Palo Altans voted against the recall, but it passed in San Jose

In this map from the Registrar of Voters’ website, the green shows precincts that voted in favor of the recall of Judge Aaron Persky while the blue represents precincts where the recall failed.
In this map from the Registrar of Voters’ website, the green shows precincts that voted in favor of the recall of Judge Aaron Persky while the blue represents precincts where the recall failed.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The recall of Judge Aaron Persky passed by a wide margin in Santa Clara County but a majority of voters in Palo Alto, Stanford, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills voted against it, a precinct-by-precinct breakdown of election results shows.

While the recall failed in the northern part of the county, it did well in South Bay cities such as San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas and Gilroy.

The leaders of the two campaigns offered different reasons yesterday for the split in county voters.
The recall leader, Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, said she thought Persky won support in the North County because of his social connections. Persky, who got his bachelor’s degree at Stanford and law degree from UC-Berkeley, lives in Los Altos Hills and presided at the Palo Alto Courthouse.

“I think that Judge Persky did better in those limited areas where he had alumni, class, professional and personal connections such as Stanford, Palo Alto and Los Altos,” Dauber told the Post in an email. “In the South County, that was not the case and people voted against him based on the fact that he has a track record of terrible judgment.”

Retired judge LaDoris Cordell, a leader in the campaign against the recall, speculated that the recall’s relatively paltry support in the North County had to do with the recall campaign’s leadership.

“I guess I’m not surprised that North County said no, because there are more people who know who Michele Dauber is — people at Stanford, Palo Alto — and trying to put all of what she’s doing into context more than people who live in San Jose,” Cordell told the Post. “The more you know about her, the more you’re apt to vote no.”

Dauber started the movement after Persky gave 19-year-old freshman Brock Turner six months in county jail for digitally penetrating a 23-year-old family friend of Dauber’s who was passed out drunk outside a fraternity party on campus.

National visibility

Dauber’s movement benefited from national visibility in 2016 when a poignant victim impact statement written by Turner’s victim, known by the pseudonym Emily Doe, was published by BuzzFeed and spread widely on social media.

Cordell pointed out that the recall also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Persky did, disseminating five political mailers across the county, buying ads on social media and even airing commercials on the streaming service Hulu.

“There’s no way we could keep up with that,” Cordell said.

Dauber also won the support of the influential South Bay Labor Council and she “lambasted Persky” at meetings of the progressive political groups Orchard City Indivisible in Campbell and Together We Will in San Jose, Cordell said.

“I went down and talked to them, and they were all very hostile to me,” Cordell said. “They were just all in that camp.”

Stanford voters against the recall

Out of 618 votes cast in precincts 2545 and 2546, where Stanford faculty and other affiliates live in a residential part of campus between Campus Drive and Page Mill Road, more than 70% were against the recall.

Almost 30 of Dauber’s colleagues at Stanford Law School signed a letter in August voicing opposition to the recall.

The only precinct at Stanford where voters favored the recall was Precinct 2544, which encompasses Escondido Village — home to 834 graduate students. There, a whopping two-thirds of the 234 voters who cast a ballot supported the recall.

Of the 131 voters who cast ballots in Precinct 2542, which encompasses most of the Stanford campus, 53.44% were against the recall.

Dauber’s precinct voted ‘no’

Of 380 voters in Dauber’s precinct in Palo Alto’s Barron Park neighborhood, 60.53% voted against the recall. Of 319 voters in Persky’s precinct in Los Altos Hills, 63.32% opposed the recall.
Countywide, the recall won the support of 59.8% of the 184,862 votes that had been counted last night.

Cordell said she was disappointed by the low turnout: only 24.32% of the county’s 846,228 registered voters bothered to cast a ballot in the primary.

With prepaid postage on mail-in ballots, voting is easier now than ever before, she pointed out.

“This is crazy,” Cordell said. “People don’t exercise their right to vote.”


  1. Three months in jail was a ridiculously light sentence that diminished the seriousness of this attack. I’m tired of hearing that this judge simply rubber stamped the probation officer’s recommendation. There was obviously a break down in the probation dept for them to have made that recommendation. It was up to the judge to catch the error. We don’t elect probation officers but we do elect judges. This is about holding elected officials accountable.

  2. With all due respect to LaDoris Cordell she is unequivocally mistaken when she says she came and spoke to Orchard City Indivisible. I am the co-founder and co-chair of OCI and have missed exactly one weekly meeting since January 2017. We keep scrupulous records and every attendee is required to check in upon entry. Ms Cordell has never been to OCI. Perhaps she has OCI confused one of the many other Indivisible groups in the South Bay.

