What’s Next For Shasta County Voting? Hand Counting, Supervisor Jones Says.

By Annelise Pierce,
Shasta Scout,
February 26, 2023


Shasta County Supervisor and Board Chair Patrick Jones has placed the County’s voting process on the agenda again for this Tuesday, February 28. 

He hopes other Supervisors will like his idea to transition the County to an elections process that would involve hand counting the vote. 

“We’re a small County and (hand counting) is definitely possible,” Jones told Shasta Scout by phone last week, “And it’s going to be a lot cheaper than what we were doing before.” 

What the County has been doing is using machines to electronically tabulate votes. It’s how elections are conducted all across California, but it worries Jones, who believes electronic voting machines are susceptible to outside manipulation.

On January 24, those concerns led Jones to vote to cancel the County’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. He was joined in the vote by two other Supervisors, Chris Kelsom and Kevin Crye, both of whom said while they might not be concerned about Dominion voting machines themselves, replacing them is necessary to restoring trust in the local elections process.

Supervisors have not yet chosen a process to replace Dominion, but their choices are few: California has only three state-certified electronic voting machine systems.

Shasta County Clerk and Registrar of Voters, Cathy Darling Allen, said she has no comment on Jones’ statement that a hand count would be cheaper for the County because hand counting is not a legal option.

“I’ve done no research into (the cost of) hand counting,” Darling Allen said, “because it’s not legal in the state of California or anywhere else in the U.S.”

That’s why, as Darling Allen sees it, the vote to cancel the contract with Dominion means Supervisors will need to decide which of the other two state-approved electronic systems will work best for them moving forward. 

She’s bringing that matter to the Board’s agenda Tuesday, with a recommendation that Supervisors either choose one of those two voting systems or rescind their previous vote to cancel the contract with Dominion. (Full Story)