On Sunday, the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and California Republican Party sued California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, declaring the executive order that demanded all registered voters in the state receive vote-by-mail ballots an “illegal power grab” and a “recipe for disaster.”
According to Fox News, Newsom’s order would enable inactive voters, including those who have died or moved, to receive vote-by-mail ballots. On May 8, Newsom issued an executive order that said every registered voter would receive a vote-by-mail ballot; Padilla tweeted, “BIG ELECTION NEWS: Every California voter will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for November’s election — and yes, we’ll do our best to maintain safe, in-person voting. This is great for public health, voting rights, and participation in the #2020 election.”
BIG ELECTION NEWS: Every California voter will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for November's election — and yes, we’ll do our best to maintain safe, in-person voting.
— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) May 8, 2020
“Registered voters currently living in California will receive a ballot 29 days prior to Election Day. Military members and voters living abroad will get their ballots in the mail 45 days before Election Day,” CBS News reported.
In response, the GOP filed a complaint, which reads in part:
In a direct usurpation of the legislature’s authority, Governor Newsom issued an executive order purporting to rewrite the entire election code for the November 2020 election. This brazen power grab was not authorized by state law and violates both the Elections Clause and Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Governor’s Order is invalid and must be enjoined.
Moreover, in his haste, the Governor created a system that will violate eligible citizens’ right to vote. By ordering that vote-by-mail ballots be automatically sent to every registered voter — including inactive voters, voters with invalid registrations, voters who have moved, voters who have died, and voters who don’t want a ballot — he has created a recipe for disaster. No State that regularly conducts statewide all-mail elections automatically mails ballots to inactive voters because it invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting. Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Finally, the Governor reserved for himself the sole discretion to choose if and where in-person voting will occur. Such unbridled discretion, which leads to arbitrary and disparate treatment of individual voters, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated, “Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Governor Newsom’s executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections. Newsom’s illegal power grab is a recipe for disaster that would destroy the confidence Californians deserve to have in the security of their vote.”
Padilla countered, “Expanding vote-by-mail during a pandemic is not a partisan issue — it’s a moral imperative to protect voting rights and public safety. Vote-by-mail has been used safely and effectively in red, blue, and purple states for years. This lawsuit is just another part of Trump’s political smear campaign against voting by mail. We will not let this virus be exploited for voter suppression.”
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