Election 2022: LA County voters decide in Measure A if supervisors can remove sheriff

Voters in Los Angeles County will head to the polls today, Tuesday Nov. 8, to decide Measure A, an unusual measure that would give the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors the power to fire a voter-elected sheriff.

Today is the last day to cast ballots for the 2022 statewide election. Polls close at 8 p.m., with the early results expected to be released soon after.

Check back here after the polls close to see how the race is shaking out.

If approved by a majority of county voters, Measure A grants power for the first time in the county’s history to the Board of Supervisors to remove a publicly elected sheriff “for cause.”

“Cause” as defined in the measure includes violating laws related to a sheriff’s performance of duties, flagrant neglect of duties,  misappropriation of public funds and other violations.

Under Measure A, the elected Board of Supervisors could initiate what some call “an impeachment” by alleging violations that the sheriff would then respond to. Removing a sheriff would take four votes of the five-member board.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Aug. 2 to place the measure on the ballot. Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger was opposed.

The four supervisors in favor argued that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has blocked investigations of deputy sheriff gangs, resisted oversight into fatal shootings by deputies, defied subpoenas and resisted the L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commission’s efforts to investigate the controversies.

Villanueva labeled the allegations “nonsense” and called the measure a “power grab.” He described it as an attack on his reelection bid. On the Nov. 8 ballot, Villanueva, who fell short of a majority in the primary, faces former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna.

Second District Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the measure would bring oversight and transparency to the sheriff’s office. It is supported by 120 justice-reform groups, including local chapters of the ACLU and NAACP.

Villanueva argued that the measure is unconstitutional. Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School, says there’s legal precedent: a 2005 California appellate court approved a law that lets supervisors in San Bernardino County remove a sheriff.

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