Election Law

Elections and voting rights are at the core of local government. Best Best & Krieger LLP’s 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 land use. We are experienced in initiative drafting, filing, publication and circulation, advising on campaign regulations, election contests, election timing, ballot security, recall procedures, referendums, ballot recounts, election-result contests and other post-election matters. 

Election Law Resource Center LogoElection Law Resource Center
BB&K’s Election Law Resource Center gives public agencies the Vote of Confidence they need with an Election Law Toolkit and hotline help via telephone or email. The Toolkit, updated annually, includes the latest forms, templates, outlines, check lists 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 the Election Law Resource Center by clicking 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 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. 

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 are critical information to include in a successful redistricting process. BB&K’s team is experienced 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 plan process that is efficient, seamless and in compliance with the myriad of laws and regulations involved in redistricting.

We regularly advise clients on challenges brought under California and federal voting rights laws. In addition, 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 and recalls, including advice on taxes, fees and general obligation bonds. Our lawyers routinely help clients draft and place local initiative measures on the ballot and respond to citizen-driven initiative and referendum measures. 

Election Finance
BB&K provides campaign finance guidance under California’s Political Reform Act and Fair Political Practice Commission regulations and Federal Election Commission regulations. Our lawyers regularly advise public agencies on constraints on public spending in connection with 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 assist local agency formation commissions in regulating pre-election and protest election financing of LAFCO proposals.
Election Litigation
BB&K is well-qualified to represent clients in the rapidly emerging areas of voting rights, suffrage and election integrity.

Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Election Law | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Election Law | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law
Areas of Focus: Election Law | Fees, Taxes & Assessments
Areas of Focus: California Coastal Act | Election Law | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation
Areas of Focus: Election Law | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Election Law | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Public Agency Litigation
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Election Law | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law
Areas of Focus: Municipal Law | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Election Law | Eminent Domain | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water | Water Quality | Water Rights
Press Releases May 20, 2021

Sonia Carvalho Named a Top Woman Lawyer 2021

Daily Journal Includes Municipal Law Partner on its Annual List

Authored Articles & Publications May 07, 2021

Don’t Book That Flight Yet! California City Officials Have Voting District Deadlines

Election Law Partner Scott Smith Discusses Redistricting Requirements in Western City Magazine

Press Releases Apr 26, 2021

Stephanie Smith Receives City Clerks Association of California’s Pat Hammers Spirit Award

Stephanie Now Serves as BB&K’s Director of Election Services

Event Apr 08, 2021

Public Records, Social Media, Redistricting and More

City Clerks Association of California's 2021 Annual Conference

Press Releases Feb 10, 2021

BB&K Announces Election Law Practice Expansion and New Client Services

A “Toolkit” and Hotline Among New Offerings

Legal Alerts Feb 03, 2021

Court Provides Guidance in Applying “Racially Polarized Voting” Analysis to a California Voting Rights Act Challenge

Court of Appeal Decision in Yumori-Kaku et al. v. City of Santa Clara

Legal Alerts Jan 25, 2021

Redistricting in California

What Public Agencies Must Know Ahead of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Data Release

Legal Alerts Jan 06, 2021

Court Confirms FPPC's Authority to Punish Public Agencies That Spend Undisclosed Public Money to Influence Voters at Elections

California Trial Court Rules on Campaign-Related Public Spending

Legal Alerts Sep 23, 2020

Two Courts Offer Election Guidance: Slow-Walking Ballots is Unconstitutional

Mail-In and Absentee Ballots Debated in COVID-19 Pandemic and Election Day Overlap

Legal Alerts Sep 17, 2020

An Extraordinary Smackdown of an Ordinary Sign Ordinance

Court Invalidates Common Sign Ordinance on First Amendment Grounds

Legal Alerts Aug 13, 2020

Challenge to Prop 15: Courts Don’t Mess with Initiatives (or AGs Who Summarize Them)

Swift Decision Rejects Ballot Language Opposition

Authored Articles & Publications Aug 05, 2020

Postponing a Presidential Election and the Law

BB&K's Henry Castillo Writes About the Legal Authority for Election Postponement in PublicCEO

Legal Alerts Jul 10, 2020

City of Santa Monica Successfully Defends its At-Large Voting System

California Appellate Court Holds Plaintiffs Must Establish “Dilution” to Successfully Challenge At-Large Voting Systems Under CVRA

Legal Alerts Apr 21, 2020

California Voting Rights Act Deadlines Delayed During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Order Also Gives Guidance on Three Upcoming Special Elections

Legal Alerts Apr 06, 2020

California’s Voter Participation Rights Act Does Not Apply to Charter Cities

Appellate Court Takes on “Home Rule” in City of Redondo v. Alex Padilla

Legal Alerts Feb 27, 2020

Election Void for Being Held on Improper Day, Court Holds

California Appellate Court Invalidates Water District Board Election

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 12, 2020

PublicCEO: BB&K Municipal Law Team Discusses New Public Agency Laws - Part 1

Elections, Public Safety, Surplus Funds and More

Legal Alerts Jan 15, 2020

New Laws 2020 Roundup

New Public Agency, California Public Records Act, Education and Labor & Employment Laws

Legal Alerts Jan 07, 2020

New Election, Conflict of Interest, Firearm and Cannabis Laws

Part 1: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Legal Alerts Oct 28, 2019

