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Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Jones’ concerns over 2020 election fraud overruled by board

A ballot drop box outside of the Shasta County Clerk's office
Roman Battaglia
Jefferson Public Radio
The ballot drop box outside the Shasta County Clerk's office in Redding, Calif.

Supervisors in Shasta County have finally put to rest claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

While the 2020 election is in the rearview mirror for most people, that’s not the case in Shasta County, where supervisors have been debating whether to preserve voting records over cryptic claims that fraud occurred during the last presidential election.

According to California law, paper ballots must be destroyed 22 months after an election. That date passed on Sept. 3, 2022. But District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones sought to keep the ballots for an additional six months, because of the possibility of an election fraud lawsuit. Jones provided no details about what the potential lawsuit would have focused on or who would have filed it.

On Tuesday, the four other members of the county board denied Jones' motion.

“If there is something that somebody can prove, they’ve had 22 months to do it," said District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman, about why a legal challenge hasn't yet been filed. "At this point, if we ask you to hold it for six months and you do, chances are it’s not gonna be heard anyway.”

The board’s legal counsel said it’s unlikely a court would even hear a legal challenge past the required holding period.

District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert suggested it would be difficult for a small, 18-person county clerk's office to hide evidence of election fraud.

“If there was election fraud going on, certainly in this small of a community, this would've come out years ago," said Rickert. "You would have heard about it, somebody would’ve leaked it."

Now, the County Clerk Cathy Darling Allen can destroy the two-year-old ballots.

Jones says he will continue to try and prove there was also election interference in the 2022 primary election, though he has not provided specific examples.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.