Election monitors won’t be allowed to view vote-counting in the recall of controversial Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, officials said Thursday.
“[A] reference to monitors/observers in the presidential election is not an accurate comparison as an election does allow for public observation, and Los Angeles County does have an Election Observer Program where members of the public get to watch election-related activities,” Los Angeles Registrar spokesman Michael Sanchez told the Washington Examiner. “However, a recall attempt and its verification/certification activities are not the same.”
Sanchez said that observers can participate in normal elections, but recalls have different requirements. He cited California Government Code 6253.5, which says that petitions for ballot measures aren’t public records and aren’t able to be inspected.
But Tim Lineberger, a spokesman for the recall campaign, told the paper that voters have the right to monitor the recall.
“Clearly the examination of a recall petition is part of the recall process,” Lineberger said. “Other county elections officials allow for observations. This would be a very narrow interpretation on their part.”
He cited California state Election Code 2300, which stipulates that Californians “have the right to ask questions about election procedures and observe the election process” and also have the “right to ask questions of the precinct board and elections officials regarding election procedures and to receive an answer or be directed to the appropriate official for an answer.”
Earlier this month, the recall effort hit a key milestone and delivered 715,833 signatures of Angelenos to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office, exceeding the some 566,000 signatures needed to put Gascon on the ballot for a recall election.
Now the county clerk’s office said it will carry out a count of all signatures by Aug. 17.
“We remain confident the requisite 566,857 verified signatures to qualify the recall were submitted, and that once the recall qualifies, Gascon will be removed from office in a landslide,” Lineberger told The Epoch Times in mid-July. “As we assumed, this was always going to be close, but we are right in line with where we need to be to qualify. Ultimately, we will exhaust every legal and statutory option available to demonstrate as much if necessary.”
The recall was triggered amid a wave of criticism against Gascon, who was elected in late 2020 and promised to bring progressive change to the district attorney’s office. However, top law enforcement officials and other critics say that he’s pursued a left-wing agenda while allowing repeat offenders as well as violent criminals back on the streets.
The Epoch Times has contacted the registrar’s office for comment.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.