Berman Bill Would Make Recent Election Reforms Permanent
SACRAMENTO — Today Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) will introduce legislation which would require elections officials to mail every active registered voter a ballot for all future elections and ensure that all California voters continue to have access to vote-by-mail ballot tracking. Similar requirements were implemented prior to the 2020 General Election in November and have since been credited with the state’s success conducting a safe and secure election during a global pandemic and boosting voter turnout to recent highs.
“In the face of a global health pandemic and an unprecedented onslaught of misinformation trying to undermine voters’ faith in our democracy, California conducted a secure and remarkably successful general election," said Assemblymember Berman. "Given the success of mailing every active registered voter a ballot, as well as other improvements we made in 2020, it only makes sense to make permanent many of the key changes adopted in response to the pandemic.”
In April, Assemblymember Berman amended his AB 860 to require that every active registered California voter receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the 2020 General Election. AB 860 also allowed counties to begin processing returned vote-by-mail ballots earlier, extended the deadline for receipt of vote-by-mail ballots, allowed voters to use remote accessible vote-by-mail systems, and ensured that all California voters had the ability to track their ballots as they moved through the mail system and were processed by elections officials (a system that was initially created by Berman’s AB 2218 in 2018). The bill was signed into law as an urgency measure in June, and was a key part of the state’s preparations for conducting a safe and successful presidential election during the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, approximately 15 million Californians voted in the General Election using a ballot that was mailed to them, and more than 4.5 million Californians registered for ballot tracking.
If signed into law, California would become the sixth state to require active registered voters to be mailed a ballot before each election. Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Utah already do so.
Contact: Kaitlin Curry (916) 319-2024