Ballot controversy mars District 4 supervisor race

June 15, 2018

Tommy Gong

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A pair of local attorneys representing incumbent County Supervisor Lynn Compton is demanding that the San Luis Obispo County clerk-recorder stop counting a batch of disputed ballots in the still undecided District 4 supervisorial race, arguing the top local election official would be violating the law by continuing to tally the contested votes. County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong is not heeding the warning. [Cal Coast Times]

In the District 4 race, Compton leads challenger Jimmy Paulding by a total of 81 votes. It is unclear how many ballots remain uncounted.

The outcome of the District 4 race will determine whether conservatives keep the board of supervisors majority or liberals gain control of the board. Compton is a conservative Republican, while Paulding is a liberal Democrat.

Controversy in the vote count currently surrounds 31 mail-in ballots with signatures that do not match the voters’ signatures on their registration forms.

After elections officials found ballots with signatures that did not match, they provided the Compton and Paulding campaigns with lists of voters to whom the ballots belonged. Both campaigns then contacted the voters and managed to resolve some of the mismatching signatures.

By the deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday, 31 ballots still contained signatures that were mismatches. County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong then decided to extend the deadline for reconciling the mismatching signatures until 5 p.m. Friday.

Compton’s attorneys, Charles Bell and Stew Jenkins, argue that Gong did not have the legal grounds to extend the deadline for cleaning up the ballots. Bell and Jenkins cite California Elections Code as stating voters have until 5 p.m. on the eighth day following to election to clean up their signatures.

The eighth day following the election was Wednesday.

In a letter to Gong, Bell and Jenkins demand that the clerk-recorder stop processing vote-by-mail ballots with signatures that do not match the voter’s signature on file.

Gong, in turn, refused to stop processing the contested ballots, arguing that the eight-day rule applies to ballots with no signature at all, not mismatching signatures. Gong also says he is trying to enfranchise the voters who cast the contested ballots.

At the heart of the dispute is California Elections Code Section 3019(a). The code section states an elections official should give a voter until 5 p.m. on the eighth day following the election to provide a signature if it is determined that the voter “failed to sign the identification envelope.”

While it is unclear how the 31 ballots would tally if counted, there is suspicion in the county that the votes would trend Democratic, or in favor of Paulding. Some critics are alleging Gong is providing undue assistance to Paulding and local Democrats by continuing to process the contested ballots.


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copperhead

Those damn russians must be at it again! Typical government, make operation. Make rules that you don’t follow, or your officials won’t follow, and then fight about it in court at taxpayer expense. Waste much?


womanwhohasbeenthere

The law provides that unsigned ballots must be decided upon after eight days. Mr. Gong is claiming that time limit does not apply because the ballots are signed although not clearly enough to show that the real, correct voters signed them. Under this logic, this election count could go on forever. Gong is putting 100% verification no matter how long it takes (years? forever?), ahead of the clear intent of the law, which is to hold him, the Clerk, to a reasonable time line to declare the election results.


George Bailey

Recall Tommy Gong.


The Identarian

Watch out! This is how Stuart Smalley got to be a US Senator!


AmericaTheFree

At least Stuart, a fictional character by the way, is white, right?


“identarian”, adjective: Relating to or supporting the political interests of a particular racial, ethnic, or national group, typically one composed of Europeans or white people. – Oxford Dictionaries


Mariposa

Did Tommy really think no one would notice cards being passed under the table? Does Tommy think no one will mind if he rewrites the law to coincide with an already contentious election?


panflash

“You know, comrades, that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”

Josef Stalin


Jorge Estrada

Sure that makes perfectly good sense. So if I sell my blank absentee ballot for $100, what is important is that the vote is properly counted, right? Sounds like a good meal ticket for the I don’t care crowd and success for the victory sponsors.


jimmy_me

Let me see… Stalin won a lot of those elections, and now so has Compton. I’m starting to see the connection you’re referring to.


Slosum

If the signatures are so wildly different, then that constitutes a ballot unsigned by the ballot holder. The deadline for an “unsigned” ballot was this past Wednesday. Case closed.


horse_soldier

Julie Rodewald ran this office for decades without an issue.

So much for this being a non partisan office.