Last Friday, a group of Sanders supporters calling themselves the Voting Rights Defense Project filed an after-hours request for a preliminary injunction in the California state primary in federal court in San Francisco. They argue that not enough had been done to advertise and inform "no party affiliation" voters that they have a right to a partisan ballot from either the Democratic, American Independent, or Libertarian party thereby potentially allowing their votes to count in the Democratic primary. A hearing on the request was held Wednesday, and as NBC Bay Area reports, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup rejected the plaintiffs' case saying that not only had the group waited too long to file their request mail-in voting has been ongoing in California since May 9 but their case was without merit.
A release from the San Francisco City Attorney's Office notes:
[Judge] Alsup described allegations by "plaintiffs' counsel as "hot air" shortly before ruling verbally from the bench, colorfully noting that "there's a not a single decision in the history of the universe" equating plaintiffs' alleged facts with a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Alsup added that plaintiffs' made "absolutely no showing of a violation of federal law."
The Sanders supporters brought testimony from poll workers who said that their training did not allow them to suggest Democratic Party ballots to people who arrived with no party preference (NPP), even if the polling station ran out of NPP ballots. The NPP ballots don't show candidates' names, like Bernie's, on them.
In this year's primary, the Democratic Party chose to allow NPP voters as well as registered independents and others to vote for Democratic candidates in the primary if they choose, while the Republicans are not allowing this.
Plaintiffs specifically argued that Alameda and San Francisco officials were failing to inform voters of this right, and thereby potentially disenfranchising them. But registrars from both counties testified that details about such "cross-over voting" have been given both online and via direct mailings, and poll workers were trained on the subject.
As the Associated Press reports, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who was named in the suit, calls it "frivolous."