  3. I am another of the co-founders of Orchard City Indivisible in addition to being a Stanford alum and former resident of Palo Alto.

    LaDoris Cordell never came down to speak to our group. The suggestion that OCI was “very hostile” to her is absurd. We maintain a very respectful relationship with all of our guest speakers, as I think any of the many who have come to speak with us can attest.

    For the record, OCI as an organization did not take an official stance on the Persky Recall.

  4. Me thinks the folks from OCI doth protest too much. Are they feeling some guilt that San Jose voted so overwhelmingly to recall Judge Persky?

  5. Is it just me that has a problem with Steve White’s statements?
    >Dauber makes some really outrageous over the top claims…“gruesome crime scene”
    >“bystanders could not tell if she was alive”
    The statements of the two grad students on the scene–one who chased Turner and the other who helped Emily Doe–confirm Dauber’s statements are not a stretch by any means. Steve, why do you selectively disparage Dauber to relieve Turner and blame Doe? why do you not turn to the statements of the grad students themselves? they were on the scene after all.
    And while you and others in your camp are at it why do you not also go to the statements of the Stanford swim team members and hear what they had to say about Turner? Turns out he was creeping them out…before he was caught with his pants down.

    >Turner is a poor boy…the parents got by both working.
    Sure, didn’t his father question why his son was being held accountable for “fifteen minutes of action”? Some working parent and some poor boy of a son.

    • I’ve seen the YouTube videos Mr. White refers to, and I also read the People v. Brock Allen Turner court transcripts. The comments Dauber makes on the videos are false; they do not concur with the court transcripts, including the two Swedes’ witness statements. Also, according to the court transcripts, Turner had his pants on when found by the two Swedes. It seems Mr. White is merely stating the facts.

  6. This makes complete sense. The wealthy elite of the county bank on the entrenched systems that benefits them. Persky is one of the good ol’ boys and they need to protect their own. After all, he he goes down then who’s next. It used to be that wealth and power protected those who possess it. For once, a democracy functions on behalf of the masses and the elite are losing their shit over it.

    Cordell spoke honestly when she initially decried Persky’s bias and proclaimed “white privilege” but she is content to let him remain on the bench. Why? because she’s a part of that system. These are her people and she must protect them. I’m sure she’s had more than one person tell her this recall was fueled in part by her statements, so must make amends somehow. She’s used race baiting, blamed the victim, and tries to make this about Dauber instead of Persky.

    The people have spoken. Get over it.

  7. Michele Dauber tried to brush off the fact that the majority of voters in Palo Alto, Stanford, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills voted against the recall by claiming these areas are “…where he [Persky] had alumni, class, professional and personal connections.” What a ridiculous statement. Dauber herself lives in Palo Alto and works at Stanford. Even the majority of voters in Dauber’s own precinct—her own neighbors—voted against the recall. So Dauber’s phony theory doesn’t hold water. The voters in the South County voted for the recall because they were hoodwinked by Dauber’s numerous false claims against the innocent Judge Persky.

    BTW, only a small percentage of the people have spoken. Out of the total 864,228 Santa Clara County registered voters, only 24.32% of the registered voters voted; this means that only 12.8% of the total Santa Clara County population of registered voters voted in favor of the recall.

    • Oh, my! That search for and highlight of minor nuances that don’t matter…”Turner’s pants were on when he was caught by the Swedes”, “Dauber’s own neighbors voted against the recall”, “only a small % of people have spoken”, “only 12.8% voted in favor of recall”…

      Funny, you get hit on the head by a 2×4, a ton of bricks fall on you, you get punched in the face, and it’s funny how none of that has helped you see the reality that others clearly see. Textbook examples of what’s commonly referred to as DENIAL. Guess we will have to just wait for Acceptance and put up with nonsense until then…

  8. Dauber will never get this money. She has to prove Persky filed a frivolous lawsuit. He raised a legitimate question about jurisdiction. The issue of whether he is a state officer or a county officer is a muddy issue because he was appointed by the governor and is paid by the state. And since recalls of Superior Court judges are infrequent, there isn’t case law on this. So he brought a novel, unsettled question to the court. As a law professor, Dauber should know that.

    • > As a law professor, Dauber should know that.
      Perhaps she does.

      Mr Persky is also a lawyer. He should know lawyers do file for atty fees on suits they win. He should know some of those suits are frivolous, some not.

      So why this animus toward Ms Dauber? Do you get agitated every time some lawyer files for atty fees on suits they win? Or when some lawyer is taken to court for atty fees on suits they filed that they then lost?

      If there is no case law…then your street perspective is mere opinion, not legal fact or precedent. All the better for this to play out in courts and establish case law.

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