by Tom Fitton –
… Order to Mail Ballots to Every Registered Voter in California
Mail-in ballots are a huge source of potential voter fraud. For instance, ballots mailed to wrong addresses or large residential buildings might get intercepted.
We recently filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to bar the enforcement of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order mandating that unrequested and unneeded mail-in ballots be sent to all of the state’s registered voters for the November 3, 2020, election.
We argue that it is imperative that the court grant preliminary relief now to resolve the legal questions surrounding Newsom’s vote-by-mail mandate. We note that Newsom’s order, if left intact, will lead to “serious disputes later, possibly having a nationwide impact.”
We filed the motion in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of former Congressman Darrell Issa (a candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District in the November election) and four voters from across the political spectrum (Darrell Issa, et al, v. Gavin Newsom et al. (No. 2:20-cv-01044-MCE-CKD)).
On May 8, Newsom issued Executive Order N-64-20, which changed the time, place, and manner for voting during the November 3, 2020 federal election. The order mandated that “[a]ll voters who are […] registered to vote” in the November election must be sent mail-in ballots, regardless of whether voters requested them.
The 117th Congress will meet on January 6, 2021 to certify each state’s electoral votes. During that process, Congress will have the right to voice its objection to the counting of any state’s electoral votes. If on that date the electoral margin between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden is less than 55 electoral votes, the dispute over the legality of Newsom’s executive order “may take on even greater significance,” we argue. “Granting preliminary relief now resolves the legal question before it deteriorates into an intractable political question later. It is in the public interest to have the courts resolve this legal question to ensure that California’s electors are counted.”
California’s Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), passed in 2016, allows counties to conduct all-mail ballot elections if they meet certain specified conditions. In the March primaries, only 15 California counties conducted their elections as all-mail ballot elections under the VCA. The other 43 counties did not.
Newsom’s ‘vote-by-mail’ mandate must be halted now – as mailing millions of ballots to dirty voting lists in violation of the law could cause a constitutional conflagration over the results of the 2020 elections.
The particular risks associated with mailed ballots were acknowledged 15 years ago by the bi-partisan Carter-Baker Commission. It observed that “[a]bsentee [mail-in] ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
In April, similar concerns were expressed by a Stanford University study, which began before the COVID-19 pandemic. The study noted that there are “concerns around vote-by-mail relat[ing] to preserving election integrity and voter confidence in the process. When a voter votes from home, they are doing so outside the supervision of election officials.” Opportunities for “foul play” occur “throughout the chain of custody of the ballot, beginning with how a voter requests a ballot and then receives, completes, and returns it.”
Our attorneys also raised concerns about mailing millions of ballots to dirty voting lists in California:
[G]iven that California failed to comply with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) list maintenance provisions for twenty years, this harm will be significant because the State’s voter registration lists are not ready for a broad-based, all-mailed ballot election and will not be ready by November 3, 2020. California will flood the state with ballots mailed to countless voters at locations they no longer reside, including some that moved almost twenty years ago. … Further, since it takes at least two federal election cycles before most voters can be removed under the NVRA, there is no quick fix to the problems identified with California’s voter registration lists. Just the damage this will do to the confidence in California’s elections is significant and irreparable. Without preliminary relief, it will be impossible to reverse or enjoin EO N-64-20 once ballots are mailed out.
California Government Code Section 8571 provides that during a state of emergency Gov. Newsom “may suspend any regulatory statute, or statute prescribing the procedure for conduct of state business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency” provided he “determines and declares that strict compliance … would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency.” But, we argued, “the governor is not seeking to suspend anything in Executive Order N-64-20. Instead, he is attempting to impose an entirely new election system on the State and transform permissive provisions under California law into mandatory provisions. Such transformation is not ‘suspending’ even under the most deferential interpretation of his emergency authority.”
In another development, we are opposing a motion by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and California Democratic Party to defend Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order.
In their motion, the Democratic Party groups sought to join the lawsuit as “intervenors” who would assist Gov. Newsom in defending his executive orders. We point out in response that they made a number of assertions about a prospective shortage of mail-in ballots “that are simply not factual.”
The Democrats contend that, if we prevail in our lawsuit against Newsom’s order, voters would be forced to choose between their right to vote and their health, that resources would need to be diverted to “address the lack of mail ballots,” and that the result “will be far less voter turnout among Democratic Party supporters.”
We respond that “these fine-sounding words and phrases . . . are, in fact, empty, as may be simply demonstrated. Prior to COVID-19 and Governor Newsom’s order, California was a ‘no-excuse absentee ballot’ state. Even prior to the governor’s order, California voters could request an absentee, mail-in ballot, without having to provide any particular reason for doing so. Following any such request a ballot had to be mailed within five days. These procedures applied to every voter” in California.”
