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State Supreme Court says recall against Seattle councilwoman can proceed

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

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a recall effort against Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant can go forward.

In September, a King County Superior Court judge had allowed the recall to proceed. Sawant appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court.

The Seattle Times reports the recall petition charges Sawant with four distinct offenses: She delegated her office’s employment decisions to her Socialist political party; she used city resources to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative; she let demonstrators into City Hall during a nighttime June protest; and she spoke at a protest in front of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house. (Durkan’s address is protected by a state confidentiality program because of her past work as a federal prosecutor.)

Sawant, a socialist representing Capitol Hill and the Central District, was first elected in 2013. Normally, she would not face re-election again until 2023.

The court’s role in the recall process is to assume the charges are true and to determine whether they are specific and serious enough to warrant potential removal from office.

The charges, by state law, must represent “misfeasance, malfeasance or violation of the oath of office.”

Recall petitioners now have 180 days to collect more than 10,000 signatures from residents of Sawant’s Council District 3. If they collect the signatures, a recall election — an up-or-down vote on Sawant — would be held, likely in August or November.

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