Elections & Redistricting

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Olson Remcho has unmatched experience and expertise on California state and local election law issues.  From qualifying for the ballot, to post-election disputes such as recounts and election contests, our attorneys advise candidates, nonprofits, ballot measure committees, citizens groups, government agencies, political action committees, and individuals on all of the issues that may arise in the course of an election.

We also represent our clients in election-related litigation, such as ballot pamphlet litigation (including candidate ballot designation challenges), election contests, recounts, and challenges to voting systems.  Our cases range from small local races to high-profile election contests. 

Over the last forty years, we have been involved in virtually every case concerning California’s statewide redistricting process.

In addition, we provide advice to governmental agencies, including the California State Assembly, nonprofits, and other interested parties about redistricting criteria and how to reduce the risks that a plan may be successfully challenged.  Our attorneys have successfully defended challenges to completed redistricting plans, and have advised numerous local governmental bodies on compliance with the federal and state Voting Rights Act.

Over the last forty years, we have been involved in virtually every case concerning California’s statewide redistricting process.

Our Election Law Services Include:

  • Ballot Access:  Challenging or defending election official’s determinations of candidate placement on the ballot.
  • Ballot Arguments:  Challenging or defending ballot pamphlet arguments that may contain false or misleading statements.
  • Ballot Designation Determinations:  Challenging or defending a candidate’s ballot designation involving prohibitions against false or misleading designations.
  • Residency Challenges:  Challenging or defending a candidate’s legal residency status before filing for office.
  • Vote Watch:  Observing the process of counting absentee and provisional ballots to ensure legal compliance.
  • Recounts:  Providing assistance in official manual recounts of election returns that are decided by small margins.
  • Contested Elections:  Contesting certification of ballot results by election officials based on allegations of illegal or improper conduct.
  • Absentee Ballot Voting:  Contesting or defending absentee ballots cast based upon questions regarding absentee voter application forms, processing of returned applications and charges of fraud or impropriety.

Our Ballot Measure Services Include:

  • Pre-Election Services:  Drafting proposals or reviewing drafts and initiative petitions for constitutional and legal sufficiency. Advising clients on numerous procedural requirements, including timely filing and publication of declaration of intent notices and required petition formats and restrictions. Challenging or defending in court the placement of a measure on the ballot, the title and summary assigned to a ballot measure, or the ballot arguments.
  • Election Campaign Services:  Advising clients on various tax and organizational issues unique to ballot measure campaigns, including filing for tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service and Franchise Tax Board. Advising clients on the sponsorship identification and disclaimer requirements of state and federal law. Advising clients on Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations. Preparation and filing of all required campaign disclosure statements.
  • Post-Election Services:  Challenging or defending substantive allegations involving the constitutionality or legality of voter-approved measures. Compliance with all financial and tax reporting requirements.

Representative Cases – Elections & Redistricting

Vargas v. Vu, San Diego County Superior Court, No. 37-2018-00035775; Greene v. Vu, San Diego County Superior Court, No. 37-2018-00037778 (2018).  Represented supporters of San Diego County Measure D (2018) in defeating litigation that sought to prevent the measure from reaching the ballot, and in litigation that prevented the county from placing the measure on a later ballot.

Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 908 F.3d 1175 (9th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 3748 (June 3, 2019). Successfully defended the City of Los Angeles’s 2012 Redistricting Ordinance against a lawsuit alleging that district boundaries violated the Federal and State Constitutions, and the Los Angeles City Charter.

City of Berkeley v. Dupuis, Alameda County Superior Court, No. RG14720117 (2014). Successfully represented the City in effort to use Council-approved redistricting map until a referendum election took place.

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Bowen, 212 Cal. App. 4th 1298 (2013). Represented Legislature in challenge to ballot measure title and summary.

Dillman v. Bowen, Sacramento County Super. Ct., No. 34-2012-80001093 (2012). Successfully defended Congressional candidate José Hernandez’s ballot designation for the 2012 election.

