Opinion

CA Senate braces for Newsom recall vote, extends controversial universal vote-by-mail through 2021

Written by Michael Palomba

The California State Senate has voted 29-7 in favor of extending the controversial universal vote-by-mail system approved earlier this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure is now in the hands of the State Assembly.

If approved by the Assembly, it would extend the use of the universal vote-by-mail system for all elections conducted prior to January 1, 2022. And while there is no statewide election scheduled for 2021, there could be.

The effort to recall Governor Newsom is going strong. The organizers have currently gathered over 1.2M of the 1.5M signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot, meaning they are more than 80% of the way there with 6 weeks left to the March 10th deadline.

The recall effort has gained the support of Democrats and Republicans alike, and Newsom has been forced to take notice. Just this week he ended the state’s regional shut down order, in what was considered a highly political move. The shutdown left thousands unemployed, led to mass permanent business closures, and subject Newsom to a lot of blowback from across the political spectrum; especially when he was caught violating his own restrictions at a fancy outing.

Things have gotten so bad for Newsom, even other Democrats are ready to challenge him. Democrat mega-donor Chamath Palihapitiya tweeted “It’s on. #RecallGavinNewsom”

As was a major topic of the 2020 general election, mail-in voting is believed to be more vulnerable to fraud and contribute to election irregularities. Sen. Brian Jones echoed this concern, but it was rejected by the Democrat majority state Senate.

“There’s just a lot of debate right now in the state of California regarding the security of our mail-in ballots,” Jones said.

The claim of fraud and irregularities related to mail-in ballots is not without merit. I personally received 4 ballots for the 2020 election, none of which were addressed to me or anyone living in the house. Countless Californians had similar stories when ballots were sent out in October.

4 mail-in ballots mistakenly sent to my address

The blatant disregard by the California State Senate for the concerns of millions of Californians regarding the security of mail-in ballots will only perpetuate the distrust in our elections.

It’s important to keep in mind that no one is calling for the elimination of mail-in ballots. The state allows voters to choose whether they would like to vote by mail or in-person and has done so for years. The concern lies with sending a mail-in ballot to every registered voter in the state, even those who did not request one. That is the system that was put in place because of COVID-19, and that is what the State Senate has voted to continue.

Not to mention sending millions of ballots to those that don’t need one is a monumental waste of resources (paper, ink, staff, etc.) and undoubtedly has negative environmental impacts. This has been conveniently looked over by state Democrats.

With vaccines rolling out, the regional shutdown being ended,  and no major election currently scheduled, it is unclear why the state would be focusing on mail-in voting right now. But when you look at how close the recall Newsom effort is to reaching their goal, it begins to make sense.

To sign the petition to recall Newsom visit RescueCalifornia.org

Main photo via SD County News Center