California, like several other states, made the decision during the COVID-19 pandemic to automatically send the ballots to every registered voter.
On Monday, the state announced it would make the move permanent – adopting the popular, accessible and flexible method of voting as a growing number of Republican-led states do the opposite.
But California is hardly the first state to make postal voting more accessible. While all states offer some form of postal voting, nine states and Washington, DC, now require every voter to receive a ballot by default before an election. Last year was the first time California, Vermont, and the nation’s capital began the practice.
On-demand postal voting systems, traditionally known as postal voting systems, mean that eligible voters must initiate the process of receiving and depositing postal ballots. Dozens of states allow voters to mail their ballots without specifying why they are doing so, but several states – mostly in the South – still require voters to provide an “excuse” for sending the ballot. their ballots, forcing more people to vote in person at polling stations.
On the other hand, automatic postal voting systems, sometimes referred to as postal voting systems, require election officials to automatically send postal ballots to all eligible voters who can then return their ballots by post or via designated drop boxes. This type of system increases voter turnout by expanding accessibility to voting, especially among black and brown people, people with disabilities, rural residents, the elderly, and members of the military.
Here is the current list of states that have automatic mail voting systems:
New Jersey (temporary)
Washington State (permanent)
Washington, DC (temporary)
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right) signed sweeping legislation restricting voting rights in his state, primarily by limiting more practical voting options. Republican-led legislation bans 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting, creates more stringent voter identification requirements for postal voting, and prevents election officials from sending voters requests for postal votes unsolicited.
Republicans are pushing similar efforts in legislatures across the country through hundreds of state-level bills to restrict voting, emboldened by states like Georgia, Arkansas and Arizona that have enacted such laws.
These GOP-led voter suppression attempts followed a record turnout in the 2020 election that saw current President Joe Biden defeat incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. This turnout was spurred by temporary expansions in access to mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading many Democrats to realize that widely available mail-in voting helps secure rights to vote.
“The bill will permanently expand access and increase turnout in our elections by making voting more convenient and meeting people where they are,” California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said on Monday, in a press release. “Postal voting has dramatically increased the participation of eligible voters. “
“Voters like to be able to return their ballot whether by mail, in a secure drop box, at a polling station or at a traditional polling station,” she continued. “And the more people who participate in elections, the stronger our democracy and the more confidence we have that elections reflect the will of the people of California.”
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