We continue: “No voters will have to ‘to choose between risking their health to vote in person and participating in the Election’ because voters concerned about COVID-19 could request an absentee ballot – as they always could. For the same reason, no voters will ‘lose the ability to cast ballots,’ nor will Movants have to ‘divert resources’ because of a ‘lack of mail ballots.’ Absentee ballots will remain available to every California voter who wants one with or without the governor’s order.”
We sued to stop the Newsom mandate last month. According to the U.S. Constitution, only state legislatures may determine the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” and only state legislatures may establish the manner in which electors to the Electoral College are appointed.
We have long been investigating violations of federal voting law committed by California, including violations of the NVRA.
In 2018, California settled a federal lawsuit with us and began removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls. Judicial Watch late last year sent notices to 11 additional California counties warning them of voting list maintenance issues.
Voter confidence depends on the clean elections.
Judicial Watch Asks DC Mayor for Permission to Paint
‘No One Is Above the Law’ on Capitol Hill Street
We have formally asked District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Attorney General Karl Racine for permission to paint “Because No One Is Above the Law!” on a Capitol Hill street (Independence Ave, SW between 2nd and 4th Streets SW). Our motto would be the identical size and coloring of the DC Government’s “Black Lives Matter” political message on 16th Street NW.
On June 5, 2020, after days of protests and riots in Washington, DC, Mayor Bowser authorized the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on 16th Street NW and later allowed “Defund the Police” to be painted alongside it.
Mayor Bowser made a decision to turn DC streets into a forum for public expression. We are seeking equal access to use this new forum to educate Americans by painting our organization’s motto and motivation — ‘Because No One Is Above the Law!’ — on a Capitol Hill street. This message is timely, as it is a reminder that the rule of law applies to – and protects – all Americans. If we are unlawfully denied access and face viewpoint discrimination, we are prepared to go to court to vindicate our First Amendment rights.
Here is our June 10 letter:
Re: Request to Paint Message on Independence Avenue SW
Dear Mayor Bowser and Attorney General Racine:
We note with interest Mayor Bowser’s recent decision approving the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on 16th Street NW and the approval of and/or acquiescence in the painting of “Defund the Police” alongside the first message. Both messages are expressive activity.
Judicial Watch, Inc. is a Washington, DC-based, non-profit organization headquartered in Southwest DC. For more that twenty-five years, Judicial Watch, Inc. has promoted transparency, accountability and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law.
Our motto is “Because No One Is Above the Law!” – a message that is particularly relevant today because it applies equally to law enforcement and public officials as well as to protesters, looters, and rioters.
Because DC streets surfaces are now being used as public fora for expressive activity, we would like to have our motto painted on a street, preferably Independence Avenue SW, between 2nd and 4th Streets SW, which is near our offices. The lettering would be identical in size and color to the lettering used to paint “Black Lives Matter” on 16th Street NW. Judicial Watch, Inc. would pay the cost of the painting, but we would likely need the assistance of the DC Government to aid in traffic diversion and parking restrictions while the painting is completed. Of course, the painting could be completed when traffic is typically light, as was done with the “Black Lives Matter” message.
As the timeliness of our message is important, please respond within 3 working days. If the Independence Avenue location is not possible, we are open to considering alternative locations. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter
President, Judicial Watch
Can’t wait for the response.
Leftist Groups to Monitor Police
Under Bill Modeled after Obama Plan
Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports on the latest in leftist ideas for police reform.
The police reform bill introduced by Democrats in Congress empowers leftist groups such as the open borders National Council of La Raza (NCLR) to monitor cops nationwide and creates development and training programs based on an Obama initiative to hire minority police officers by disregarding the criminal records of candidates from “underrepresented communities” and lowering standards on written exams. Known as the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the Obama plan is repeatedly cited in the new bill’s 134-page text and promotional material and clearly serves as a key model.
The recently crafted Justice in Policing Act of 2020 gives “community-based” and “grassroots” organizations the authority to supervise police misconduct. Besides the NCLR, the bill lists the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Urban League among groups that will receive compensation from the government via “public safety innovation grants” to keep police in check. All are renowned leftist groups with a documented history of advancing a liberal agenda. The legislation will transform policing, according to California Congresswoman Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. “For over 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling for the police to protect and serve them as they do others,” Bass said in a press release announcing the legislation this week. “Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minnesota with George Floyd.” California Senator Kamala Harris, the state’s former attorney general, claims that “America’s sidewalks are stained with Black blood” and calls the measure “historic legislation that will get our country on a path forward.”
