The Signal: Committee to Recall Gascon Claims Step Toward Victory

The committee seeking to recall District Attorney George Gascón claimed a partial win its members hope can provide adequate time and access to audit Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office records, after a ruling issued Tuesday.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant partially granted a preliminary injunction sought by the Committee to Support the Recall of DA George Gascón, which was seeking better access to county records in order to review signatures that had been rejected in its thus-far unsuccessful attempt at a recall election.

In August, County Clerk Dean Logan’s office declared a second attempt to recall Gascón had fallen short of the 566,857-signature threshold declared necessary for the recall, after conducting a review of the 715,833 names submitted, according to court records.

County officials ruled more than 195,783 of those signatures were invalid, prompting the lawsuit by Gascón’s opponents to try to determine if any were thrown out erroneously, which the group alleges has happened.

Chalfant’s ruling Tuesday sped up the required timeline for both sides to come to a conclusion on the signature audit, with a date of March 31. He also ordered Logan’s office to allow the committee to review prior signatures on file for voters whose signatures were denied due to a mismatch, which was nearly 9,500 names.

Chalfant also ruled that the clerk’s office will have to turn over addresses that were changed during the circulation period, as well as the notices of address changes that are on file. The county noted that there were about 32,187 signatures in total where the addresses the clerk’s office had on file didn’t match the petition.

The court did not rule on the increase of access sought by the recall committee, which has been a major point of contention for the group, but ordered both sides to meet regularly in order to keep pace with the March deadline in Chalfant’s ruling. Chalfant did rule that electronic devices would be allowed by committee members in order to assist in their efforts.

About 27% of signatures were tossed, and a spokesman for the recall committee, Tim Lineberger, contends that not only is that figure high for a margin of invalid signatures, but a also that a review thus far by the recall group is claiming an even higher margin of error for signatures that have been tossed improperly.

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