Court of Appeal Agrees to Make Determination in Lawsuit in Time for November 2020 Election

May 7, 2019

Court of Appeal Agrees to Make Determination in Lawsuit in Time for November 2020 Election

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Yesterday, May 6, 2019, the California Court of Appeal granted the City of Santa Monica’s request for an expedited briefing and argument schedule in Pico Neighborhood Association, et al. v. City of Santa Monica. By granting this request, the Court of Appeal agreed to a briefing schedule to allow a decision in the case to be issued on or before July 10, 2020, giving the City time to plan for a November 2020 election.

The Court of Appeal left it to the parties to determine a specific briefing schedule that would allow for a decision by July 10, 2020.

The City sought this expedited briefing schedule to allow the November 2020 Council election to proceed “with both candidates and voters confident that the method under which it is conducted is legally valid, that all votes matter, and that the candidates elected will be able to serve out their terms.”  As the City explained in its motion, to “maximize voter turnout, maintain the expected regular opportunity for voters to select their Council members, and minimize disruption to City government, the City would prefer to hold its next election – whether at-large or district-based – on the next regular election date, in November 2020,” which is when the terms of the four Council members elected in 2016 (a majority of the Council) will expire. 

The Court of Appeal previously confirmed that portions of the trial court’s order requiring the City to hold earlier district-based Council elections are stayed pending appeal.  As a result of this ruling, while the appeal is pending, the current Council members will remain in place, and the City will not be required to conduct district-based elections.  

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