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Signatures of hundreds of dead people were found in D.A. Gascon recall petition

Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — More than 300 signatures in a petition to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon last year belonged to dead people, according to the county’s Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office.

Now the agency has called on the California attorney general to investigate the possibility of fraud in the failed attempt to recall Gascon, whose reform-minded policies have become a target of Republican and conservative critics.

According to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office, a review of the petition found 367 signatures of people who had died before the recall effort was launched.

The findings were similar to a review of another petition, statewide Initiative 1935, in which county officials found 344 signatures of dead petitioners. The initiative was meant to limit local and state government from expanding, enacting or modifying taxes and fees.

“My office has identified irregularities that suggest the possibility of fraudulent signature submission that I believe warrant investigation,” Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said in a statement.

But the Recall District Attorney George Gascon campaign, which has accused the registrar’s office of wrongly invalidating tens of thousands of signatures, called the decision a “cover-up” to keep the campaign from reviewing the signatures that were invalidated by the county.


“This is nothing more than a last-ditch effort by 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,” the campaign said in a statement. “To be clear, if paid circulator fraud did occur to any extent, the Recall Committee, survivors of crime, and residents of Los Angeles are the victims, and the paid circulators should be held fully accountable.”

In its review, the county office said it found “commonality in the circulators” of the petition campaigns to recall Gascon and the 1935 initiative.

Although such cases may be referred to the district attorney’s office for investigation, the registrar’s office referred the cases to the attorney general’s office because Gascon would be an “interested party” in the recall.

The registrar’s office has also reached out to the California secretary of state’s investigative unit.


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