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Emergency Petition Filed To Stop County Registrar's Ballot Count

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Author: Jeff Powers
Created: 05 July, 2018
Updated: 21 November, 2022
3 min read

San Diego, CA. - An emergency petition has been filed in the Court of Appeal for the 4th District, to prevent San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu from finishing the ballot count for the Full Voter Participation Act.

Luis Vargas and San Diego County Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric are named as petitioners.

If the emergency stay is granted, it's very likely the Full Voter Participation Act will not be on the November ballot.

Krvaric posted the following message on his twitter account:

https://twitter.com/TonyKrvaric/status/1014989250670940160

The emergency petition adds another layer to what's devolved into a nasty partisan fight, with the end goal being control of the County Board of Supervisors.

Full Voter Participation Act Emergency Petition

The Drafting Error

The central issue is whether the legislature can change the signature requirement after the signature gathering began.

The drafting error in the original bill penned by Assemblyman Todd Gloria and the legislative counsel in Sacramento is what's caused this issue. The original measure stated 10% of the qualified electors in the county needed to sign the measure, or 165,984 signatures. What it should have stated was 10% of voters who turned out in the previous election, or about 67,000 valid signatures.

Errors in drafting the bill, meant the governor had to sign a trailer bill that retroactively fixed the error, that is SB 866, and that is what the new suit is aiming to invalidate.

County Registrar Michael Vu sent IVN San Diego a statement regarding the petition, Vu wrote "Yes, papers were served today. I’m not aware of any decision by the court instructing us to stop verifying the petition."

The "Single Subject" Violation?

Gloria and the legislature acted quickly to fix the drafting mistake. It was then, according to the lawsuit, combined with a few other bills that Governor Brown signed, and that's where the petitioners say, the "single subject" rule was violated.

The lawsuit reads, "Petitioners bring this action to enforce the State Constitution and protect the initiative process in the San Diego County from last-minute legislative mischief. Just days ago, the State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a legislative gumbo bill (SB 866) embracing numerous unrelated subjects. From San Bernardino County public pensions to the Decennial Census to a trade certificate program for state correctional inmates, the bill had it all. Tucked away at the end of the bill (a "budget trailer bill") was a Government Code provision retroactively changing the signature requirements "for an initiative measure proposing an amendment to the charter of the County of San Diego."

Political Battle

The Full Voter Participation Act aims to change County of San Diego elections by eliminating the 50%+1 rule, something Measures K and L did for the City of San Diego in 2016.

Democrats see this move as an opportunity to have representatives elected when the most voters are participating which is clearly in November.

Republicans say this move is a rush to fix their error, and make sure the FVPA impacts the 2020 District 3 Supervisor race. The thinking goes that by forcing District 3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar to the November General election, where more Democrats vote than the June primary, she will be vulnerable.

Democrats currently have control of the City Council and are looking to do the same with the County Board of Supervisors.

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