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Measure C passes but lawsuit seeks to delay its certification

Registered voters vote yes for Measure C, but the ballot is slow to certify as local lawsuit looms ahead.

Measure C passed with 55% of yes votes after a small fraction of registered city voters headed to polls Nov. 2. Only 13.80% of Riversiders voters decided the fate of the measure with 12,424 votes for it and 9,598 votes against.

As of Wednesday evening, the County of Riverside Registrar of Voters said there are still at least over 6,000 mail-in or provisional ballots to count. The numbers reflect the county’s total amount , with the cities of Moreno Valley, Hemet, and Indio having hosted elections on Tuesday. There is no information on how many of those ballots are for Riverside.

In a press release by the city, they said it’s gratifying that the voters continued the General Fund Transfer from the Electric Fund. They added, “The continuance of this $40 million contribution to the General Fund, which is 14 percent of General Fund revenues, ensures Riverside will keep receiving high-quality municipal services while enjoying utility rates that are lower than in surrounding communities.”

On Sept. 9, a lawsuit was filed against the city by Riversiders Against Increased Taxes (RAIT). Jason Hunter is a Riverside Political Watchdog and says this next Monday, the plaintiffs in the case will attempt to stop the certification of the ballot measure and request the certification not happen until a judge rules if the measure placement was legitimate. Hunter says the primary question is, “Can you vote on a general tax during a special election?” Hunter says no.

RAIT is arguing that the ballot measure is a tax increase and that because it’s a “Special Election,” it must wait to be on the next major election ballot in 2024. In election documents arguing for a yes vote, co-signed by Councilmember Steve Hemenway, they say, “Measure C does not increase utility rates or raise taxes.”