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Grand Jury Finds Elections Officials Followed Pertinent Election Laws and Codes

The 2023-2024 Shasta County Grand Jury investigated the Shasta County Elections  Office after receiving a complaint alleging that on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, elections officials violated elections codes when did not allow election observers to “see the ballot envelopes nor challenge the signature verification” of mail-in ballots. The grand jury feels it is important to clarify any lingering misconceptions within the community about election observations.

The grand jury conducted interviews with elections management, toured the elections office, and reviewed pertinent elections laws.

In the past, observers were allowed in the signature verification room. However, recent
disruptions by some observers made it more difficult for elections staff to do their job. As a
result, elections officials no longer allow observers in the room. On October 24, 2023, observers watched the process through windows and on video screens in a room adjacent to the verification room. The screen clearly showed how elections employees compared ballot signatures with voter registration signatures.

The complainants wished to challenge some signature comparisons, but they were informed that they did not have the ability nor the authority to challenge the signatures.  They only could challenge the process. California elections code specifically states that observers may challenge “the manner” in which the ballots are handled. It does not allow for the challenging of signatures.

The observers also requested that elections employees slow down so that they could more easily see the signatures, but this would have disrupted  the process and delayed signature validation, which is also against elections code.

The grand jury found the Shasta County elections officials followed relevant sections of the California Elections Code and California Bill of Rights on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, and the complainant did not have the right to challenge signatures or or have staff members slow down the process.

As this report’s only finding is a commendation, under California law, there are no required responses. The grand jury has invited the Shasta County Registrar of Voters and Board of Directors to respond within 60 days.

The full report CITIZEN OVERSIGHT OF SHASTA COUNTY ELECTIONS may be viewed at
www.shastacounty.gov/grand-jury/page/reports-responses

Press Release

-from press release

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