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Palmdale Election Halted Again Over Voting Rights Act Violation

An appellate court judge on Tuesday waived a bond requirement for a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit, meaning a court-ordered halt to Palmdale’s November election is back in effect.

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“The judge this morning waived the bond requirement and the election is off again, by operation of the court of appeals order,” said Kevin Shenkman of Shenkman and Hughes. “Once again we were pleased with Judge Mooney’s correct ruling in this case.”

The ruling that stopped the election was temporarily halted due to a misunderstanding over Judge Mark V. Mooney's original ruling, Shenkman said.

In cases where an injunction is granted, such as the Palmdale election, there is typically a bond in place to guarantee against damages and costs incurred by the enjoined party, should an appellate court overturn the injunction. Palmdale city officials requested a $150,000 bond -- a request which was denied.

Mooney found that such a bond was not necessary, but for some reason this portion of his ruling was not given to the appellate court judge that was deciding on Palmdale's challenge against the injunction.

Mooney's original ruling that stops the election was upheld Tuesday morning.

Representatives for the city of Palmdale, which was found to be in violation of the CVRA with its at-large elections, have ceased talks regarding a court-ordered remedy for the violation, Shenkman said.

“They’ve refused to talk, which is really stunning to me,” Shenkman said. “At one time they were, and then all of a sudden they kept losing things so they won’t discuss settlement.

Both sides are due back in court Tuesday afternoon to discuss when a special election would be, and what districts could be adopted.

“What we’re asking for is that the court set a special election in June of 2014 to coincide with the statewide primary,” Shenkman said.

The case is of particular interest to Santa Clarita Valley officials as well, because three local governing boards have also been sued by the same attorneys on similar grounds.

The lawsuit filed by Rosemarie Sanchez-Fraser and Jim Soliz allege that the Sulphur Springs School District, the Santa Clarita Community College District and the city of Santa Clarita are all in violation of the California Voting Rights Act with their at-large elections.

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Palmdale Election Halted Again Over Voting Rights Act Violation

Article: Palmdale Election Halted Again Over Voting Rights Act Violation
Source: Santa Clarita News
Author: Perry Smith