Santa Rosa, CA – May 25, 2021 – Today, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to hold a countywide election on Sept. 14, 2021, to determine whether District Attorney Jill Ravitch should be recalled and who should replace her if a majority votes in favor of the recall.
The Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters Deva Marie Proto announced that declarations of candidacy forms for eligible candidates desiring to replace Ms. Ravitch may be obtained from and filed at the Registrar of Voters Office, 435 Fiscal Dr., Santa Rosa, CA, beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, May 26, and no later than 5 p.m., July 1, 2021. Candidates interested in collecting signatures in lieu of the filing fee may pick up and file such papers beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, May 26, and no later than 5 p.m., June 22, 2021.
The effort to recall Ms. Ravitch formally began on Oct. 22, 2020, when recall proponents filed a notice of intention to recall with the Registrar of Voters Office. On Nov. 10, 2020, the Registrar of Voters Office approved the recall petition for circulation and informed proponents they would need to gather 30,056 valid signatures by April 19 to qualify the recall for the ballot. On April 1, 2021, proponents filed the recall petition with the Registrar of Voters Office. It consisted of 43,316 face-value signatures.
Pursuant to California Elections Code §11225, the Registrar of Voters Office first checked a random sample of the submitted signatures. Based on the results of that sample, Registrar of Voters staff estimated that a full check would find 32,497 valid signatures, 108 percent of the minimum number needed. Since this percentage fell between 90 and 110, the Registrar of Voters Office was legally required to perform a full signature check of the petition, which it completed on May 11, 2021. Ultimately, the Registrar of Voters Office found 32,128 of the signatures to be valid, more than 2,000 over the required threshold of 30,056. Therefore, Ms. Proto certified the recall petition as sufficient and on May 18, 2021, the Board of Supervisors formally approved the certificate of sufficiency.
Today, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution ordering that a recall election take place on Sept. 14. Ms. Proto had recommended the Sept. 14 date based on the anticipated workload of county elections staff, the crossover of election deadlines with those of other potential elections, predicted costs of holding the election on different dates and various other factors. Due to the timing constraints of Elections Code §11242, it was not possible to reduce costs by consolidating the recall election with any other election, such as the Nov. 2 Consolidated District Election or the Gubernatorial Recall Election anticipated for later this fall.
The estimated cost to hold the upcoming election, based on current county registration numbers, is $2 to $3 per voter, or approximately $606,192 to $909,228. Some of the costs that go into the estimate include:
● Creating and printing ballots and voter information guides
● Increased payroll costs due to the hiring of polling place workers, temporary election workers and overtime hours
● Precinct supplies and transportation of those supplies
● Envelopes, labels, and letters printed for voters, districts, candidates and others
● Envelopes and labels for ballots
● Postage for outgoing ballots, return ballots, voter information guides and correspondence
● Information technology setup assistance and legal assistance
Costs are highly variable and depend on many factors, including the number of registered voters, the number of replacement ballots required, the number of ballots printed for each polling place, the number of signature cure letters needing to be sent, as well as the voter turnout and when and how ballots are returned.
Any questions about the Sept. 14 Special Recall Election should be directed to the Registrar of Voters Office by calling (707) 565-6800, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting the Registrar of Voters Office in person at 435 Fiscal Dr., Santa Rosa. The office is open regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays) but has extended hours (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.) on Sept. 14 (Election Day). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, anyone visiting the office should plan to undergo a temperature reading, wear a face mask and practice social distancing.