A shocking hiccup in the police union-led effort to recall Santa Ana City Councilmember Jessie Lopez is prompting a special council discussion tonight about whether the election should proceed.
It comes after Orange County Registrar of Voters Bob Page – in a Thursday letter to city officials – said that recall petitioners and his office went off the wrong map when proponents gathered signatures and county officials reviewed and certified them.
Page said the recall petition should have been circulated to registered voters within the boundaries of Lopez’s electoral ward that existed in 2020, the year she was elected and before her ward boundaries were redrawn.
Signatures were gathered based on the post-redistricting boundaries, Page said.
The issue wasn’t detected until last week, when Page said he received an email from the Kings County Registrar of Voters “asking other county elections officials in the state for advice regarding a recall effort involving school district officials elected before and after redistricting.”
“This request prompted me to re-examine how we reviewed the Ward 3 recall petition and are administering the recall election pursuant to the request of the City of Santa Ana,” Page said in an email.
Lopez’s recall defense campaign has since called for the election to be canceled entirely.
The recall has been supported by hundreds of thousands of dollars in police union spending, as well as that of landlord and property owner groups.
At 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, council members will determine whether the issue is enough to put a halt to the recall entirely.
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“I am extremely concerned about the issues raised by the Registrar of Voters about the upcoming special election,” said Mayor Valerie Amezcua — who is supported by the police union and has endorsed the recall campaign in mailers — in a City Hall news release announcing tonight’s special meeting.
“It is vital that the City Council meet quickly to determine what action, if any, must be taken to protect the integrity of our elections and to ensure that the will of Santa Ana voters is carried out through a fair and transparent electoral process,” she said.