SAN DIEGO — Today, Alliance San Diego and voters filed an appeal to the California Supreme Court to protect the integrity of the March 2020 elections from interference from elected officials. This appeal comes at a critical moment when the country is still grappling with the attempts to manipulate the presidential election from that same year, and is girding itself for further assaults on our democracy. To protect the rights of voters to decide elections here at home, Alliance has challenged the City in court for its election manipulation.
The case stems from the March 3, 2020 election, when the San Diego City Council ignored its ministerial duty to declare the results of Measure C, an initiative focused on expanding the convention center, and instead suspended the outcome for a year before changing the vote threshold so that they could declare the measure as passed, when it had in fact failed. Alliance San Diego and voters sued for violations of due process and won. That victory was overturned at the appellate court, and Alliance San Diego and voters now seek review by the California Supreme Court to answer these fundamental questions:
- May a city change the outcome of an election by lowering the applicable vote threshold after the election has already been completed?
- Does a city have the discretion to delay declaring whether a measure has passed or failed, and to contravene the official certification of the election results by the impartial elections official?
The San Diego City Council’s decision to abuse its power to suspend the outcome of the election for a year before changing the election rules is the first instance of its kind and has far reaching implications. “This case has always been about more than a particular ballot measure; it’s about voter trust in the electoral process,” said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego. “There can be no trust if elected officials are allowed to intervene.” As stated in the petition for review:
As we have painfully learned, the public must trust the electoral process in order to respect electoral outcomes. Solemn adherence to the established rules governing election procedures is a fundamental pre-requisite if election outcomes are going to be perceived as fair, accurate, and legitimate. Maintaining integrity in California’s elections is simply more important than the outcome of any one election.
The Supreme Court has 60 days to determine whether it will take up this case. If it does, it will mark a significant step in the fight for election integrity. Meanwhile, Alliance San Diego continues its fight to strengthen our democracy and prepare for upcoming elections.
ABOUT ALLIANCE SAN DIEGO
Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community organization that is building collective power to create a more inclusive democracy, one where all people can participate with dignity in an environment of harmony, safety, equality and justice. We pursue this mission by developing leaders, engaging the community, advocating for policies, communicating strategically, and protecting human rights.