Governor Newsom signs landmark electoral legislation making postal ballots permanent for every registered voter, strengthening election integrity

AB 37 makes permanent the measure of sending a postal ballot to each registered voter who is active

The Governor also signed legislation increasing the transparency and integrity of elections

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed a set of laws to increase voter access and strengthen election integrity, including a bill to send all registered voters a ballot by correspondence.

In an effort to increase access to democracy and empower more voters, the governor signed AB 37 drafted by Assembly Member Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), continuously demanding that A postal ballot be mailed to each registered voter active in the state. The practice of mailing ballots by mail to every registered voter began in California in 2020 and was extended until 2021, as a safety measure to counter pandemic-related disruption and resulted in record voter turnout.

“As states in our country continue to pass undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options, and strengthening election integrity and transparency,” Governor said Newsom. “Last year we took unprecedented steps to ensure that all voters have the opportunity to vote during the pandemic and today we are making these measures permanent after a record turnout in the 2020 presidential election. I thanks the chairman of the Assembly’s Election Committee, member of the Assembly, Marc Berman for his leadership on this issue.

“The bill will permanently expand access and increase turnout in our elections by making voting more convenient and meeting people where they are,” said Secretary of State Dr Shirley Weber. “Postal voting has dramatically increased the participation of eligible voters. Voters like the ability to return their ballot whether by mail, in a secure drop box, at a polling station, or at a traditional polling station. 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.

“When voters receive a ballot in the mail, they vote,” said Assembly member Berman. “We saw it in the 2020 general election when, in the midst of a global health pandemic, we had the highest turnout in California since Harry Truman was president. I would like to thank Governor Newsom for signing AB 37, ensuring that every active registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail before each future election. As other states actively seek ways to make voting more difficult for people, California is expanding access to an already safe and secure ballot. “

Governor Newsom also signed SB 35 drafted by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) modifying the distance at which campaigning and specified political activities near a polling place are prohibited; AB 1367 by Assembly Member Evan Low (D-Campbell) increasing penalties for blatant personal use of campaign funds to twice the amount of illegal spending; and SB 686 by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) requiring that a Limited Liability Company (LLC) engaged in campaign activity provide additional information regarding the members and capital contributors of the LLC.

Below is the full list of bills signed by the Governor:

  • AB 37 by Assembly member Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) – Elections: postal vote.

  • AB 319 by Assembly member Suzette Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) – Political reform law of 1974: contributions: foreign governments or constituents.

  • AB 796 by Assembly Member Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) – Voter Registration: California New Motor Voter Program.

  • AB 1367 by Assembly Member Evan Low (D-Campbell) – Political Reform Act 1974: Commission accounts and campaign funds.

  • AB 1495 by Assembly member Luz Rivas (D-Valley of San Fernando) – Vacancy elections.

  • AB 1590 by the Election Commission – Political Reform Act 1974.

  • SB 35 by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) – Elections.

  • SB 503 by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) – Voting: Ballots and Signature Verification.

  • SB 594 by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) – Elections: redistribution.

  • SB 686 by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) – Campaign Disclosure: Limited Liability Companies.


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