California will overhaul its election system beginning in 2018 so that voters have more options on when and where to cast their ballots in future elections, under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed Thursday. SB450 by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, allows counties to opt into the new system, and if they do, those counties would be required to mail all voters a ballot that can be cast at voting centers up to 10 days before election day. The ballots can also be returned by mail. “People lead increasingly complicated lives; we should provide them with maximum flexibility when it comes to voting,” Allen said in a statement. “Under this new law, people will be able to choose the time and place to vote that is most convenient for their lifestyle and their schedule.”
Lawmakers modeled the law after Colorado’s election process, which has increased voter turnout and reduced the cost of holding elections.
Supporters of the bill said the increased flexibility will especially help working Californians and hopefully lead to higher voter turnout.
“Why limit voting to one location on a single Tuesday,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who sponsored the legislation.
The bill was introduced in the wake of steadily declining voter turnout, including a historically low voter turnout in 2014, when only a quarter of all registered voters cast a ballot in the June primary and 42 percent cast a ballot in the November general election. California ranks 43rd out of 50 states for its voter turnout rates.
Full Article: Brown signs legislation to overhaul voting system – SFGate.