LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Organizers of a recent effort to oust District Attorney George Gascón lashed out Thursday at the county clerk's office over allegations that signatures of dead people were found on recall petitions -- calling the announcement an attempt to distract from what they call the county's unwarranted rejection of the recall drive.
"This is nothing more than a last-ditch effort by (Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk) Dean Logan to cover up the improper disqualification of thousands of valid signatures, which we ultimately intend to expose and challenge in court once the review is complete," said the Recall DA George Gascon Committee.
The county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office announced Wednesday it has asked the state Attorney General's Office to review alleged irregularities in the collection of petition signatures for the recall drive and in support of a state ballot initiative, saying they found evidence that dead people were among the petition signers.
According to Logan's office, a review of the petitions submitted in the attempt to recall Gascón last year determined that 367 of the submitted signatures were those of people who had died before the signature-gathering period even began.
The recorder's office ruled last year that the Gascón recall effort had fallen short, determining that organizers had submitted only 520,050 valid petition signatures, well short of the required 566,857.
Organizers of the recall had submitted a total of 715,833 petition signatures to the county in an effort to force Gascón into a recall election. The county later announced that 195,783 of the signatures were invalid. In many cases, the person signing the petition was not a registered voter, and there were also more than 45,000 duplicate signatures, according to the county.
Recall organizers have challenged the rejection of the signatures in court, and said they have been reviewing the petition signatures for the last seven months and found evidence of "gross misconduct and mismanagement" by the county in its review of the petitions, and potentially "intentional misconduct" leading to the rejection of the recall effort.
Organizers also said the county is now improperly appealing "basic public records requests" as part of a "run out the clock strategy" to render the recall effort moot, since Gascón will be up for election again next year.
Regarding allegations that dead people's signatures were found on petitions, the recall organizers said such fraud would have been carried out by paid petition-circulators, and if true, "the recall committee, survivors of crime and residents of Los Angeles are the victims, and the paid circulators should be held fully accountable."
But the organizers noted that the 367 purported signatures of dead people represent "0.0512689412% of the entire submission of 715,833 signatures."
"If anything warrants investigation by authorities, it is the Registrar's own egregious misconduct and disenfranchisement of Los Angeles County voters who are suffering under George Gascón," according to the recall committee.