A preliminary count of signatures submitted in a petition to recall Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón total 715,833, L.A. County elections officials reported Saturday.
L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said his office has completed the first step in the review of the petitions submitted Wednesday and is now working on verifying signatures. The process must be completed no later than Aug. 17.
At least 566,857 valid signatures are required before voters can decide whether to recall Gascón from office. Fueled in part by rising crime and homelessness, Gascón and his progressive policies have been the subject of intense criticism since he was elected in 2020.
Although the recall campaign said it turned in more than 715,000 signatures, some of those will be disqualified during the verification process conducted by the county registrar.
Election officials plan to use the random sampling technique for the verification of petition signatures, which is allowed under the California Elections Code. The random sample is 5% of the total number of signatures submitted.
If the petition meets the sufficiency requirement, it must be certified by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors at its next regular meeting.
The earliest a recall election could take place is Nov. 8, in a general election that includes runoff races for Los Angeles city mayor and county sheriff, as well as congressional midterms. If it’s put to a vote, more than 50% of voters would have to vote to oust Gascón.
An attempt to recall Gascón failed last year when the recall campaign was unable to garner enough signatures on a petition to put the issue to voters.
Growing frustrations with Gascón have centered on his all-or-nothing policy stances. On his first day in office, Gascón barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, trying juveniles as adults or filing sentencing enhancements, which increase the amount of prison time a defendant will face in certain situations, including if they use a gun in the commission of a crime.
Gascón has said he believes trying juveniles as adults or handing out decades-long prison sentences will only create more long-term problems instead of deterring crime, for example, making it harder for those defendants to reenter society.
Gascón backpedaled on some of his absolutist policies earlier this year. Prosecutors can now seek approval from committees to try juveniles as adults or to seek a life sentence in a murder case. But he said those shifts were not a result of the recall effort or external criticism.
“The concept that these changes were made solely because of the outside pressures, I know it may appear to be that way, but I can tell you it’s much more nuanced than that,” said Gascón, insisting the committees had been in the works for months. “Frankly, regardless of where the recall goes, there will be additional adjustments.”
Times staff writer James Queally contributed to this story.
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