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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to make California a universal vote-by-mail state last fall, and as of January 1, 2022, the law is officially in effect — a contentious decision that many critics argue threatens election integrity.
Newsom signed the legislation known as Assembly Bill 37 (AB 37) in September of 2021, permanently requiring a vote-by-mail ballot be sent to every active registered voter in the state.
“As states across our country continue to enact undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options and bolstering elections integrity and transparency,” Newsom said at the time of the bill’s signing, “Last year we took unprecedented steps to ensure all voters had the opportunity to cast a ballot during the pandemic and today we are making those measures permanent after record-breaking participation in the 2020 presidential election.”
It’s now official. California is a universal vote by mail state.
Voters in all statewide elections will receive a ballot in the mail. Those who still want to vote in person can do so.
While other states roll back access to voting — we’re EXPANDING IT. https://t.co/zGXkPPobBa
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 1, 2022
California lawmakers claim that the bill will strengthen democracy and election integrity because people not able or inclined to vote in person will be able to cast their ballots with ease, simply depositing their vote in a mailbox.
What the state has failed to consider is the potential for rampant fraud in the voting process.
State legislators and their allies in the media maintain that ballots sent to inactive or deceased voters are not indicative of systemic problems with the mail-in-ballot system. They dismiss evidence of fraud or malign actors when it comes to vote-by-mail.
Republican lawmakers in California tried to add safeguards to AB 37 to counteract fraud, according to various reports, but they were met with refutation.
They sought to add rules for how counties should maintain their lists of active and inactive voters, demanded restrictions on who can turn in a voter’s ballot and tried to implement a postmark standard that would only count ballots postmarked by election day if they were delivered within three days.
Democrats denied all of those efforts, and the postmark and delivery requirement remains at seven days after an extension to the previous three day standard in 2020.
Despite liberal California lawmakers’ aversion to evidence of systemic problems with vote-by-mail, such evidence does exist.
In 2020, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found that thousands of people voted at least twice via mail-in ballots in 2016 and 2018 in Georgia and North Carolina. They also found around 2.5 million “extra voters” nationwide.
The same year, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton reported that his organization found that 20 percent of counties in Washington state and 67 percent of Colorado counties have more registered voters than people. Both are part of the now eight states that have implemented universal vote-by-mail.
There are examples of people registering house pets to vote and receiving a ballot by mail. An 18-year-old cat named Cody Tims in the Atlanta area received a voter registration application in the mail in 2020, but was not able to vote because aside from being a feline, he died 12 years prior.
In New Jersey, hundreds of Republican voters received mail-in ballots for a primary that listed only Democrat candidates.
Many California residents were not enthused by Newsom’s tweet celebrating universal vote-by-mail and took their criticisms to Twitter:
How is the state going to ensure multiple ballots are not being cast? Example: joe smith mails his ballot and then goes to vote in person the same day for early voting. Many will say it does not happen, but yes it does.
— JB (@CaptJager13) January 1, 2022
So officially rigged elections from here out
— EdwardJacob (@edwardjacob619) January 1, 2022
How do people think this is a good idea? Seriously. Take a moment and think it over. Election security needs to be taken seriously to maintain confidence in the system.
In Europe you have to vote in person AND show government issued ID (except some VERY rare medical cases).
— Mr. Medina 🇺🇸🇻🇪🇨🇱 (@thatonemedina) January 2, 2022
Where do you mail the ballots to your quarter of a million homeless population?
— JDRSC92 (@JDRSC92) January 1, 2022
So protecting election integrity isn’t important to you? Guess it doesn’t matter… there wasn’t much hope for this state anyway
— LeagueLeader 🎈 (@LeagueLeading) January 1, 2022
If asymptomatic citizens of your state can wait 2 hours on line for a covid test, why can’t they stand in line to vote?
— One Horse Pony (@JoeyAfterHours) January 1, 2022
How much money is this going to cost the state? Are you going to use the bridge toll increase for it? Or the 7 1/2 billion dollars from the BBB program? Or are WE going to have to flip the bill, again?
— Turd Ferguson (@ihasbrain) January 2, 2022
More like ways to keep cheating. But it is California so I am not surprised. Why not focus on crime and homelessness?
— Robert Garcia (@13cheech) January 1, 2022
Talk about an invitation for fraud. If people want to vote by mail, that’s fine. But they should have to REQUEST a ballot be sent to them. Just sending one out to every voter state wide? What could possibly go wrong? SMH
— Jeremy Goad (@pkupman37) January 2, 2022
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