SLO County voter guide includes multiple errors, candidates seek redress

October 13, 2022


The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Office sent out voter guides and ballots to residents last week, which appear to be rife with mistakes and omissions that several candidates believe could impact the Nov. 8 election.

Four people are running for mayor of San Luis Obispo: incumbent Mayor Erica Stewart, Jeff Specht, Richard Orcutt and Don Hedrick. The city charged $300 for candidates to have their ballot statements published in the Voter Information Guide.

Many voters read the statements before determining who they will vote for.

Specht, who paid to be included in the guide, discovered the wording of his statement had been altered in a way that makes him appear illiterate.

These errors put me at a disadvantage” Specht said. “At the very least, the city needs to quickly mail every voter a correct copy of my candidate statement.”

After city employees initially blamed the SLO County Clerk Recorder for the error, SLO City Clerk Teresa Purrington admitted her office made several mistakes when recopying Specht’s statement.

“We had to retype your statement,” Purrington said. “It was a mistake.”

While the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder provided campaign statements for two of the candidates running for the Area 3 seat on the Lucia Mar Unified School District Board, the clerk failed to include the statement of Ashley Smeester.

In a similar vein, the clerk’s office properly included the ballot statements of three of the five candidates running for a seat on the Pismo Beach City Council. However, the clerk’s office failed to include a ballot statement for Kevin Kreowski while including two for Stacy Inman.

County and city officials could quickly mail out ballot statement for the impacted candidates, though some residents have already filled out their ballots. In some cases, these types of errors have led to a redo or special election, the process of voiding election results and holding a new election.

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Fabulous. So they fixed the Voter Guide and spent taxpayer $$$ to send out corrections to voters. Do we know what the office is doing about the actual ballots with the errors? Not everyone reads the Voter Guide.

And I’m surprised no one is talking about Judge Hernaldo Baltodano’s name being misspelled on the ballot, too.

Last, Cano has neglected to provide an accessible version of the ballot and voter guide on the website, both of which are required by CA Election Code. Simple pdfs do not qualify.

I’d be interested to see the City and County statements in full – by the sound of it Specht submitted an illegible statement, it’s unsurprising that staff didn’t receive a corrected statement based on his clear vitriol for the people who serve this community.

While the error is regrettable, it will hardly change anything. Stewart and Orcutt strike me as serious candidates who are actually interested in the job of mayor and participation on City Council – Specht’s mayoral ambitions is in the league of perennial Donald Hendrick. Which I would prefer is hard to say.

We need to be sensitive to these overworked Elected Officials and Public employees. Putting a voter guide together in this age of instant information is a daunting task. With all the interruptions: texts from the kids, facebook post popping up from friends, calls from the schools about the children’s gender choice for the day, and the vets office about fidio’s psych meds, the planning meeting at the employee brake room to decide where to go to lunch, and that’s just half of the day. Be happy they were able to get it done at all. Next year, after the annual salary and benefit increases are approved, they will ask to bring in a contractor to do their work because of the stress caused by last years overwhelming workload.

For the benefit of the lame-ass “public servants”, their cowardly worthless supervisors, and the public employees unions….. in case you still don’t get it, here’s a little reminder that might help you to understand:

Have a nice day…..

Great reality check. Let’s not forget that these overworked, highly educated employees, have to drop their kids off at daycare or school everyday at 9:00 am. Then they have to go to the gym during work hours (Visit Kennedy Fitness in SLO during the work day and see the vehicles) or visit local parks during the afternoon where government employees are playing soccer, basketball and volleyball during work hours. Then as you note, where to go to lunch is a key decision making process, especially after spending all morning talking sports and gossiping, Then many leave by 3:00 pm to pick up their kids and then take them to the beach, go to the market and much more because they work so hard. Throw in the extra marital affairs at the County offices during work hours and it is amazing they were able to get this work done. It is truly a hard job and difficult to manage a guaranteed revenue source.

These employees either intentionally made the errors and should be fired or are so incompetent that it was an accident, in which case they should be fired>

Stew Jenkins would have proofread every word personally after the staff work was done. And SLO deliberately made a challenger to the mayor seem less than literate.

It doesn’t matter what Jenkins would have done. He’s a non-factor here.

Cano and her so-called leadership are incompetent, without a doubt. Those that voted for her should be ashamed.

I agree with the statement on SLO city. The actions of certain areas of their staff still must have the holdover thought of corruption from the Heidi Harmon era. Their actions weren’t by accident.

I have no confidence in fair elections anymore. Too many from a certain political party using their position to control the process and directions of their desires for those they want elected.

End voting by mail other than absentee and get back to in-person voting at the various precincts. Much more fair, simple and quicker election results. It always worked before.

Honest to God- this is unbelievable, utterly and completely unbelievable.

This is an election, for God’s sake ! There is no- NO- excuse for this inexcusable incompetent imbecility. These people are paid- PAID- to provide us with an unblemished perfect election ballot process. This is their only job- they have ONE major important thing to do, and they can’t even get that right. They all need to be immediately fired- every damned one of them- every damned one of those who had anything whatsoever to do with this inexcusable debacle, from the very top to the very bottom.

Do we have any accountability left at any governmental level anymore? Any responsibility? Any attention to detail? Any commitment to properly serve the public?

These people are disgraceful blemishes on our society. They should not even be allowed back into their offices to clean out their desks. My God, people, does anyone remember anything about the French Revolution anymore? Our society is in peril. We are doomed, until and unless we get these blemishes removed once and for all from our so-called “governments.”

This is utterly shameful. Get them out- NOW !

I read Mr. Specht’s statement on the ballot guide. There are at least two errors and I wonder if county staff is competent to transcribe simple sentences accurately (assuming Jeff is bright enough to have someone proof read his offering and made it perfect).

Doesn’t county staff proof read their transcriptions before publishing them? Really??? They didn’t or the proofreader was faulty as well.

Did we make a dreadful mistake when selecting our new County Clerk? This and other errors indicate our elections office is not up to snuff.

The answer to the first question is no, the second answer is yes you did.

What a complete train wreck. What is up with these incompetent city and county employees. They all need to be brought to a meeting in the cities impacted, and Cano needs to go before the BOS in a public hearing setting and be held accountable for this mess she is supposed to be overseeing. This is unacceptable and department heads need to roll. The voters deserve and must demand accountability.

Where is Wade and Rita? Asleep at the wheel again while rolling in their over compensated positions that they continue to fail at? The BOS need have an emergency meeting with the public included and broadcast on the local news affiliates.

At the very least, Cano should be fired. The BOS need to also send Wade Horton and Rita Neal packing as well. The voter fraud claim seems to be alive and well. What do you have to say about that Gibson? The best thing is, he’ll be a “lame duck” after November 8th. This whole situation is unbelievable.

Oh C’mon man! Nobody cares about statements from those running for office anymore.

An R is an R, and a D is a D. That’s how most people vote now a days. The straight party vote come hell or high water.

This narrow mindset is appalling and detrimental to society in the worst ways.

It was really a tongue in cheek comment unusualsuspect. But to some extent, it is a true statement in the bigger scheme of politics today.