Progressive California County District Attorney Faces Recall Vote in November

While a special election could have been held as early as mid-August, the registrar of voters did not recommend the option due to high costs.
Progressive California County District Attorney Faces Recall Vote in November
Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. (Courtesy of Alameda County District Attorney's Office)
Sophie Li

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors recently voted to include the recall of District Attorney Pamela Price on the county’s ballot in the upcoming general election in November.

During a special meeting May 14, the supervisors voted unanimously to set Nov. 5 as the recall election date. The decision comes after the county registrar of voters confirmed last month that enough valid signatures to place the issue on the ballot had qualified.

During the meeting, Supervisor Elisa Márquez argued that consolidating the recall election with the general election would allow more voters to participate and ensure a fair process.

“[B]ecause the DA was elected under a general election, I think every registered voter within our county should have the ability to participate in that process,” she said.

Board President Nate Miley voiced his support for the November date mostly due to financial reasons.

While a special election could have been held as early as mid-August, the registrar of voters did not recommend the option due to high costs.

According to a report by the county’s top election officer Tim Dupuis, a countywide special election held before November could cost an estimated $15 million to $20 million, whereas including it in the general election would only cost around $4 million.

“I can’t, in good conscience, support a special election that’s going to cost the county nearly $20 million,” Mr. Miley said. “That would be irresponsible on my part.”

He added that it is important to save taxpayers money as the state is facing billions of dollars in deficit.

Supervisors David Haubert and Lena Tam were both absent from the vote.

Ms. Price, who was elected in 2022, applauded the supervisors’ decision during a press conference the following day.

“We are here today to appreciate that the Board of Supervisors yesterday did the right thing and decided not to invest $20 million of our hard-earned tax dollars in a failed effort to overturn the November 2022 election. This is a victory for the people of Alameda County. This is a win for democracy,” the district attorney said.

However, Save Alameda for Everyone—a committee of former Alameda County prosecutors, crime victims, and residents who are behind the recall—voiced strongly in support of a special election, saying the later the recall vote was held the more damage could be done, specifically in terms of crime.

Just months after Ms. Price took office, the organization launched its recall campaign, citing “rising crime and a failure by DA Price to hold perpetrators accountable.”

Ms. Price has faced criticism for her progressive criminal justice reform approach. Formerly a civil rights attorney, she pledged during her campaign to reduce mass incarceration and to adopt strict measures against police misconduct.

Criticism of her intensified after Oakland saw an uptick in crime over the past year.

According to the Oakland Police Department, violent crime rose 21 percent in 2023 from the previous year, with robberies increasing 40 percent overall and residential robberies surging 71 percent.

The city also experienced a notable increase in car thefts in 2023, with nearly 15,000 vehicles stolen—an uptick of 45 percent from 2022 and a 229 percent jump from 2019. Additionally, about 14,000 vehicle break-ins were reported last year.

The recall effort against Ms. Price is the second such attempt targeting a Bay Area district attorney in recent years, following San Francisco voters’ removal of progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin in 2022.

In response to the recall, Ms. Price has said: “The people of this county have the right to elect a District Attorney. And they did. We should not have to do it again, but we will. And to those who are prepared to invest millions to try to overturn the selection you need to understand we are ready for you.”

Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.