CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Signs Bill to Codify Vote-By-Mail Executive Order

June 25, 2020

Last week the Governor signed AB 860 (Berman), which would largely codify the Governor’s Executive Order requiring county elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter for this year’s election. The Order was challenged by Assembly Members James Gallagher of Nicolaus (Sutter County) and Kevin Kiley of Rocklin (Placer County), who argued that the Governor had exceeded his authority in issuing the order. By signing AB 860, Governor Newsom has placed the all-mail mandate in statute, which puts it on stronger legal footing.

In addition to sending ballots, the new law requires county elections officials to use a tracking system to allow a voter to track their vote by mail ballot, however, it leaves it up to the county’s discretion if they would like to use the Secretary of State’s system, or a system that meets the same specifications. The law extends the deadline for mail ballots to be received for this year’s election by two weeks, so that all ballots must be received by the 17th day after Election Day. The law also permits counties to begin processing ballots on the 29th day before the election, which is 19 days earlier than was previously allowed, though maintains existing requirements that a vote count cannot be accessed or released until 8 p.m. on the day of the election.

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