recall election

What to Know About the Recall Effort Against LA County District Attorney George Gascón

With Los Angeles County seeing a recall effort against LA District Attorney George Gascón, we break down the process of a recall in Los Angeles County.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A group seeking to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón dropped off signatures this week required to advance a recall effort against the man voters elected to office over two-term incumbent Jackie Lacey in 2020.

The effort to recall the top prosecutor in California's most populous county is not the first effort to recall an elected politician that California. Gov. Gavin Newsom faced a recall election in which he prevailed just months ago.

Here's look at the process and what happens next.

Why is the district attorney facing a recall?

Gascon is facing backlash from voters because of some of the new policies that he put into place when he came into office.

One of those policies includes not allowing sentencing enhancements on crimes, however, he changed policy to allow enhancements for extraordinary circumstances.

The recent death of the two El Monte officers created more criticism as family members blamed Gascon for the deaths of the officers, citing that he is too soft on crime.

What is a recall?

A recall is a procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the official’s term of office ends, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

There are 19 states, including California, that allow for recall elections.

Who can initiate a recall?

Any registered voter can initiate a recall within the jurisdiction as long as they were able to vote when the official was first elected.

What are the grounds for a recall?

The grounds for a recall will vary by state, but in most states, any voter can begin the process for a recall for any reason. Specific grounds are only required in eight states including Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

In California, an elected official must hold office for at least 90 days before being able to face a recall, according to the California Secretary of State website.

There may not be a recall if:

  • The elected official has not held office during the current term for more than 90 days.
  • A recall election has been determined in the officer's favor within the last six months.
  • The officers term ends within six months or less.

How does the recall process work?

  1. File an application for a petition or prepare a notice on intention,
  2. Circulate a recall petition and then gather the required amount of signatures,
  3. Submit the petitions to elected officials for a verification process of signatures,
  4. If enough signatures are valid, a recall election will be held,

If signatures are validated by the county clerk's office, the earliest the election would take place is as part of the Nov. 8 general election, which also features runoff races for sheriff, mayor and other contests.

The county clerk has 30 days from the filing of the petition to ensure that there are enough valid signatures to qualify the petition or determine it insufficient.

Who can sign a recall petition?

In LA County, only registered voters are able to sign a petition for a recall. They also must have been a registered voter when the official was first elected.

It is also possible to withdraw a signature from the recall petition by filing a written request with the county elections officials.

How does a recall election work?

Once the signatures are certified, the city clerk will issue a certificate to the city council, and they will then call for the holding of a special election. An election may be held no more than 80 days after the certification of sufficient signatures.

There will likely be two questions on the ballot:

  1. Should the elected official be recalled? Yes or No
  2. Choose from the list of candidates to replaces the official in the event that they will be recalled.

If you choose not to recall the elected official, then you do not need to fill out the second question.

If the majority vote is yes, then the official will be removed from office and the candidate that received the greatest number of votes will be elected for the remainder of the term.

If the elected official is not recalled, a new recall effort may not be commenced against the officer within six months of the recall election.

For more information on each state requirements visit here.

Contact Us