth, and you probably display yourself. You don’t send it in the mail where people pick up all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they sign that, if they sign that, if they sign that, by the time it gets and is tabulated. No. It should not be mailed-in.”
Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump’s 2020 campaign, issued a statement on Newsom’s executive order, Breitbart News reported. “This is a thinly-veiled political tactic by Gov. Newsom to undermine election security,” he wrote, continuing:
There’s a vast difference between people voting absentee by mail because they can’t be at the polls on Election Day versus mailing everyone a ballot. Sending everyone a ballot – even those who didn’t request one – is a wide open opportunity for fraud. California has a bad record on ensuring that people on the voter rolls still live at the same address, still reside in California, or are even still alive. Everyone is concerned about the safety of voters, but jeopardizing election security is the wrong way to go about it.
Indeed, with such measures as Newsom’s, November 2020 is setting up to be a massive disaster.