Counties were at the center of a legal dispute over the placement of the governor’s tax measure on the November ballot when a rival tax plan from civil rights lawyer Molly Munger argued in court that election officials inappropriately verified signatures so that the governor’s initiative could have the top spot on the ballot. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny found no wrongdoing and concluded Los Angeles County was well within its rights to wait to notify the Secretary of State's Office when Munger’s initiative qualified so that it could be included in a group with three other proposals.
The Bee reports that “Judge Kenny said counties have some discretion in how they verify the signatures on petitions. He suggested that if he were to rule for Munger, he would in essence be telling counties exactly how they must run their qualification procedures. ‘But aren't you asking me to essentially micromanage the registrar's office?’ he asked Munger's attorneys. The hearing was entirely focused on arguments surrounding Los Angeles County's procedures and whether Munger should have sued the county rather than the state.”
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is taking another legal route to challenge the governor’s initiative leapfrogging other measure by focusing on a majority-vote bill that legislators passed to move the initiative. The group’s president, Jon Coupal, commented, “I think the broader issue here is of the electoral process, and this bill was designed to give one specific measure preference on the ballot.”
The Secretary of State certainly wasted no time in assigning numbers to the measures after the judge lifted a restraining order. However, if the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is successful in its challenge, then the measures’ numbers could be changed.
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