Following a final majority vote in the state legislature on Thursday, Gavin Newsom signed a bill codifying one of a number of executive orders he issued to resolve voting protection during the coronavirus pandemic, both facing legal challenges.
Assembly Bill 860 cements its first mandate, issued by Newsom early May, requiring county election officials to send a mail-in ballot to every eligible voter.
Subsequently he signed another executive order requiring a set amount of polling places in person.
Gavin Newsom and Democratic State Secretary Alex Padilla’s proposal is to expand mail-in and early-voting to prevent crowded polling stations on Election Day, as seen in other states such as Wisconsin and Georgia.
Republicans sued both orders from Gavin Newsom and labeled them executive overreach. His signing on the bill effectively nullifies the May executive order with GOP challenges.
A Companion Senate bill, which still needs to be passed by the Legislature, would address the second challenge, brought by two Republican state lawmakers, over personal voting.
Last week, a Sutter County district court judge issued an injunction in that case, agreeing that Newsom’s June 3 order requiring early voting and a certain number of in-person polling places per capita was “an unacceptable use of legislative powers.”
AB 860 author Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) said that giving every voter “possibility to vote from their own home’s safety is the responsibility.”
“No Californian should risk their health – and possibly their lives – to exercise their right to vote in the Constitution,” he said.
Padilla also praised the legislation’s signature by the governor, calling it “simply common sense” to strengthen mail-in votes during a pandemic.
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