An appeals court has cleared the way for Palmdale’s planned Nov. 5 City Council elections to take place, reversing a lower-court injunction that would have prevented the city’s contested at-large method of voting. In July, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Mooney ruled that the Antelope Valley city’s system of electing council members violates the California Voting Rights Act and is discriminatory because representatives are chosen by the city as a whole, rather than by geographic districts. At the time of the decision, he issued an order halting voting until the receipt of further directions. But two judges in the 2nd District Court of Appeal said Tuesday voting can take place, and while the results can be counted, they cannot be certified without further consideration, citing language in Mooney’s ruling. “The certification issue remains to be decided on direct appeal,” the ruling said. “This court is prepared to decide the certification issue on a priority basis.”
A third judge, Sandy Kriegler, issued a dissent to the decision, saying the intent of Mooney’s ruling was clear — the election was to be halted.
“The text of the written order plainly enjoins all aspects of the election — voting, tabulation and certification. Any other interpretation renders the final two sentences of the order completely meaningless,” he wrote.
Palmdale officials hailed the outcome.
“We are going ahead with the election, which was already under way because absentee ballots were already sent out. Voters are encouraged to send in their ballots and to vote,” said city spokesman John Mlynar. “The election can happen, the votes can be counted, and the appeals court will decide on certification in an expedited time frame.”
Full Article: Appeals court paves way for Palmdale elections.