California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newson is having a ballot mailed to every voter in the state for this fall’s election and strongly urging every voter to vote by mail or adhere to strict new rules for voting in person to preserve public health in the pandemic.
California currently has a patchwork system for voting in person, one that varies by county. While the majority of local governments offer traditional polling places on election day, 14 counties already mail a ballot to every voter under provisions of a 2016 law that swaps new “vote centers” for traditional neighborhood polling places. L.A. County, the only place allowed to enact that system without mailing all voters a ballot this year, is already poised to do so for November after the March primary saw widespread problems, including long lines at in-person vote centers that are now being investigated by auditors.
Five states (Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, Washington, and Oregon) currently have vote by mail in all elections and some others are trying to move in that direction.
In some states where efforts to block increased use of Vote By Mail is being block by Republican legislatures, cities or counties are trying to promote it on their own. The City Council of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has voted to send all 300,000 voters in their jurisdiction applications to receive absentee ballots. Racine is now planning a similar effort. Both Milwaukee and Racine are Democratic cities.
Three of the largest Democratic counties in Florida are also working to send absentee voter applications to all voters.
Elections offices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties — home to more than a quarter of Florida’s 13.2 million voters — are preparing to send vote-by-mail registration forms to every voter in those counties amid worries that the virus will disrupt in-person voting this summer and fall.