California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy that arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on Friday, March 27, 2020, to provide relief for Southland hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Carolyn Cole | Getty Images
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Friday allowing all registered voters in the state to receive a mail-in ballot this November.
The move comes as several states weigh how to carry out their remaining 2020 elections while keeping voters safe from contracting and spreading the deadly coronavirus.
“I signed an executive order,” Newsom said, “that will allow every registered voter in California to receive a mail-in ballot.”
Newsom, who announced the move at a press conference, clarified that California will still provide an opportunity for people to vote in person at a polling center.
“That mail-in ballot is important but it’s not an exclusive substitute to physical locations,” he said.
“People that are otherwise not familiar with mail-in ballots, are uncomfortable with them, may have disabilities, may have other issues that may preclude that as an appropriate option, we still want to have the appropriate number of physical sites for people to vote as well.”
“This is not be a vote-by-mail only election,” he added. “We remain committed to providing safe in-person opportunities to vote as possible on election day.”
Newsom also signaled that California, with almost 21 million voters, will issue a “detailed” plan for in-person voting in the next few days.
“There’s a lot of concern and excitement around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way and to make sure your health is protected and to make sure we are reaching out to all registered, eligible voters,” Newsom said.
“And giving them the opportunity, giving them the choice not to feel like they have to go into a concentrated, dense environment where their health may be at risk but provide an additional asset and additional resources by way of voting by mail.”
This is the latest election update in a string of changes that have been brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the last two months, multiple states and U.S. territories either delayed or adjusted their presidential primaries due to a fear of spreading the virus among large groups.
The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 3.8 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 269,881 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 1.2 million cases in the United States and at least 75,852 deaths, according to the latest tallies.