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Monday, July 10, 2023


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Suit Filed to Force Election to Recall D.A. George Gascón

Pleading Alleges That Registrar-Recorder’s Office Used Inflated Figure of Number of Registered Voters in County, Increasing Number of Signatures Needed on Petitions, and Unlawfully Failed to Count Many Valid Signatures


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A sufficient number of signatures to force an election to decide if Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is to be recalled were, in fact, gathered, yet the county’s registrar recorder, Dean Logan, “acted unlawfully” in proclaiming that the effort had failed, a pleading filed in the Superior Court on Friday asserts.

Actually, the Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón represents, it submitted at least 5,896 more valid signatures than were needed.

The verified petition for a writ of mandate and complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief sets forth (with paragraph numbers omitted):

“This lawsuit seeks to rectify one of the most monumental election errors in modern Los Angeles County history: the County Registrar’s unlawful rejection of tens of thousands of voter signatures in support of the petition to recall District Attorney George Gascon (‘Recall Petition’), and his failure to certify to the Board of Supervisors that the Recall Petition had in fact gathered sufficient signatures to trigger a recall election.

“In August 2022. Defendants/Respondents Dean C. Logan and the Office of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (collectively ‘Registrar’) announced that the Recall Petition had fallen 46,807 signatures short of the 566,857 signatures purportedly needed to qualify the petition for a recall election. This was wrong….”

10 Percent Requirement

To qualify a recall for the ballot, valid signatures of 10 percent of the voters in a jurisdiction are required. Logan advised the recall committee on Jan. 27, 2022, that 566,857 signatures would be needed.

The pleading avers that Logan “knew that this number was wrong.” It contends that “Los Angeles County voter rolls are notoriously inflated” and declares:

“The Registrar has since admitted to the Committee, and others, in writing that Los Angeles County had only 5,438,400 active registered voters at the time—230,169 fewer than what he originally claimed.”

It continues:

“Furthermore, the Committee has determined that even this calculation included approximately 35,015 voters who should not have been identified as active voters in Los Angeles County—such as voters who had moved out of the county, voters who had moved out of state, duplicate registration files, and more. The number of active registered voters in Los Angeles County as of January 4, 2022, should have been calculated to be no more than 5,403,385. Accordingly, the Recall Petition required no more than 540,338 signatures to qualify for a recall election.”

Wrongfully Rejected Signatures

After reviewing about 94,000 of the 195,713 rejected signatures, the pleading says, the committee has determined that 20,587 of the signatures that were rejected plainly should not have been. These included signatures that were disregarded because the person supposedly was not registered to vote but actually was registered and signatures that were ignored because the voter supposedly listed a different address on the petition from the registered address when this was not so, it is alleged.

The petition/complaint adds that “at least 5,597 further signatures” were not counted “based on a failure to comply with signature review standards.”

It draws the conclusion that “the Committee submitted 546,234 valid signatures in support of the Recall Petition” which “exceeds the number of signatures that were actually required to qualify the Recall Petition (540,338).”

Disenfranchisement of Voters

The pleading comments:

“The gravity of the Registrar’s errors cannot be emphasized enough. The Registrar disenfranchised over 26.000 Los Angeles County citizens by wrongly refusing to count their signatures in support of the Recall Petition. Moreover, by intentionally overstating the number of signatures required to qualify the Recall Petition, and by erroneously rejecting these tens of thousands of Recall Petition signatures, the Registrar deprived all Los Angeles County citizens of their fundamental, constitutional right to vote on whether to recall the County’s top law enforcement official—the official charged with protecting their safety and the safety of their families and loved ones.”

It continues:

“And with Gascon’s unprecedently-lenient prosecutorial policies sparking a sharp rise in violent crime, no one in Los Angeles County—and certainly not the hundreds of thousands of citizens who signed the Recall Petition—should be forced to wait for Gascon’s term to end in December 2024 to vote to remove him from office. This Court should compel the Registrar to certify the Recall Petition as sufficient so that the Board of Supervisors may order a recall election in time for the next regularly-scheduled election in March 2024.”

715,833 Signatures Submitted

The committee on July 6, 2022, submitted 715,833 signatures on recall petitions, the culmination of an effort that cost more than $8 million. After a review of the petitions, Logan announced last Aug. 15 that 195,783 signatures were invalid, and the 520,050 valid signatures fell short of the number needed by 46,807.

Under Logan’s apparent concession that voter rolls included 35,015 persons who should not have been listed, the signatures were short by 11,792; if the court finds the committee’s allegations meritorious, more than enough signatures were collected.

The committee seeks injunctive relief, requiring Logan’s office to certify to the Board of Supervisors that a sufficient number of signatures were gathered, triggering a duty to hold a recall election, and for a declaration that Logan and his office acted unlawfully. Attorney fees and costs are requested.

The case is Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón v. Logan. The petition was verified on behalf of the committee by victim rights attorney Kathleen M. Cady, a former deputy district attorney.

Committee’s Statement

 The committee, in undertaking the task of reviewing signatures, complained of a lack of access to the petitions and a refusal by Logan and his staff to provide adequate work space. It said in a statement on Friday:

“For nearly a year, the Registrar of Voters tried its best to stymie the review, including blocking reasonable access to the recall petition, blocking access to the voter data needed to evaluate signature rejections, and more. The Committee was forced to seek and obtain a court injunction to get even a modicum of reasonable access to perform their examination of the Recall Petition. What the Committee found when it obtained that access was astounding.”

It went on to comment: “Based on the overwhelming evidence gathered by the Committee, an election to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon should be held immediately. The recall effort, the historical number of signatures gathered, and the unprecedented review of the Registrar’s conduct would never have occurred were it not for the victims who stuck their necks out from the beginning to spearhead the recall, the volunteers who engaged in a grueling process despite facing every roadblock imaginable, and the residents and donors who have fought back for public safety in their communities. The Recall Committee and the citizens of Los Angeles owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude, and we will never give up or stop fighting on their behalf.”


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