Tuesday, June 25, 2024

New Lawsuit Attempts to Revive George Gascón Recall Over ‘Incorrectly Rejected’ Signatures

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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón will stand for re-election next year in what is already shaping up to be a crowded field of opponents all critical of his sweeping reforms to the criminal justice system.

But if certain political enemies of Gascón’s have it their way, the embattled D.A. would have to survive a recall election before seeking re-election in November 2024.

In a news-making lawsuit filed on July 7, the Recall DA George Gascón Committee asked an L.A. court to certify the recall petition that the Registrar of Voters—the standard authority over recall verification—rejected a year ago.

The lawsuit, based on a 10-month review of 195,758 rejected signatures, claims that irregularities in the recall verification process unlawfully and incorrectly tipped the vote in favor of Gascón.

The recall effort needed 566,857 valid signatures—which is 10 percent of active registered voters in L.A. County—to qualify for the ballot. It submitted only 520,050, according to the Registrar of Voters.

But recall proponents, who have reviewed 94,000 of the rejected signatures, argue that a combination of irregularities combined to cheat them out of victory a year ago—and that the evidence will show they submitted more than enough signatures to trigger a recall election.

The signature threshold was inflated due to bloated voter rolls—requiring 26,000 votes above the threshold, the lawsuit says. L.A. Registrar of Voters Dean C. Logan has since admitted to the committee and others (in writing), according to the lawsuit, that Los Angeles County had only 5,438,400 active registered voters at the time – 230,169 fewer than what was originally claimed.

Of the 94,000 signatures reviewed, the Committee says it has identified no fewer than 20,587 that “clearly should have been deemed valid but were incorrectly rejected by the Registrar.”

It also said that the Registrar’s office failed to comply with signature review standards and applied unconstitutional review standards when they rejected an additional 5,597 signatures.

The lawsuit marks the latest escalation in a year-long battle between the County and the Recall Gascón group. In December, a judge ordered the Registrar of Voters to make voter data needed to evaluate signature rejections available to the committee for review. Logan appealed the decision, then fought an attempt to expedite the appeal.

In response to the lawsuit, a spokesman for the Registrar of Voters downplayed any merit to its claims.

“As with the other claims made by the recall proponents, we will respond in accordance with the legal framework without regard to the political narrative,” said Michael Sanchez, a senior public information specialist for the Registrar of Voters.

The office of L.A. County D.A. Gascón did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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