Gavin Newsom Sued By RNC Over California’s Absentee Ballot Policy

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom is being sued by the Republican National Committee (RNC) because of his policies regarding the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report on Twitter by CNN‘s Abby Phillip. Specifically, the lawsuit is over Newsom’s new policy of sending absentee ballots to all registered voters in the state this November. The lawsuit comes, Phillip reports, after Newsom changed the state’s policy for qualifying for absentee ballots.

California, like most other states in the country, had special requirements if a voter wanted to use an absentee ballot rather than go to the polls in person. Newsom cited the coronavirus pandemic as reason enough to allow everyone to stay home and vote by mail if they preferred.

In a copy of the lawsuit filing, Phillip also posted in her tweet, the RNC claimed the California governor’s executive order regarding the absentee ballots is a “usurpation” of the state legislature’s authority. The suit asserted the, “U.S. Constitution entrusts state legislatures to set the time, place, and manner of congressional elections and to determine how the state chooses electors for the presidency. California’s legislature has enacted valid laws to that end.”

It went on to say that Newsom created a system that will violate eligible citizens’ right to vote. The RNC said the executive order will have absentee ballots sent to people who are deceased, moved, or no longer want to vote, but are still registered voters. The filing added that no state that does all-mail elections sends absentee ballots to inactive voters because the RNC claimed that would incite voter fraud.

The suit also claimed Newsom reserved the right to decide where and when in-person voting would occur in November. It said the governor having that much discretion, “leads to arbitrary and disparate treatment of individual voters, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The lawsuit filing comes on the same day that President Donald Trump claimed all mail-in ballot elections would lead to the greatest rigged election in history.

“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!”

Trump later quote tweeted the original post and added the claim that the Democrats were trying to rig the 2020 election, “plain and simple.”

The lawsuit filing against Newsom asks the court to rule his executive order violates the constitution, and to issue an injunction against enforcing that order. Should the court rule in the RNC’s favor, California’s rules regarding absentee voting would revert to pre-coronavirus policies.