A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled this week that Palmdale cannot hold its scheduled citywide elections in November. The decision was made on a ruling he handed down earlier this year that those same elections are a violation of the California Voting Rights Act. Judge Mark Mooney granted a preliminary injunction against the planned City Council elections on Nov. 5. The injunction was sought by the plaintiffs in the case after Mooney ruled Palmdale’s at-large voting system — wherein voters can cast ballots for all seats up for election, not just one within a single district — prevented minority voters from electing candidates of their choice. Doing so is a violation of the California Voting Rights Act, Mooney ruled.
Kevin Shenkman, one of the lawyers involved in the case, said he was pleased with the judge’s ruling. “Justice too long delayed is justice denied; in Palmdale, justice will no longer be delayed,” Shenkman wrote in an email.
Shenkman said he expects Palmdale will be required to hold district-based special elections in 2014 as a result of the judge’s decision.
“We expect that the court will set a district-based special election for either June or November of 2014, and we trust that the citizens of Palmdale will tell the council members what they think about their decision to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to cling to their racially discriminatory illegal election scheme to protect their own incumbencies,” Shenkman wrote.