State Watch

Effort to recall Los Angeles County DA fails to qualify for ballot

Associated Press/Damian Dovarganes
In this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, photo, former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a Los Angeles County Democratic Party news conference outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Advocates for criminal justice reform who have elected a wave of progressive prosecutors nationwide captured the crown jewel as former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon defeated Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was rejected on Monday after organizers failed to submit enough valid petition signatures to get the matter on the ballot. 

The Los Angeles county clerk’s office said that of the nearly 716,000 signatures collected by organizers, just over 520,000 were found to be valid. To qualify the recall for the ballot, organizers needed to submit 566,857 valid signatures, the county clerk’s office said.

Nearly 200,000 signatures were deemed invalid for various reasons. In some cases, the signatures were found to come from people who were not registered to vote, or whose signatures didn’t match those on their voter files. Several thousand signatures came from people with addresses outside of L.A. County. 

This is the second failed attempt to recall Gascón, a reform-minded prosecutor who has faced criticism from some residents, law enforcement officials and business leaders amid rising crime in Los Angeles.

An initial recall attempt fizzled out last year, though that effort lacked the funding and organization of the latest attempt. 

The reforms sought by Gascón have included new limits on when juveniles can be tried as adults and a ban on seeking the death penalty. 

The recall’s organizers have sought to portray Gascón as carrying out a “pro-criminal agenda” that has emboldened offenders and caused crime in Los Angeles to surge, even though other cities in California with more traditional top prosecutors have seen similar spikes in crime.

Had the recall petition succeeded, the earliest it could have appeared on the ballot would have been Nov. 8. 

Gascón isn’t the only California district attorney to face a recall effort. San Francisco residents voted earlier this year to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin amid mounting frustrations over crime in the city. 

Boudin, who earned a reputation as one of the most progressive top prosecutors in the country, announced earlier this month that he would not run again for his old job after initially considering another campaign.

Tags California Chesa Boudin Los Angeles

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