Efforts to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón fail

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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 had failed to secure enough valid signatures.

To force Gascón into a recall race, 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’s Office said Monday that only about 520,000 of the signatures submitted were valid.

While the campaign actually submitted around 715,000 signaturesa number 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 county registrar.

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 has also sought signatures through a direct mail blitz in recent months, which some observers say could lead to more disqualifications.

Gascón has faced relentless criticism from 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 cities across California with traditional law and order prosecutors.

Gascón’s moves to severely limit when prosecutors can try minors as adults or seek life sentences have also stoked the ire of victims’ rights groups and left him in the lurch. 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 a second effort launched late last year has raised millions of dollars and won support from a wide range of police unions and politicians, including Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso.

And 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 the recall campaign have blurred in recent months. In mid-July, the Registrar’s Office conducted verification tests on a batch of 28,000 signatures collected by the campaign and counted only 78% of those signatures as valid. If this verification rate had been applied to the entire petition effort, the callback would have failed.

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 complained that they were barred from sending observers to monitor the verification process.

Thompson also described the 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.

In a statement, LA County Registrar Dean Logan dismissed Thompson’s letter, denied that officials were using outdated training materials and noted that California’s election code gave recall organizers no legal rights. monitor the verification process.

Meanwhile, the company hired to collect signatures for the recall campaign also filed a lawsuit in July, alleging the campaign owed it at least half a million dollars. A recall spokesperson called the lawsuit “frivolous.”

This is breaking news and will be updated.

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