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RNC Concedes Suit Is Moot Over California’s Vote-by-Mail Order

July 10, 2020, 4:45 PM

The Republican National Committee dropped its challenge to an executive order by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) expanding vote-by-mail access to every voter in the state, conceding in recent federal court filings that a subsequent law has mooted the dispute.

Newsom’s May 8 executive order directed county election officials to send absentee ballots to all voters eligible to cast a ballot in the November 2020 general election due to the coronavirus public health crisis.

The RNC and California Republican Party swiftly sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleging that Newsom had supplanted the state Legislature by using his executive authority to rewrite election law.

State legislators then moved AB 860, to achieve the same result as Newsom’s order, through committees and floor votes. The California Assembly passed the law 98-5, and Newsom signed the bill into law June 18.

The law immediately went into effect and has superseded the executive order, the RNC said Thursday in its motion to voluntarily dismiss its claims. Newsom won’t be relying on the order in connection with the upcoming general election, nor can he be sued to block his reliance on that order, the RNC conceded.

Judge Morrison C. England Jr. signed an order dismissing the lawsuit on the same day.

Consovoy McCarthy PLLC and Dhillon Law Group Inc. represented the RNC.

The California Attorney General’s Office represented Newsom.

The case is Republican Nat’l Comm. v. Newsom, E.D. Cal., No. 20-cv-01055, notice of voluntary dismissal 7/9/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at