Despite protests from a psychiatrist, Del Mar will be allowed to proceed with an online poll of local registered voters, an act city officials say does not constitute an election and thus is exempt from state laws prohibiting online voting.
At issue is what to do with the aging city hall at 1050 Camino del Mar. Three options put to voters (only those with valid registrations within the city are to be polled) all include a new city hall, town hall, and civic plaza, but two also include additional parking structures and land set aside for development of 11,000 to 20,000 additional square feet of building space. The estimated costs for the three proposals range from a low of $7 million to a high of approximately $18 million.
Dr. Edward Mohns, however, sued the city and San Diego–based Everyone Counts Inc., the company that received the contract to set up and monitor the poll on January 29, arguing that the system "has not been certified by the California Secretary of State."
The courts acted swiftly, ruling the next day that Mohns’s request for an injunction could not go through because he could not demonstrate that he would specifically be harmed from the poll-taking.
Del Mar seems to admit that it was on somewhat shaky ground, according to the complaint from Mohns, which argues that the city "agreed that what it had heretofore consistently referred to as an 'advisory election' should instead be referred to as a 'community poll.' The change in nomenclature was based on written advice in a staff report that California law 'does not allow advisory votes, or any election, to be conducted online.'"
Voting started Monday, February 2, and runs through 5 p.m. on February 13. Eligible participants were mailed a unique password to use in order to participate at home or by visiting city offices, and will further need to verify their identification through use of a birth date or partial Social Security number.
According to a Courthouse News Service report, the city's contract with Everyone Counts allows for up to two more "advisory elections" within the next 12 months.