Effort to recall L.A. County D.A. George Gascón fails

 New San Francisco police Chief George Gascon looks on during his first news conference August 11, 2009 at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco, California.
New San Francisco police Chief George Gascon looks on during his first news conference August 11, 2009 at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco, California. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was rejected today, with the county clerk's office announcing that organizers submitted only 520,050 valid petition signatures, well short of the required 566,857.

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Organizers of the recall submitted a total of 715,833 petition signatures to the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office in an effort to force Gascón into a recall election. County officials initially conducted a random sampling of the signatures to verify their validity. Based on that initial sampling, the county undertook an effort to verify all 715,833 signatures individually.

The county announced Monday that 195,783 of the signatures were invalid. In many cases, the person signing the petition was not a registered voter, and there were also more than 45,000 duplicate signatures, according to the county.

According to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office, the signature-verification process "was conducted in compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the California Government Code, Elections Code and Code of Regulations.

Last week, organizers of the recall effort alleged the county was not adhering to current laws for signature verification, saying rules presume that a signature is valid unless there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the signature on the petition differs in "multiple, significant and obvious" respects from the one on file.
But organizers alleged that the county was not adhering to that standard.

"The outdated training materials and procedures provided by the Registrar, along with their denial of observation rights, raise grave concerns about the verification process," according to a statement by the campaign last week. "It appears the standards being applied to verify recall signatures are different than those mandated under current law and used in other recent elections. We remain confident that once a fair, transparent, and accurate verification process is implemented, it will ultimately determine enough signatures were submitted to qualify the recall."

According to the county's breakdown of invalid signatures, however, only about 9,940 were ruled to be different than the one on file, with the vast majority rejected for other reasons.

Gascón 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.

Gascón has repeatedly defended his policies, saying his stances were well-known during his campaign and his election signified public support of his agenda.

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