More confrontations between the groups will come over the summer ahead but the legal battle over launching the recall wrapped up this week as the court finalized ballot language voters could consider in the effort to remove Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant from office.
King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers has certified the ballot synopsis after final legal wrangling this week over phrasing, grammar, and how many times the word “allegedly” appears in the short passage’s final form posted by Seattle City Council Insight:
Shall City of Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant be recalled from office for misfeasance, malfeasance, and violation of the oath of office based upon allegations that she violated the city charter, city code, and state law when she:
(1) Used City resources to support a ballot initiative and failed to comply with the public disclosure requirements related to such support;
(2) Disregarded state orders related to COVID-19 by admitting hundreds of people into City Hall on June 9, 2020 when it was closed to the public;
(3) Led a protest march to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s private residence, the location of which Councilmember Sawant knew was protected under state confidentiality laws.
Organizers outlined four acts they say warranted sending the recall to the ballot. Most of the charges were from 2020 and relate to Sawant’s response to protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The court did not uphold all of the allegations made by the recall effort, ruling earlier that one of the acts outlined was legally insufficient.
Backers of the Recall Sawant campaign celebrated the milestone as an opportunity to raise more funds — and begin gathering signatures. The Kshama Solidarity campaign, meanwhile, has also been busy raising funds and phone banking for support for the veteran lawmaker and Socialist Alternative politician representing Capitol HIll and the Central District on the council.
RECALL SIGNATURE GATHERING CAN BEGIN!!
This afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers finalized the charges against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, allowing the Recall Committee to move forward to gather signatures.
– https://t.co/li3Q6u9ODa pic.twitter.com/pOIfNYKEN3
— RECALL SAWANT (@RecallSawantNow) April 23, 2021
Have you signed up to volunteer? Events nearly every day, join the 100+ signed up to defend Socialist CM Kshama Sawant & the right to protest. BLM and working people are under attack and we have to beat back the racist right-wing recall!
— Kshama Solidarity Campaign (@Kshama_SC) April 15, 2021
CHS reported here the state Supreme Court decision allowing the recall to continue, the large war chests built by both sides in the political battle, and what comes next in the process. Recall proponents have 180 days to gather a little over 10,000 signatures — or 25% of the nearly 43,000 votes cast in her November 2019 race — in District 3 across Capitol Hill, the Central District, and nearby neighborhoods to put the issue on the ballot.
Only signatures from District 3 residents count in the tally and only D3 voters will participate in the yes/no recall vote. If the majority of D3 voters choose yes on the recall, the council would select a temporary replacement until the next general election in the city. The winner in that vote would finish Sawant’s current term through the end of 2023.
When a recall vote might ultimately take place is not clear. Henry Bridger, campaign manager and chair of the Recall Sawant campaign, said earlier this month the recall vote cannot appear on the August primary ballot and officials have told the campaign a special election can’t be held between the primary and the November General Election. The recall campaign backers also don’t want to appear on the General Election ballot, Bridger said.
After facing a deficit on Election Night 2019, Sawant clawed back to defeat Broadway Business Improvement Area leader Egan Orion by around 4% — or less than 2,000 votes — and currently sits as the longest serving member of the city council.
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