UPDATE, 10:31 PM: Joe Biden finally received an official endorsement from Gavin Newsom tonight, but the California Governor was the recipient of some high praise from the former Vice-President and the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for his executive electoral move against coronavirus earlier Friday.
“Gavin, you’ve done one helluva job, and thank you for your support and your leadership,” Biden told the former San Francisco Mayor during a pricey virtual fundraiser tonight.
“You haven’t just shown extraordinary leadership …you’re also protecting the cornerstone of our democracy, the right to vote,” the ex-Veep said of the executive order the Golden State governor signed today sending a mail-in ballot to every registered voter in California for the November election.
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According to the pool report of the fundraiser, the remote love-in continued with Biden saying the action was “incredible” and even has the support of members of the GOP, who usually hate everything liberal Democrat Newsom does. Noting that polls reveal “registered Republications think it’s the government’s responsibility to provide this mail-in voting,’’ Biden went on to tell the more than 700 donors tuning in that “what the governor did today makes a lot of sense for their states as well.”
Taken in that context, and with COVID-19 cases and deaths still rising across the nation as more and more regions like Cali partially reopen after nearly two months of lockdown and economic collapse, Newsom made it clear he hoped his executive order of today send a salvo into Trump Country.
“I hope that will inspire others across the country …including Red states,’’ to also offer every one of their registered voters the opportunity to not have to potentially risk their lives to cast their ballots this fall in what looks to be a tight race. With nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in American now, that race will certainly be in part a referendum on Trump’s management of the health crisis that has seen over 75,000 Americans dead.
In that vein, Team Trump were not praising Newsom’s mail-in voting plan, to put it politely.
“This is a thinly veiled political tactic by Gov. Newsom to undermine election security,” said Trump re-election campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh on Friday.
“There’s a vast difference between people voting absentee by mail because they can’t be at the polls on election day versus mailing everyone a ballot,” the Republican added. “Sending everyone a ballot — even those who didn’t request one — is a wide-open opportunity for fraud.”
It should be noted that Donald Trump himself has voted through the mail with absentee ballots in both this year’s Florida primary and in the 2018 mid-terms in New York.
Cali is the first state to respond to the pandemic by sending ballots to everyone for November, not just those who request one. However, it should also be additionally noted that Newsom has said in-person voting will still be offered throughout the state in November for those who want to do their bit for democracy face-to-face or mask-to-mask, so to speak.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:09 PM: On the day that California starts to ease off on coronavirus restrictions, Governor Gavin Newsom revealed that the Golden State will be the first state in the nation to allow full mail-in voting for the November election because of the global health crisis.
Speaking from a reopened florist on Friday, Newsom said in his daily briefing on COVID-19 that he had signed an executive order that will see ballots sent out to over 20 million registered voters. “Every Californian who is eligible to vote in the November 3, 2020 General Election shall receive a vote-by-mail ballot,” says the Executive Order (READ IT HERE).
Even though Cali saw over 70% of voters mail in their ballots in the March primary, the move by Newsom is counter to the usual system where citizens have to request a mail-in ballot to receive one.
It is also very much in opposition to Donald Trump.
Running far behind in California and lagging across the nation to the Democrats’ presumptive nominee Joe Biden, the incumbent has strongly encouraged in person voting, even with the health risks presented in primaries and the general election. No fan of the USPS either, Trump and Republicans worry mail-in voting will further hurt their results in an election that is emerging as a referendum on the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s (mis)handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
“There’s a lot of excitement around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way, and make sure your health is protected,” Gov. Newsom proclaimed today in his wide-ranging briefing from a San Francisco retailer.
Even with the mail-in ballots, there will still be in-person voting, but state officials say they are still figuring out how that will work with concerns of a second coronavirus wave hitting the already hard-hit state in the fall. Only intended for the November general election in the usually Blue state, the mailings are expected to start arriving in residential mailboxes in the summer.
“There’s no safer, physically distancing, healthier way to exercise your right to vote than from the safety and convenience of your own home,” CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla noted on Friday.
With many retailers and local hiking trails now in various degrees of reopening this Mother’s Day weekend, confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths are still rising in California, local and state health officials announced Friday.
Simultaneously, the state now has its worst budget deficit ever with a projected $54 billion shortfall due to economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Further hurting the world’s 5th biggest economy, which is what California is, will be an unemployment rate that Gov. Newsom said today was “north of 20%” as of this week.
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