Petition signatures submitted for Washington sheriff recall

An effort to recall Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff in Washington submitted signatures on April 23. If the Benton County Auditor verifies at least 13,937 of the signatures, a recall election will be scheduled.

The recall effort began in July 2020 and was led by the Benton County Sheriff’s Guild. Members of the guild said Hatcher had performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. Hatcher said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing. Hatcher first took office in May 2017.

Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram approved the recall petition on Aug. 20. Hatcher filed an appeal against that decision with the Washington Supreme Court. The supreme court ruled against Hatcher on Nov. 6, allowing the recall effort to move forward and begin collecting signatures. Recall supporters had six months to collect signatures equal to 25% of the votes cast in the last sheriff election.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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