Source: US State of California
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a coalition of 13 attorneys general in an amicus brief in support of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s decision to enter into a consent decree that extends the deadline for when vote-by-mail ballots can be received in Minnesota. In the friend-of-the-court brief filed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Carson v. Simon, the coalition pushes back on the plaintiffs’ assertions aimed at undermining efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the election.
“When our nation is facing an unprecedented public health threat, we shouldn’t have to fight to make voting more accessible,” said Attorney General Becerra. “These constant efforts to disenfranchise Americans are a disgrace. Voting is fundamental to our democracy — no matter who you support. Just like voters anywhere, Minnesotans deserve to be able to make their voices heard. If we are to truly further the promise of the American Dream, we must all be able to strive ahead together.”
On August 3, 2020, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon entered into a consent decree to suspend Minnesota’s absentee ballot receipt deadline for the upcoming presidential election. Under the court order, mail-in ballots are allowed to be counted if they are received within five business days after the election and if they are postmarked by Election Day. Subsequently, in a lawsuit filed in late September, the plaintiffs in the current case — including a Minnesota state representative — sought to block the earlier court order extending the deadline and are now appealing multiple denials of their challenge.
In the amicus brief, the coalition urges the courts to once again deny the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and reasserts basic, non-partisan facts, including:
- States need flexibility to accommodate voters in light of the pandemic and uncertainty introduced by efforts to impose sweeping changes to the U.S. Postal Service; and
- The Minnesota Secretary of State’s plan of accepting ballots received after Election Day is consistent with longstanding practice in other states, including California.
The State of California has taken significant steps to protect the rights of voters and ensure they can vote safely and securely. In California, county election officials are required to process and count vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked on or before election day and arrive no later than 17 days after the election. Further, as a result of Assembly Bill 860, every active registered voter in California will receive a vote-by-mail ballot in the general election. More information about how to vote and tracking your ballot is available on the California Secretary of State’s website at https://www.vote.ca.gov/.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting the voting rights of people in California and across the country. This week, he sent a letter urging Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to expand efforts to stop the spread of election disinformation. Last week, the Attorney General — alongside the Secretary of State — sent a cease and desist letter to the California Republican Party to stop operating unauthorized ballot drop boxes. Earlier this month, Attorney General Becerra joined an amicus brief in support of a challenge to aspects of the State of Mississippi’s vote-by-mail requirements that threaten to exclude voters who wish to avoid exposure to COVID-19. He also secured a preliminary injunction blocking unlawful changes imposed by the Trump Administration on the U.S. Postal Service. In August, the Attorney General filed an amicus brief pushing back on a Florida law attempting to roll back voting rights.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.