Kshama Sawant recall campaign to begin collecting signatures

Apr 28, 2021, 4:51 PM

Sawant signatures recall...

A flyer in defense of Kshama Sawant in the wake of a recall campaign. (MyNorthwest photo)

(MyNorthwest photo)

The campaign seeking to recall Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant is now beginning to collect signatures, but won’t be doing so in person.

State Supreme Court allows Sawant recall petition to move forward

Due to concerns over the ongoing pandemic, the Recall Sawant group says it will be sending out mailers to a selection of registered District 3 voters, “allowing them to safely sign and return their petition by mail.”

In early April, the leader of the recall campaign outlined a plan to target the mailers to precincts within District 3 where Sawant’s most recent opponent, Egan Orion, performed well in 2019’s election. In September 2020, Orion also provided the group with a list of roughly 2,500 donor names, addresses, and employers at the campaign’s request.

The campaign has 180 days to collect 10,739 valid signatures from District 3 voters, a number that would constitute 25% of total votes cast in the last election for the district’s council seat in 2019.

This comes after a drawn-out court battle between the group and Sawant, that culminated in a King County Superior Court judge officially certifying the recall petition’s ballot synopsis last week, allowing the signature-gathering process to begin in earnest.

“After Sawant manipulated the Courts to stall the inevitable and wasted over $80,000 of taxpayer money in the process, the citizens of District 3 and Seattle can now move forward with the recall,” the campaign’s manager Henry Bridger II said in a written release.

Should the group gather the requisite signatures within the 180 period, it would then put a simple “yes” or “no” recall vote on the ballot for the next regularly scheduled election. Ernie Lou, one of the leaders of the campaign, has intimated that the campaign is targeting the August primary. With less than a 100 days before that primary, though, that could prove to be a difficult goal to achieve.

Should the signature gathering process — and subsequent certification of those signatures — wrap up after the August primary, the recall vote would have to take place as part of the November general election.

In early April, Sawant accused the campaign of purposefully avoiding the larger turnout afforded by the general election.

Recall campaign, Sawant dig in for lengthy battle over District 3

“Their preference is for a low turnout, special election dominated by wealthy voters, and they make no bones about it,” she said during a rally at Cal Anderson park.

Sawant frequently spoken out against the campaign and its leaders since it launched, labeling it a “right wing” effort to remove her from office, while levying criticism against state courts for unfairly applying Washington’s recall standards.

Over the last five months, courts have thrown out recall petitions against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza. In those cases, the state Supreme Court and the King County Superior Court ruled respectively that the allegations laid out in the recall petitions were legally insufficient.

Both Sawant and the recall group have raised considerable funds for their causes, having raised over $475,000 and over $377,000 respectively.

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Kshama Sawant recall campaign to begin collecting signatures