Home World California county nervous over election-rejecting far-right official’s recall attempt

California county nervous over election-rejecting far-right official’s recall attempt

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California county nervous over election-rejecting far-right official's recall attempt

On Super Tuesday, voters in Northern California’s Shasta County weighed in the fate of a far-right official who promoted conspiracy theories that the election was rigged and supported a controversial effort to remove voting machines and implement a manual counting system.

But two weeks after the election, the recall remains too close to call, with Shasta County Supervisor Kevin Crye retaining his seat by fewer than 50 votes. As of Friday, the county elections office still had 1,200 ballots to process and residents are anxiously awaiting the results.

The battle for Crye’s seat was one of several key races in a rural county that has taken on outsized importance in the national political struggle.

Crye, who has held his seat for just over a year, was elected as part of a far-right movement that has taken control of the county in recent years. Shasta has become a hotbed of ultra-conservative politics during the pandemic, with noisy protests and threats against moderate elected officials and the county health officer.

Last year, Crye and the far-right majority of the Board of Supervisors, the county’s governing body, moved to allow people to carry guns in public buildings, in violation of county law. state, and offered the county’s top job to the leader of a California group. secessionist group.

Perhaps most notoriously, they helped Shasta gain national prominence through his membership in the election denial movement, which proposes “solutions” such as the exclusive use of hand-counting votes to improve “election integrity ” based on the lie that the presidency was stolen. by Donald Trump.

Crye, the chairman of the supervisory board and the rest of the far-right majority voted in January 2023 to sever ties with Dominion Voting Systems and create a manual counting system. Even cry I traveled at county expense meet Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow and a leading promoter of lies about election fraud. The county’s attempts to institute a manual counting system were ultimately thwarted by state lawmakers, and Shasta has since begun using Hart InterCivic machines.

As of Friday, Crye had the support of 50.25 percent, or 4,573, of voters opposed to his recall, while 49.75 percent, or 4,527, voted for it, according to results from the Shasta County Election Office.

“It’s not over yet… We’re less than 50 votes behind,” the booster group said. “It’s about as close as it gets, so hold on… There are 1,200 votes left to count – anything can happen.”

While Crye’s race remains too close to call, there are other signs that Shasta voters may be ready for a change.

On March 5, incumbent Patrick Jones, a leader of the local far-right movement who made baseless claims that elections in the county and the United States were manipulated, lost his seat to Matt Plummer, who s is committed to providing an alternative to the county’s “dangerous path of politics.” hostility and division.” Plummer won nearly 60 percent of the vote.

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Supporters of Crye’s recall argued that he had failed to honor his campaign promises to unify the county and advocate for fiscal responsibility, and hoped a recall could force greater change in the county.

“He’s doing things he said he wouldn’t do. He broke his campaign promises. He wasn’t listening to his constituents,” Jeff Gorder, a spokesman for the recall group, told the Guardian last month. “He was elected freely and fairly. But a recall, in our opinion, is appropriate when someone misrepresents their identity.

Crye had described the recall as an attempt by “Democrats in a very red county trying to usurp local control and the people’s vote” and urged residents to stop the state’s Democratic governor from “dictating the future of our county.”

On his local radio show, Crye recently described some members of the recall campaign as evil. “They made up an incredible amount of lies,” he said.

The race has drawn intense interest and involvement from national Republicans and far-right figures, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Kari Lake, a Trump ally from Arizona, who urged residents of Shasta to vote no to the recall.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom could choose Crye’s temporary replacement, if he loses, although recall supporters and local officials have asked him not to. The governor filled these seats in some cases and in other cases left them vacant.

Meanwhile, Shasta County’s deputy clerk and registrar of voters said the change in machines did not delay counting and that the county was on track compared to counting ballots in previous elections .

“We can only process ballots as quickly as we receive them, and when we receive 20,000 ballots on Election Day and we have to do signature verification, that takes time,” said Joanna Francescut. KRCR last week. “It takes work and we appreciate the public’s understanding of this process.”

The Shasta County Elections Office is expected to share its next update Friday.

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