Resource: Eilenberg v. City of Colton

By: Healthy Elections Project

November 5, 2020

Healthy Elections Project

Plaintiff is managing the effort to get an initiative (allowing food trucks in the City of Colton, CA) on the City's 11/20 ballot. The California Elections Code requires local initiative proponents to gather and submit signatures within 180 days. Plaintiff alleges that he began the signature gathering process in order to qualify for the ballot, but that the COVID-19 pandemic and the State’s response to the pandemic restricted his ability to do so. Specifically, he alleges that the City refused to allow initiative signature gatherers in the City because the City does not consider signature gatherers to be "essential workers", and refused to remove the signature requirement. Plaintiff filed suit on 4/20/2020 against the City of Colton, the County of San Bernardino, and the State of California claiming that the City, therefore, is effectively blocking the ability to get the initiative on the ballot. By blocking the ability to gather signatures in the City without providing an accommodation (e.g., removing the signature requirement), Plaintiff claims that he has been deprived of of his Constitutional Rights (Federal and State). Plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief and a writ of mandamus for: (1) an order prohibiting the City from preventing initiative signature gatherers from operating within the City; (2) an order tolling the time for gathering signatures; or, in the alternative, (3) an order placing the initiative on the next general election ballot for the City; or (4) any order the Court deems proper to allow for protection of the Constitutional right to place initiatives on the ballot.