Gascón recall petition clears hurdle, will proceed to full verification

Recall “L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon” campaign volunteers and supporters show their support for recalling the county's top prosecutor during a demonstration held in front of the L.A. County Registrar of Voters office in Norwalk. July 6, 2022. Courtesy photo.

The petition to recall L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón cleared a hurdle on Thursday after the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office announced it they had completed the random sampling for verification.  

After completing the random sample of 5% of the total number of signatures, or 35,793 signatures, the registrar-recorder concluded that enough were valid and they could now begin the process of fully checking the remaining signatures.  

“Based on the outcome of the random sampling technique, 27,983 petition signatures were found to be valid,” read a press release from the Registrar’s Office distributed on Thursday. “This result falls within the threshold that requires the RR/CC to verify all petition signatures submitted.” 

If the number of valid signatures had exceeded 31,179, the petition would have been certified as sufficient, officials said. If the number of valid signatures was lower than 25,510, the petition would have been certified as insufficient. 

Because the number of verified valid signatures fell between these thresholds, a full check of all signatures submitted must be completed no later than Aug. 17. 

The announcement comes a week after the recall campaign had submitted roughly 717,000 signatures to the L.A. County Registrar of Voters, meeting the July 6 deadline with well over the 566,857 required signatures.  

The extra signatures, recall campaign officials said, were collected in order to ensure they exceeded the total number of signatures even after a number of them are invalidated during the L.A. County Registrar of Voters official count.  

Gascón’s supporters at the anti-recall campaign told The Signal on Thursday that they would refrain from commenting on the petition, waiting to see whether the required number of signatures are actually validated. 

Since he assumed office in December 2020, Gascón’s detractors have said that his policies — from the widespread curtailing of the cash bail system, to heavily restricting the use of sentencing enhancements, to the near eradication of life sentences in L.A. County cases — have allowed criminals, especially repeat offenders, to create more victims with fewer consequences.   

The D.A.’s supporters have countered these arguments by stating that the district attorney is attempting to fix a judicial system that has been historically based on draconian and prejudicial processes, resulting often in inequity for minorities and a disregard for addressing the root causes of criminal behavior.   

Those in charge of the process at the Registrar’s Office are basing a signature’s validity on a number of factors, including but not limited to: ensuring the signature is from a registered voter, that their signed address is the same as the one on their voter registration, and that the registered voter did not sign the petition more than once, among other criteria.   

If the petition is ultimately verified, government officials will then need to determine when the referendum will appear on the ballot for L.A. County voters, whether it be in the upcoming November General Election or voted on during a special election held on a separate date.   

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