News Roundup: Shasta Supervisors meeting on voting tech today; welcoming Tommy Gong to CVF board

March 28, 2023

Shasta supervisors consider new voting system and hand counting all ballots; California voter advocacy groups provide guidance and facts

Today Shasta County Supervisors are meeting to consider whether to adopt a new computerized voting system and whether to adopt a policy of hand counting ballots.

nonprofits-letterLast week, a coalition of California nonprofit voter advocacy groups including  ACLU Foundation of Northern California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, California Common Cause, California Voter Foundation, Disability Rights California, League of Women Voters of California and Verified Voting sent a second letter to Shasta's supervisors regarding these decisions, explaining how computer technology is utilized to benefit the voting process and why relying solely on hand counts can produce inaccuracies and delay election results (the group’s first letter, sent in February is available here).

The agenda and meeting documents for today’s supervisors’ meeting are online and a meeting livestream is available. The board initially convened in a special meeting at 8 am today to discuss the appointment of a new county CEO who is also a leader in the Northern California secessionist movement, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Their regular meeting is underway now, with Items R6 and R7 on the agenda relating to voting technology and hand counting decisions.

In addition, a new Manual Tally Information page has been added to Shasta County’s election web site, featuring a 26-page manual tally analysis report and letter to supervisors from Shasta County Clerk/ Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen (and CVF board chair), describing what would be required to move to all-hand counting of Shasta County’s ballots. Local news organization A News Cafe covered this report here featuring this excerpt:

"It would cost nearly $1.7 million dollars. It would require more than 1,300 staff members. It would be more time-consuming. It would be less accurate. It would take longer. It would put Shasta County at risk for missing statutory Secretary of State certification deadlines. All those statements refer to findings about hand-tallied elections.”

For a helpful overview of how Shasta County arrived at this juncture, watch this recent MSNBC investigative piece.

CVF welcomes Tommy Gong to the Board of Directors

The California Voter Foundation welcomes Tommy Gong to the Board of Directors, bringing to CVF his extensive experience administering California elections at the local level for over twenty years.

Tommy joined the Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Department as its Chief Deputy Clerk-Recorder in July 2021. He recently completed the national Election Center’s Certified Election & Registration Administrator program and serves as an Advisory Board member for the Election Official Legal Defense Network. Tommy also led the efforts of the Coalition of Bay Area Election Officials for counties to join forces and collaborate on building public trust in elections in shared media markets.

Amongst Tommy’s hobbies is the practicing and teaching of martial arts. His book, Bruce Lee – The Evolution of a Martial Artist was the culmination of a five-year project that chronicles Lee's development in the martial arts.