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California

0 /65
Vote at Home Score

2020 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed-out ballots

0 %

2016 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed out ballots

0 %

State election policies as of 2022...

Full Vote-at-Home

10/10

Full Vote-at-Home

Voter automatically mailed ballot for every election

No Excuse Required

6/6

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote from home

Single Sign-Up

6/6

Single Sign-Up

Voter signs up once to receive mail ballot for all future elections

Local Vote-at-Home Option

5/5

Local VAH Option

Local governments have discretion to conduct full vote-at-home elections

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

2/2

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

Voter can apply for mail ballot online

Ballot Tracking

4/4

Ballot Tracking

Voter can receive ballot status notifications.

In-Person Ballot Return

5/5

In-Person Ballot Return

Voter has multiple options to return mail ballot in person

Signature Verification

5/5

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Ballot Cure Process

4/4

Ballot Cure Process

Voter can correct issues so ballot can be counted

Prepaid Postage

4/4

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

4/4

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Ballots postmarked by Election Day are accepted

In-Person Voting

4/4

In-Person Return

Physical locations for voters to vote and receive assistance

Pre-Processing

3/3

Signature Verification

Ballots are verified and scanned before Election Day

Mail Ballot Applications

2/2

Mail Ballot Applications

Election officials can mail ballot applications to all voters eligible to vote from home

Ballot Return Assistance

2/2

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters may receive assistance to return their mail ballot

Opportunities

California allows ballot pre-processing for all counties that either administer all-mail elections or have the computer capability to pre-process. While this is a great start, the State should also ensure that all counties have the computer capacity to conduct this important electoral process, which would facilitate universal pre-processing.

Recent Legislation

As of Sept. 29, 2021

The 2016 California’s Voter’s Choice Act allowed counties to transition fully to Vote By Mail (sending all voters a ballot) and required all counties to provide greater ballot return options. This policy eased the State’s 2020 transition to statewide Vote By Mail. Prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature acted swiftly to speed up California’s transition. By passing AB 860, the Legislature made all counties send all voters mail ballots for the 2020 general election. Foreseeing the massive increase in mail ballots, the law extended the state’s preprocessing and already generous ballot receipt deadline and added ballot tracking to increase voter confidence. 15 of California’s 58 counties were already fully Vote By Mail by 2020, and others are preparing to transition in the future.

During its 2021 session, with AB37 the California Legislature made the transition to statewide full Vote At Home permanent, as well as other Vote At Home policies enacted from the 2020 general election, including extended preprocessing and ballot tracking, into law. Before this bill, it had done this temporarily until 2022 with SB 29. The state also passed AB 796 and SB 503 to amend its existing automatic voter registration and signature verification policies. Lastly, the state passed SB521 to allow the extended preprocessing from 2020 to 2021, as well as permanently extending postmark acceptance and allowing all counties to create vote centers.

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