The state of California will be holding a recall election in September. The first question asks voters if they want to recall (in other words, remove) Governor Gavin Newsom. The choices are: Yes or No. The recall effort is run by Republicans in a state that has an overwhelming majority of registered Democratic voters.

All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in-ballot for the recall election. You may have seen a whole lot of misinformation about this on Twitter. For some reason, people believe that this was a rapid decision in an effort to prevent people from catching the Delta strain.

Others, who are less in touch with reality, think the purpose of mail-in-ballots are being issued so that Governor Gavin Newsom can cheat. My best guess is that people spreading this sort of misinformation are the kind of Republicans who believe everything they see on Fox News and who fell for the former president’s lie about mail-in-ballots resulting in fraud.

The reality is that the decision to send mail-in-ballots to registered voters was not made by Governor Gavin Newsom. The California Legislature made that decision earlier this year.

Senate Bill No. 29 is titled: “Elections: vote by mail ballots”. It amends an existing law regarding mail-in-ballots. The bill was sponsored by Senator Thomas Umberg (Democrat).

Here is one of the newly added portions of the law:

Section 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

a) To maintain a healthy democracy in California, it is important to encourage eligible voters to vote and ensure that residents of the state have the tools needed to participate in every election.

b) When California conducts an election in 2021, it is unknown to what degree the COVID-19 pandemic will still pose a threat to public health. The state and its counties need to begin taking action now in order to ensure that elections are held in a manner that is accessible, secure, and safe.

c) Consistent with paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 2226 of the Elections Code, and with the longstanding interpretation by state and local elections officials of Sections 4000 to 4108, inclusive, of the Elections Code governing the conduct of all-mailed ballot elections and of Section 3005 of the Elections Code governing mailed ballot precincts, nothing in this act is intended, and shall not be construed, to mean that a voter with an inactive voter registration status shall receive a vote by mail ballot for an election in 2021.

Here are two more of the newly added portions of the law:

Sec. 4. If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

Sec. 5. This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

To ensure that county elections officials have sufficient time to ensure that elections are held in a manner that is accessible, secure, and safe, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.

I would also like to point out part of the law that was not amended. It says: The distribution of vote by mail ballots to all registered voters does not prevent a voter from voting in person at a polling place, vote center, or other authorized location.

On January 28, 2021, the California Senate voted 28 AYES to 7 NOES (with three Senators not voting).

On February 16, 2021, the California Assembly voted 55 AYES to 15 NOES (with three people not voting).

On February 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the newly amended legislation into law.

Intelligencer reported the following:

The Delta variant has quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S., overtaking the Alpha variant, which has been the most prevalent COVID strain in the States for months. By July 31st, it accounted for more than 93 percent, up from 1.3 percent in early May and 9.5 percent in early June.

Reuters did a fact-check on the claim that the mail-in-ballots for the recall election were being sent “due to the new delta variant”. Here is their verdict:

False. A California bill from Feb. 2021 extended the requirement to send mail in ballots to all registered voters for all elections throughout this year, months before the Delta variant was prevalent in the U.S.

It is also worth pointing out that California sent mail-in-ballots to every registered voter for the 2020 General Election. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to send every registered voter a ballot ahead of the November General Election. The purpose was to prevent people from having to stand in line to vote – and risk their health – by potentially catching COVID-19.

Mail-in-ballots are not new to California. Previous to COVID-19, any registered voter who wanted to vote by mail could request a mail-in-ballot. It makes it easier for people who are disabled (like me – and my husband) to vote. It also gives people who cannot get off of work to cast their vote in person a way to vote in an election.


California Recall Will Use Mail-In-Ballots is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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