The transformation in policing will include recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion of diverse law enforcement officers so that police departments are representative of the communities they serve, language that mirrors the Obama policy. To accomplish this, authorities will likely use an Obama administration directive issued to help carry out the recommendations of his Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The mandate, “Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement,” was issued jointly by the former president’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) following a string of officer-involved shootings involving African Americans. It outlines a push to hire minority police officers by asking the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies to forgive drug use, disregard the criminal records of candidates from “underrepresented communities” and lower standards on written and physical exams. Key to the mission is the racial diversification of local law enforcement agencies so that they “better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve,” according to the directive.
The freshly inked bill creates law enforcement development, training and hiring programs “based on President Obama’s Task force on 21st Century policing,” according to highlights included in the press release promoting it. A special grant program will help hire officers who live in the communities they serve by developing strategies and timelines to recruit, hire, promote, retain and train a “diverse and inclusive law enforcement workforce.” Besides discounting criminal records and drug abuse, if the plan is carried out according to Obama’s, law enforcement agencies will lower standards on written tests for police recruits because they have “been shown to have an adverse impact on racial minority candidates.” The former president’s task force determined that certain written tests used as part of entry-level hiring in state and local law enforcement agencies are likely to create an unlawful disparate impact and are not necessary for selecting the most qualified candidates. “Reliance on these tests can create an unnecessary barrier to the hiring of qualified racial minority applicants,” say the Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement recommendations issued to fulfill the 21st Century Policing initiative. The Justice in Policing Act also adopts the Obama term “guardians of the community” to better describe what police work should be.
Under the new law monitoring of the nation’s police will be conducted by a National Task Force on Law Enforcement Oversight made up of labor groups and the previously named leftist community-based organizations. They will coordinate the process of the detection and referral of complaints regarding incidents of alleged law enforcement misconduct. A National Police Misconduct Registry will also include complaints for which the law enforcement officer was exonerated or that were determined to be unfounded or not sustained. The federal database will also feature a breakdown of officer incidents by race, ethnicity, age and gender of the officer.
Governor Newsom Ordered to Respond to Judicial Watch’s
Petition to Suspend $79.8 Million Cash Benefits to Illegal Immigrants
As I previously reported, we petitioned a California court for an order pausing the spending of millions in taxpayer dollars on illegal immigrants as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s initiative called the “Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project.”
This week California’s Second District Court of Appeal ordered Newsom to file his opposition to our petition.
Though a lower court found that we were likely to succeed on the merits (that Governor Newsom had no authority under law to spend the money), the court found that there was a public interest in sending taxpayer money to illegal aliens during the coronavirus crisis and rejected a request for a temporary restraining order.
We filed the initial case on behalf of California residents Cynthia Cerletti and Howard A. Myers against Governor Newsom and Director of the California Department of Social Services Kim Johnson to get a court to declare the initiative unlawful as well as obtain an injunction stopping the spending of this taxpayer money on illegal immigrants (Cerletti et al. v. Newsom et al. (No 20STCV16321)).
Our lawsuit alleges that Governor Newsom violated federal law when, without affirmative state legislative approval, he took executive action to create the initiative. It gives $75 million in cash benefits to illegal immigrants and $4.8 million to private nonprofit organizations handling the distribution of the $75 million.
In our petition for stay, we argue:
[T]he distribution of cash benefits to unlawfully present aliens during the pendency of this appeal also will bring irreparable harm to Petitioners and the public at large – an estimated 40 million Californians, especially during this time of unprecedented need. Indisputably, the $79.8 million expenditure is an enormous, unprecedented grant of taxpayers’ funds – the lawfulness of which is the very question of the underlying action.
Here’s the background.
We initially filed this lawsuit on behalf of the California residents on April 29, 2020. On May 4, it filed an application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) halting the initiative’s spending money until the final determination of the case. On May 5, the court denied the TRO, and we sought a Writ of Mandamus from the Court of Appeal, seeking to reverse the trial court.
On May 21, the Court of Appeal denied our Mandamus petition, ending that appeal. In response, we filed a notice of appeal to start a new appeal from the trial court’s denial of its TRO application.
On May 29, in connection with its May 21 notice of appeal, we filed a petition for a Writ of Supersedeas (a request for stay) as well as an immediate stay of the initiative. The Court of Appeal denied the request for immediate stay but ordered the California DOJ to file any opposition to our petition for a stay by June 10.
On May 19, Fox News reported that California started the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project allowing undocumented immigrants to, “apply for the state’s coronavirus relief program that will pay $500 per person and up to $1,000 per household…”. They added that California currently has about “2 million undocumented immigrants” and that, “the fund could hit $125 million, which would include $50 million from donations.”
In a separate Judicial Watch taxpayer lawsuit, a federal court just ruled that a Montgomery County, MD, program that provides $10 million in cash payments to illegal aliens likely violates federal law and irreparably harms county taxpayers. The court ordered the county to hold back 25% of any unspent funds until the court can fully consider the merits of our taxpayer lawsuit.
