As you know, Dominion Voting Systems has come under much scrutiny in the past few years. And as a result, at least one county in deep blue California has decided to stop using its machines.
On Tuesday, Shasta County’s Board of Supervisors voted to end their contract with Dominion. They are the first to do so in the state.
Now, to be clear, Shasta is one of the more conservative counties in the state. According to SFGate, Trump won the county with about a percent of the vote. Biden amassed a mere 32.3 percent. Additionally, its board is made up primarily of conservatives.
However, the vote still doesn’t bode well for Dominion.
Dominion lost a 3-2 vote in which supervisors Patrick Jones, Chris Kelstrom, and Kevin Crye voted against the controversial voting machine company. Supervisors Tim Garman and Mary Rickert voted to keep the systems in place.
According to Garman, a conservative, there are indeed concerns with the company’s voting machines. However, he wanted more information before making such a switch. As he told the Redding Record Searchlight, “We have a right to the people to do our due diligence.”
For Rickert, her opposition to ending Dominion’s services in the county had more to do with recent election outcomes. as she pointed out, to question Dominion would also be to question the board’s own election wins. Of course, as another board member pointed out, it’s not like she has anything to lose either way. She ran unopposed.
For those that voted to end Dominion’s participation in the county, the concerns revolved around a number of inconsistencies, such as the fact that not a single “non-establishment” candidate had won in recent elections against incumbents.
Now, what this means is that, more than likely, the county will turn to one of two other electric voting systems already approved for use in the state: Hart InterCivic or Election Systems & Software.
But as some in the meeting mentioned, perhaps the solution is to do away with voting machines altogether, the outlet reported.
Naturally, that’s a whole other controversial issue. And one that Shasta County Clerk/Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen said was a decision for the Legislature and state law, not the board of supervisors.
Additionally, such a decision would need to be backed with no small amount of evidence backing up claims that hand counts are more accurate and secure. And as assistant county clerk and registrar of voters, Joanna Francescut says that evidence is lacking.
As she told the outlet, the county has participated in what is considered a standard auditing practice for a while now, taking a small percentage of randomly selected precincts and doing a hand count. After doing one percent of Shasta County’s 2018 election, they found one mistake.
Additionally, when similar audits have occurred nationwide, most errors found during hand counts have been attributed to user mistakes.
One of the most significant examples of this occurred in the 2020 election of Antrim County in Michigan, where Dominion systems were used. Here, voting machines said that Biden had won by around 3,000 votes. But a hand count showed that trump had actually won by a whopping 3,700 votes.
According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, “county user error” was the cause of the massive discrepancy.
Similarly, hand counts in Georgia showed that thousands of ballots hadn’t been tallied during the 2020 general election, again where Dominion voting systems were used. This, too, was found to be the fault of human error in uploading the ballots.
So is it really the machine’s fault when people don’t know how to operate them?
Still, something is to be said about their use of them altogether.
Perhaps the easiest solution would be to forego voting machines instead of hand counts. After all, that’s what nations like Germany and France have always done. And there’s not nearly so much lack of public trust in those counts.