Sonoma DA recall election date set

Bay Area

Photo: County of Sonoma

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (BCN) – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to formally set a date for the recall election of District Attorney Jill Ravitch.

The election will be held Sept. 14, and prospective candidates must file declaration of candidacy forms by 5 p.m. on July 1, according to the county.

Recall supporters collected more than 43,000 signatures, roughly 32,500 of which were deemed valid by the county’s Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters Deva Marie Proto. Supporters needed 30,056 valid signatures to qualify the recall attempt for a ballot.

Sonoma County developer Bill Gallaher and his family launched the recall effort last year after Oakmont Senior Living, which Gallaher founded, paid a $500,000 settlement in a lawsuit alleging that the senior care company abandoned elderly residents during the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

The residents were ultimately evacuated on city buses by family members and police officers.
Ravitch, who has been the district attorney for a decade, said last year that she would not run for re-election in 2022.

Sept. 14 was chosen as the optimal date for the election due to factors like the anticipated workload of local elections staffers and the predicted costs of holding it on different days.

The county was also unable to hold the recall on the same day as the Nov. 2 local office election or the upcoming gubernatorial recall due to time constraints in the state’s elections code.

The election is estimated to cost between $2 and $3 per voter, according to the county’s current registration data, with costs including creating and printing ballots and voter information guides, increasing payroll to hire temporary election workers, supplying voter precincts and covering postage.

Based on those costs, the total cost is expected to be between $600,000 and $910,000, according to the county.

A group opposing the recall blasted the cost to taxpayers in a statement, arguing that many Sonoma County residents, elected officials and outside groups like the Sonoma County Taxpayers Association and the county Democratic Party have condemned the recall effort.

“While this bully millionaire developer freely spends his millions seeking vengeance, we the taxpayers have to pay $900,000 for the cost to conduct a special election,” said Terry Price, the chair of Voters Opposed to Recalling District Attorney Jill Ravitch.

People with questions about the special election are advised to contact Proto’s office at (707) 565-6800 or rov-infosonoma-county.org.

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