FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 25th, 2022
Judge Grants Recall Committee’s Request for Expedited Hearing, Order to Show Cause Hearing Set for Dec. 6th
(Los Angeles, CA) – Today, Judge James C. Chalfant of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County granted the Recall DA George Gascon Committee’s ex parte application for an expedited hearing, which requires the applicant to demonstrate irreparable harm will take place if the order is not granted.
As a result, the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters will be required to show cause as to why a preliminary injunction for additional voter records and expanded access to conduct the review of invalidated signatures should not be granted. The order to show cause hearing is scheduled for December 6th, 2022.
The Recall Committee recently filed for injunctive relief against the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters to remove arbitrary and capricious restrictions that have been placed on its review of invalidated signatures. The ability to conduct a meaningful and timely review is critically important given the substantial problems identified with the Registrar’s count thus far.
During today’s hearing, the Court stated it was inclined to grant a substantial number of the Recall Committee’s requests outlined in its application, including the disclosure of electronic versions of voter records, and that training materials relating to the Registrar’s voter database may also need to be disclosed. The Court also stated the time, place, and manner restrictions placed by the Registrar on the review are unduly restrictive, and expanded access appeared to be warranted. The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer to attempt to reduce the issues to be litigated at the next hearing.
“This initial decision is a win for transparency and a win for Los Angeles voters. The Registrar’s counting process was seriously flawed, and the restrictions on the review prevent the Recall Committee from being able to demonstrate just how pervasive those errors were. We are grateful to Judge Chalfant for understanding the urgency of this matter, especially as the citizens of Los Angeles continue to have their safety put at risk by George Gascon’s reckless policies.” – The Recall DA George Gascon Committee
Last week, the Recall Committee announced preliminary findings from the initial review of invalidated signatures and other potential issues that may have affected the results, such as bloated voter rolls:
“The initial review of invalidated signatures demonstrates the Registrar’s counting process was seriously flawed, resulting in substantial errors, the wrongful invalidation of many valid signatures, and the disenfranchisement of thousands of Los Angeles County Voters. These extremely disturbing findings necessitate a complete and timely review of all invalidated signatures. This review is currently being obstructed by the Registrar’s office. The Recall DA George Gascon Committee has filed for injunctive relief and is also exploring other significant issues, such as the inaccurate and inflated number of signatures required to qualify the recall due to bloated voter rolls.” – The Recall DA George Gascon Committee
Substantial number of improperly invalidated signatures found in initial review:
Since September 6, 2022, volunteer attorneys for the Recall DA George Gascon Committee have been conducting a review of invalidated signatures.
Clear, obvious, and legitimate challenges have been identified for 39% of the invalidated signatures reviewed to date.
Examples of improper invalidation and disenfranchisement include:
- Signatures incorrectly invalidated as “printed” even when the voter’s signature on file was itself printed.
- Signatures incorrectly invalidated as “non-matching” despite showing substantial similarities to the signatures on file. In addition, many of the decisions to invalidate for this reason appear not to have been signed off on by multiple reviewers, as required by law.
- Signatures incorrectly invalidated as “not registered” when in fact, the person was a registered voter who could easily be identified in the voter database.
- Signatures incorrectly invalidated as “duplicates” without the Registrar counting at least one of the alleged duplicates as required by law. Some of these invalidations are particularly troubling because it required a deliberate act by an examiner to go back into the system and modify a previously validated signature, changing it from “Valid” to “Max # of Times Signed”. The committee has also observed many incomplete entries that were crossed out by the petition signer due to error, and then filled in correctly in the next entry below, only to have examiners wrongfully reject both as duplicates.
- Signatures incorrectly invalidated as “different address” because the voters entered their “residence address” as directed by the Petition, and according to the form and wording required by the Registrar, instead of their “addressas registered.” There is also substantial concern that the Registrar may have failed to properly notify voters of involuntary changes to their registered address, potentially leading to signatures being improperly invalidated.
Recall Committee to file for injunctive relief against Registrar of Voters imminently:
- The Registrar has placed arbitrary and capricious limitations on the review process that substantially limit review hours, workstations, number of reviewers, access to information necessary to determine the legitimacy of a signature invalidation, and more.
- Under the current restrictions imposed by the Registrar, it will take more than a year to review the invalidated signatures.
- The Recall DA George Gascon Committee is preparing to file for injunctive relief (as early as next week) to seek the expanded access and additional information necessary to conduct a meaningful review.
- Given the troubling findings from the initial review of invalidated signatures, it is imperative that a complete and timely review of all invalidated signatures be permitted to take place.
- For additional information on the current limitations put in place by the Registrar, and the expanded access requested by attorneys representing the Recall DA George Gascon Committee, please refer to this letter sent to Dean Logan on September 21, 2022.
Inaccurate and inflated number of required signatures for qualification of the recall due to bloated voter rolls:
- According to estimates from independent and non-partisan data analysts, Los Angeles County active voter rolls were artificially inflated by at least 208,000, and as much as 515,000, when the number of signatures required for qualification of the recall was originally set. Those estimates do not account for those who died out of state but are still registered in LA County.
- This problem has been persistent. In 2019, LA County was sued and agreed to remove 1.5 million inactive voters from its voter rolls because LA County had failed to maintain and clean up its voter rolls for years, and had more voters on its voter rolls than actual citizens. Federal law requires such removal. The Registrar also agreed to ensure the accuracy of its active voter rolls moving forward.
- Unlike the qualification thresholds for other recalls (which are typically based on a percentage of voter turnout from previous elections) LA County requires signatures from 10% of ALL Los Angeles County registered voters on its active voter rolls. Thus, the failure to maintain accurate voter rolls creates an inherently inaccurate and inflated signature requirement to qualify.
- The original requirement of 566,857 signatures to qualify (based on bloated voter rolls showing 5,668,569 active voters at the time) should have been set anywhere from 515,357 to 546,357.
- This issue alone could substantially affect the outcome of the recall given that the Registrar has already identified what it deems to be 520,050 valid signatures. This does not even account for the signatures that were clearly wrongfully invalidated. ###