Dwight Worden | Del Mar Councilmember
The city contracted with EveryoneCounts to do what we were loosely calling an online “advisory vote” on the City Hall options. I, for one, championed having it be as close as possible to a real ballot. No one, including EveryoneCounts, raised the issue that online voting is not allowed in California for real “elections” including advisory votes.
We got a letter from the Secretary of State’s office objecting, advising that online “elections” are not legal. Shortly thereafter I got a call from a Pam Smith at the local chapter of Verified Voting, a state-wide organization that opposed online voting considering it to be unsecured and risky. She objected to our proposed “vote” because it was going only to registered voters, even if we called it a “poll.”
In response to the Secretary of State letter, city staff revised all our language changing references from “vote” to “poll.” City staff checked with the Secretary of State office to see if this was sufficient, and advised the council that this resolved the problem.
Because Verified Voting still objected, I advocated at a Council Meeting that we consider adding stakeholder groups beyond registered voters, for example, business owners, not because it was required but because we might want to know the opinion of these other stakeholder groups. I asked legal counsel about the Verified Voting claims, and we were advised, that it was a “policy choice.” The law would allow us to limit the audience to registered voters or to expand it to include other groups. The consensus was to limit those polled to registered voters in Del Mar.
Then a surprise court complaint was filed seeking a restraining order to stop our process raising the same arguments. A hearing on the complaint was set for the following day, Friday.
The city’s lawyers worked the wee hours, consulted with Scott Huth by phone, and filed a response. At the hearing the judge heard the issues and ruled strongly in favor of the city, offering to allow for an immediate appeal, but the plaintiff lawyer declined. That seemed to be the end of it. (more about the poll here)