Board of Supes Attempts to Hijack Grant Awarded To Elections Office For Excellence

Last year the Shasta County Elections Office was recognized for its excellence by a national organization which provides grant funding along with the award. At a subsequent Board of Supervisors meeting a number of speakers and board members expressed suspicion about the $1.5 million grant, saying the money is from an organization, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, that leans left politically. The three board members who voted to accept the free money last year did so under the condition that it be used only for the construction or purchase of a building for the Elections Office. Tuesday, Assistant Registrar Joanna Francescut reminded the board just how busy the Elections Department was last year as they had to scramble to meet the changing whims of the supervisors. Francescut told the board the money can be used for things such as cameras or other security functions for the elections office or drop boxes, scanners for polling places, hiring and training staff, educating the public about voter responsibilities, and upgrading voter roll software. She said they were unable to find a suitable building for Elections that would be within their economic parameters. After much discussion, the money was accepted under a complicated formula that uses it for mostly already-spent expenses and the final effect is that much of it will go into the general fund rather than to the Elections Office to use as they see fit, which was clearly the intent of the grant. The new formula for the money will be revisited at a future meeting.

-Steve Gibson