UPDATE: As expected, the three judges who heard arguments in the lawsuit denied the request for an injunction to delay the election and dissolved the temporary restraining order. Click here to read the order.
Elections officials in Monterey County have been given the go-ahead to proceed with the June 22 special election in the 15th Senate District, County Registrar of Voters Linda Tulett said today.
Monterey County, one of five counties in the 15th Senate District, is one of several counties in the state where voting changes, including special election dates and processes, must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice under the federal Voting Rights Act.
A federal judge had ordered county officials to put the election temporarily on hold in response to a lawsuit seeking to delay the election until clearance had been issued. As of yesterday, the Justice Department had approved all changes submitted by the county, including the election date and process for sending absentee ballots.
Now that the changes have been approved, the restraining order is expected to be lifted today, Tulett said.
Tulett said the Justice Department still reserves the right to reexamine any requests it has already approved if more information is released or if an objection to the approvals is filed.
"The door is still open for something (to stop the election), but will that happen? I don't know," she said. "At this point we need to proceed."
The lawsuit was an attempt by Democrats to get the special election consolidated with the November general election, when they believe a higher turnout would boost the party's chances of picking up the seat vacated by Republican Abel Maldonado's lieutenant governor confirmation.
Joaquin Avila, the attorney who filed the suit, said in a message that his clients would ask the Justice Department to reexamine some of its decisions in hopes of getting an objection to delay the election.