SACRAMENTO (AP) — The state Assembly has approved a bill allowing counties to conduct special elections with universal vote-by-mail and fewer polling places.

AB1873 by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Assemblyman Kevin Mullin seeks to address the cost and low-turnouts when legislative seats must be filled in special elections.

The bill passed Thursday on a 44-31 vote, with Republicans and some Democrats raising concerns about relying on vote-by-mail.

The bill would require pre-stamped envelopes containing ballots mailed to all registered voters, while providing for some polling locations.

Republican Assemblyman Donald Wagner of Irvine blasted a provision allowing ballots to be accepted three days after the election. He says that could cause political mischief in tight races.

AB1873 now heads to the Senate, where leader Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, has introduced a constitutional amendment that gives the governor the power to fill legislative vacancies.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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