Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

Far-right California countys bid to hand count votes will cost millions

Far-right California countys bid to hand count votes will cost millions


Far-right California countys bid to hand count votes will cost millions

In Shasta county, a deep red enclave in far northern California, officials are intensifying their push to replace voting machines with a costly and experimental hand-count system that could cost an additional $4m over two years.

The decision of the far-right majority on the region's governing body, the Shasta county board of supervisors, to press ahead with the controversial plan comes as half the county's workforce is preparing to strike over wages. Officials on the board recently said the county did not have enough money to pay requested wage increases for workers.

The move has deepened divisions in a small county where public spending budgets are tight, with critics denouncing the price tag of an overhaul based on lies about election fraud.

In a tense meeting that saw one county supervisor served with recall paperwork, the board's ultra conservative majority renewed their support for a system that will cost three times more than the voting machines the county previously used.

"We're going to have free and fair elections in Shasta county," said Patrick Jones, the chair of the board of supervisors, at a meeting on Tuesday. "Apparently money seems to be more important than making sure our elections are fair."

The board of supervisors has pushed the rural county of 180,000 people into the national spotlight with its decision this year to upend the county's voting system without a replacement, and attempt to create a new system from scratch.

Conspiracy theorists who believe that voting machines helped to steal the presidency from Donald Trump have seized on the county with high-profile figures in the movement, such as the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, offering their support.

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