Update — Sept. 30: King County Elections officially certified the Kshama Sawant recall petition Thursday and scheduled the recall election for Dec. 7.
The push to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant will qualify for an election this winter, according to King County Elections. It will be an up-or-down vote on whether Sawant should stay in office.
The recall campaign submitted petition signatures this month, needing King County Elections to validate at least 10,687 signatures from voters in Sawant’s District 3, which covers Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, Montlake, Madison Valley and Madison Park.
As of Tuesday afternoon, King County Elections had accepted 11,350 signatures as valid and marked 3,158 as likely invalid, with 2,281 still waiting to be reviewed, according to the agency’s website.
King County Elections hasn’t officially certified the petition yet, but there are already “more than enough [validated signatures] to feel comfortable” about the outcome, agency spokesperson Halei Watkins said Wednesday.
“We are doing some cleanup, data entry and quality control today and expect to certify the petition” later this week, Watkins said.
Under the recall process, an election must be held 45 to 90 days after a petition is certified. King County Elections is looking at Dec. 7 as the day for the Sawant vote, “but that won’t be official until we certify the petition,” Watkins said.
Only District 3 voters will get participate in the recall election. King County Elections projects it will cost $250,000 to $300,000, which will be billed to the city, like expenses related to city elections always are.
Sawant backers have accused the recall campaign of waiting to submit its signatures in order to intentionally miss the Nov. 2 ballot, which includes regularly scheduled races for mayor and other offices. They’ve described the delay as a tactic meant to dampen turnout among young voters and others likely to support Sawant. The recall campaign has denied that it wants low turnout.
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. Sawant and her supporters have described the recall effort as a conservative attempt to combat her work at City Hall for workers and renters.
Sawant was first elected in 2013 and won reelection in 2015 and 2019.