Legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) that will transform the way elections are conducted in California passed the state Assembly today on a vote of 42 – 28. “Our current system of limiting voters to one polling location on a single day has failed. It is time to implement a new voting model that allows people to vote conveniently, close to where they work, shop and congregate,” Senator Allen said. Under the new system, every voter will receive a vote by mail ballot that can be returned by mail, or dropped off at numerous locations throughout the county called vote centers. Voters will be able to vote in person at the vote centers for 10 days prior to Election Day, including two weekends.
SB 450 is patterned after the successful way Colorado conducts its elections. Since instituting the new voting system, Colorado’s voter turnout has risen to third among all states. The new model also significantly reduced the cost of holding elections.
SB 450 permits 14 counties to opt in to the new system beginning in 2018, and all other counties may opt in starting in 2020.
“For the first time, California voters will be able to choose when, where, and how they want to vote under a system that provides maximum convenience and accessibility,” Allen said.