Congressional candidate Darrell Issa and RNC file lawsuits to block California move to expand voting by mail

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Gov. Gavin Newsom has been sued by the Republican National Committee and two other party organizations for his executive order calling for every registered voter in the state to receive a mail-in ballot for the November election.

The suit filed in federal court in Sacramento claims Newsom’s executive order declaring California a vote-by-mail state is unlawful, violates eligible voters’ rights and creates an opportunity for fraud.

Former Congressman and 50th Congressional District candidate, Darrell Issa, and conservative group Judicial Watch, have also filed a lawsuit against California to stop the state from mailing absentee ballots to all voters ahead of the 2020 general election.

Issa joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss the lawsuit, and why he believes a vote-by-mail election this November is unnecessary.

Issa emphasized the large amounts of people who are registered, but have since passed away, or no longer live at their registered address, specifically dormitories. Issa also asserted that Governor Newsom doesn’t have the power to do this, saying, “if he wants to do it, go to the legislature.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on  May 8 requiring counties to send out vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters for the November 3 general election.

Newsom said the move reflects concern that state residents have access to a safe method of voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are reaching out to all registered eligible voters and giving them the opportunity and giving them the choice not to feel like they have to go in to a concentrated, dense environment where their health may be at risk,” Newsom said during a briefing Friday.

Newsom, a Democrat, also noted that the mail-in option would not be an “exclusive substitute” to voting in person.

“We still want to have the appropriate number of physical sites for people to vote as well,” Newsom said.

The suit filed in federal court in Sacramento claims Newsom’s executive order declaring California a vote-by-mail state is unlawful, violates eligible voters’ rights and creates an opportunity for fraud.

According to the suit, the order will result in ballots going to voters with invalid registrations, voters who have moved and voters who have died. 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.

“Ballot harvesting gives third parties who may be completely unknown to both the voter and election officials the opportunity to potentially tamper with absentee ballots,” by pressuring them into giving them blank ballots, casting their votes a certain way, or “when a voter has voted for the `wrong’ candidate, the harvester may surreptitiously change the vote, include additional votes to void the ballot, or simply dispose of the ballot rather than returning it,” according to the suit.

Jessica Millan Patterson, chairwoman of the California Republican Party, one of the three parties to the suit along with the National Republican Congressional Committee and Republican National Committee, said “California’s election system is already burdened with serious issues.”

“The disastrous Motor Voter program arbitrarily changed voter registration for thousands, casting doubt on the integrity and accuracy of our voter rolls,” Millan Patterson said. “Using this pandemic in a unilateral power grab to change our election laws with an executive order will further put the integrity of our elections into question.”

Said Jesse Melgar, Newsom’s press secretary: “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.”

On Tuesday Newsom said “I don’t want to deny you that right because of public health. And that’s what this option, it’s not mail only, it’s option, and the ability to have an architecture of in-person voting options does in the state of California. I think it’s a noble cause. I think it’s an appropriate cause. And I don’t think it’s political in any way, shape or form.”

Secretary of State Alex Padilla was also named as a defendant in the RNC suit.

Categories: California News, Good Morning San Diego, In Studio Guests, Local San Diego News, Politics