RNC Sues State Over Mailing Ballots To Registered Voters

The Republican National Committee has filed a lawsuit against the state of California to stop California Gov. Gavin Newsom from mailing ballots to all registered voters ahead of the November election.

The suit alleges Gov. Newsom overstepped his authority in his executive order.

"Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Gov. Newsom’s executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a press release. "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."

Dhillon Law Group's Harmeet K. Dhillon filed the suit Sunday in U.S. District Court.

"The governor cannot make a law that determines the time, place and manner people of voting under our Consistution, only the legislature may do that," Dhillon told KCBS Radio's Dan Mitchinson. "Only the legislature may detetmine the time, place and manner of identifying the electors who go on to vote for President of the United States."

Though not referencing the lawsuit directly, President Donald Trump tweeted late Sunday about possible voter fraud when using mail-in ballots.

In a statement Sunday night to KCBS Radio, Gov. Newsom's Press Secretary, Jesse 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."

Earlier this month, Gov. Newsom announced the state will send every voter a mail-in ballot for the November contest, a move immediately criticized by national Republicans as a pathway to possible large-scale abuse.

There are ways to do this legally, Gavin Newsom chose not to do that," Dhillon said.

With the state still under stay-at-home orders and facing a future of unknowns from the coronavirus outbreak, the Democratic governor said sending postage-paid ballots to every registered voter was the best solution to addressing the anxiety felt by many people about gathering in large groups that are breeding grounds for the virus.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many in-person voting centers would be available or where they would be located, as the governor pledged some would be open.

At the time, Gov. Newsom said in a statement that mail-in ballots "aren’t a perfect solution for every person," as he hoped election officials and health experts would continue to "create safer in-person opportunities for Californians who aren’t able to vote by mail."