On July 13, Paul Merritt filed this amended Complaint in Merritt v Padilla, c.d., 8:16cv-606. This is the case over the California Voter Guide, a pamphlet sent to every registered California voter. Candidates for federal or state office can pay to have a statement in the Guide. Under state law, no part of a candidate’s statement may be amended unless a voter or the Secretary of State files a lawsuit for that purpose during the “public examination” period, before the book is printed.
But Paul Merritt, who was a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016, had his statement altered, even though neither the Secretary of State nor anyone else filed such a lawsuit. The Secretary of State didn’t even tell Merritt that his statement had been changed, and Merritt only found out when the Orange County elections office informed him. Merritt had written that he was a “registered independent voter” (which was true) but the Secretary of State changed it to read he had “no party preference.” This amended complaint alleges that the Secretary of State violated Merritt’s due process rights. The judge in this case already ruled that the Secretary of State did not violate Merritt’s First Amendment rights, but allowed this amended complaint to be filed over the issue of the procedure the Secretary of State used.