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Transparent theories

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Richard Patten. What a guy! He was back at it on April 19 at the SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting. Only this time he wasn't advocating for his gerrymandered redistricting map, because we're using it in the June primary.

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Now, he's advocating on behalf of the Big Lie. I guess he finally feels safe sharing his "theories" about elections in SLO County with the general public. He's letting his freak flag fly, and I only wonder why he didn't do it sooner—like seven months ago—because it really would have helped Team Anything But The Patten Map in the run-up to the supervisors vote on a final redistricting map last fall.

I think. I hope?

Patten is deep in conspiracy land, so deep, in fact, that he didn't even know exactly what he was sharing with the Board of Supervisors during his April 19 public comment. He put up a slide and basically said: "See, I caught them. Election fraud!"

But what he said his slide was showing—ballots being counted faster than the speed of light—wasn't actually what it was showing.

"In 36 seconds, 4,400 ballots were injected into the system," Patten said. "That's a physical impossibility."

How exactly does one "inject" ballots into a system. With a syringe?

Actually, Clerk-Recorder's Office Deputy Registrar Melissa Lile explained, it takes hours and hours to hand-count batches of adjudicated ballots and scan them into the system. What his slide was showing was the office changing the status of the ballots already scanned and sitting in the system. However, resident dais conspiracy enable-ist 5th District Supervisor Debbie "They're Banking Water And Maybe Committing Election Fraud, Too" Arnold wasn't sure she liked the answer.

"I don't know," she said. "I still feel anytime a citizen comes forward with anything that has to do with election, it just triggers my thoughts that I've been having all along."

What exactly does it trigger? Fear of the internet and technology? I bet ballots are counted more accurately by machine than they ever were by the human eye—"to err is human" and all that.

Arnold proceeded to allude without specificity to myriad theories that contribute to the overarching Big Lie perpetuated by her friend, The Donald. She insisted, though, "It has nothing to do with the way we in this county operate our elections." If only the county, which isn't doing anything wrong, could audit more than 1 percent of its ballots after the election, she said.

Really? Auditing 2 percent of ballots isn't going to ease the mind of the troubled lot Arnold answers to. Lile literally just explained that what Patten believed was evidence of fraud was nothing of the sort. Do you think he believed her?

If Arnold trusts the elections process under which she was voted into office, shouldn't she be pushing back against her little map-making friend, Patten? Continuing to call for more transparency after witnessing an act of transparency just highlights the crux of this issue. If you don't like an answer or the answer doesn't feed into the political narrative you want it to, pretend it isn't happening.

County clerk-recorder candidate Stew "I'm Pursuing My Calling But Have No Experience" Jenkins is leaning into the Big Lie and crossing his fingers that it helps get him to a place he's been wanting to be for years: politically relevant. His slogan—"honest elections you can trust"—says everything I need to know about him.

"If you have a whole significant number of people who have received more than one ballot—and I know that that is happening—that tears down trust," Jenkins said.

Can you define "a whole significant number of people" for me please? Also, receiving multiple ballots doesn't mean you get to vote multiple times. Hello! Even before mail-in ballots, people could request another ballot. What if they messed up while filling it out? Or lost it? Tough shit? They don't get to vote?

That's not how the system works. And Jenkins, being the astute, lawyerly guy that he is absolutely knows better but says different.

The system allows you to vote exactly one time per election. And if fellow clerk-recorder candidate James "We Need More Transparency" Baugh's personal experience of things is any indication of the system's adequacy, then the system works exactly as it should.

Baugh volunteered as a local precinct worker in the last couple of elections. He said he was concerned by what he saw.

"We kept getting people showing up holding up their mail-in ballots, and then we'd look in the computer and look them up, and they're red-lighted, saying they already voted," Baugh said.

How many people really tried to vote twice? Can you be specific? Also, red-lighting people who already voted means that people only got to vote once. What about that is concerning to you? Isn't it first-hand evidence that the system is doing its job?

It's exactly what the system is designed to do, according to another candidate and a person who's worked elections for quite some time now, Interim county Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano. Cano, who Stew condescendingly called "an adequate technician," said people can receive more than one ballot for a multitude of reasons, but they only get to vote once. Once they vote, they get flagged, and that's it. No do-overs. Δ

The Shredder is red-flagging the Big Lie. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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