Kshama Sawant recall campaign turns in signatures, sets sights on winter vote
The campaign seeking to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has officially turned its signatures in to King County Elections.
The campaign says it submitted 16,234 signatures, following a months-long contentious back-and-forth between the recall and Kshama Solidarity, the group operating in support of Sawant.
“We are now one step closer to holding Councilmember Sawant accountable,” Recall Campaign Manager Henry Bridger said in a news release. “After seeing her ignore the laws that hold our elected officials accountable, District 3 voters are sending a clear message: It’s time to recall Sawant.”
The recall petition levies four primary allegations against Sawant:
- That Sawant endangered City employees by admitting hundreds of protesters into City Hall after hours in June of 2020
- That she violated City hiring rules by giving decision-making authority to Socialist Alternative
- That she misused council resources to promote a ballot initiative in early February
- That she led a protest to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home, the location of which is protected under state confidentiality laws
Next, King County Elections will work to ensure that at least 10,739 of the 16,000-plus signatures submitted by the recall are from verified District 3 voters, constituting 25% of total votes cast in the last election for the district’s council seat in 2019. That process will likely take between two and four weeks.
If the requisite signatures are verified, then King County Elections has between 45 to 90 days to hold the actual recall vote. While there isn’t a hard deadline to get on any one election, there are significant time constraints surrounding the signature validation process. That includes building the recall into the voters’ pamphlet, translating the recall language into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese, printing the ballots, and then finally sending them out to the U.S. Postal Service for distribution.
If a previously scheduled election does fall in that 45 to 90 day window, King County Elections would target that date for a recall vote. If there is no existing election in that period, they would “look at the elections calendar and try to find a date that doesn’t have a ton of overlap with an already scheduled election.”
With a winter special election the most likely date for a potential recall vote, Sawant’s supporters have already begun organizing a “get out the vote” campaign, having set up tables across District 3 asking residents to sign a card pledging to “commit to mobilizing three friends, family members, or coworkers” to vote against the effort.