Logan: Gascón Recall Backers Turned In Bogus Signatures
County Registrar-Recorder, Accused of Actively Impeding Effort to Put Before Voters Question of Ousting
District Attorney, Calls on Bonta to Investigate Alleged Use of Names of Dead Persons on Petitions
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean C. Logan—who is under fire for allegedly obstructing an effort to put on the ballot an election to recall District Attorney George Gascón—has gone on the offensive, calling on state Attorney General Ron Bonta to probe possible criminal conduct on the part of recall proponents, claiming that 367 signatures appeared on petitions of persons who were dead at the time they purportedly signed.
The petitions were submitted on July 6, 2022. Logan’s office on Aug. 15 announced that that the number of valid signatures fell 46,807 short of the 566,857 that were required, based on 10 percent of the number of registered voters in the county.
However, the Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón contends that the number of registered voters was bloated by virtue of Logan’s office having failed, through the years, to remove voters who had died or were no longer qualified to vote and that, even if all the signatures disallowed by the office were, in fact, invalid, there was a sufficient number of signatures.
It does not acknowledge, however, that all of the rejected signatures were, in fact, invalid. It asserts that many signatures that were discarded were done so in contravention of current standards and that more exacting scrutiny, required by an outmoded manual, was applied.
When Logan’s office refused to cooperate with members of the committee reviewing the disqualified signatures, pursuant to Government Code §6253.5, the committee turned to the court, and Los Angeles Judge James Chalfant ordered that access and work space be provided.
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, a proponent of the recall, told the METNEWS yesterday:
“What has become clear to me is that the Registrar-Recorder’s office led by Dean Logan did everything to thwart the effort to recall Gascón. He has consistently slow walked and stonewalled the review process.”
The committee is on the verge of filing an action to force placing a recall election on the ballot. Cooley commented earlier:
“I predict that Gascón will likely be recalled in 2023. He would have been recalled in 2022 but for the Registrar Recorder’s mishandling of the recall petition signature review.”
But Logan—who faces the possibility of the termination of his employment by the Board of Supervisors if it turns out that he did rig the counting of signatures—on Tuesday issued a press release saying that he wants Bonta to investigate possible wrongdoing in the collection of signatures on the recall petitions and on petitions in support of Statewide Initiative 1935. That proposed constitutional amendment, according to the official analysis, “limits ability of voters and state and local governments to raise revenues for government services.”
Logan said in the press release:
“Based on our review of two recent petitions—one a countywide recall petition and the other a statewide initiative petition, my office has identified irregularities that suggest the possibility of fraudulent signature submission that I believe may warrant investigation.”
“The integrity of these processes is fundamental to our representative form of government and influences the confidence and participation of our electorate,” said Logan. “Attempts to compromise the integrity of this process ought to be scrutinized.”
The press release relates:
“The RR/CC referred this matter to the California Attorney General given the Los Angeles County District Attorney is the subject of and an interested party to the recall petition and the initiative petition is an issue with statewide impact. The RR/CC has provided the same information to the Investigative Services Unit in the Office of the California Secretary of State.”
The committee commented yesterday:
“This referral involves allegations of fraud perpetrated by paid circulators. Ironically, the committee had already identified and collected data on the signature irregularities highlighted in Logan’s press release through its own review, and openly shared this information with Registrar staff.
“To be clear, if paid circulator fraud did occur to any extent, the Recall Committee, survivors of crime, and residents of Los Angeles are the victims, and the paid circulators should be held fully accountable. But, for every one signature irregularity the registrar has identified, which were never counted as valid in the first place, the Committee has identified hundreds, if not thousands of others, that clearly should have been counted but for the registrar’s own gross misconduct and mismanagement.”
The committee asserted:
“This is nothing more than a last-ditch effort by Dean Logan to cover up the improper disqualification of thousands of valid signatures, which we ultimately intend to expose and challenge in court once the review is complete.
“Despite continued stonewalling by Logan, recall volunteers have spent nearly every day of the last seven months poring over disqualified petition signatures. Through those efforts, we have identified what amounts to, at best, gross misconduct and mismanagement in the registrar’s examination process. At worst, we have uncovered evidence of intentional misconduct meant to prevent the recall petition from being certified.
“If anything warrants investigation by authorities, it is the registrar’s own egregious misconduct and disenfranchisement of Los Angeles County voters who are suffering under George Gascon.”
Logan has been outwardly hostile to the recall efforts. When a former deputy district attorney, Marian M.J. Thompson, sent an Aug. 8 to members of the Board of Supervisors complaining that the manual used by those reviewing signatures does not reflect a new statute creating the presumption of authenticity of signatures, Logan scoffed in a tweet: “when confronted with fear of an unknown outcome, invent a fictitious narrative to misinform and cast doubt.”
Copyright 2023, Metropolitan News Company