We hope the courts won’t continue to allow Governor Newsom to ignore the law and spend tax money with no legal authority. Simply put, as one court already seemed to acknowledge, the governor has no independent legal authority to spend state taxpayer money for cash payments to illegal aliens. Newsom is engaged in an unprecedented scheme to spend nearly $80 million in taxpayer funds. It is urgent the Court of Appeal look favorably upon our appeal and halt this abuse pending full consideration by the courts.
Contribute to Crime and Damage in Protests
It’s apparent that the riots in recent days have attracted the worst sort of thugs into the streets to destroy whatever they find. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has an eye-opening report on the involvement of “Dreamers,” President Obama’s protected illegal immigrants.
Illegal immigrants protected by an Obama-era amnesty for adults who came to the U.S. as children are among the rioters arrested and charged with crimes in Arizona. One of them, 30-year-old Mexican illegal alien Maxima Guerrero, is a community organizer with a Phoenix-based grassroots migrant justice organization called Puente Movement. She has been shielded from deportation under Obama’s controversial program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) since 2013. The former president issued the DACA executive order after Congress repeatedly rejected legislation offering illegal immigrants similar protections. The failed measure was called Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act) and DACA recipients are often called “Dreamers.”
More than 100,000 DACA applicants have criminal histories, according to figures released late last year by the U.S. government. Many have been arrested for serious crimes such as murder, rape and driving under the influence. The government can deport those charged with crimes, immediately stripping them of the Obama protections but that rarely occurs. The recent Phoenix arrestees were apprehended in the course of criminal behavior, according to a local news report and information obtained by Judicial Watch from police sources on the ground. Guerrero and two other Dreamers were out rioting and looting in a “Justice for George Floyd” protest in downtown Phoenix, city police sources tell Judicial Watch. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said this in the media about the vehicles occupied by the arrested Dreamers: “Those cars were used to fortify and give rocks and water bottles, food to those individuals who were there to commit crime and damage, to do dangerous things to our community.”
The information is especially relevant considering the source is an open borders advocate. A few years ago Williams, who joined protestors in downtown Phoenix, tried to make her law enforcement agency an illegal immigrant sanctuary at the request of a leftist group. Judicial Watch obtained records of a secret meeting in 2017 in which the police chief of Arizona’s largest city took orders from Will Goana, policy director for the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The private session occurred just weeks before the Phoenix Police Department quietly implemented a policy banning officers from contacting the feds after arresting an illegal immigrant and forbidding them from asking about suspects’ immigration status. The order violated key provision of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and left the city vulnerable to costly lawsuits. Chief Williams posted on social media that she attended protests because demonstrators invited her as part of ongoing meetings to find viable solutions to their genuine concerns. “I’m confident our community can come together and be stronger,” she writes in the post.
The illegal immigrant Dreamers recently arrested by her officers are Mexican citizens who came to the U.S. illegally as youngsters and enjoy perks and protections that many other undocumented aliens do not. Part of the deal is that they respect law and order to avoid being deported. Instead, they were out at 3 a.m., well past a statewide curfew, and up to no good. A vehicle occupied by the illegal alien Dreamers, was “loaded with incendiary devices,” according to a high-level Phoenix Police source, who confirmed to Judicial Watch that Guerrero was among them. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) obtained a list from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of those arrested that night. Besides Guerrero they include 26-year-old Jesus Manuel Orona, 21-year-old Roberto Carlos Cortes Mondragon and 22-year-old Johan Montes Cuevas. CIS reported last week that all of the illegal aliens were briefly detained, released on supervision and face deportation in addition to serious criminal charges.
DACA has shielded nearly 800,000 illegal aliens under the age of 31 from deportation and allowed them to obtain work permits and drivers licenses. The Trump administration tried to end DACA in 2017 but open borders groups sued to keep it going and now the Supreme Court is set to decide the matter. Regardless of how the high court rules, the fact remains that a big chunk of DACA applicants have arrest records, according to the figures released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Homeland Security agency that administers the nation’s lawful immigration system. The stats show that nearly 110,000 DACA requestors out of nearly 889,000 had arrest records, accounting for 12% of applicants. “Offenses in these arrest records include assault, battery, rape, murder and driving under the influence,” USCIS wrote in a statement announcing the report in November.
Here is another disturbing fact; of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, a whopping 85% (67,861) were arrested right before the U.S. granted them amnesty. Nearly 25,000 DACA recipients with arrests had multiple arrests and 218 had more than 10 arrests.
Incredibly, around one-fourth of the illegal immigrants with more than 10 arrests were approved by the government. In all, the government reveals that it has approved 79,398 DACA requestors with arrest records. Not all the delinquents are approved, the figures show. More than 100,000 with criminal arrests were denied or terminated.
Until next week …