Ruling on Kshama Sawant recall effort will likely have to wait

Jan 8, 2021, 10:51 AM | Updated: 10:57 am
Sawant recall, Orion Seattle council race...
A campaign sign for Councilmember Kshama Sawant. (AP)

The Supreme Court of Washington State announced Friday that it will be delaying its decision on whether to allow a recall petition for Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant to move forward.

Seattleite behind Sawant recall effort details next steps after court victory

A ruling was originally expected to arrive by Thursday, before a delay to Friday, and then the eventual announcement through the court clerk Friday morning that there “will not be a decision today or likely soon.”

The recall petition was filed by Seattleite Ernest Lou, who levied six charges against Sawant, ranging from claims that she had helped create the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in the summer of 2020, to allegations she led a protest to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home.

A King County judge had dismissed two of those charges last October, leaving four for the state Supreme Court to consider as it mulls over allowing the petition to move into the signature-gathering phase.

The Supreme Court received written briefs from both plaintiffs and defendants between November and December of 2020, and had initially expected to have a ruling ready by Jan. 7. It’s unclear at this time why that’s not been delayed.

Kshama Sawant files appeal with state Supreme Court over recall petition

If the court’s decision continues to meet delays, it could have a dramatic effect on the timeline of the petition in the days ahead. If it allows the recall effort to move forward, Lou would have to collect just over 10,700 certified paper signatures from registered voters in District 3, a number that would constitute 25% of total votes cast in the last election for the district’s council seat.

That would then trigger a simple “yes” or “no” recall vote, which would have to take place on a previously scheduled election date. Lou would then have to gather those signatures in time for special elections currently on the books for February or April. The next scheduled elections after that are August’s primary and November’s general election.

In October, the state Supreme Court threw out a similar petition to recall Mayor Jenny Durkan, unanimously ruling that the charges levied against her were “factually and legally insufficient.”

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Ruling on Kshama Sawant recall effort will likely have to wait