Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta County Clerk and Registrar of Voters would like to share the prepared remarks made to the Board of Supervisors on October 31, 2023.
I have prepared some information for this meeting. On Friday, October 27, 2023 I asked the Board what questions they had for this Board item, but you all declined to provide that information. If the questions from the Board are not addressed here in my remarks I may provide written responses where appropriate.
Today is 7 days until the County’s upcoming special election and 126 days until the March Presidential Primary election. With the little time we have left for the upcoming November election, my staff and I are focused on completing the tasks required to ensure that our county can conduct a lawful, transparent, and accurate election.
I am the elected official statutorily authorized to conduct elections in Shasta County, and it is my duty to follow the law, including the recently passed AB 969. AB 969 very plainly does not permit a full manual vote count for the upcoming elections here in Shasta County. In addition, both state and federal law require a voting system in place to provide tools that help ensure that those with visual, physical, or cognitive disabilities can independently cast their vote. As such, any attempt to prevent the use of our county’s voting system implicates both law and voter accessibility.
I also understand that the Board is considering terminating its voting system contract with Hart InterCivic. Under AB969, any such termination would be ineffective unless and until another certified voting system contract is in place.
After the Board’s decision to cancel the County’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems, my staff and I took the necessary steps to follow the Board of Supervisors’ April 6th decision to enter into a contract with Hart InterCivic. During that meeting, the Board authorized me to execute an agreement with Hart InterCivic, not to exceed $950,000 of county funds, for the purchase of equipment, associated hardware, and software to use their certified Verity voting system.
Contrary to claims made by certain members of the Board, I and my staff fully disclosed the nature and terms of the Hart InterCivic contract and its system, including the ability of Hart scanners to tabulate voter ballots and the associated budgetary requirements. My disclosures of these facts to the Board is easily confirmed by reviewing the livestream recording of the April 6 meeting, the accompanying Board report, and the legal minutes from the Board’s special meeting.
Since the April 6 meeting, my staff and I complied with the Board’s decision to cancel the Dominion contract and approve the new Hart contract. We also have expended enormous time and energy complying with the Board’s request to manually count ballots, including devising a 92 page manual tally plan. Over the last four months, we have updated crucial day to day processes, created procedures to implement an entirely new voting system, moved locations to create room to serve voters and manually count ballots, implemented a new remote accessible vote by mail system, and prepared for a special election.
My staff must now continue with their efforts to focus on their tasks at hand. Any changes to resources or decisions that impact the day-to-day operations of my office, including any attempt to modify our current voting system contract, will impair my authority to conduct elections on behalf of all the citizens who reside here in Shasta County.
My course of action will be to continue to follow the laws of the State of California and protect the democratic process for the voters in Shasta County. I will continue to ensure the highest possible degree of integrity of the County’s election process through the administration of all federal, state, and local election laws in a uniform, consistent and accessible manner. I will uphold the democratic tradition that has been enshrined in this county, this state, and this country for decades.
I am deeply disappointed by the chaos and division created by the actions of this Board. I will continue to serve our voters in a nonpartisan manner, but I reject efforts by members of this Board to berate me and my staff, who work tirelessly to facilitate effective democratic processes in this county. At no point in my career as a public servant and elected official can I recall being treated as poorly and unprofessionally as I have been over the last year. It must stop.
I have been clear and transparent on the resources and systems needed to provide voters with a ballot and provide my staff with the ability to count those ballots. I am committed to ensuring the highest possible degree of integrity of the County’s election process through administration of all federal, state, and local election laws in a uniform, consistent and accessible manner.
If you have specific questions or concerns, please email me at email@example.com.