CALIFORNIA—On Friday, May 8, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that requires elections officials of all California counties to send vote-by-mail ballots to every registered voter for the November 3, 2020 General Election.

The official announcement of the order states that Newsom signed the order “to ensure that Californians can exercise their right to vote in a safe and accessible manner during the General Election this November.”

Californians who need access to in-person voting opportunities – like people who have disabilities, are experiencing homelessness, or don’t speak English – will be provided such chances. 

“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” said Newsom. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote. Mail-in ballots aren’t a perfect solution for every person, and I look forward to our public health experts and the Secretary of State’s and the Legislature’s continued partnership to create safer in-person opportunities for Californians who aren’t able to vote by mail.”

Another executive order may be issued should counties not have full details on in-person voting opportunities and the General Election as a whole by May 30.

The executive order can be viewed here, while the announcement can be read here.

“California will not force voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. I thank Governor Newsom for taking decisive action now, to preserve voting rights and provide sufficient time to properly prepare for the General Election,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Today we become the first state in the nation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing every registered voter a ballot. We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure, and safe election this November. Sending every registered voter a ballot by mail is smart policy and absolutely the right thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.”