A socialist councilwoman in Seattle faces a recall election Tuesday night, a process that was set in motion more than a year ago during the city’s protest-filled summer.
Ballots for recalling Kshama Sawant are due by 8 p.m. PT Tuesday.
Ms. Sawant, 48, a member of the Socialist Alliance (SA) Party, has been in office since 2014, and is the longest sitting member of the City Council.
Recall petition organizers needed to collect more than 10,700 signatures — 25% of Seattle’s District 3 voters — to put the measure on the November ballot. But the petition’s more than 11,000 signatures were not certified by King County officials until Sept. 30, setting up Tuesday’s vote.
The recall balloting has already seen significant turnout: Media outlets reported that more than a third of eligible voters had turned in their ballots by Sunday night.
Petition organizers appear fed up with her actions outside of City Council chambers.
“Councilmember Sawant repeatedly misused her position and Council resources,” the recall petition states. “It’s time to hold her accountable.”
The state supreme court ruled unanimously in April the recall effort could go ahead on three charges leveled by those who seek Ms. Sawant’s ouster:
- Spending $2,000 and “assisting in other ways” in January and February 2020 in support of a ballot initiative that would have levied new taxes on Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle.
- Helping unlock City Hall and admit thousands of protesters on June 9, 2020, during the height of the occupation protest in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, known as the CHOP.
- Acting as an elected official while leading a march of protesters to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house on July 3, 2020 just after most of the CHOP protests had subsided.
Ms. Sawant did not respond to emails seeking comment. Her office could not be reached by phone Monday because its voicemail was full, according to a recording.
In public statements, Ms. Sawant has denied leading the march to Ms. Durkan’s house, where she was a speaker and defended her opening of City Hall.
She has admitted using her money on the Amazon tax initiative, for which she was fined $3,515.74.
In response to the recall, Ms. Sawant has blasted a cabal of the “ruling class” that she says is concerned less with the specific events cited in the petition and more with her revolutionary approach to city government.