The Republican Party launched a legal battle to block California Gov. Gavin Newsom from sending all voters in his state mail-in ballots for the general election, arguing the move is unconstitutional and invites voter fraud.
The Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and California Republican Party filed a lawsuit Sunday against Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
In their complaint, the groups called the Democratic governor’s action an illegal “usurpation of the legislature’s authority” to set the “time, place and manner” of the election, which they said constitutionally rests with the state Legislature.
“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 complaint says.
On May 8, Newsom signed an executive order stating that every registered California voter would be sent a mail-in ballot because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” Newsom said in a statement. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote.”
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The Republican groups argued mailing out the ballots is a “recipe for disaster” because even inactive voters will receive them, which “invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting.” And “invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”