Sacramento, CA — New legislation, announced today, aims to make voting in California at least as convenient as in Colorado, which leads the nation in voter turnout.
While introducing SB 450, which seeks to provide Golden State voters flexible ways to cast their ballots, Secretary of State Alex Padilla noted in last year’s general election, California came in 43rd out of 50 states in returns. “This problem cannot be ignored. Civic participation is the foundation of our democracy,” he stated. “SB 450 would provide citizens more options for when, where and how they vote — providing more options will help more citizens vote, despite our often busy lives,” he added.
The legislation, if adopted, will allow counties to implement modernized elections protocols and provide voters with more alternatives, such as using a ballot that has automatically been sent to them in the mail. It also would expand provisions for early voting by allowing voters to mail in their ballot, drop it off at a vote center or at a secure 24-hour drop box. Instead of being assigned to one polling location, voters would also be able to cast ballots from any vote center within their county. SB 450 would also increase accessibility at these locations by requiring them be open at least eight hours per day, beginning ten days ahead of Election Day.
Southern California Democratic Senators Ben Allen and Senator Bob Hertzberg are the bill’s co-authors. Allen points out that similar reforms in other states such as Colorado have both increased voter turnout and reduced the cost of elections. Hertzberg states the bill flips the status quo on its head, putting the voter first by providing them with a range of options instead of making the ballot return process more convenient for the state.