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Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon. (Photo: da.lacounty.gov)

LA County DA George Gascon Recall Effort Turns in 717,000 Signatures To County

Enough signatures expected to be validated over the next 30 days to place recall on ballot later this year

By Evan Symon, July 7, 2022 1:32 pm

Recall DA George Gascon, the main group behind the effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, submitted 717,000 signatures of the needed 566,857 needed for it to be placed on the ballot on Wednesday to the LA County Registrar, likely leading to an election being triggered later this year.

The recall effort, the second since 2021, had been collecting signatures since late January. While previous estimates assumed that the number of signatures being turned in would be in the 650,000-700,000 range, Wednesday’s turn in far exceeded expectations.

“Today we submitted to the LA County Registrar 717,000 signatures to recall DA George Gascon — 150,000 more than required to force an election,” tweeted the recall group on Wednesday. “The Registrar has 30 days to “verify” that we’ve crossed the 566,857 signature threshold. Thank you LA!”

Signatures will next be counted by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office over the next 30 days, with an announcement over how many signatures have been verified sometime in early August. While there is no metric that can be used to predict how many will be invalidated, previous recall signature campaigns of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin and Governor Gavin Newsom last year each had around a 20% invalidation rate. When the 20% rate is applied to Gascon’s recall effort, there would be enough valid signatures  to place the recall on the ballot, signaling that a recall is likely.

“I wouldn’t say it’s in the bag or we’ll be complacent, but as far as public opinion is concerned, George Gascon is toast,” said Recall DA George Gascon Tim Lineberger spokesman on Wednesday.

Gascon, who had been largely dismissive of both recall campaigns against him, changed tactics and started going after the signature gathering process in the last several months. In particular, he charged that the campaigns against him of paying those collecting signatures $15 per signature. Gascon noted that he had been accosted by signature gatherers outside of a Costco earlier this year, who did not realize who they were asking.

“It’s a very mercenary approach,” Gascon noted. “Most people think that they’re all volunteers who care about their community and there’s a number of those, don’t get me wrong. But the bulk of signatures are being collected by ways that are extremely misleading.”

717,000 signatures in

Despite Gascon’s efforts failing on Wednesday from stopping the recall on signatures gathered, he remained optimistic on Thursday that the recall would ultimately fail, adding, “Much like we saw what happened with the governor’s race, they got the signatures to put him on the ballot and then they lost miserably and I fully suspect that that will be the same thing here.”

If enough signatures are verified by next month, an election will be triggered for sometime between November 2022 and January 2023, with the earliest, and most likely, election date being the general election on November 8th.

“Every County in the country likes to try and put all the elections on one date and avoid special elections when possible due to it costing them more to put them on separately,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz in a Globe interview on Thursday. “Plus, special elections tend to have lower turnouts, with those who are coming out to vote those days usually being more impassioned to vote based on their preference. Most politicians who have an easier time being elected due to their party being more prominent in the County want to be part of that larger election. Otherwise, those against them have a much greater percentage coming out to vote during special elections when many members of the public can’t be bothered to vote on one or two elections.”

With an election date in place, voters in LA County would then vote on two things: If Gascon should be recalled and who they want to replace him. For Gascon to be recalled, a simple majority, or over 50%, is needed.

If the recall is successful, Gascon would join other Northern Californian lawmakers, such as SF DA Boudin and three members of the SF School Board, who were ousted by voters earlier this year.

“Gascon supporters won’t admit it, but they are very worried,” added Schultz. “This is the state that got Newsom on the ballot for recall, and had two successful recalls against liberal lawmakers in San Francisco of all cities. Crime is at the front of peoples minds, and LA County is seeing that more and more too. Every major case his way is going to be heavily weighed against his current policy, because he does not need any more ‘Gascon let out a criminal early and they struck again’ headlines between now and the all but certain election. He can’t afford to.”

The number of validated signatures is expected to be announced early next month.

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Evan Symon
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