Election integrity activist files for hand recount of county supervisor race



An outspoken skeptic of local election integrity requested a hand recount of the San Luis Obispo County 4th District supervisor race on July 12—allegedly without the blessing of the losing candidate.

Challenger Jimmy Paulding defeated incumbent Lynn Compton by 639 votes—a 51.5 to 48.5 percent margin—in the heated South County race for supervisor, according to June 7 primary election results certified on July 7.

RECOUNT A Paso Robles resident filed a request for a hand recount in the 4th District supervisor race between Jimmy Paulding and Lynn Compton, which Paulding won by 639 votes. - FILE PHOTOS BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • RECOUNT A Paso Robles resident filed a request for a hand recount in the 4th District supervisor race between Jimmy Paulding and Lynn Compton, which Paulding won by 639 votes.

Darcia Stebbens, a Paso Robles resident and voter outside of the 4th District, filed the recount request within the five-day window allowed by law following election certification, according to SLO County Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano.

A copy of Stebbens' filing states that she requested the recount "on behalf of Lynn Compton (not necessarily at the request of)."

When reached by phone on July 13, Compton told New Times that she does not know Stebbens, was not consulted or involved in her request, and "is not personally contesting [the election]."

"I have no involvement. I'm not paying for it. I have nothing to do with it," Compton said. "She speaks before the board on election integrity. I don't know her outside of that."

Compton said that she accepts the results of her race.

"I don't believe a recount could overcome 600-plus votes," she said.

According to elections code, the recount must begin no later than a week after the request was filed, and the requester must pay a deposit prior to each day of counting to cover the election office's expenses.

Counts take place daily (excluding weekends), for at least six hours a day, until the recount of the race's 20,899 votes is complete. The counts are to be conducted under the supervision of "special recount boards consisting of four voters of the county appointed by the elections official."

Cano could not be reached for comment before press time.

On the morning of July 12, Stebbens, along with a handful of other residents, spoke during the public comment period of the SLO County Board of Supervisors' meeting to express their doubt about elections.

"I'm here today to speak on election integrity, to continue to speak on election integrity," Stebbens said. "We have local governance that is in question. We have been asking for relevant documents, relevant materials. ... We're not calling into question some of the staff, we're calling into question the process, and, in fact, some of the results."

Stebbens and Richard Patten, another election skeptic, both referenced ancestral ties to American Revolution figures to frame their comments.

"My conscience will not let me remain silent," Patten said. "I don't know what we have planned here today right now, but ... we are not absolved. We do not have fairness and transparency in our elections, either. They are clouded. They're kept hidden."

After public comment closed, 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold made a motion to agendize a resolution that would ask Cano to extend the period of time that her office preserves the June 7 election records. The motion died after it failed to get support from a second supervisor. Δ


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