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Why a recount request was made for the SLO County District 4 Supervisor race

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The San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder says they don’t have an estimated timeline or cost for the recount at this time.
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Posted at 6:33 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 22:32:33-04

Despite the recent election certification, there is a request for a recount in the District 4 Supervisor race in San Luis Obispo County.

In a letter to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder time-stamped on July 12, 2022, Darcia Stebbens made a request for a recount and ballot inspection “on behalf of Lynn Compton not necessarily at the request of.”

“We have concerned citizens that are interested in making sure that the count is correct and that the results are correct,” Stebbens said.

The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder certified the election results on July 7, 2022.

The rule is that any recount requests must be made within five days. The petition sent in by Stebbens made the cut.

“We've been observing the process over the last several months, and there are some vulnerabilities, especially with the vote-by-mail process, and we wanted to make sure that we have voters that are voting, that are legitimate voters, one vote, one time,” explained Stebbens when asked why she submitted the recount request.

Stebbens asked for a manual recount and the opportunity to examine relevant material which includes provisional ballot envelopes, language translation files and surveillance video recordings specifically for the race between Jimmy Paulding and incumbent District 4 Supervisor Lynn Compton.

District 4 encompasses Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Huasna, Edna Valley, Santa Margarita Lake, and the Carrizo Plain. Stebbens lives in Paso Robles.

“This is one of the closest races in the county,” Stebbens said. “The supervisors are supervisors for the entire county. We've had a conservative majority, and we are concerned that this race — we want it to be correct and if it’s correct, it’s correct.”

In this Primary Election, Paulding won by 639 votes. It was not as close as in 2018 when there was a 60-vote difference and Paulding lost.

“To have a recount in this case where you have 600 or so votes is pretty extraordinary,” explained Cal Poly Political Science Professor Michael Latner. “Typically, when you do have a recount and you have a very close election, the number of ballots that actually get changed between the initial count and a recount is typically in the 10s and 20s.”

In a statement, Jimmy Paulding said in part, “A recount changing the outcome of a race with a 600-plus vote margin is unprecedented. Therefore this recount is an unnecessary and upsetting waste of county resources, but they are acting within their rights to request one. I’m certain our victory will be reconfirmed once this process is complete.”

Lynn Compton told KSBY over the phone, “I’m not behind it. I’m not requesting a recount. I’m not expecting a big change. I’m not paying for it. It’s not my campaign paying for it. […] It’s not at my request or my direction.”

The SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s Office said in a statement that “the recount shall be conducted under the supervision of the elections official by special recount boards consisting of four voters of the county appointed by the elections official.”

“The requesting party has to finance the recount and they lose those funds if the recount does not change the outcome of the election and in this case, it is highly unlikely it would change the outcome,” Professor Latner said.

Stebbens confirmed Lynn Compton is not paying for this request.

“This is a grassroots, this would need to come from other concerned citizens, so we are not sure, we haven’t been given the information as to the budget and how long or when it will start,” explained Stebbens when asked about the financial expenses the recount will bring.

Even if there is no significant change in the results, Professor Latner believes having this recount could help gain voters’ trust.

“We will get a full recount, we will be able to see the results and hopefully that will lend some legitimacy to the work that the clerk-recorder and her staff have been doing all along,” Latner added.

The SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s Office said the recount will start no more than seven days following the receipt of the request. However, they have not shared an estimated timeline or cost for the recount at this time.

To view the election results, click here.