News & Politics

Democratic Incrementalism Makes Pandemic Vote-By-Mail Ballots Permanent

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Governor Gavin Newsom signed “a package of legislation” on Monday that included “a bill to send all registered voters a vote-by-mail ballot” for all future elections whether they request one or not. The entire vote-by-mail legislative effort was a textbook display of Democratic Party incrementalism—or the gradual implementation of The Agenda.

Let’s start at the beginning. On March 4, 2020, Newson proclaimed an official “State of Emergency to Help State Prepare for Broader Spread of COVID-19.” His proclamation came “as the number of positive California cases [rose] and following one official COVID-19 death.” Yes, one. With his newly acquired emergency powers, it didn’t take him long to target the upcoming primary election.

Vote-by-mail ballots were first required in March 2020, when Newsom “and local governments declared states of emergency and took steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. One of the early steps taken by the Governor was to order that three pending special elections be conducted as all-mailed ballot elections. This order was issued based on concerns that widespread in-person voting would conflict with public health officials’ guidance on COVID-19.”

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Newsom’s “early steps” ordering “all-mailed ballot elections” during the pandemic were soon codified in AB-860, which was urgently passed by lawmakers “due to concerns that conducting in-person voting during the spread of COVID-19 would threaten the health and safety of voters, election workers, and the general public.”

The bill was supported by several Republicans due to the unknown variables of the pandemic and it was signed by Newsom the same day. That’s not, however, when AB-860 was first created. AB-860 was created way back in February of 2019, a full year before any global pandemic was active or emergency powers were even thought about. The Democratic legislators simply used the pandemic and Newsom’s emergency powers to ram through The Agenda of  “all-mailed ballot elections.” As usual, the Republicans fell for the urgency and implied the changes would be temporary, while the Democrats seized more power and control.

Next, the signing of AB-37 makes permanent AB-360 with, of course, a few added measures in the name of “increasing transparency and integrity in elections.” What began “as a safety measure to counteract pandemic-related disruptions” was now being sold as “a move to increase access to democracy and enfranchise more voters” because AB-860 “resulted in record voter participation.” Well, duh. It was a pandemic and we were all ordered to stay in our homes so we had no choice but to vote by mail.

But why would the left ever stop with just the one power grab at hand when they could also thumb their collective noses at those horrible-no-good red states? Here’s a full list of the “package” of “election integrity” legislation signed by Newsom on Monday:

AB 37 by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) – Elections: vote by mail ballots.

AB-319 by Assemblymember Suzette Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) – Political Reform Act of 1974: contributions: foreign governments or principals.

AB-796 by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) – Voter registration: California New Motor Voter Program.

AB-1367 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) – Political Reform Act of 1974: committee accounts and campaign funds.

AB-1495 by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley) – Vacancy elections.

AB-1590 by Committee on Elections – Political Reform Act of 1974.

SB-35 by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) – Elections.

SB-503 by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) – Voting: ballots and signature verification.

SB-594 by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) – Elections: redistricting.

SB-686 by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) – Campaign disclosure: limited liability companies.

“As states across our country continue to enact undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options and bolstering elections integrity and transparency,” said Newsom in a press release. “Last year we took unprecedented steps to ensure all voters had the opportunity to cast a ballot during the pandemic and today we are making those measures permanent after record-breaking participation in the 2020 presidential election.”

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And there you have it. Since the Democratic Party holds a veto-proof supermajority in both the California Senate and the California Assembly, AB-37 passed through both houses of the legislature earlier this month despite Republican opposition in both chambers.

Presto! Through Democratic incremental creep, the unpopular 2019 vote-by-mail measure is made permanent. The Agenda is complete—for now.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong with all vote-by-mail? Right, Pennsylvania? Right, Georgia? Right, Arizona? Especially when Newsom has yet to give up his emergency powers and it doesn’t seem likely he ever will. It’s good to be King.