FAQ’s Re: Challenges

What is a challenge?

A challenge is an opportunity for a voter to request clarification and correction of the validity of certain aspects of the Neighborhood Council selection.

 Who may file a challenge?

Any stakeholder who voted in the NWSPNC selection

When is the deadline to file a challenge?

The deadline for filing a challenge is June 7. All of the required documents must be submitted by that date.

What information will I need to submit for the challenge?

The challenge submission must meet the following requirements:

  1. Identify the basis for the challenge to the selection.
  2. Identify the person(s) issuing the challenge and their contact information.
  3. Identify up to three witnesses and provide their statements via a Witness Statement Form provided here.
  4. Provide all supporting documentation, including any witness statements (none will be accepted after the request is filed).
  5. The supporting documentation must prove that the alleged challenge is not only valid, but would also have made a difference in the election outcome.

Challenges without such supporting documentation will automatically be rejected.

All of the submitted information is public information and will be listed on our website even if you withdraw the challenge later.

What challenges will be considered valid?

  • Incorrect Ballots (which caused voters to vote either significantly more or less for a qualified or incorrect candidate)
  • Electioneering by Candidate(s) within 100 feet of the polls (except in the Candidate Forum)
  • Ballot Duplication (by a candidate or stakeholder)
  • Explicit Use of City logo(s) for Campaign Materials by Candidate(s)  (including LA City, EmpowerLA logo, Neighborhood Council logo, and any other City department logo)
  • Neighborhood Council Board Endorsement of a Candidate or Slate of Candidates
  • Neighborhood Council Outreach Materials Where Only Existing Board Member Candidates Are Mentioned after Candidates Are Certified
  • Lack of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessible Facility (if curbside voting was not available)
  • Multiple Voting - any voter who casts multiple ballots the selection

 What challenges are not valid challenges?

  • Insufficient Outreach
  • Published Articles (challenges based on election information published in media such as the Internet  [including blogs], newspaper[s], or any other type of media)
  • Translated Election Material
  • Candidate Forums
  • Polling Place
  • Email Forwarding of Neighborhood Council “Get Out To Vote Material” or Emails.
  • Ballot Design
  • Neighborhood Council Endorsed Election Procedures/Policies
  • Neighborhood Council Bylaws
  • Stakeholder Qualifications to Vote (Neighborhood Council Bylaws or Election Procedures Stipulation Worksheet)
  • Candidate Slate(s)/Slate Flyers
  • Campaign Expenditure(s) unless paid for by someone other than the candidate
  • Volunteer Poll workers or Poll worker Bias
  • Use of Police and/or Security at Polling Place
  • Voter Intimidation
  • Error in Voting Instructions
  • Lack of Necessary Voting Materials
  • Voters Threatened by Candidates
  • Electioneering by Stakeholder(s)
  • Voter Instructions
  • Known Factors Prior to Election Day (such as: polling place bias because a candidate works at the location, language translators, etc.)
  • Language assistance or lack thereof at Polling Place
  • Use of LA City, EmpowerLA logo, or Neighborhood Council logo when it is used on a website as identification purposes for an active link to click through to the City, EmpowerLA or Neighborhood Council website, social media page, etc. for more information
  • Endorsements and Sample Ballots created by and/or distributed by stakeholders or candidates that ask voters to vote for a specific candidate or candidates

What are the remedies for a challenge?

If a challenge is found to be valid, remedies will be narrowly interpreted to affect only the voters, candidates, or seats affected. Redoing the entire Neighborhood Council selection is not a remedy unless the challenge affected every seat on the ballot. Remedies can include, but are not limited to, letters of correction/reprimand, disqualification of candidates or voters, Neighborhood Council funding penalties and referral to the City Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.

Who reviews the challenge?

  1.  The Neutral Third Party (NTP) will do an initial review to determine if the challenge is complete, was submitted before the deadline, meets one or more of the challengeable criteria, and if sustained, could affect the outcome of the selection.  If all of these are found to be true, the challenge will move to the next level.  If not, the challenge will be rejected.
  1.  The Neighborhood Council will appoint a three-member Review Committee, composed of board members and/or stakeholders who were not candidates in the selection.  The committee will review the challenge and supporting documentation at a Brown acted and posted meeting open to the public and send their findings and any recommended remedy to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for final review and determination.

Can the Neutral Third Party’s determination be appealed?

No, the Neutral Third Party’s determination of whether the challenge moves to the Review Committee cannot be appealed.

Who can attend the Review Committee?

The meeting is open to the public.  Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide public comment on the challenges.

What happens at the Review Committee?

The only written evidence considered at the Review Committee will be the documents uploaded with the Selection Challenge.  The person filing the Challenge shall have the opportunity to present an opening statement not to exceed five minutes.  If there are any person or persons being challenged, they shall have the opportunity to present an opening statement not to exceed five minutes. The Neutral Third Party and/or the Bylaws and Elections Committee Chair, shall have the opportunity to present an opening argument not to exceed five minutes.  The person filing the Challenge shall then present a rebuttal not to exceed five minutes.  If applicable, the person or person subject to the challenge may present a rebuttal not to exceed five minutes.  The Neutral Third Party and/or the Elections Committee Chair, may present a rebuttal not to exceed five minutes.  The Review Committee may, in its sole discretion, extend the time of the opening statements and rebuttals.  No further witness testimony shall be allowed.  After the rebuttal by the Neutral Third Party, the Committee may question the parties, including the witnesses.  The Committee will open the matter for public comment for a maximum of ten minutes unless, in the sole discretion of the Committee, additional time for public comment is necessary to the adjudication of the Challenge.  Then the Committee shall deliberate the Challenge and provide a recommended determination and remedy to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.

If I file a challenge, do I have to appear in person at the Review Committee Hearing?  

No, the Committee will make a determination based on the documentation submitted, the Neutral Third Party/Bylaws and Elections Committee Chair statements, and public comment.

Can the Review Committee determination be appealed?

No, the Review Committee determination cannot be appealed.

What is the timeline for challenges to be processed?

Valid challenges must be heard by the Review Committee within twenty-one calendar days.  A copy of the Review Committee Determination will be posted to the NWSPNC website and sent via email to the challenger and to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment within seven calendar days following the hearing.

How will I know what happened to a challenge?

You can keep track of all selection challenges and the status on the NWSPNC website. NWSPNC will notify the challenger via email if the challenge is rejected or dismissed by the Neutral Third Party.  If the challenge is sent to the Review Committee, the NWSPNC will notify via email the challenger, the witnesses, and anyone accused in the challenge provided we have their correct email.  We will post the agenda for the Review Committee meeting pursuant to the Brown Act as well as send it through the Early Notification System (ENS) for the Neighborhood Council.

How do I submit a challenge?

Challenges must be submitted online via this portal. The submission form is available here.  We will not accept challenges delivered in any other manner.

All supporting documentation for challenges, including up to three Witness Statement Forms, must be submitted with the online form. If you attach additional Witness Statement Forms, we will only accept the first three.  Documentation will not be accepted after the filing deadline.