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Judicial Watch sues California secretary of state for pushing YouTube to censor key election integrity video just before 2020 election


Watchdog Group Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit After Uncovered Government Documents Show Censorship

(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the California State Secretary of State for censoring a Judicial Watch election integrity video on YouTube (Judicial Watch, Inc. against Shirley Weber, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of the State of California (#2:22-cv-6894)).

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of the Western Division of California. It says the California Office of Elections Cybersecurity (OEC), which Secretary of State Shirley Weber oversees, forced YouTube to remove Judicial Watch’s election integrity video on September 25, 2020. The lawsuit alleges that the official Californian and his office violated the First Amendment and other civil rights.

On September 22, 2020, Judicial Watch posted a video on their YouTube channel titled “**ELECTION INTEGRITY CRISIS** Dirty Voter Rolls, Ballot Harvesting & Mail-in-Voting Risks! The 26-minute video featured Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discussing voting-by-mail processes, changes to state election procedures, ballot collection (sometimes referred to as “ballot harvesting ”) and the failures of states to clean up their voter rolls. , among other topics.

The lawsuit says Fitton’s comments were informed by successful lawsuits brought by Judicial Watch against Los Angeles County and Weber in 2017 to compel the county and state to comply with the nation’s registration law. voters (NVRA) the requirements for maintaining the lists of electors. For instance, in June 2019Judicial Watch has been told that Los Angeles County sent notices to 1.6 million inactive voters on its voter rolls after a settlement agreement had been reached. Prior to the California settlement agreement, Judicial Watch believed that national census data and voter roll information showed there was 3.5 million more names on voter rolls in various counties nationwide than there were citizens of voting age.

Records show the Office of Elections Cybersecurity contacted YouTube and/or Google to get the Judicial Watch video disassembled. On September 24, 2020, OEC Social Media Coordinator Akilah Jones emailed “[email protected]and copied four YouTube employees with the subject line, “REPORTING VIDEO: **VOTING INTEGRITY CRISIS** Dirty Voter Rolls, Ballot Harvesting & Mail-in-Voting Risks!” in the email. , Jones wrote:

Hello YouTube Reporting Team,

I report the following video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots. Thank you for your time and attention to this.

All the best, Akilah.

At approximately 11:16 a.m. ET on September 25, 2020, YouTube and/or Google representative Andrea Holtermann replied to Jones:

Hi Akilah,

Thank you for contacting us. We will review this and get back to you as soon as possible.

Later the same day, Judicial Watch noticed that the video had been taken down.

On September 27, 2020, YouTube and/or Google’s Holtermann confirmed to Jones that the Judicial Watch video had been removed:

Hi Akilah,

I come back to that. Thank you for bringing this content to our attention, it has been removed from the platform for violating our policies. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.

Judicial Watch’s complaint establishes that the actions of Weber and the OEC violated Judicial Watch’s First and Fourteen Amendment rights, as well as violations of civil rights under the California constitution.

“Steamy documents show that California government officials, who were advised by the Biden campaign’s PR operation, caused YouTube to censor a key Judicial Watch video just before the 2020 election,” the president said. of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton. “This blatant government censorship and election interference has violated the civil rights of Judicial Watch, and our lawsuit aims to stop and expose the growing corruption of left-wing government officials colluding with Big Tech allies to attack civil rights. Americans’ freedom of speech.”

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Post expires at 11:22pm on Saturday October 15th, 2022