According to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a citizens’ group can challenge California’s controversial electoral laws and regulations in federal court.
“This lawsuit is monumental because it is the first to challenge the constitutionality of California’s election laws and procedures, and we are the first to emerge,” said Mariah Gondeiro, senior counsel at Advocates for Faith and Freedom, in a statement after the decision.
Advocates for Faith and Freedom (AFF) is a Murrieta, California-based public interest law firm representing the Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa), the citizen advocacy group that filed the lawsuit.
“If we win, California must enforce safe and consistent voting and counting procedures,” Gondeiro said.
“For over a decade, the Election Integrity Project®California has researched and documented every aspect of California’s election process and identified how these laws turned an election day into a 60-day election season replete with easily manipulated procedures,” EIPCa President Linda Paine , said in the statement.
“We are now seeing California-style laws in states across the country causing the same problems that have been observed and documented by EIPCa-trained monitors in California for years,” Paine said.
The Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the US District Court for Central California, which previously ruled that EIPCa had no standing.
In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit said EIPCa’s mission is to “ensure that every vote lawfully cast is accurately counted” and to use its volunteers’ observations to “advocate for greater electoral integrity,” and that California regulations are its mission have thwarted ‘lead[ing] to pervasive irregularities in the electoral process that threaten to disenfranchise California voters.’”
The court found that according to the EIPCa complaint, “California has enacted laws requiring that every active registered voter in California receive a ballot by mail, and the state has not developed procedures to ensure that only eligible voters receive such ballots in the.” Future.
“The complaint further alleges that the California Secretary of State has enacted regulations that prevent the use of reasonable standards for verifying signatures on mail-in ballots.
“According to the complaint, these inadequate processes result in ‘massive opportunities for error and fraud’ and ‘[b]Because the same or substantially similar laws, regulations, orders and practices apply and will apply to upcoming elections, the same situation will be repeated in future elections.”
With the case remanded to the District Court, both sides will now begin preparations for the investigative phase of the litigation. The EIPCa names Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Secretary of State Shirley Weber and 13 county registrars as defendants in the lawsuit.
The decision that EIPCa has standing to challenge California’s electoral laws comes as hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots cast in the Nov. 8 midterm elections have yet to be counted, leaving two races for congressional seats in a tie.
As The Epoch Times reported Monday, one of two unconvened races in California involves the 13th congressional district. Currently, Republican John Duarte leads Democrat Adam Gray by about 800 votes, data shows. Meanwhile, in the state’s 3rd congressional district, Republican Kevin Kiley is nearly 5 points ahead of Democrat Kermit Jones with about 71 percent of the vote tallied Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Among the procedures challenged by the EIPCa is California’s mailing of absentee ballots to every registered voter in the state before an election. The state also allows vote collection, a process by which voters can fill out their ballot and then give it to a person who promises to cast the ballot.
In its appeal to the Ninth Circuit, EIPCa argued that “California has enacted laws, orders and regulations over the years under the guise of increasing voter turnout. While a laudable goal, these laws and regulations have systematically undermined electoral integrity by legalizing unrestricted and unrestricted ballot collection, abolishing the CoC, solidifying universal postal voting (“VBM”), and undermining signature verification requirements.
“The state and county complainants allege that the complainants lack standing because their allegations amount to generalized, speculative allegations of voter fraud. They even dispute the applicants’ motives for bringing this case forward. The complainants bring this case to ensure the integrity of future elections, and ensuring that all votes are counted equally protects democracy because “[free]and honest elections are the foundation of our republican form of government.”