BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Voting by mail has been a controversial topic that escalated during the pandemic. As of Monday, every California voter will be receiving a vote by mail ballot. However, people can still vote in person.
“Every voter in the state is going to get a mail-in ballot. They have an opportunity to vote in person if they prefer, but the mail-in ballot will get sent to them even without them requesting it,” said Allen Bolar a political analyst.
It’s a new law for registered voters within the state, confirmed by a tweet from Governor Newsome saying “California is now permanently a vote by mail state – because we believe in making voting easier and for every voice to be heard.”
Assembly bill 37 will require county election officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter for all elections going forward taking effect in January of 2022.
While some are opposed to this due to concerns of election fraud Bolar said most voters in the state already vote by mail for convenience purposes.
“Before the pandemic hit, we were already at 60-70% of our voters mailing in their vote. That increased last year for obvious reasons,” said Bolar.
California is now the 8th state in the country to mail ballots to every voter. Locally, Bolar believes that there will still be a significant number of in-person voters as Kern County tends to prefer this method.
“Mail-in balloting is more popular in Kern County than it used to be. But it's still the case that Kern County prefers in-person voting more than the voters on the coast,” said Bolar.
Polls from the day before the recall election this month show that more than 400,000 Kern County residents are registered to vote. With more than 100,000 of those voters accounting for accepted mail-in ballots.
“The only way we’d go 100% is if we had something like what we see in Oregon and a few other states where they only have mail-in voting. That’s not what’s being done here. We will continue to have a two-tier system,” said Bolar.
23ABC reached out to the Secretary of State Office for more information on this but hasn’t heard back at this time. It's important to note that Shirley Weber - the secretary will be joining Dolores Huerta Tuesday for a virtual voter rights town hall, where this topic may be discussed.