FACT CHECK: Image Claims California Is Sending Mail-In Ballots To Voters For Gavin Newsom’s Recall Election Due To The Delta Variant

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Instagram post claims California is sending out mail-in ballots for the upcoming recall election of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom due to the Delta variant.

Verdict: False

The California bill requiring mail-in ballots to be sent to all active registered voters for elections “proclaimed or conducted” before Jan. 1, 2022, including the gubernatorial recall election, was signed into law in February. The Delta variant was not detected in the U.S. until March.

Fact Check:

Newsom, the first-term governor of California, is facing a recall election that is scheduled to be held on Sept. 14, according to CapRadio. The leaders of the recall movement have cited Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising costs of living and high taxes, among other things, as reasons for moving to recall him, the outlet reported.

The viral image shows a screen grab of an Aug. 3 tweet from former baseball player Aubrey Huff that reads, “Due to new ‘delta variant’ California will be mailing in ballots for recall election. You can’t make this shit up. Setting it up for @GavinNewsom to stay in power. If you can’t see how obvious the corruption & lies are then you’re truly lost.”

SB-29, a bill extending to all elections “proclaimed or conducted” prior to Jan. 1, 2022, the mandate that all active registered voters be sent a mail-in ballot, was actually passed by California lawmakers back in February, the Associated Press reported. Newsom signed the bill into law Feb. 19.

While the bill was, according to the Associated Press, part of an effort to help curb COVID-19 infections in the state, it was not in response to the Delta variant. The CDC website states that the Delta variant was not detected in the U.S. until March, after SB-29 had already been passed and signed into law. The World Health Organization later classified the Delta variant as a “variant of concern” in May, Reuters reported.

Jenna Dresner, a spokesperson for the California Secretary of State’s office, told Check Your Fact in an email that they “have not made any changes to our elections process as a result of ‘the Delta variant.'” (RELATED: No, Pennsylvania Did Not Reject 372,000 Mail In Ballots)

The decision to “extend legislation to send vote-by-mail ballots to every voter happened in February of 2021, given the ongoing threat of COVID-19 rather than the Delta variant which wasn’t prevalent at the time,” she said. Voters can “return their ballots by mail, drop box, or take advantage of the in-person voting options available in every California county during the September 14, 2021 Recall Election,” Dresner also told Check Your Fact.

Newsom previously signed a law last year mandating mail-in ballots be sent to all active registered California voters for the November 2020 general election, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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