McDonough v. Superior Court, 204 Cal. App. 4th 1169 (2012). Represented opponents of the City of San Jose’s Measure B in successful ballot pamphlet litigation striking partisan and prejudicial portions of the City’s ballot title and question.

Williams v. City of Alameda, Alameda County Superior Court, No. RG12622649 (2012). Won a court order upholding the ballot pamphlet title, summary, and statement in favor of the City of Alameda’s Measure C for the June 2012 election.

Riverside County Democratic Central Committee v. Dunmore, Riverside County Superior Court, No. RIC 10012986 (2010). Won a court order requiring the Registrar of Riverside County to count 12,500 ballots that the Post Office had failed to deliver on Election Day.

Clark v. Superior Court, 2010 WL 928384, 2010 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1911 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 2010). Successful challenge to legislatively-prepared ballot materials.

Yes on 25, Citizens for an On-Time Budget v. Superior Court, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1445 (2010). Represented the ballot measure committee in defense of title and summary for majority vote budget measure.

Del Beccaro v. Brown, Sacramento County Superior Court, No. 06AS04494 (2007). Represented State Attorney General Jerry Brown in post-election litigation that unsuccessfully attempted to challenge his qualifications for office.

Lee v. Keith, 463 F.3d 763 (2006). Successful challenge to Illinois ballot access rules on constitutional grounds.

Californians For Fair Representation v. Superior Court, 138 Cal. App. 4th 15 (2006). Successful lawsuit to compel timely pre-election reporting of campaign contributions to ballot measures.

Nadler v. Schwarzenegger, 137 Cal. App. 4th 1327 (2006). Successfully defended the State’s 2001 redistricting plan against a lawsuit challenging the state legislative plans on the grounds that they violated the California Constitution.

Costa v. Superior Court, 37 Cal. 4th 986 (2006). Challenge to ballot measure proponent’s failure to circulate legally approved version of measure.

Franklin v. Correa, Orange County Superior Court, No. 03CC11220 (2004). Successful anti-SLAPP motion brought against candidate’s opponent’s attempt to stop him from transferring campaign funds from a prior campaign committee. 

 Cano v. Davis, 191 F. Supp. 2d 1135 (C.D. Cal. 2001); 211 F. Supp. 2d 1208 (C.D. Cal. 2002), aff’d, 537 U.S. 1100 (2003). Represented the California Assembly in a successful defense of the State’s 2001 redistricting plan against a federal lawsuit challenging the congressional and state legislative plans on the grounds that they violated the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

California Democratic Party v. Jones, 120 S.Ct. 2402 (2000). Successful challenge to constitutionality of California “blanket primary” initiative.

Bramberg v. Jones, 20 Cal.4th 1045 (1999). Challenge to constitutionality of initiative requiring candidate’s position on term limits to be included on ballot.

Department of Commerce v. U.S. House of Representatives, 525 U.S. 316 (1999). Represented the California Assembly before the United States Supreme Court in a case challenging the way in which the decennial census is conducted.

Labrie v. Board of Supervisors, Placer County Superior Court, Case No. SCV-0030835 (1996). Successful defense of lawsuit challenging ballot arguments relating to city charter proposal.

 Lungren v. Superior Court, 48 Cal. App. 4th 435 (1996). Challenge to official ballot title and summary of Proposition 209 (affirmative action initiative).

Andal v. Miller, 28 Cal. App. 4th 358 (1994). Challenge to candidate’s ballot designation.

Wilson v. Eu, 1 Cal. 4th 707 (1992). Represented the California Assembly in proceedings before the California Supreme Court regarding the submission and enactment of a statewide redistricting plan by court-appointed special masters.

Assembly v. Deukmejian, 30 Cal.3d 638 (1982). Represented California Assembly in successful action before California Supreme Court to order use of state legislative and congressional districts in 1982 elections despite qualification of a referendum against the districts.