Republicans sue Newsom over vote-by-mail order for November election

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Three Republican groups have sued Gov. Gavin Newsom over his executive order to send mail-in ballots to California’s 20.6 million voters in November.

The suit was brought by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the lawsuit on Sunday through Twitter.


“His radical plan is a recipe for disaster that would create more opportunities for fraud & destroy the confidence Californians deserve to have in their elections,” McDaniel said.

Newsom issued the order on May 8, making California the first state in the nation to temporarily shift to all-mail voting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit accuses Newsom of a “brazen power grab” that would “violate eligible citizens’ right to vote.”

President Trump says mail-in voting is dangerous and corrupt. But he mailed his own ballot to Florida last month, so how bad can it be?

The complaint echoes those made by President Trump, who has criticized mail-in ballots as “dangerous” and fraudulent and threatened to withhold federal funding from some states that have sought to expand mail voting.

In making the decision, California officials cited public health concerns of millions of people showing up to cast a ballot when the threat of infection is still likely to be present.

Responding to the lawsuit late Sunday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said via Twitter: “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. 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.”