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California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing legal action over an executive order directing that the November election be held under a statewide mail-in balloting scheme, which opponents call blatantly “unconstitutional.”
In an interview Saturday on “Fox & Friends,” former GOP lawmaker Darrell Issa, who is running for his old seat in southern California, said he has filed a lawsuit against the Democratic governor along with legal watchdog Judicial Watch in an attempt to get the order rescinded.
“The all-mail system ordered by Governor Newsom…is an unlawful attempt to supersede and replace California election law,” the 14-page complaint reads.
Newsom signed an order on May 8 stating all registered voters would receive a mail-in ballot for the November election, citing the coronavirus pandemic as his justification.
But that doesn’t matter, Issa contends, because, he says, the order is a blatant violation of state election law.
(Source: Fox News)
“The legislature passed an act specifically laying out how mail-in ballots could be done county-by-county” but “the governor ignored all of that,” Issa said.
Also, “he ignored the other ways he could have increased the amount of mail-in ballots,” the former GOP lawmaker said.
Issa also noted that in the 25th District, where Republican Mike Garcia just won former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s seat who resigned earlier this year under allegations of a sex scandal, Newsom directed a last-minute effort to set up an in-person voting station in a Democrat-heavy region despite the pandemic and his ‘stay-at-home’ order.
“So you can see where one gets very concerned that this has turned into the governor’s way to manipulate the outcome of the November election,” Issa continued.
In a statement, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton also blasted Newsom’s order.
“Governor Newsom’s vote-by-mail mandate is unconstitutional and may cause the votes of countless voters to be thrown out or not counted,” he said. “California law prohibits blindly mailing out ballots to every registered voter in the state. This scheme raises the risk of Election Day chaos as well as voter fraud.”
Newsom defended his decision this week, claiming that “vote-by-mail is not novel” in his state and that he “needed to move forward with a sense of urgency so we could prepare for the election.”
He also suggested that a possible “second wave” of coronavirus led him to issue the order. “I think elections are too important, I think Mr. Issa’s election is too important.”
There is no evidence indicating that COVID-19 will become a problem again in the fall, only speculation by some experts that it could return.
For his part, Issa disputed Newsom’s claim that he was on “solid legal ground.”
“Just the opposite,” the GOP candidate said. “California law very specifically didn’t give him authority” to issue the order and in fact “laid out another way to do it.”
Issa also noted that mailing out ballots willy-nilly to people on voter registration lists without first confirming that the lists are accurate is also an invitation to vote fraud.
Plus, the GOP contender alleged that Newsom “may play the same trick again of opening polling places in the middle of a pandemic because it suits him.”
Issa said that Newsom “could remedy this” himself, adding he believes that a court will issue a restraining order blocking the plan “because it’s clearly outside the Constitution and the law passed by an all-Democratic vote in the Legislature.”
In terms of California voting generally, last year Judicial Watch won a lawsuit against the state which required it to purge 1.5 million inactive voters from its registration rolls, as required by federal law.
“Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population,” the watchdog group noted in a statement in January 2019. “The entire State of California has a registration rate of about 101 percent of its age-eligible citizenry.”
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