By Ken Stone
Former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa is still trying to get a federal judge to block an executive order to send every California registered voter an absentee ballot for the November election.
That’s despite the fact Sacramento lawmakers a week ago passed Assembly Bill 860 ordering the same — immediately signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The new defendants argue the request is moot.
“Subsequent to the filing of Plaintiffs’ motions, the California Legislature enacted legislation mirroring and ratifying the challenged plans, thus precluding any argument that Defendants have not followed the Legislature’s dictates and consequently mooting Plaintiffs’ claims,” said the filing.
In a separate filing Thursday, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other state lawyers piggybacked the “moot” line of attack.
The Newsom order “no longer has any effect on the November election: AB 860 ratifies and supersedes Executive Order N-64-20 in all relevant respects,” said the filing against three Republican entities.
“There is no effective relief for the Court to grant here: no matter what action the court might take … vote-by-mail ballots will still be sent to every registered active voter in California.”
Members of Issa’s campaign team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Represented by Judicial Watch, Issa and others are also suing Secretary of State Alex Padilla in Sacramento federal court.
The DCCC — which raises money to elect Democrats to the House — said Issa’s complaints and motions for preliminary injunction suggest that COVID-19 is “now but a rare disease, and that an epidemic of voter fraud is sweeping across America.”
Issa and co-plaintiffs James Oerding, Jerry Griffin, Michelle Bolotin and Michael Sienkiewicz “have it exactly backwards,” the filing says. “The risks imposed by the novel coronavirus continue and will likely spike again in the fall, while no evidence supports their allegations of widespread electoral malfeasance. Plaintiffs are litigating against reality.”
In earlier briefs, Issa said Newsom’s May 8 executive order mandating all 58 counties use mail-in ballots violates the Elections Clause and Electors Clause of the U.S.
Constitution and “impermissibly violates their federal constitutional and statutory rights.”
The governor’s order lacked legal foundation and was a recipe for widespread fraud, Issa spokesman Greg Blair said in late May.
“The governor is free to propose a change in the law; he can’t make it reality with the stroke of a pen,” Blair said.
In response, Padilla called the Judicial Watch 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 told Politico and Courthouse News.
Earlier this month, Issa argued that November’s election could be thrown into chaos if Newsom’s executive order for mail-only balloting wasn’t blocked.
“Granting preliminary relief now resolves the legal question before it deteriorates into an intractable political question later,” Judicial Watch lawyer T. Russell Nobile wrote Judge Morrison England Jr.
A videoconference hearing on the motion is slated for 10 a.m. July 16.
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