Pamela Price recall election date set for Nov. 5

Coming into the meeting, officials had to choose from a special election in August or September, or waiting until November.

Pamela Price recall election date set for Nov. 5
DA Pamela Price at a recent press conference at her office headquarters. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

The recall election of DA Pamela Price will take place Nov. 5, at the same time as the November general election, county officials have decided.

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to set Nov. 5 as the recall election date.

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

The board could have set the recall election as early as mid-August, but it would have cost substantially more money: an estimated $15 million to $20 million compared to an estimated $4 million for November, according to a staff report from Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis.

Read more about Pamela Price on The Scanner.

"I can't in good conscience support a special election that's going to cost the county nearly $20 million," said Board President Nate Miley. "That would be irresponsible on my part."

Supervisor Elisa Márquez said she preferred a general election because DA Pamela Price was originally elected in a general election in 2022. She said she wanted the highest number of voters to be able to take part.

Supervisor Keith Carson said he had similar feelings but that his decision was "based on a number of things," adding: "To hold one individual completely responsible for all aspects of the system… that's not the way our system operates."

Coming into Tuesday's special meeting, county officials had to choose from possible special election dates in August or September, or putting off the recall election until Nov. 5.

Dupuis told the board that, for a special election, Sept. 10 would be the best date to allow the office to add staff, identify dozens of vote centers and work with the county's paper vendor to prepare: "This is a big order for ballots."

He said Alameda County currently has about 940,000 registered voters.

Dupuis said voting equipment would also be an issue in the case of a "litigation hold" resulting from a legal challenge, where the equipment would have to remain offline: "We have just enough equipment to hold a countywide election once," he told the board.

To begin the discussion, supervisors had questions for county staff about what would happen next if the recall was successful, including how long they would have to appoint the new DA (who would serve until the next general election).

County Counsel Donna Ziegler said there is no set timeframe under the charter for how long the board has to appoint a replacement, but it would need to do so "in an appropriate fashion and manner."

Ziegler also reiterated that no one had sued the county over the recall process to date, but said some people may be waiting for the outcome of the election before taking it to court.

Supervisors also brought up special election costs in light of this week's estimated Alameda County funding gap of $68 million, which "does not include the potential impact of the [governor's] May revision," County Administrator Susan Muranishi said.

Also on the horizon is a $100 million deficit projected for Highland Hospital, which the county would have to help close if the hospital cannot find other means, officials said.

The question on the ballot, according to Tuesday's staff report, will be: "Shall Pamela Price be recalled (removed) from the office of Alameda County District Attorney?"

It remains to be seen whether recall supporters or Pamela Price herself will challenge any aspect of the recall election process in court.

Both sides have raised various legal questions with the county, which has reportedly never held a recall election before.

Officials said around 100 speakers addressed the board Tuesday about when and if the recall election should happen. Due to the number of speakers, they were limited to 90 seconds each.

"People made some very good and persuasive arguments on both sides," Board President Miley said after listening to the comments, which began around 5 p.m. and lasted for more than two hours.

Recall supporters have been pushing for the election to take place sooner rather than later, citing concerns about the serious impacts of crime as well as ongoing issues with how Price has run the office and how she is charging cases.

"There should be no excuses," said recall organizer Brenda Grisham. "All we want is justice [and] accountability for the citizens of Alameda County."

Price supporters have urged Alameda County officials to put the recall question on the Nov. 5 ballot to ensure that more voters will have a chance to weigh in due to higher participation in presidential elections than special elections.

One Price supporter called the recall "ridiculous" and a "waste of time," and said DA Price "won her election fairly" and should be allowed to serve her term.

See our full thread on X if you want to read more meeting highlights. (An X account is required to view the thread.) Read more recall coverage on The Berkeley Scanner.