DA George Gascón’s recall effort fails to garner enough signatures to vote, county says

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón failed to collect enough valid signatures to put on the ballot, county officials said Monday.

The county clerk’s office said while organizers submitted more than 715,000 signatures to have the measure put 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 deemed invalid for reasons such as the person signing does not live in the county or is not a registered voter. Nearly 44,000 signatures turned out to be duplicates.

Last week, organizers of the recall effort alleged the county was not following existing laws on signature verification, saying the rules presume a signature is valid unless there is has evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the signature on the petition differs in “many, significant, and obvious respects from that on file. But organizers have alleged the county failed to meet this standard.

The county says it conducted its review in compliance with all California laws and requirements.

On Monday, the recall committee called the clerk’s findings “surprising and disappointing”, but said it would review the rejected signatures and the verification process.

The committee noted that more than half a million county residents supported the petition, in addition to leaders from 37 towns voting with no confidence in Gascón.

“Depriving them of the opportunity to restore public safety in their own communities is heartbreaking,” the recall committee said. “And to interpret that as anything other than rejecting Gascon’s dangerous policies outright would be dishonest, or at best naive.”

A spokesperson for Gascón’s campaign issued a statement: “Obviously we are happy to get out of this attempted political power grab, but we also understand that there is still a lot of work to be done. And we remain firmly committed to this work. DA’s primary goal is and always has been to protect us and create a fairer justice system for all. Today’s announcement doesn’t change that.”

That’s not the only obstacle that has challenged the recall effort.

Last month, a company that collected petition signatures for the action alleged in federal court that recall organizers owe the company at least $469,596 for unpaid labor.

RELATED: Signature Collection Company Sues Gascón Recall Board

Gascón has come under fire since taking office in December 2020, when he issued a series of guidelines that critics have slammed as soft on crime. The guidelines include a rule against seeking the death penalty, a ban on transferring juvenile defendants to adult court, and bans on filing sentence enhancements in most cases.

Gascón repeatedly defended his politics, saying his positions were well known during his campaign and that his election signified public support for his program.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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