Chesa Boudin recall organizers quiet on how many signatures they have ahead of deadline

Eric Ting, SFGATE Oct. 19, 2021 Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 (

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin during his swearing in ceremony in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin during his swearing in ceremony in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

The second campaign to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is done collecting signatures, though organizers have not provided a progress report on how many signatures they received in over two weeks.

To trigger a recall election, organizers must gather 51,325 valid signatures by Oct. 25. The first recall campaign fell 1,714 signatures short, with organizers citing confusion over the fact that there were two separate recalls as a significant hindrance to collecting signatures.

This second recall campaign announced Monday evening — a week before the submission deadline — that “the signature gathering phase of our campaign is now closed.” “We will share the final number of signatures once every signature is counted,” they added.

Organizers did not respond to multiple SFGATE requests for comment on why the campaign has not provided a recent progress report. Proponents gathering signatures for recalls of Gov. Gavin Newsom and three members the San Francisco Board of Education provided frequent progress reports in the weeks leading up to their respective deadlines.

The San Francisco Board of Education recall had the same same signature threshold (and goal of gathering 70,000 signatures because some will be deemed invalid during the city review process), and organizers often took to Twitter to share their progress. 

“OVER 60K RECALL SIGNATURES!!!” the group wrote in in August. “And just over two weeks left to get 10k more to ensure we qualify.”

Once the board recall organizers hit their goal of 70,000 signatures, they announced, “WE DID IT! 70K SIGNATURES!!!… Thanks to EVERYONE of you for helping us get here!”

The Boudin recall organizers previously provided regular progress reports, citing a 70,000 signature goal up until Aug. 25, at which point they announced they had collected 63,720 signatures. Then, over a month passed before the group wrote on Oct. 4, “As of today, 1 in 10 San Franciscans have signed the petition to #RecallChesa.” This would imply they have over 80,000 signatures — seemingly blowing past the goal.

It is unusual that the month of September saw no progress reports or fanfare around apparently exceeding the 70,000 signature goal — especially given how organizers for the Newsom and board of education recalls celebrated hitting their respective goals.

It is possible that the previous progress reports Boudin recall organizers shared were accurate, but they did not want to publicize hitting the goal out of fear it would dissuade more people from signing and providing extra cushion during the review process. But it is also possible that in their progress reports, organizers may have double-counted the signatures for both recalls. Recall organizers did not respond to our requests for clarification. 

Until the group provides a new progress report — which apparently won’t come until after they tally all the signatures they collected, or they tell us why they stopped issuing such reports — we’ll be left guessing.

Written By Eric Ting

Eric Ting is the editor of California Issues, SFGATE’s politics section. He is an East Bay native who has a Master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University. Eric did his undergrad at Pomona College, where he majored in politics and minored in economics. Email:

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