‘Put up or shut up’: Sawant now urging supporters to collect signature to force recall vote
A group leading the fight against a bid to recall Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant announced a surprising new strategy on Friday, telling its supporters to help collect signatures for the recall campaign in a bid to force a vote on the ballot in November.
The recall campaign revealed earlier in the week that it had collected 9,000 out of the 10,739 signatures it needs to move forward. It had begun collecting signatures in late April, triggering a 180-day window to reach the required threshold. The number it needs constitutes 25% of total votes cast in the last election for the district’s council seat in 2019.
Technically, the group has until mid-October before its window expires, but in a recent fundraising mailer, it stated that it’s been “working tirelessly” to meet an Aug. 1 deadline to put a recall vote on the November ballot. After that, the next opportunity would be a special election scheduled for February of 2022, or another special election set for next April.
In a Friday morning press conference, Sawant expressed doubts over the campaign’s intent, having frequently accused it of preferring a lower turnout special election.
“During the Tax Amazon movement last year, we collected 1,000 signatures a day — if they fail [to make the November ballot], it is a planned and deliberate failure,” she posited. “Unfortunately, we expect them to do just that, throw up their hands and say, ‘we tried, gosh, we just couldn’t make it in time.'”
In order to head off the possibility of a lower-turnout election date, Kshama Solidarity — the group operating on Sawant’s behalf against the recall effort — is now urging supporters to aid in collecting signatures and “force their hand.”
“You say you want to turn in your signatures and get on the ballot in November? Then do it,” Sawant said. “The solidarity campaign will collect the rest — let’s have a vote in November.”
Sawant closed out her Friday press conference by signing the recall petition herself, and issuing one final challenge: “Put up or shut up.”