On Sept. 30, King County Elections (KCE) certified the recall petition filed earlier this year against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. A total of 10,687 valid signatures from Seattle City Council District 3 registered voters were required to send the recall issue to voters. Petitioners submitted over 16,000 signatures to be verified in early September.
In a news release, KCE said it “follows a comprehensive verification process that includes researching each petition signer to ensure they are registered to vote in the district and that the signature on the petition matches the signature on the voter’s registration file.” Over 11,000 signatures were accepted through the verification process.
KCE has set an election date of Dec. 7, 2021. Ballots will be mailed to Seattle City Council District 3 voters on Nov. 17 and should begin to arrive in mailboxes in the days following.
“A number of factors influenced our decision to set the recall election on December 7. With both the November General and February Special elections being outside of the realm of possibility, we looked at dates that would reduce overlap between elections for our voters and sought to avoid the busy December holiday season as much as possible,” stated Julie Wise, King County Director of Elections. “There’s no perfect date to schedule an election, but our hope is that voters will show up, turn out, and use their voice in this election just like any other.”
The recall will be the only question in front of voters on the Dec. 7 ballot, and the ballot itself will feature both the charges against Sawant and her response to them. Voters will then be asked to vote YES or NO.
Sawant supporters have accused the recall campaign of waiting to submit its signatures in order to intentionally miss the Nov. 2 ballot, which includes the mayor’s race, among others. They say the delay is a tactic meant to dampen turnout among young voters and others likely to back Sawant. The recall campaign has denied that it desires low turnout.
The recall petition accuses Sawant of using city resources to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative and letting demonstrators into City Hall during racial justice protests last year when the building was closed to the public because of COVID-19.
Sawant and her supporters have described the recall effort as a conservative attempt to thwart her work for the city’s workers and renters.
Sawant was elected in 2013 and won reelection in 2015 and 2019.
Unlike recent recall attempts in other states, voters do not choose a replacement candidate. Instead, Washington state law provides that the seat will be vacated and filled as any other vacancy, through an appointment process.