County election officials said today that 715,833 signatures were submitted in the effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said his office has completed the first step in the review of the petitions submitted Wednesday and is now working on the review and verification of the signatures, which must be completed no later than August 17.
At least 566,857 valid signatures are required to force a recall election.
“As authorized in the California Elections Code—11225—the RR/CC will use the random sampling technique for the verification of petition signatures. The random sample is 5% of the total number of signatures submitted,” Logan’s office said Saturday.
“Based on the random sampling results, the petition will be certified as sufficient, require verification of all signatures submitted, or certified as insufficient. … If the petition meets the sufficiency requirement, the RR/CC must certify sufficiency to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at its next regular meeting.”
The earliest a recall election could be held would be at the same time as the Nov. 8 general election. If those conditions are not met, a special recall election would likely take place between late December 2022 and mid-January 2023, according to the Registrar’s Office.
Gascón has been under fire since taking office in December, when he issued a series of directives critics have 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.
In a statement Tuesday, recall organizers said residents “have spoken in a resounding way,” noting the sheer number of people who have signed petitions and pointing to 37 cities in the county that have taken “no-confidence” votes in Gascón.
“The sheer magnitude of this effort, and time and investment required to get to this point, show how strong the public desire is to remove George Gascón from office,” according to the campaign.
“From day one, this recall has been led by the very victims who Gascón has abandoned, ignored and dismissed. When the recall qualifies, he will not be able to ignore them any longer.”
Gascón, asked about the recall during a Tuesday news conference, declined to comment. He defended his record in various interviews Wednesday, telling ABC7 his office has filed charges in felony cases at the same rate as his predecessor, deflecting allegations that he is soft on crime.
“The recall rules are fairly lax in the state of California, it requires a very low threshold,” he told the station. “You don’t have to show criminal intent. You don’t have to show malfeasance. It’s very easy. We don’t like you, boom. We want to start a recall. But, be as it may, I understand the process and we’re ready. If they get the signatures, we feel very strongly that we will succeed. If they don’t get the signatures, I’m sure there will be another recall attempt.”