Efforts to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón fail

A second effort to force Los Angeles County Dist. Atti. George Gascón in a recall election collapsed on Monday after officials determined the campaign to oust him from office did not secure enough valid signatures.

To put Gascón’s work on the ballot, the campaign to oust him needed to garner 566,857 valid signatures by mid-July, a figure reflecting 10% of those eligible to vote in the election cycle when Gascón was elected in November 2020. The LA County Registrar/County Clerk’s Office said Monday that approximately 520,000 of the signatures submitted were valid.

While the campaign submitted approximately 715,000 signaturessome would inevitably be disqualified if signed by people who were not properly registered to vote in LA County or if a registered voter’s signature did not match one on file with the Registrar.

On Monday, the registrar’s office said 195,783 of the signatures submitted were invalid. Most of those discarded were either duplicates or submitted by people who were not registered to vote, officials said.

In California, most recall campaigns see between 20% and 30% of signatures collected disqualified, according to Joshua Spivak, recall election expert and senior fellow at UC Berkeley Law School’s California Constitution Center.

The recall campaign in recent months sought signatures through a direct mail blitz; some observers have expressed concern that this could lead to more disqualifications due to duplication.

“We are obviously happy to move forward with this attempt at a political power grab, but we also understand that there is still a lot of work to be done. And we remain firmly committed to this work,” said Jamarah Hayner , political strategist leading Gascón’s efforts against the recall “The DA’s primary goal is and always has been to protect us and create a fairer justice system for all. Today’s announcement does not nothing changes that.

Tim Lineberger, a spokesman for the recall effort, said the campaign chairs are considering their options and will issue a statement later. Earlier this year, Lineberger told The Times that the campaign would not pursue a third recall attempt if that failed and would instead focus on defeating Gascón at the polls in 2024.

Gascón has been criticized by law enforcement and business leaders since his election. Many were quick to blame his reform-minded policies for the rise in crime in Los Angeles, despite the fact that similar outbreaks of violence have occurred in California cities with traditional law and order prosecutors.

Gascón’s moves to severely limit when prosecutors can try minors as adults or seek life sentences have stoked the ire of victims’ rights groups and left him in limbo. untenable positions in a number of high-profile cases. In the case of Hannah Tubbs – a 26-year-old transgender woman who sexually assaulted a child – Gascón’s policy allowed her to receive a short sentence in juvenile court because she was 17 when the crime was committed. The case sparked national outrage and haunted the district attorney for months.

A first attempt at a Gascón recall last year failed miserably, largely due to a lack of fundraising and organization.

But this second effort, launched later last yearhas raised millions of dollars and won support from a wide range of police unions and politicians, including Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso.

With Bay Area voters recalling District of San Francisco. Atti. Chesa Boudin in June, Gascón seemed likely to suffer the same fate. Gascón served as San Francisco’s lead prosecutor, and Boudin – a former public defender – served as his successor in that position.

But the fortunes of Gascón’s recall campaign have blurred in recent months. In mid-July, the civil registry carried out verification tests on 28,000 signatures collected by the campaign and disqualified 22% of them.

Based on Monday’s results, the Registrar ended up disqualifying 27% of the 715,000 signatures submitted.

In early August, recall organizers began arguing that the review process was unfair. Former Assistant Dist Atty. Marian Thompson, who has a background in election law, sent a letter to the LA County Board of Supervisors claiming the registrar’s office was using outdated processes to verify signatures.

She argued that the Registrar was ignoring a 2020 change in the law that sought to make it more difficult to disqualify mail-in ballots or petitions if the signature submitted did not match one on file with the Registrar. She also said the recall was banned from sending observers to monitor the verification process.

Thompson described the initial sample’s 22% rejection rate as “surprisingly high,” even though San Francisco election officials rejected about 34% of all petitions submitted during the process that led to Boudin’s recall. , according to Spivak. But only 9,490 signatures were disqualified due to a lag, the registrar said Monday.

The recall effort failed by approximately 46,000 signatures.

In a statement released last week, LA County Registrar Dean Logan dismissed Thompson’s letter, denied that officials were using outdated training materials and noted that California’s election code did not give organizers reminder no legal right to monitor the verification process.

Meanwhile, a company that was hired to collect signatures for the recall campaign filed a lawsuit in July, alleging the campaign owed it at least $500,000. A recall spokesperson called the lawsuit “frivolous.”

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