LOS ANGELES – The Republican National Committee and two other party organizations Friday sought a preliminary injunction to block Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s executive order calling for every registered voter in the state to receive a mail-in ballot for the November election.
The RNC had filed suit filed in federal court in Sacramento May 24 claiming Newsom’s executive order declaring California a vote-by-mail state is unlawful and creates an opportunity for fraud.
The suit also criticizes the practice of “ballot harvesting,” in which campaign workers, union members, political activists, paid personnel, volunteers or others go to voters’ homes to collect ballots to turn them in to election officials.
“Not only does Governor Newsom lack the authority to declare California a vote-by-mail state, the content of the order itself is a brazen and illegal power grab that would damage the integrity of elections in the state,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.
“We will continue to fight to ensure current election laws are upheld and that California Democrats like Newsom cannot continue their assault on the integrity of our elections.”
There was no immediate response to an email sent late Friday night to Jesse Melgar, Newsom’s press secretary, seeking a response.
When the suit was filed Melgar said, “California will continue to defend Californians’ right to vote, including their right to vote by mail, and the right to hold an election that is safe, secure and accessible. Voters shouldn’t have to choose between their health and their right to vote.”
Secretary of State Alex Padilla is also a defendant in the suit. The California Republican Party and National Republican Congressional Committee are also parties to the suit.
Newsom issued the order May 8, saying that providing all voters with a mail-in ballot will give them “the choice not to feel like they have to go into a concentrated, dense environment where their health may be at risk” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom said the mail-in ballots will not be a substitute for physical voting locations, which will still be offered. He said the executive order also calls for the development of a plan by the end of the month on the locations of voting sites for the election.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously April 28 to send vote-by-mail ballots to every voter registered for the November general election, citing concerns about coronavirus-related social distancing.