Elections and voting rights are at the core of local government. Best Best & Krieger LLP’s (BBK) attorneys and professionals are recognized leaders in providing support and advice on all local election issues relating to voting rights, candidates, and ballot measures.
Our team assists clients with all types of voting issues, including voting rights and districting, election procedure, candidate nomination, ballot titles, statements and arguments, and ballot measures on a broad array of topics from voter-approved taxes to charter amendments to land use measures. We are experienced in initiative drafting, filing, publication, and circulation, advising on campaign regulations, publicly funded ballot measure informational efforts, election contests, election timing, ballot security, recall procedures, referendums, ballot recounts, election-result contests, and other post-election matters.
Election Law Resource Center
BBK’s Election Law Resource Center gives public agencies the vote of confidence they need with our Election Law Toolkit (Toolkit) and hotline help via telephone or email. The Toolkit, updated annually, includes the latest forms, templates, outlines, checklists and schedules to process, track and conduct regular elections, including resolutions and filings, outlines, and other election elements. It includes guidance and explanatory notes. For an annual fee, clients receive the Toolkit and access to the hotline for support using the election templates or for basic election-related questions.
Learn more about our Election Law resources here.
Voting Rights and Redistricting
Voting districts in California must be drawn in compliance with state and federal constitutional and statutory requirements. These include requirements under the Federal Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment, the California Voting Rights Act, and redistricting guidelines in the California Constitution, Government Code, Elections Code, and local charters and ordinances.
We are experienced in helping public agencies consider “by district” voting, with proportional voting districts as required by federal and state law. We also advise on redistricting/reapportionment issues that often arise whenever a new federal census report is published every 10 years.
Census data forms are the building blocks for any redistricting exercise, but a deeper analysis of community characteristics, shifting demographics, voter data, election outcomes, and/or attitudinal profiles is critical in a successful redistricting process. BBK’s team is experienced in helping public agencies develop a statistically reliable understanding of the communities they serve. Utilizing a demographic analysis of census and voter data, as well as advanced statistical techniques and modeling, we provide public agencies with a redistricting process that is efficient, seamless, and in compliance with the myriad laws and regulations involved in redistricting.
We regularly advise clients on legal challenges brought under California and federal voting rights laws. Under the July 2020 California Appellate Court voting rights decision, Pico Neighborhood Association v. City of Santa Monica, there are still uncertainties and risks of costly court challenges pending the California Supreme Court’s hearing of that case on appeal.
General Election Advice, Initiatives, and Referendums
We provide day-to-day election advice relating to elections on candidates, initiatives, referendums, charter amendments, and recalls, including advice on taxes, assessments, fees, and general obligation bonds. Our attorneys routinely help clients draft and place local measures on the ballot and respond to citizen-driven initiatives and referendum measures.
BBK provides campaign finance guidance under California’s Political Reform Act and Fair Political Practice Commission regulations and Federal Election Commission regulations. Our attorneys regularly advise public agencies on the limits that apply to public agency spending in connection with informing the public about ballot measures, have advised many cities to ensure that local candidates and political action committees comply with applicable campaign disclosure requirements, and have helped clients draft their own local campaign contribution limitation ordinances to the extent permitted by law. We also assist local agency formation commissions in regulating pre-election and protest election financing of LAFCO proposals.
BBK is well-qualified to represent clients in the rapidly emerging areas of voting rights, suffrage, and election integrity.