California Democrats recently passed a bill that could improve their chances in upcoming elections.
According to reports, the state Senate voted in favor of a measure that would automatically send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the state for each election.
Mail-in ballot debate rages
Most Californian voters already cast absentee ballots, but some counties have required such voters to request their mail-in ballots — at least until last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a number of states to send out mail-in ballots automatically in what was supposed to be a temporary measure based on the public health emergency.
Of course, California has decided to take advantage of the situation by making the expansion permanent.
An upcoming recall election that could lead to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ouster is set to follow the automatic absentee ballot rule. Drawing additional criticism from opponents was a report that police found 300 unopened ballots in the car of an apparently homeless man last month.
Republicans generally oppose universal mail-in voting based on election integrity concerns. Since they currently make up a minority in the state legislature, however, it appears that Democrats will get their way.
“That feeds into this narrative of distrust”
Another potential pitfall lies in county governments that might not keep accurate enough records to prevent residents from receiving two ballots or otherwise engage in voter fraud.
State Sen. Andreas Borgeas, a Republican, has already spoken out on the issue, asserting that he received a ballot at two separate locations.
“So if I’m getting two ballots, I know others are getting multiple ballots as well, and that feeds into this narrative of distrust,” he said.
For his part, Democratic state Sen. Tom Umberg claimed that barcode tracking made it impossible for one person to vote twice. It remains to be seen whether such safeguards are sufficient to prevent voter fraud.
In any case, Democrats have long asserted that they are more likely to win elections when there are more votes cast. As such, party leaders in California appear to have voted for a policy that could keep them in power statewide for the foreseeable future.