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Recall of Seattle City Council's Kshama Sawant will qualify for election

Seattle City Council incumbent Kshama Sawant speaks Tuesday at a 2019 election night party with her supporters.
Parker Miles Blohm
Seattle City Council incumbent Kshama Sawant speaks Tuesday at a 2019 election night party with her supporters.

An effort 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 Seattle Times reported.

The recall campaign submitted petition signatures this month, needing King County Elections to validate at least 10,687 signatures from voters in District 3. That district covers Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, Montlake, Madison Valley and Madison Park.

As of Tuesday, King County Elections had accepted 11,350 signatures as valid and marked 3,158 as likely invalid with 2,281 still to be reviewed, according to the department'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.

They expect to certify the petition later this week, Watkins said.

An election must be held 45 to 90 days after a petition is certified. King County Elections is tentatively considering Dec. 7 for the Sawant vote.

Sawant supporters have accused the recall campaign of waiting to submit its signatures in order to intentionally miss the Nov. 2 ballot, which includes the mayor's race, among others. They say the delay is a tactic meant to dampen turnout among young voters and others likely to back Sawant. The recall campaign has denied that it desires low turnout.

The recall petition accuses Sawant of using city resources to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative and letting demonstrators into City Hall during racial justice protests last year when the building was closed to the public because of COVID-19.

Sawant and her supporters have described the recall effort as a conservative attempt to thwart her work for the city's workers and renters.

Sawant was elected in 2013 and won reelection in 2015 and 2019.

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