AB 571 Sets Default Candidate Contribution Limits for City and County Offices

FPPC Will Enforce Limits

Legal Alerts Oct 24, 2019

When Public Opinion Surveys Become Reportable Expenditures Under the Political Reform Act

FPPC Advises When Public Agencies Can Survey Voters and Disseminate Results

Legal Alerts Sep 12, 2019

Political Reform Act’s Ban on Public Money for Campaigns Upheld

Calif. Appellate Court Strikes Down SB 1107

Legal Alerts Sep 05, 2019

Citizens’ Initiative Power Cannot Intrude on Public Agency’s Express Authority

Initiatives that Would Change County Government Structure Not Allowed, Calif. Appellate Court Rules

Legal Alerts Mar 04, 2019

FPPC Wants Authority to Enforce Misuse of Public Funds for Campaign Activity

Seeking Legislation to Amend Political Reform Act

Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2019

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part I

2019 Brings Changes to Election, Revenue, Conflict of Interest, Property and Public Safety Laws… and More

Press Releases Jan 02, 2019

BB&K Announces Three New Partners

Additional Changes to Leadership Roles

Press Releases Dec 19, 2018

Cities’ Struggles to Meet Obligations Are Real — BB&K Municipal Law Team Grows to Help

New and Expanded Services and More Attorneys and Staff Added in 2018

Legal Alerts Dec 05, 2018

Laws Regulating Campaign Contributions Must Be Narrowly Tailored to Combat Corruption

Ninth Circuit Holds That States Have an Important Interest in Preserving the Integrity of Their Political Institutions

Authored Articles & Publications Oct 12, 2018

Public Agency, Officials’ & Employees’ Rules for Electioneering

BB&K Attorneys Jim Priest and Sigrid Asmundson Discuss the Dos and Don’ts in PublicCEO

Press Releases Sep 26, 2018

Attorney Albert Maldonado Elected to Two Boards

Municipal Law Attorney to Serve Educational Organizations

Legal Alerts Sep 19, 2018

Statutory Development Agreements Cannot be Passed by Initiative

California Appellate Court Gives Cities Less Flexibility

Videos Aug 21, 2018

John C. Cotti Video Bio


Legal Alerts Aug 16, 2018

General Tax Measure with Related Advisory Measure on Same Ballot Does Not Turn It Into a Special Tax

Issue Related to Number of Votes Needed to Pass a General Versus Special Tax Under Proposition 218

Aug 15, 2018

[WEBINAR] "Walking the Line" - Public Agencies', Officials' and Employees' Roles in Local Elections

BB&K Webinar

Videos Aug 14, 2018

Christi Hogin Video Bio

Of Counsel

Videos Aug 14, 2018

Michael Jenkins Video Bio

Of Counsel

BB&K In the News Jun 01, 2018

Brent Collinson Admitted to U.S. Supreme Court Bar

Attorney Recently Merged Firm with BB&K, Sierra Sun Reports

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 28, 2018

New Laws Part I: 2018 Brings Campaign, Election and Records Reforms


Authored Articles & Publications Jan 18, 2018

At-Large Elections Pose Litigation Risk Under CVRA

By Thomas Rice

Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2018

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part I

Elections, Public Records Act, Revenue and Conflicts of Interest

Legal Alerts Nov 15, 2017

Calif.’s “Mass Mailing” Rule Amended by SB 45

Certain Government-Funded Mailings Prohibited 60 Days Before an Election

Nov 02, 2017

[WEBINAR] The California Voting Rights Act: What To Do When Your Agency Gets a Letter

BB&K Municipal Law Webinar Series

Legal Alerts Jul 18, 2017

Calif. AG Says SB 415 Applies to Charter Cities and Local School Districts Governed by Charter Cities

California Voter Participation Rights Act

Press Releases Jan 20, 2017

Southern California Super Lawyers 2017

Five BB&K Partners Receive Honor

Legal Alerts Dec 22, 2016

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies

Laws Passed in 2016 That Will Impact Public Agency Work

Videos Nov 18, 2016

William J. Priest Video Bio

Of Counsel

BB&K In the News Oct 23, 2016

Sacramento Transportation Sales Tax Mailers Stir Questions

Advocacy vs. Informational: BB&K Attorney Jim Priest Discusses with Sacramento Bee

Authored Articles & Publications Sep 29, 2016

Local Campaign Finance Reform: What Local Agencies Can – and Cannot – Do (Part 2)

By William J. Priest

Authored Articles & Publications Sep 09, 2016

Local Campaign Finance Reform: Can Local Agencies Wean the Baby From “Mother’s Milk?” (Part 1)

By William J. Priest

Legal Alerts Apr 06, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Holds States and Localities May Continue to Draw Voting Districts Based on Total Population

Total Population, However, May Not Be the Only Standard Upon Which Voting Areas Can Be Based

Legal Alerts Feb 11, 2016

California Court Interprets Stockton’s Term Limit Non-Cumulatively to Allow Repeat Runners

Case Illustrates Why How a Measure is Worded Matters

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 01, 2016

New California Law May Require Public Agencies to Change Regular Election Dates

By William J. Priest

Legal Alerts Dec 18, 2015

New California Laws Impacting Public Agencies

This comprehensive round-up includes new legislation that will impact cities, counties, special districts and schools.

Legal Alerts Oct 27, 2014

Use of School Grounds for Campaign and Election Activities

The Education Code and the Courts Have Established Rules and Regulations for Campuses

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