California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law Monday that will eliminate vote-by-mail in elections for union certification by farm workers, under a deal that will allow organizers to use a “card check” system instead.
Newsom, who owns a winery himself, signed law AB 113 under a deal he struck with unions last year under pressure from labor organizers and Democrat leaders. He vetoed a bill last year to allow vote-by-mail in union elections because he said that he could not “support an untested mail-election process that lacks critical provisions to protect the integrity of the election.”
Farmworkers led a series of protests in response, including a march to the infamous French Laundry restaurant in Napa, where Newsom dined maskless with lobbyists right after issuing pandemic guidelines telling other Californians not to to to restaurants. Newsom relented and signed a bill allowing vote-by-mail and other provisions, under the understanding that the vote-by-mail provision would be repealed the following year.
California adopted automatic vote-by-mail in its regular elections in 2020, over the objections of Republicans.
Democrats have since attempted to mandate vote-by-mail nationwide, and have described restrictions on vote-by-mail as an attempt to deny Americans the right to vote, or even, in President Biden’s words, “Jim Crow 2.0.”