Gates v. BlakemoreAnnotate this Case
In 2017, David Gates and Gage Bruce submitted to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters notices of intent to circulate for signatures with respect to nine initiatives. The initiatives were referred to county counsel for preparation of ballot titles and summaries. County counsel prepared ballot titles and summaries for two of the initiatives, and a third initiative was withdrawn. Litigation ensued with respect to the remaining six initiatives, which the parties have referred to as Initiatives 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Pursuant to a stipulation, the trial court addressed the parties’ arguments regarding all six proposed initiatives in a single hearing on January 18, 2018. The trial court sided with county counsel, denying Gates and Bruce’s writ petition and granting county counsel declaratory relief. The judgment, entered on February 1, 2018, excuses county counsel from her duty pursuant to section 9105, subdivision (a), to prepare a ballot title and summary for the initiatives on the ground that each is “invalid and may not be placed on the ballot.” Gates and Bruce contended the trial court should not have engaged in any preelection review of the proposed initiatives, and also that, even if review were proper, the initiatives were not invalid. The Court of Appeal disagreed with both contentions and affirmed the judgment.