Gascón recall effort fails to collect enough valid signatures to make ballot, county says

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón from office has failed to collect enough valid signatures to be placed on the ballot, county officials said Monday.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón from office has failed to collect enough valid signatures to be placed on the ballot, county officials said Monday.

The county clerk's office said while organizers submitted more than 715,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, only 520,000 were found to be valid. The measure required nearly 567,000 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.

The county said more than 195,000 signatures were found to be invalid for reasons such as the person signing does not live in the county or is not a registered voter. Almost 44,000 signatures were found to be duplicates.

Last week, organizers of the recall effort alleged the county was not adhering to current laws for signature verification, saying rules presume that a signature is valid unless there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the signature on the petition differs in "multiple, significant and obvious" respects from the one on file. But organizers alleged that the county was not adhering to that standard.

The county says it conducted its review in adherence to all California laws and requirements.

On Monday, the recall committee called the clerk's findings "surprising and disappointing" but said they will review the rejected signatures and verification process.

The committee noted that more than half a million county residents did support the petition, in addition to leaders of 37 cities voting no confident in Gascón.

"To deprive them of the opportunity to restore public safety in their own communities is heartbreaking," the recall committee said. "And to interpret this in any other way other than a wholesale rejection of Gascon's dangerous polices would be disingenuous, or naive at best."

A spokesperson for Gascón's campaign released a statement: "We are obviously glad to move forward from this attempted political power grab, but we also understand that there is far more work that needs to be done. And we remain strongly committed to that work. The DA's primary focus is and has always been keeping us safe and creating a more equitable justice system for all. Today's announcement does not change that."

This is not the only obstacle that has challenged the recall effort.

Last month, a company that gathered petition signatures for the measure alleged in federal court that recall organizers owe the firm at least $469,596 for unpaid work.

RELATED: Signature-collecting firm sues Gascón recall committee

Gascón has been under fire since taking office in December 2020, when he issued a series of directives critics blasted as being soft on crime. The directives include a rule against seeking the death penalty, a ban on transferring juvenile defendants to adult court and prohibitions on filing sentencing-enhancements in most cases.

Gascón has repeatedly defended his policies, saying his stances were well-known during his campaign and his election signified public support of his agenda.

City News Service contributed to this report.