Judge sides with voters in election protection case against City of San Diego

SAN DIEGO, CA - March 9, 2022 — In a victory for voters, a San Diego Superior Court Judge has just ruled to protect the integrity of the March 2020 election. Specifically, the judge found that the San Diego City Council “had no authority to delay its declaration of the results of the Measure C election or to contradict the City Clerk’s certified results in that declaration.”

Election manipulation is an insidious action that erodes voter faith and trust in our democracy. The court’s decision upholds our democracy. The lawsuit was filed by Alliance San Diego and individual voters Isidro D. Ortiz and Michael W. McConnell, who were ably represented by the law firm of Strumwasser & Woocher LLP. 

This case arose from the actions of the San Diego City Council who on April 7, 2020, refused to declare the results of Measure C (a special tax and bond measure to primarily fund the expansion of the convention center) after the March 2020 election. Despite state law requiring the council to declare the results in the month after the election, then council president Georgette Gomez and councilmembers Jennifer Campbell, Chris Cate, Chris Ward, and Mark Kersey voted to strike language from the draft resolution prepared by staff stating that Measure C had been defeated. We are grateful to Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Barbara Bry who voted against it. 

As stated by the court, “the council purported to hold the outcome of the election open indefinitely.” Then, almost a year to the day later, the council declared Measure C approved, despite never having the authority to delay the declaration. This was unlawful, the court ruled.

Alliance San Diego brought this suit because the City Council broke the trust of voters.  Their action to manipulate the election represents a dangerous disregard and disrespect for voters and for the integrity of the electoral process. Election integrity and voter trust are vitally important to ensure we have an inclusive democracy that works for all of us. Alliance San Diego will continue to fight for voters to ensure that all of us have a say in our future, and that voters decide elections, not politicians. 

Dr. Isidro D. Ortiz, ASD Board President, voter and petitioner, said:

This kind of election manipulation is what the civil rights movement sought to overcome. We fought to protect the peoples’ right to decide elections without interference and without foul play. In a democracy, it is the people who should decide elections. Not politicians. We cannot expect voters to trust the electoral process if there is no integrity to elections. Integrity is all about following the agreed upon rules, not bending them or disrespecting voters. We are grateful that the judge sided with voters. 

Michael McConnell, voter, and petition, said:

San Diego City Leaders need to start tackling our biggest issues in a way that builds trust, not erodes it. Many voters and taxpayers like me have lost trust in our city leaders because of moves like this. I will continue fighting for fair and honest elections in our City.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, also a petitioner, said:

We are thrilled about the court’s decision. This election was over more than a year ago. It was over when the City Clerk certified the decision that voters had made. This case is about power taken by the San Diego City Council. But in a democracy, power resides in the people, not the politicians, and it is the people who decide elections. This case affirms that principle. 

About Alliance San Diego

Alliance San Diego is a non-profit and non-partisan community organization working to build a more inclusive democracy where everyone can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality and justice.