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Reactions to California's 'Unprecedented' Election Law

Its constitutionality is questionable, say some
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2019 3:33 AM CDT
In this 2017 file photo, President Trump speaks after signing a tax bill in the Oval Office. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Tuesday, July 30, 2019, requiring presidential candidates to release...   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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(Newser) – If President Trump wants to be on California's presidential primary ballot come March, he'll have to hand over his last five years of tax returns by November. This after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a new election law requiring that very thing of all candidates; the requirement does not extend to the general election ballot. The Los Angeles Times calls it an "unprecedented mandate" that could inspire copycats among other states and will likely spur a court battle. The AP notes Trump could also simply opt not to appear on the state's primary ballot; as he faces no serious Republican challenger, he should be able to secure the nomination even without California's delegates. Among the many reactions to the new law:

  • From Newsom: "These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards ... this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest."
  • From RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel: "Gimmicky."
  • From a rep for Trump's reelection campaign: "The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own. The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association, since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election."
  • From California RNC member Harmeet K. Dhillon: It's an "illegal voter suppression scheme" that would see less Republicans show up at the polls, hurting down-ticket races.
  • From the Los Angeles Times editorial board: "The only people hurt are the millions of California Republicans who will be denied the right to pick the candidate of their choice in the 2020 primary. ... If voters think a candidate should have released his tax returns, they can punish him or her at the polls on election day."
(Read more Gavin Newsom stories.)

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