Fact check: Will Californians be able to vote by mail in November?
The claim: California voters are able to vote by mail
In an Instagram post May 9, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced California is officially a vote-by-mail state, in light of the potential to contract the coronavirus if voting in person.
"No one should have to risk their health for the right to vote," Newsom's caption on the post read.
Will everyone be able to vote by mail this fall?
Newsom issues executive order
Executive Order N-64-20 says every eligible Californian can vote in the general election Nov. 3 via a vote-by-mail ballot.
"It is the intent of this Order that my Administration continue to work with the Legislature and the Secretary of State to determine how requirements for in-person voting opportunities and other details of the November election will be implemented – guided by California’s longstanding commitment to making its elections accessible, as enshrined in existing California law, while recognizing the exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic," the order reads.
According to Newsom's post, although California is considered a vote-by-mail state, safe in-person voting options will be available.
In a news release May 8, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla confirmed vote-by-mail packets will be sent to all registered voters.
"Per the Executive Order, every registered voter living domestically will be mailed a ballot 29 days prior to Election Day," the release said. "Military and Overseas voters will be mailed their ballots 45 days before Election Day."
As of Feb. 18, California had 20,660,465 registered voters and 25,251,216 eligible voters, according to the secretary of state's office.
Newsom's post got some attention from Hollywood: A screenshot of his announcement was reposted by actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio on Instagram.
Republicans sue to block Newsom's order to send mail-in-ballots to voters
A lawsuit filed May 24 by the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and California Republican Party against Newsom and Padilla hopes to stop the mailing of ballots in the state of California.
The complaint claims allowing mail-in ballots to be sent to registered voters is unconstitutional and is a gateway to voter fraud.
"Creating opportunities for ineligible voters to cast ballots invites fraud and undermines the public's confidence in the integrity of elections – all of which violate the right to vote," the suit says.
The lawsuit cites the Commission on Federal Election Reform's report, saying, "Absentee voting is 'the largest source of potential voter fraud.' "
Our ruling: True
We rate this claim as TRUE, based on our research. Registered California voters will receive a mail-in ballot for the election Nov. 3, per an executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Although a lawsuit has been filed to stop this action, pending that outcome, vote-by-mail will be allowed.
Our fact-check sources:
- Gov. Gavin Newsom, Instagram post
- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, news release
- Gov. Gavin Newsom, Executive Order
- Gov. Gavin Newsom, news release
- California Secretary of State's Office, Voter Registration Report, Feb. 18, 2020
- USA TODAY: Republicans sue to block California Gov. Newsom from mailing ballots to all voters
- Complaint in Federal District Court: RNC, NRCC, California Republican Party v. Newsom, Padilla
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