Recall Election of Socialist Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant Set for December

By Author:
191 0
Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant speaks during a rally at the Amazon Spheres and headquarters in solidarity with Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, who hope to unionize, in Seattle, Washington on March 26, 2021. (Image: JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sep. 30, King County Elections formally certified a petition seeking to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. The recall election has been scheduled for Dec. 7 and will decide whether Sawant remains in office. According to state law, an election must be held within 45 to 90 days after a petition is certified.

The petition to recall Sawant accuses her of various offenses, including misusing resources of the city to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative. In June last year, Sawant let Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors into Seattle City Hall when the building was closed due to COVID-19. 

By organizing a march to the home of Mayor Jenny Durkan, she also breached the state’s confidential program, according to the petition. Durkan’s residence is not widely known due to security reasons since she had previously served as a federal attorney. However, the court acquitted Sawant of threatening physical harm to Durkan.

Speaking to The Epoch Times, Kendall Hodson, chief of staff for King County Elections, said that “there’s a sufficient number of signatures” to certify the recall petition.

A minimum of 10,687 signatures were required from registered voters of Seattle’s District 3 to approve the recall election. According to the county, the petition had garnered over 16,000 signatures by early September, from which over 11,000 were accepted through a verification process. 

Ballots for the Dec. 7 election will be mailed to voters on Nov. 17. The ballots will describe the accusations against Sawant and her replies to these charges. Voters will have to choose either “yes” or “no.” 

According to the Washington State’s Constitution, an official can be recalled if he or she “has committed some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violated their oath of office.”

Supporters of Sawant criticized the recall campaign for delaying its submission of signatures to deliberately miss the polls scheduled on Nov. 2 which include races for the post of mayor and other positions. They claim that the delay tactic is aimed at lowering the turnout of people who might vote in Sawant’s favor.

Recall campaign staff have dismissed the accusations.

“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,” Julie Wise, King County Director of Elections, said in a statement.

Wise added that there is “no perfect date” to schedule an election and that they hope voters will show up at the Dec. 7 recall effort just like all other elections.

Sawant, the only elected member of the Socialist Alternative party, has been in office since 2013 and has been reelected twice. If the recall campaign succeeds and Sawant is removed from office, the Seattle City Council will choose a replacement until the next poll.