California: “Federal judge tosses local lawsuit that echoed Trump claims of election fraud; Judge scolds GOP group and several failed congressional candidates for ‘undermining’ election confidence.” (Includes link to opinion)

OC Register:

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed with prejudice a lawsuit filed by California Republicans that echoed false allegations made by former President Donald Trump about the validity of the 2020 election.

The lawsuit, filed in January by a conservative election watchdog group and 10 failed GOP congressional candidates against a slew of state and county elections officials, claimed the November election in California was rife with “mass irregularities and opportunities for fraud.”

The plaintiffs argued that such conditions have been brewing in California for years, but were exacerbated by changes made last year to make sure all voters in the state had access to a ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But those arguments, similar to claims made in dozens of other lawsuits disputing the 2020 election, were rejected.

Federal Judge Andre Birotte wrote in a 13-page ruling published Tuesday that the plaintiffs didn’t offer concrete evidence that problems affected the outcome of California’s November elections. Birotte also said he agreed with the defendants’ statement that the lawsuit amounted to “an incremental undermining of confidence in the election results, past and future.”

Defendants in the case — including officials who run elections in many California counties — welcomed the ruling and Birotte’s reasoning for the decision.

“I think the judge is concurring with what we certainly have known all along, and that is that this election was done with the most intense scrutiny I’ve ever faced,” said Neal Kelley, who has been Orange County’s Registrar of Voters for 18 years and was one of 13 county registrars named as defendants in the suit.

“All of the audits and checks and balances we have in place showed that the will of the voters was carried out,” Kelley added….

The original claim asked the judge to decertify the results of the November election. But the plaintiffs later dropped that request in an amended complaint, though they still sought an audit of paper ballots (similar to the controversial third-party audit now underway in Arizona) and a repeal of emergency orders that sent ballots to all registered voters.

The 44-page suit contains no specific claims about ballots falsely counted or harm done to any particular candidate. Instead, the plaintiffs argued that votes could have been diluted because of the potential for invalid votes to be counted.

I have posted the district court’s order at this link.

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