Non-Profit Attacks California Mail-in Voting

In 2021, the Election Integrity Project, California (EIPCa) brought a lawsuit against California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and several county registrars of voters.

According to its website, the EIPCa is a nonprofit 501(c)3 “public benefit” corporation, ironically dedicated to helping to ensure the integrity of that part of our Republic through which citizens exercise our most fundamental right . . . the right to choose our representatives by fair and honest elections.” 

The lawsuit was filed by the EIPCa and others, including two failed congressional and Senate candidates. The lawsuit, as originally filed, 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.” The complaint has since been amended to drop that claim along with certain original plaintiffs. The remaining plaintiffs now argue that California voting laws, regulations, and guidelines that have created universal mail-in voting, opened online voter registration, allowed for community ballot collection, regulated poll observers and otherwise expanded voting (in other words, everything that makes it so easy to participate in California elections) are unconstitutional. 

The EIPCa and the other plaintiffs alleged that Secretary Weber and other defendants violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment by “implementing laws, regulations, and procedures that diminish the value of in-person voters, including EIPCa’s observers and Plaintiffs in their respective counties.” They requested an audit of all mail-in ballots, “remade or duplicated ballots, adjudicated ballots, and other documents used to cast votes in all elections since the November 2020 election.” They also requested an order to preserve and audit “all voting machines, software, peripherals (including flash drives and other memory storage), computers, reports generated, and other data and equipment used to cast, examine, count, tabulate, modify, store or transmit votes or voting data since the November 2020 election.”

On June 14, 2021, a Federal district court judge dismissed the case. The EIPCa and fellow plaintiffs then appealed this to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed some of the plaintiffs’ claims, voided the district court’s holding that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit, and sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings.

EIPCa did not fare well the second time around in the district court. The case was again dismissed on July 18, 2023 but the plaintiffs again appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on February 5, 2024.

The lawyers for EIPCa are “Advocates for Faith & Freedom” which, also ironically, lists its mission as follows: 

Advocates for Faith & Freedom safeguards the constitutional liberties that define the United States as a beacon of freedom and prosperity, including religious freedom, free speech, election integrity, parental rights, and the rights of children, both born and unborn.” 

We will continue to follow this case which, heretofore, can only be regarded as a disaster for EIPCa. Do they intend to appeal to the Supreme Court eventually? It is really amazing how the EIPCa and its attorneys describe themselves when one considers they are trying to take away the wildly popular mail-in voting enjoyed by Californians. It seems a bit counter-intuitive!