Posts misrepresent failed attempt to recall Los Angeles DA
CLAIM: Los Angeles County disqualified nearly 30% of recall ballots or ballot signatures in the attempted recall of the county’s progressive District Attorney George Gascón.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The county didn’t disqualify ballots or ballot signatures. It disqualified nearly 200,000 of about 716,000 signatures on petitions calling for a vote to recall Gascón. As a result, the recall attempt failed.
THE FACTS: Los Angeles County election officials on Monday said that a proposal to recall the county’s progressive DA had failed after recall organizers did not gather enough valid petition signatures to schedule an election.
Recall organizers needed to gather nearly 570,000 valid petition signatures to schedule an election, but county officials found only about 520,000 were valid after disqualifying nearly 200,000 signatures turned in.
That news was misrepresented online this week when Donald Trump Jr. and others falsely claimed that the county had disqualified “ballots” or “ballot signatures.”
The former president’s son made both claims, one on Twitter and one on his father’s Truth Social platform.
“So in Los Angles they just disqualified almost 30% of ballot signatures BUT they expect you to believe that LESS THAN 1% of Ballots were faulty in the 2020 Presidential Election!” Trump Jr. tweeted Monday, misspelling Los Angeles. “Give me a fricken break!!!”
His similarly-worded post on Truth Social on Monday falsely claimed the county “disqualified 30% of almost 750,000 recall ballots.”
The petition signatures that the county deemed invalid were collected in the community to try to demonstrate voter support for scheduling a recall election. A Monday news release from the county said the signatures were found to be invalid for various reasons, including signers not being registered to vote, signing more than once, listing different addresses than their voter registrations, using signatures that didn’t match their voter registration signatures, and living outside the county.
In a statement, the campaign to recall Gascón called the results disappointing and said valid signatures from over 500,000 residents represented “a wholesale rejection of Gascon’s dangerous polices.”
The recall committee said it would review rejected signatures and the verification process and “seek to ensure no voter was disenfranchised.”
Joshua Spivak, an expert on recall elections and a senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute at Wagner College, said the signature rejection rate was “within the range” of past California recalls. He pointed out that most of the rejections happened not because of the signatures themselves, but because the signers were not registered voters or signed multiple times.
A representative for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.