SLO County judge’s ruling on redistricting facing appeal

By KAREN VELIE

A group focused on overturning the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors’ vote to redraw the county’s five supervisorial districts is planning to appeal a failed motion for a temporary restraining order.

Even though there are people on both sides of the redistricting battle, primarily Democratic voters want to revert back to the old map that Republicans argue supports Democrats. Democratic voters contend the new map benefits the Republican Party at the expense of Democrats and Latinos.

Superior Court Judge Rita Federman rejected the bulk of the plaintiffs’ arguments, which included that the adopted map diminishes Latino voters, that cities are not communities of interest and that the new map illegally took away the right of some to vote in the 2022 election.

Judge Federman found plaintiffs’ argument that the county should have looked at evidence that the adopted map favored or discriminated a political party, accurate, though procedural.

While the plaintiffs and the Tribune claim the map was clearly drawn to harm or benefit a party, a key component of their argument, the judge did not agree.

While it is illegal to draw a district to favor or disfavor a political party, “the mere fact that a particular reapportionment may result in a shift in political control of some legislative districts … falls short of demonstrating such a purpose,” according to the ruling.

The courts generally fast track lawsuits and appeals dealing with redistricting. However, with the nomination period for supervisorial candidates opening on Monday morning, the appeal cannot be filed before candidates can register to run for office making it less likely the appeal will be successful.

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