According to Bustamante, the county’s election process works exactly as it should, and her demonstration bears that out.
As nearly everyone knows by now, only 27 votes separated incumbent Lassen County District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle and challenger Jean Hodge in last month’s election — the tightest margin in recent memory in a local election.
At Bustamante’s direction, and as a courtesy to the candidates, the canvass committee hand counted the ballots in that race because it was so close in the days after the election.
The original results tabulated by the county’s election system and the subsequent hand count came up with exactly the same results across the board, proving the system is working.
The clerk noted the 2010-2011 Lassen County Grand Jury investigated her office and the election procedures — not because of a complaint — but due to “public interest in absentee ballot and vote by mail procedures.”
The grand jury found Bustamante was “insightful and extremely well-versed in the law and procedures involved with the election process.” The grand jury also found the county clerk’s procedure for counting ballots was “without reproach.”
In addition, the grand jury observed the “well trained staff” working in the clerk’s office, and they even reported her office “appears to be running smoothly.” After last week’s demonstration, it would be difficult to come up with a different opinion.
There is nothing wrong with a candidate or a member of the public asking an elected official questions or seeking information about something as important as how votes are collected and counted following the close of the polls on Election Day.
These are honorable questions that deserve to be answered in the most honest and transparent fashion one can muster.
We commend both the clerk and the candidate with the concerns for bringing those issues into the clear light of rational discussion for all to see — especially those with concerns about the process.
Bustamante ably rose to the occasion and represented herself and her office well, describing the entire process in great detail and answering the candidate’s gnawing questions along the way.
The candidate still has some questions and concerns, but absent some unexpected revelation from the California Secretary of State’s Office, Lassen County voters should be assured everything in the local election process is in order and working as it should.
Rest easy — it appears your vote and those of your friends and neighbors were counted properly on Election Day.
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