FACT CHECK: Image Falsely Claims California Voters Will Be Turned Away From Polling Places If They Don’t Change Their Voting Preference To ‘No To Mail In Voting’

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims California voters will be turned away from polling locations if they didn’t change their voting preference to “NO to mail in voting.”

Verdict: False

California voters do not need to change their voter preference to vote in-person. A spokesperson for California’s Office of the Secretary of State said the claim is not true.

Fact Check:

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in June signed a law that requires counties to send all active registered voters a mail-in ballot for the November election amid COVID-19 concerns, according to The Associated Press. The image claims that because of Newsom’s move to do so, California voters will be turned away from in-person polling places if they don’t change their voting preference to “NO to mail in voting.”

“ATTENTION CALIFORNIA – NEWSOM CHANGED YOUR VOTING PREFERENCE WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. EVERY single voter in CA has had their voting preference changed to ‘vote by mail,'” the post reads, in part. “This means if you go to the polls to vote in person, you will be TURNED AWAY & CANNOT VOTE. This also means you are at the mercy of the USPS to receive & then return your ballot.”

That is, however, incorrect. Neither the law nor its preceding executive order eliminated in-person voting. The law, which only applies to the Nov. 3 general election, also did not make it so that California voters need to change their voter registration to vote in-person, Chris Miller, the communications coordinator for California’s Office of the Secretary of State, told Check Your Fact in an email.

“The permanent voting preference of voters has not been changed,” Miller also said in an email. “There will also be in-person voting locations available for voters to cast their ballot at a polling location.” (RELATED: Did Larry Bird Tell NBA Players To ‘Shut Up And Play The Damn Game?)

While Newsom did sign a law that allows counties to offer fewer in-person polling locations in exchange for opening them earlier, per The Associated Press, Californians can still vote in-person. For instance, some counties will have vote centers that offer in-person voting starting 10 days before the election, according to the California Secretary of State website. State officials have also encouraged counties to offer four days of in-person voting from Oct. 31 to Election Day, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Polling locations will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. The California Secretary of State website offers a page dedicated to helping voters find their polling locations.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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