A lawsuit filed May 6, 2010 in federal court in San Jose alleged that the June 22nd special election to fill the California State Senate seat vacated by recently-appointed Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado would violate the federal Voting Rights Act because any change in election procedures in Monterey County requires U.S. Justice Department approval.  Seattle University School of Law professor Joaquin Avila, former general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Rosen, Bien & Galvan have filed the suit on behalf of three Latino registered voters in the district.

A San Jose Mercury News article quoted RBG’s Michael Bien:  “There simply isn’t enough time in the schedule,” said attorney Michael Bien with San Francisco-based Rosen, Bien & Galvan LLP, which submitted today’s suit. “The idea is that if you’re a district required to go through this pre-clearance, there’s supposed to be time to engage the community.” An article in The Recorder quoted RBG’s Gay Grunfeld:  “This is going to have an adverse affect” on voter access, said Rosen, Bien & Galvan partner Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld.”  The Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Chronicle also covered the story.

Case update:  At a May 20th hearing of a special three-judge panel, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had approved the special election.  A San Francisco Chronicle article on May 21 reported: “The three voters who filed suit withdrew their request to the court to stop the election but hope to persuade the Justice Department to reconsider its approval and halt the June 22 vote, said their attorney, Michael Bien.”