Elections Day Update: California Secretary of State Monitors Are On The Ground In Shasta County As Polls Open For Elections

By Annelise Pierce,
Shasta Scout,
November 7, 2023


By 8:15 a.m., poll workers at the Larry J. Farr Community Center in Shasta Lake said they’d had only four voters show up at their voting site, which includes two precincts. That’s not too surprising because today’s ballot for this area of the county affects only a small subset of the community. 

Registered voters in what is known as Area 2 of the Gateway Unified School District Board will decide whether to elect Casey Bowden or Camille King to fill the District Board’s vacant, and hotly contested, fifth seat.

Mary Axelson, precinct inspector at the Shasta Lake Community Center polling site, confirmed for Shasta Scout that the site has a single accessible Hart InterCivic voting machine, which is intended to serve the needs of those with disabilities but can be used by any voter upon request. No voters have requested to use it so far, she said.

Axelson said the first voter in her precinct showed up at the polls shortly after 7 a.m. and, as required, inspected the ballot bag and boxes to ensure they were empty of ballots and the voting machine screen to ensure that it showed a zero count.

She said while she’s worked the polls for some time, there’s always some anxiety for poll workers on election day because of all the detailed instructions to be followed and, at times, changes to the systems used, including new machines. 

“You’ve really got to want to do this,” Axelson explained. “I wish more young people got involved.”

Shasta County elections rover, Steve Taylor, told poll workers at the site, and Shasta Scout, that monitors from the Secretary of State’s office are on the ground in Shasta County and that he had already met with one while moving from poll site to poll site to conduct his duties. They’re to be treated the same as any other community observer who checks in at a voting site, he said.

Their presence was expected by Shasta County Registrar of Voters, Cathy Darling Allen according to comments to the press yesterday.

California’s Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, told Shasta County officials last week by letter that she stood ready to take any actions necessary to ensure that elections occur without interruption. Weber was responding to an appeal from six statewide advocacy groups, citing concerns about free and fair elections based on concerns about rampant misinformation being spread by both community members and some public officials, notably Shasta County Board Supervisor, Patrick Jones. (Full Story)