California on Monday became the eighth, and by far the largest, U.S. state to make universal distribution of vote-by-mail ballots permanent, a practice that became more widespread during the COVID-19-plagued 2020 election cycle.
California was one of four states – along with Nevada, Vermont and Utah – to embrace universal mail-in ballots during the 2020 election cycle as an alternative to in-person voting in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Like Utah, California had already begun allowing mail-in voting on a county-by-county basis pre-pandemic but expanded it to all voters in 2020. The practice was extended statewide temporarily through 2021, including the recent gubernatorial recall election.
The bill Newsom signed on Monday makes California the eighth state – along with Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Hawaii – to make that arrangement permanent, according to the election reform advocacy group RepresentUs.
Utah is among a handful of states where Republican-majority legislatures have passed measures making it easier, not harder, to vote.