Conservative group files challenge to California vote-by-mail order

Former Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program Wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter sentenced to 8 months of home confinement Harris endorses Democrat in tight California House race MORE (R-Calif.) and the conservative group Judicial Watch are challenging California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia governor Newsom signs bill extending family leave to small businesses California family frustrated that governor, Harris used fire-damaged property for 'photo opportunity' Pac-12 moves toward 'return to competition' after Big Ten announces resumption of football season MORE’s (D) vote-by-mail order. 

The groups are challenging a directive by Newsom to send every registered voter a ballot for the November election, making California the first state to switch to all-mail elections.

The complaint argues the move by Newsom “is an unlawful attempt to supersede and replace California election law.”

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The plaintiffs cite California's Voter’s Choice Act, which sets requirements for counties to satisfy before they are able to conduct mail-in voting and argue Newsom's directive jumps over those safeguards, inviting fraud. 

The governor and most Democrats have been a proponent of mail-in voting to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Judicial Watch, which filed the lawsuit in a federal court in Sacramento on behalf of Issa, argues that the governor's directive could hurt the former San Diego–area congressman’s campaign. 

“Now, he must develop a new strategy to reflect that he is no longer running under an electoral system established under California law, but under the ultra vires system set forth in [the order],” the complaint reads.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) called the lawsuit "un-American, immoral, and a threat to the health of every Californian.”

“Exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to justify voter suppression is despicable, even for Judicial Watch’s pathetically low standards," Padilla said in a statement to Politico.