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All California voters to receive mail-in ballot for November election, but in-person voting will remain

All registered voters in California will receive...

Posted: May 9, 2020 3:36 PM

All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot for the upcoming November election, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during his daily pandemic briefing.

The state is not moving to mail-only, however, and in-person voting will remain an option.

"Mail-in voting is important, but it is not an exclusive substitute to physical locations," Newsom said, noting that some people are simply not comfortable mailing in a ballot.

The move, resulting from an executive order Newsom signed earlier Friday, makes California the first state to make voting by mail in November an option due to the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

"This election is slated to be the most consequential election of our lifetime," Padilla added, noting that postage on ballots will be pre-paid. "We remain committed to providing as many safe, in-person opportunities to vote as possible on and before Election Day."

The move coincides with the first day of California's partial reopening and comes as concerns about in-person voting during the coronavirus outbreak have brought the longstanding political clash over voting by mail to the fore.

Newsom announced Monday that shops including clothing stores, florists and bookstores will be allowed to offer curbside pickup services starting Friday.

All reopenings in the state will be subject to active monitoring and surveillance, though Newsom noted that some counties will be allowed to move further into the reopening process if certified by health officials and county supervisors.

"We will afford them that right with conditions and modifications that meet the health needs of the entire state," he said Monday.

Newsom has proceeded with caution in reopening the Golden State, which has seen more than 62,500 cases and 2,500 deaths to date, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. California was among the first states to issue a stay-at-home order in March and joined in a pact with fellow Western states Washington and Oregon in April to begin incremental release of stay-at-home orders.

The vote-by-mail program marks the first time in California's history that ballots will be mailed to every registered voter in the state, according to Padilla's press secretary, Sam Mahood.

Republicans lambasted the move by the California governor, saying the election is now susceptible to voter fraud. They floated taking legal action to stop the decision.

Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh called the move "a thinly-veiled political tactic by Gov. Newsom to undermine election security" and "a wide open opportunity for fraud."

"Everyone is concerned about the safety of voters, but jeopardizing election security is the wrong way to go about it," he said in a statement, asserting that the state "has a bad record" of maintaining its voter rolls.

Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest said in a statement that "we are weighing our legal options to ensure the integrity of the election."

"While we have always supported absentee voting, California is a case study in why automatically (sending) this many ballots is a problem," he said.

But multiple states are looking to such options as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Ohio held a vote-by-mail primary last month, on the heels of at least 19 people in Wisconsin testing positive for coronavirus who said they voted in-person or worked the polls for the state's primary election, according to the state health department.

Groups with backers ranging from anti-Trump conservatives as well as former first lady Michelle Obama have come out in support of voting by mail to protect voters' health and safety. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has led the Republican charge against the effort.

Trump lied about mail-in ballots at a White House press briefing last month, claiming that "people cheat" and that "the mail ballots are corrupt, in my opinion."

Vote-by-mail advocates point out that a handful of states, including the GOP-dominated state of Utah, already conduct their elections entirely by mail, and that a number of studies have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States.

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Confirmed Cases: 9930

Reported Deaths: 213
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Marion161047
Washington153420
Clackamas82125
Umatilla7166
Union3551
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Lane2083
Malheur1911
Polk15912
Linn1579
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Morrow931
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Curry80
Baker50
Sherman20
Gilliam10
Grant10
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 252895

Reported Deaths: 6334
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Riverside19450479
Orange16191363
San Diego15696387
San Bernardino13676269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6556140
Fresno585177
Kern513081
Santa Clara5077160
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento400469
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa356481
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Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Kings260032
Stanislaus253144
Monterey191515
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer82811
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo61325
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4553
Napa3764
San Benito2652
Sutter2433
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1484
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake870
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
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