Federal Judge Dismisses Fringe Challenge to California Mail-in Voting Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, July 18, a federal judge dismissed a fringe lawsuit that challenged California’s voting laws, regulations and guidelines that allow for universal mail-in voting, online voter registration, community ballot collection and otherwise expand voting access.

This dismissal stems from a lawsuit originally filed in 2021 by an “election integrity” group, Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa) and voters against California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D), California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) and several county registrars of voters. The original lawsuit included a radical independent state legislature theory argument that suggested the defendants “violated the Elections Clause by usurping the California State Legislature’s constitutional authority to set the manner of elections,” but the complaint was later amended to drop that claim along with certain plaintiffs. 

The plaintiffs alleged that California Assembly Bill 860, Assembly Bill 37, Senate Bill 503, Senate Bill 397, Senate Bill 450 and several sections of the California Code of Regulations that pertain to elections are unconstitutional. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment by implementing laws and procedures that “diminish the value of in-person voters.” 

In a victory for California voters, the case was dismissed after the judge found that the plaintiffs did not show that these laws place a burden on their right to vote and that the plaintiffs’ vote dilution claims “based on potential or actual voter fraud are noncognizable.” The judge explained that the plaintiffs challenged California’s election laws “to show election irregularities,” but concluded that “these laws and regulations do not burden Plaintiffs’ right to vote. The laws expand access to the ballot. Therefore, these allegations do not support either an equal protection violation or a due process violation.” 

Finally, the judge concluded that: “For the reasons explained above, any amendment to the complaint would be futile. Plaintiffs have not demonstrated differential treatment and have not alleged facts that support constitutional claims,” thereby dismissing the lawsuit and preventing the plaintiffs from filing a new complaint.  

Read the order here.

Learn more about the case here.