Judge rules Gov. Newsom overstepped authority with mail-in ballot order

Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 19:46:18-05

(KGTV) — A Northern California judge has ruled against Gov. Gavin Newsom, saying he overstepped his authority when requiring all California registered voters receive a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election.

Sutter County Judge Sarah Heckman said Friday that Gov. Newsom did not have the authority to amend or change the state's law through an executive order, which mandated all registered voters get a mail-in ballot and allowed counties to reduce the number of polling locations if in-person voting is offered ahead of Nov. 3, according to court documents.

The ruling doesn't affect the results of the 2020 election.

Newsom's executive order was made as part of the California Emergency Services Act, or CESA. The act gives the governor special powers during a public emergency.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit by Assembly members James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin), who claimed Newsom didn't have the authority to make the order. California's legislature later passed a similar law to the order.

Kiley posted the judge's ruling online, in which the judge wrote, "Executive Order N-67-20 issued by the Governor on June 3, 2020 is void as an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power and shall be of no further force or effect. The California Emergency Services Act (CA Government Code §8550 et seq.) does not authorize or empower the Governor of the State of California to amend statutory law or make new statutory law, which is exclusively legislative function not delegated to the Governor under the CESA."

The judge's ruling also put an injunction in place against Newsom, prohibiting him from changing any laws under CESA, according to the documents.