Los Angeles County election officials will have to verify the validity of all 715,833 signatures submitted in the effort to recall District Attorney George GascÃ³n, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan announced Thursday.
According to Logan’s office, election workers conducted a random sampling of 35,793 signatures, or 5% of the overall total, and found that 27,983 of them were valid. That number fell below the threshold of 31,179 valid signatures required to certify the petition outright. But it was above the 25,510-signature threshold to prompt a verification of all signatures.
If the number of valid signatures in the random sample had been less than 25,510, the recall would have been immediately rejected.
At least 566,857 valid signatures are required to force a recall election. The full check of all signatures will be completed by Aug. 17, according to Logan’s office.
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.
GascÃ³n 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.
GascÃ³n has repeatedly defended his policies, saying his stances were well-known during his campaign and his election signified public support of his agenda.
When they submitted the petition signatures to the county, 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 on GascÃ³n.
“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 GascÃ³n from office,” according to the campaign.
“From day one, this recall has been led by the very victims who GascÃ³n has abandoned, ignored and dismissed. When the recall qualifies, he will not be able to ignore them any longer.”
GascÃ³n defended his record in various interviews, telling ABC7 the day the petitions were submitted that 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 that 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.”