The campaign trying to remove Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant from office submitted petition signatures Wednesday that could lead to a recall election sometime this winter.
To secure an up-or-down vote on the council member staying in office, the Recall Sawant campaign needs King County Elections to validate at least 10,687 signatures from District 3 voters. District 3 covers Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, Montlake, Madison Valley and Madison Park.
Recall Sawant began collecting signatures in April. Had the campaign submitted its signatures last month or earlier, it could have qualified for the Nov. 2 ballot, alongside regular races for Seattle mayor and other positions.
Sawant supporters have accused the recall campaign of missing the Nov. 2 election intentionally, based on the hope that many young voters and others who support the council member wouldn’t turn out in the winter. Recall Sawant has denied that it wants low turnout.
Under the recall process, an election must be held 45 to 90 days after enough signatures are validated. King County Elections plans to start validating the Recall Sawant signatures on Sept. 16 and expects the work to take two to four weeks, agency spokesperson Halei Watkins said. If enough signatures are validated, an option could be Feb. 8’s special election ballot.
Recall Sawant submitted more than 16,000 signatures Wednesday, the campaign said in a news release. King County Elections has not yet counted the signatures to confirm that number, Watkins said.
The recall petition accuses Sawant of various offenses, including using city resources to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative and letting demonstrators into City Hall during protests last June when the building was closed to the public due to COVID-19. The council member and her supporters have described the recall effort as a conservative attempt to combat her work at City Hall for workers and renters.