Lawsuits Assert Countywide Races Must Be Decided In November Rather Than June

The official conclusion of this year’s election that resulted in the reelection of five countywide incumbents was not in compliance with the county’s charter, two lawsuits filed last week contend.

According to a lawsuit filed by Robert Conaway on his own behalf and another Conaway filed on behalf of Sheriff candidate Cliff Harris, San Bernardino County’s charter, as adjusted ten years ago in 2012, requires that the five countywide positions elected in the years corresponding with California’s gubernatorial elections – Sheriff, district attorney, Treasure/tax collector/auditor controller, assessor/county clerk and county superintendent of schools – are to be held in the November general election. According to Conaway’s and Harris’s suits, the county’s practice of declaring a candidate any of those five offices to be the winner if he or she collects a fifty percent of the vote plus at least one in the June primary election and then certifying that candidate’s election is inconsistent with the charter change that was made in 2012.

According to the language in the charter, “All county offices in this county, now or hereafter existing, other than the office of supervisor, that would under the general laws of the state be filled by election, if no county charter had been adopted, are hereby declared to be and are made county elective officers, and all such elective county officers shall be elected at the general election at which the governor is elected, and shall take office at twelve o’clock meridian on the first Monday after the first day of January next succeeding their election and shall hold office until their successors are elected or appointed and qualified, and all such elected county officers shall be nominated and elected in the manner provided by general laws for the nomination and election of such officers.”


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