Recall Gascón Backers See Hearing Over Invalidated Signatures Moved Up

Citizens hoping to recall District Attorney George Gascón have been granted an expedited hearing over allegedly fraudulent petition signatures

The Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón was granted an expedited review this week of thousands of signatures gathered to expel the embattled DA that were declared invalid after the county Registrar-Recorder found potentially fraudulent petition signatures over the summer.

On Tuesday, supporters of the recall were told that a hearing regarding a preliminary injunction in the case has been moved up about seven weeks to Dec. 6; it was originally scheduled for Jan 26.

Since taking office in December 2020, Gascón has faced claims that he is soft on crime due to various directives, including decisions not to seek the death penalty and a reluctance to try juveniles as adults. In a suit filed on Oct. 18 by the Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón, proponents sought to exercise their right to review whether public officials properly rejected the petition when they said it fell short on signatures and would not move to a November vote.

In August, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan found that the petition to recall Gascón fell short of meeting the required 566,857 signatures because nearly 90,000 were not registered voters and roughly 45,000 were duplicates.

Committee attorneys filed papers with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant on Monday with the goal of convincing Chalfant to set a hearing within two weeks on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the Registrar-Recorder. Advocates for the recall claim that the Office of the Registrar-Recorder has not been as transparent as promised and posit that injunctive relief will give them more access and information with which to conduct their review.

“The court concludes that the case is not entitled to priority because it is not an election contest and petitioner is not an elector,” a minute order from Tuesday’s hearing stated. “Nonetheless, the case should not languish.”

While Chalfant did not grant a date within two weeks, the committee was able to get their hearing moved.

Attorneys for the recall proponents have stated that a meaningful review of the recall petition requires that the requested documents be produced immediately so its members could complete the signature review and bring any necessary challenges quickly.

“Any significant delay in granting the relief is effectively denial of the relief,” lawyers said in court papers, adding “Nothing corrodes a democracy more than the public’s distrust in the electoral process.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

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