As November election tallies continue, Sawant recall decision looms for District 3 voters

Nov 4, 2021, 5:34 AM
Sawant winter recall...
Supporters for Kshama Sawant. (Kshama Solidarity, YouTube)
(Kshama Solidarity, YouTube)

Votes are still being counted for the November general election, but Seattle residents in District 3 will soon have another ballot arrive in their mailboxes, with a recall vote for Councilmember Kshama Sawant on the docket for Dec. 7.

Moderate Seattle candidates carry the night, as progressives face steep climb to close gap

The recall petition was officially certified by King County Elections (KCE) in late September, after receiving over 16,000 signatures for verification. KCE ultimately verified over 11,000 of those signatures, well over the required 10,739 threshold.

Ballots will be sent out to District 3 voters starting on Nov. 17, and should arrive “just a few days after that,” according to KCE spokesperson Halei Watkins.

As for why Dec. 7 was selected for a vote, KCE noted that a February special election would have fallen outside the mandated post-certification range of 45-90 days, and that the goal was to “reduce overlap between elections for our voters and to avoid the busy December holiday season as much as possible.”

Sawant won reelection to her District 3 council seat in 2019 by a 52% to 48% margin. That was also a race that featured a 60% turnout rate among the district’s registered voters, a number that will likely be significantly lower for a recall vote taking place as part of a December special election.

How Washington’s political divisions are driving a rise in recalls

With the possibility of a low-turnout election combined with the moderate swing Seattle voters appear to have taken in the November general election, Sawant could be facing an uphill battle.

The recall petition itself outlines a series of charges against Sawant, ranging from her admitting protesters into City Hall after hours in 2020, to misusing council resources to promote a ballot initiative. The recall campaign also filed a separate complaint with the Seattle Ethics and Election Commission in mid-September, claiming Sawant had violated state finance laws for not reporting and itemizing funds given to her by the city to challenge the recall in court in its nascent stages.

As of Nov. 2, Kshama Solidarity — the group opposing the recall effort — has raised nearly $800,000 in individual contributions, while the Recall Sawant group has brought in over $684,000.

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As November election tallies continue, Sawant recall decision looms for District 3 voters