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Criminal Justice

Tentative Ruling Grants Gascón Recall Supporters Greater Access to Voter Records

A man with gray hair and wire rim glasses is photographed in profile.
DA George Gascon.
(Justin Sullivan
Getty Images)
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A tentative court ruling issued Monday grants supporters of the recall of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón greater access to some voter records as part of their review of signatures on their recall petition.

Supporters hope to find enough that were improperly invalidated to reverse the decision by Dean Logan, L.A. County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, to rule their effort failed to qualify for the ballot.

The Backstory

Logan determined the Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón fell nearly 47,000 signatures short of the 566,857 needed to qualify. The campaign had submitted more than 715,000 signatures.

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Supporters filed a lawsuit against Logan, claiming he has restricted the time they have been allowed to review signatures, as well as how many people can review signatures at one time.

The suit also claimed the registrar has not allowed recall backers to view the prior signatures on file of voters whose signatures were invalidated because of a mismatch.

About Monday's Ruling

Judge James Chalfant said he issued the Monday ruling because at the current pace, the recall committee wouldn’t be able to finish its review for another 18 months.

“The Committee has the right to timely determine if the Recall Petition merits a recall election. Without a preliminary injunction, the Committee’s review is expected to take until May 2024,” Chalfant wrote.

While declining to set specific access requirements, the judge said he wants the two sides to work together to ensure the recall supporters can complete their review by March 31.

He did rule that the registrar must provide access to signatures on file of voters whose signatures were invalidated because of a mismatch.

What's Being Reviewed

Recall proponents are reviewing more than 150,000 signatures that were rejected for various reasons, including some that were signed by people who are not registered voters and others that included addresses that did not match the ones on file with the registrar.

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“I view this as a huge win for transparency, oversight, and L.A. voters” if the temporary ruling stands, said recall spokesperson Tim Lineberger. “It also demonstrates the registrar has been slow-walking this entire process, not for legitimate purposes, but likely to run out the clock and avoid scrutiny of what we already know for sure was a botched count.”

Logan’s office was not immediately available for comment.

Chalfant will hold a hearing on his temporary ruling Tuesday, at which time each side can raise objections.

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