Tedium of Counting May Threaten Accuracy of Hand Tally

If, after all is said and done, Shasta County elections end up being counted by hand, it’s the boredom that may be the most difficult part of the job, according to Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling-Allen. A public demonstration of the manual system was conducted Thursday at the Elections Office. On Wednesday the governor signed a bill into law that bans hand tallies for any election with more than a thousand registered voters. The upcoming special election for a Gateway School Board position and the Shasta Fire Protection District will be decided by as many as 9,500 voters. Despite the likelihood of Thursday’s exercise being moot, Elections Office staff spent thousands of hours developing the hand tally system, so the dry run seemed to Darling-Allen to be necessary to show how difficult the process would be without the use of technology. Board Chair Patrick Jones is threatening legal action against the state to force a hand count.