California enacts voting changes for the 2020 presidential election due to COVID-19

On May 8, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order mandating that all eligible voters in California receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the Nov. 3 election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite announcing this change, Newsom ensures that in-person voting opportunities will still be accessible for people who are unable to send ballots in the mail or require certain special services, such as the disabled or those who do not speak English. 

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters at the Marin County Elections Office, explains that they are prepared to send ballots through the mail but are still working on the logistics of the in-person services that are promised.

“Marin County is really high in vote-by-mail now anyway, so a lot of people had already chosen this method to vote. It’s not a big leap for a lot of people,” Roberts said. 

With the changes in how elections will function, making sure voter turnout is high is even more crucial for the Nov. 3 elections. According to Roberts, Marin’s voter turnout in the past has been relatively high, estimated around 89 percent in the 2016 elections, and she expects it to be even higher this year.

“This particular upcoming election has a lot of interests going into it. So even before this pandemic hit, I believed that we would be having a turnout above 90 percent. No matter the method of voting, I think [voter turnout] is going to be high,” Roberts said.