Voters are scheduled to make your mind up Nov. 5 whether to oust Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price

Alameda County voters will determine in November whether to recall District Attorney Pamela Price after county supervisors decided against spending as much as $20 million on a special election this summer, with no vote within the history of the case Counties, if any, would have had a precedent.

Instead of putting the query before voters, the county Board of Supervisors opted Tuesday to position the recall query on the Nov. 5 ballot, together with an expected rematch between the country's last two presidents in addition to a plethora of state races and native level.

The move is consistent with the suggestion of Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis, who provided a protracted list of reasons for postponing the query for six months. The most vital factor was the expected price tag of holding a special election in August or September: estimates ranged from $15 million to $20 million.

That's a very difficult query, some supervisors said, considering the county faces a looming $68 million budget deficit in the subsequent fiscal yr, which begins July 1. And the county could have to funnel tens of thousands and thousands of additional dollars to the Alameda Health System, which is facing its own yawning deficit.

“The bottom line is the fact that I cannot in good conscience support a special election that will cost the county nearly $20 million,” said Nate Miley, the board’s president, adding that such a move “would be for “I'm irresponsible.”

Elections director Elisa Márquez also said she wanted the recall question to be asked in a general election, similar to what Price was elected in 2022, because more voters typically cast ballots in such contests.

But Supervisor Keith Carson went further, questioning the wisdom of removing a district attorney so soon after his election – especially when that one person is just a cog in a complicated legal system with so many moving parts.

“Holding a single individual completely responsible for all aspects of the system and respecting their beliefs or feelings is not the way our system works,” Carson said. Referring to the incontrovertible fact that he first heard calls for Price's removal barely three months after she took office, he added: “Whether I support her or not, whoever that prosecutor is, whoever that person is, who was duly elected, I think. “They deserve at least a reasonable amount of time to figure out what their job entails.”

The vote was 3-0. Supervisors David Haubert and Lena Tam were not present at the vote.

After the board vote, recall organizers expressed confidence that voters would remove Price from office in November. For weeks, recall supporters had implored county supervisors to put the question before voters as quickly as possible, arguing the potential $20 million price tag paled in comparison to the impact of Price's policies.

“As long as there's an election, that's an important thing,” said Carl Chan, a campaign organizer and Oakland Chinatown leader, who promised the Nov. 5 campaign would be “very successful.”

The district attorney's campaign said it would host a news conference Wednesday about the panel's vote. It described the panel's decision as “a victory” because it “allows more voters to forged their votes and provides voters more time to tell themselves concerning the facts.”

Moments after the panel's vote, supporters of the district attorney again condemned the very prospect of overturning the election, calling it “illegitimate.” They repeated allegations from Price's campaign that the county did not properly follow election laws when verifying recall petition signatures.

Ahead of the board's decision, Price's supporters used the public comment area to denounce the expected costs of a special election and lamented the idea that fewer people might vote in the summer than in a general election that would decide the White House goes . They called the idea of ​​a recall so soon in Price's first term a “travesty” and stressed that she needed more time to implement her policies and make an impact on crime rates across the East Bay.

“Essentially, District Attorney Price is being scapegoated,” said a caller named Ginny Madsen. “I am outraged that an expensive special election is even being considered. A special election is designed to distort voter turnout… and will do the county a disservice. Please don’t set a dangerous precedent that I think everyone will eventually regret.”

But supporters of the recall effort, who also spoke out during public comment, railed against Price's efforts to overhaul the East Bay's criminal justice system, calling her approach too soft on crime.

“How much does a life cost? “Is there really a price?” asked Oakland resident Elizabeth Kenney. “Please honor the lives of victims and victims of violent crime and give us a special election now.”

The price of a special election was a recurring theme Tuesday.

Ahead of the board vote, Dupuis said calling the special election would cost the county $19 to $21 per voter in postage costs. In addition, up to 400 new employees and 1,700 poll workers would have to be hired to help mail ballots and staff voting centers. That compares to the cost of a general election, which can be as low as $4 to $6 per person, Dupuis said, especially because the county can share that cost with other municipalities and governments.

Dupius also warned that holding a special election in August or September could put the county at risk of not having its voting equipment ready in time for the November election. That's because the equipment would have to be decommissioned and recertified within a few months. And if someone decides to file a lawsuit challenging the results, the equipment could become completely unavailable.

“We have just enough equipment to hold a statewide election one time,” Dupuis said. “We don’t have enough equipment to hold two national elections.”

Recall organizers appear to be entering the six-month recall race with a significant fundraising advantage. Donations to the two leading political organizations pushing the recall effort have dwarfed those made directly to Price's Protect the Win campaign since last summer, campaign finance filings show.

The recall effort, called “Save Alameda For Everyone,” raised nearly $569,000 in donations in the first three months of 2024, according to campaign finance forms filed May 1. This is in addition to the approximately $1.1 million raised in 2023.

Much of that money came from a single political action committee, Supporters Of Recall Pamela Price, which contributed $545,330 from January to March, along with about $694,000 in 2023. The group has since been suspended following allegations from the California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating Price's campaign for failing to properly disclose its contributors.

In comparison, Price's “Protect the Win” campaign raised just over $36,000 in the primary three months of 2024. This is along with the $82,000 in donations raised in 2023.

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