California will Allow Voters to Track Mail-In Ballots
Last month, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2218 (AB 2218), which designates the California Secretary of State to come up with a tracking system to allow a vote by mail voter to track and receive information about his or her vote by mail ballot. The tracking system will be optional for counties to use. The system must be in place by 2020 and must allow voters to get a text or email about their ballot. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla stated,
I think it’s just one more level of confidence and comfort for voters to know when the ballots being returned to the county it’s indeed arrived on a timely basis. With the increasing popularity of vote by mail or vote at home, it only makes sense for all counties to eventually, but hopefully sooner rather than later, implement this tool. It’s good for election transparency and accountability and it’s certainly good for voters.
Notifications would come when ballots are sent in the mail and once they have been picked up and officially counted. A voter would be notified if a ballot cannot be counted under the tracking system and the reason why it was not counted would be given. The system could also include steps the voter can take to have their ballot counted. The state can utilize the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), which is an existing federal law that provides federal funding for states to carry out specified activities, such as improving voting systems and technology and methods for casting and counting votes. The tracking system for mail-in ballots is an interesting idea, but we will have to wait and see how well the system works.