As the potential for a recall election of Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom grows, the State Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would reportedly require all active registered voters to get a ballot in the mail before the election.
Fox News reports that the lawmakers’ goal is “to slow the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging people to vote by mail rather than show up in person. The Legislature did the same thing last year, back when counties had millions of dollars in federal money to help put on a presidential election during a pandemic.”
As of now, the state of California has two elections scheduled for 2021, which are both to fill vacancies in the State Legislature. However, the effort to recall Newsom has recently gained speed as some Californians are reportedly unhappy about his handling of the coronavirus.
Fox News reports, “with a recall election increasingly likely, the bill could hit local governments with millions of dollars in unexpected costs during what is supposed to be an off year for statewide elections.”
Sutter County Registrar of Voters Donna Johnston is also president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. Johnston said, “It definitely would be a hardship for all the counties, because it is unanticipated…We’re hoping that the state will give us some relief.”
According to Fox News,
The California Secretary of State’s Office estimates the state could be forced to reimburse local governments for about $7.6 million if the recall qualifies for the ballot.
“That’s nothing,” said Joe Holland, the Santa Barbara County registrar of voters who said the first election he oversaw was the 2003 recall election of former Gov. Gray Davis. “The cost of putting on a statewide recall pretty much falls to the counties.”
The next fiscal year begins for counties on July 1, and many are starting to have conversations about how much money it would cost to have a statewide recall election.
In order to qualify, supporters of the recall effort must have around 1.5 million signatures by March 17. They say that they have already collected more than that, but the signatures still need to be validated.
As reported by The Daily Wire last week, the recall effort has gained national attention.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki observed that President Joe Biden opposes any efforts to recall Newsom, even as the California governor has refused to use the word “recall” himself in his various appearances, according to Politico.
The recall election was reportedly not a topic during Tuesday’s debate about the new bill.
Some lawmakers recognized that the bill takes into account the effects of the pandemic, such as Assemblyman Marc Berman, who said it “recognizes that the pandemic has not gone away…It continues to threaten the health and safety of all Californians.”
Assemblyman Steven Choi, a Republican from Irvine, however, said the state should only mail-in ballots to people who ask for one. This could prevent printing unnecessary ballots.
“That’s a lot of waste for those who choose to vote directly in person,” he said.
The bill will only apply to elections called in 2021 and now goes to Newsom, who will either veto or sign it into law.
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