Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder Dean Logan asked California Attorney General Rob Bonta to initiate an investigation into the signature gathering process in two recent petitions circulated in the county, one a petition to trigger a recall election against District Attorney George Gascon and one a statewide petition to place an initiative on the ballot to limit the ability of local governments to raise taxes, because hundreds of signatures from voters who died before the petitions were circulated were found on both petitions.
Logan’s office says that “in some cases, there is commonality in the circulators between the two petitions.”
From a press release issued Wednesday (emphasis original):
“Based on our review of two recent petitions – one a countywide recall petition and the other a statewide initiative petition, my office has identified irregularities that suggest the possibility of fraudulent signature submission that I believe may warrant investigation,” said Logan.
During the signature examination and verification process for the Petition to Recall District Attorney George Gascón submitted on July 6, 2022, the RR/CC identified 367 instances where the petition signers were deceased before the period in which the petition was circulated.
Similarly, on the Petition for proposed Statewide Initiative 1935 (Limits the Ability of Voters and State and Local Governments to Raise Revenues for Government Services) submitted on August 2, 2022, the RR/CC identified 344 instances where the petition signers were deceased before the period in which the petition was circulated.
In some cases, there is commonality in the circulators between the two petitions. The RR/CC continues to review these and other statewide petitions reviewed in the past year for possible irregularities.
In a press release announcing the failure of the Gascon recall petition, Logan’s office didn’t mention that any signatures were disqualified because the person whose name appeared was deceased. The proponents of that recall petition have filed a legal challenge to Logan’s finding that the petition was deficient, but “the case remains pending and unlikely to change the outcome of the petition drive prior to next year’s regular election cycle.”
Let the Voters Decide (LTVD), the signature gathering firm that worked with the Recall Gascon effort, sued the recall committee in July, before Logan’s office deemed the petition wasn’t sufficient, claiming they hadn’t been fully paid. In February 2022, while the proposed Statewide Initiative 1935 was being circulated, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that LTVD was collecting signatures for that initiative:
A political operative whose company is gathering signatures for two of the state’s most contested ballot measures this year was previously convicted of falsifying his voter registration in California and has been accused of using misleading tactics in multiple states.
Mark Anthony Jacoby, 38, who owns petition firm Let the Voters Decide, announced this month that his company is paying canvassers $7.50 to $8.50 per signature, or $16 total, for each person they persuade to sign two ballot initiatives, including one related to tax increases and another that would allow tribes to expand gambling.
Logan said he was asking for this review so the electorate will have confidence in the recall and petition processes:
“The integrity of these processes is fundamental to our representative form of government and influences the confidence and participation of our electorate. Attempts to compromise the integrity of this process ought to be scrutinized.”
Bonta’s office has not yet responded to the request for review.
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