Contra Costa County Officials Push For Vote-By-Mail Only Election In November

California voters take to the polls
Photo credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

Contra Costa County officials are preparing to formally ask Governor Gavin Newsom to move the November election to vote-by-mail only because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“We want to start fighting now to have an election this November that will have as much voter participation as possible, and for that election to be conducted in a healthy and safe manner,” says county Supervisor John Gioia. 

The Board of Supervisors will make the request on Tuesday. 

“Right now over 60% of people in Contra Costa vote-by-mail,” says Gioia. “But that’s still a large percent that votes in person. And we just don’t know what the landscape is going to be like this fall.”

Gioia says officials need to prepare for a possible resurgence of the virus in the fall that may interrupt the November election. 

“With the technology that we have right now it’s easier and it’s cheaper to do it by mail,” says Supervisor Diane Burgis, who adds that preparing for in-person voting is not practical or safe in the current moment. “You have to arrange for the polling stations. Then you have to have your poll workers, you have to have your equipment and keep it updated and all of that.”

The request comes as State Senator Scott Wiener, who represents part of San Francisco and the Peninsula has called for every registered voter in the country to automatically receive a mail-in ballot. 

“It is reckless and dangerous to force people to vote in a way that puts them, their families and the population in general at great risk. Voting is the most basic right in a democracy, and should be safe and accessible for all.”