Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on Friday to permit vote-by-mail procedures to be used in the May 12 special elections including the 25th Congressional District runoff, protecting public health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Democrat Christy Smith and Republican Mike Garcia were the top vote-getters for a U.S. House of Representatives seat representing California’s 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, in the March 3 primary election.
Smith was first with 45,038 (35.98%) to second-place Garcia’s 29,134 (23.27%). The top candidate needed 50% of the votes cast to avoid a runoff election.
The other two May 12 special elections were one called by the governor to fill a vacancy in the California Senate’s 28th District, and a Special Recall Election in Westminster, in Orange County.
Newsom’s order also extends the deadlines for ballot counting, tabulation, and other responsibilities related to the official canvass of California’s Presidential Primary Election that could risk undermining social distancing measures.
“All deadlines associated with completing, auditing, and reporting on the official canvass of the May 12, 2020, Special General Elections to be held within the 25th Congressional District of the State and the 28th Senate District of the State are extended by 21 days,” the order reads.
“Counties are urged to complete activities related to the official canvass according to the deadlines ordinarily imposed by state law, to the extent possible,” the order continues. “The Secretary of State is requested to issue guidance to county elections officials concerning compliance with this paragraph.”
Newsom’s order also suspends the timeframes for public hearings required by political subdivisions that are in the process of changing from an at-large method of election to district elections.
“The timeframes for conducting the hearings required when a political subdivision changes from an at-large method of election to a district-based election, as set forth in Elections Code section 10010, are suspended for any subdivision until such time as neither state nor local public health officials recommend or impose social distancing measures in the relevant subdivision.
“Following that time, the relevant subdivision shall hold the required hearings in a manner that ensures the public is provided advance notice and is afforded an opportunity to participate in the postponed hearings.”
A copy of the governor’s executive order can be found here.
In Los Angeles County, “the May 12 CD25 Runoff Election will be conducted by mail under the special election provisions of the Voter’s Choice Act,” according to a tweet from Dean C. Logan, LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk sent prior to the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“All voters will be mailed ballots and a limited number of vote centers will be available 10 days prior to and on Election Day,” Logan said.