The Republican Party is taking California Gov. Gavin Newsom to court over plans to send all voters mail-in ballots for the general election.
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.
The Republicans allege Newsom’s decision to provide voters with mail-in ballots is unconstitutional and could lead to voter fraud.
In their complaint, the groups called the Democrat governor’s action an illegal “usurpation of the legislature’s authority.”
“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 states.
The lawsuit challenges a May 8 order that Newsom signed 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.”
“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,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement Sunday.
“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,” California’s secretary of state said in a tweet in response to RNC lawsuit. “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.”
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. (1/2)
— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) May 25, 2020
President Donald Trump, who is opposed to vote-by-mail-measures, tweeted on Sunday that the election will be “rigged” if everyone receives a mail-in ballot.
The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history. People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and “force” people to sign. Also, forge names. Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2020
The RNC lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal challenges that Newsom faces.
Last week, former Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., joined Judicial Watch and two others in a lawsuit similar to the RNC’s against Newsom’s executive order on mail-in ballots.
“We’re on firm legal ground. Vote-by-mail is not novel in the state of California,” Newsom told USA Today.