By David M. Greenwald
Los Angeles, CA – It was a simple announcement by the Los Angeles County Clerk-Recorder, Dean Logan, who announced on Thursday that the random sampling of signatures for the George Gascón recall petition was only verified at a 78% rate. That means the elections office will have to proceed with a full verification of all signatures submitted.
In a release, the clerk-recorder stated, “The random sample was completed with 5% of the total number of signatures submitted (35,793 signatures). Based on the outcome of the random sampling technique, 27,983 petition signatures were found to be valid. This result falls within the threshold that requires the RR/CC to verify all petition signatures submitted.”
Had the number exceeded 31,179, the petition would have been certified as sufficient. If the number was lower than 25,510, the petition would have been insufficient.
“Because the number of verified valid signatures fell between these thresholds, a full check of all signatures submitted must be completed no later than August 17.”
James Queally, the reporter for the LA Times tweeted, “Back of envelope math— If that rate were to hold for the whole batch (715,000) they would actually fall slightly short of the needed signature tally (566,000). 78% verification of the whole tally = 557,000.”
That led the Prosecutor’s Alliance to tweet, “Great news! The LA recall attempt against @GeorgeGascon failed to qualify and will now have to get every signatures verified. As in past recalls, we can expect valid signatures to drop even lower so looks like it will fail.”
Queally would respond, “Uh… people seem to be sharing this like it’s a death knell for the recall. It’s not. We don’t know the verification rate for the rest of the petitions. I’m just saying if this rate doesn’t improve they will fail.”
It was just a week ago, that the recall campaign turned in over 700,000 signatures, which at the time they believed would be more than enough—even if up to 20 percent of those signatures were invalidated. However, the sampling put the invalidation rate at 22 percent.
“On Wednesday, we will be submitting the required signatures to initiate a recall,” according to a statement from the Recall DA George Gascón campaign.
“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 Gascón from office. From day one, this recall has been led by the very victims who Gascón has abandoned, ignored and dismissed. When the recall qualifies, he will not be able to ignore them any longer.”
At the same time, supporters of Gascón have pushed back.
“After trafficking in fear and misinformation since the day George Gascón took office, a recall effort bankrolled by fringe conservatives has submitted signatures in an attempt to force an off-cycle election,” said Founder and Executive Director of the Prosecutors Alliance, Cristine Soto DeBerry in a statement last week. “It’s a power grab fueled by the same political operatives and mega-donors that put Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell in office.”
The group added, “Criminal justice reform has broad support from people across the political spectrum as voters know the status quo has failed them on every level. This is a system defined by soaring rates of recidivism, shocking levels of racial disparities, and wasteful spending of taxpayer money. It is a system that created a revolving door from the streets to our jails and prisons while ignoring the underlying problems that drive crime in the first place.”
“After 30 years in the LAPD and three terms as an elected prosecutor, George Gascón was elected to reform this system and prioritize safety, accountability, healing and justice,” DeBerry said. “He has reduced violent crime in every leadership position he has held, and his proven leadership is an asset to LA County. He kept his promises to voters when he refused to walk a path long defined by failure. The voters will stand by the values and vision he is fighting for.”
She added, “Reform isn’t a threat to community safety, it’s a threat to a system that has failed to make us safer.”
An LA Times article from two weeks ago noted, “There is often a disparity between fact and feeling when it comes to Gascón’s critics, however.”
The Times cited its own analysis from earlier this year , which it said “raised significant questions about the recall campaign’s attempts to blame Gascón’s policies for increases in crime.”
For example, “While homicides have surged during Gascón’s tenure, violence also has climbed significantly in jurisdictions overseen by prosecutors who oppose Gascón, such as in San Diego and Sacramento. Experts said it is unlikely Gascón’s policies immediately affected crime rates.”