CVF in the News

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.

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service, November 6, 2023


Election Hero Day and tomorrow, "good government" groups will be monitoring the local election in rural Shasta County, to support election workers there and make sure the laws are followed.

Recently, members of the Board of Supervisors said they wanted a hand count on election night, even though state law requires the first count to be done using optical scanners.

Dora Rose, deputy director of the League of Women Voters of California, will be in Shasta County for the vote. She condemned the county's attempt to get rid of voting machines and spread fear about potential voter fraud.

"A few key decision-makers have perpetrated the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen," Rose explained. "Based on that false claim, they took very risky, very disruptive actions that could have destabilized the election."

By David Benda, Record Searchlight, November 3, 2023


Shasta County Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen anticipates officials from the California Secretary of State’s Office to be in Redding for the upcoming special election.

Darling Allen told the Record Searchlight in an email that she believes "we will have observers here from the (Secretary of State) next week.”

The Secretary of State’s Office did not immediately reply to an email that asked if its representatives planned to be in Shasta County for the election and if so, in what capacity.

Tuesday’s election will be the first in Shasta County since Assembly Bill 969 became law. Signed on Oct. 4 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the law bans the hand counts in elections in all but the smallest jurisdictions in California.

The new law targets Shasta County’s controversial move to eliminate machine tallies in local elections.

By Jessica Garrison, Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2023


In many elections, the suspense comes from wondering which candidate is going to win.

In Shasta County, the question everyone is hanging on is: Will the local election next Tuesday bring unrest or even violence? 

The county of about 200,000 people on the northern rim of the Central Valley made national news last spring when a far-right majority on the Board of Supervisors, swept up in unproven voter fraud claims, decided to dump Dominion voting machines and hand-count its ballots instead.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials then stepped in to stop the plan. On Oct. 4, Newsom signed a law limiting counties from hand-counting ballots. In response, Patrick Jones, chair of the Board of Supervisors, said he favored such a count anyway, declaring in the local newspaper: “I believe [the new law] does not affect Shasta County.”

By George Winship, A News Cafe, November 1, 2023


Like a mongrel cross of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” and Gioachino Rossini’s opera buffa “The Barber of Seville,” Patrick Henry Jones led his merry troupe of political players — better known as the Shasta County Board of Supervisors — on an 8-hour romp through a repertoire of old favorites cleverly coupled with some new agenda items to keep audience members guessing whether “The Gunsmith of Shasta” might be a hit or a miss.

Parts of the meeting were a farce as acts, cleverly designed as agenda items, were moved willy-nilly out of order while others were postponed to another yet-to-be-announced show date.

By Jenavieve Hatch, The Sacramento Bee, October 31, 2023


California’s Secretary of State has told the Shasta County Board of Supervisors in a letter that it cannot hand-count ballots in its Nov. 7 special election.

In a letter sent Friday to the board and Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta’s registrar of voters, Secretary of State Shirley Weber said the county must comply with new legislation that bars the hand-counting of ballots. The letter was sent in response to one her office received just days earlier from a nonpartisan coalition of voting rights groups that voiced concerns about the safety and integrity of the vote.

By David Benda, Record Searchlight, October 31, 2023


Jones got into it with county Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen over the contract with the Hart voting machines.

Jones alleged supervisors were misled by Darling Allen, claiming that they did not know the machines can also electronically tabulate ballots when they OK'd the contract.

Jones led the charge to develop a hand-count system in Shasta County after he, Crye and Kelstrom voted to terminate the county’s former contract with Dominion Voting Systems.

But it became moot when Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 4 signed into law AB 969, which bans the manual tally of ballots in all but the tiniest towns.

Last week, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, in a letter to Shasta supervisors, stated she expects the county to follow the law in the Nov. 7 special election.

By Lynn LA, CAL Matters, October 30, 2023


Normally an election to set up a fire district and fill one school board seat in a county with just 112,000 registered voters wouldn’t get statewide attention. 

But the Nov. 7 election in Shasta County is far from normal and will be closely watched — including by the Secretary of State’s office. 

That county’s Board of Supervisors has been embroiled in a series of battles between its conservative and more moderate members — all of whom are Republican. In January, the board voted 3-2 to cancel its contract with Dominion Voting for ballot-counting machines, which were the focus of unproven allegations about election fraud. The cancellation has prompted outcry at board meetings and a recall effort against Supervisor Kevin Crye, who recall proponents say was the swing vote in the decision.

By Taylor Helmes, Action News Now, October 30, 2023


The state said it will monitor Shasta County ahead of the November 7th special election. 

Shasta County Board of Supervisors Chairman Patrick Jones said he expected a letter like this, but Shasta County Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen said this letter is special. 

The Secretary of State Shirley Weber sent the letter to the Board of Supervisors and Registrar of Voters on October 27th.

Jones called this an overreach by the state against the county and that he is seeking out legal firms to take this matter to court. He said he is more focused on the primary election in March 2024, not the special election next week. 

By Annelise Pierce, Shasta Scout, October 29, 2023


California’s Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, has responded to a letter sent last week by a group of nonprofit, nonpartisan voting rights advocates by issuing a stern warning to Shasta County officials. Comply with new state law AB 969, which forbids hand counting in jurisdictions with more than 1,000 registered voters, Weber wrote, or be ready for her office to take any actions necessary to ensure the county does so.

As California Secretary of State, Weber is the state’s chief election officer, tasked with overseeing the elections process statewide. She is responding in no uncertain terms to recent claims by Shasta County Board Chair Patrick Jones that AB 969 might not apply in Shasta County because the decision to hand count votes locally was made months before the bill was created.