Shasta County Clerk to Retire After 20 Years

After two decades as Shasta County’s elections chief, Cathy Darling Allen has announced her retirement. Darling Allen will step down as the County Clerk/Registrar of Voters on May 5, potentially leaving the far-right board of supervisors to decide on a temporary replacement.

Darling Allen said this week that she has been diagnosed with heart failure, and that a major part of the treatment is stress reduction. 

“As many election officials could probably tell you right now, that’s a tough ask to balance with election administration in the current environment. I feel strongly that my family must be my priority at this time. They have already sacrificed so much, and I must repay that investment by retiring and focusing on my health,” she said.

Darling Allen’s job would be stressful for anyone, let alone a person with health problems. Election deniers have falsely accused her of rigging elections for Democrats. Supervisors have blatantly ignored her advice and pursued schemes like ballot hand-counting, only to be rebuffed by the state. She has been subjected to harassment, threats, and intimidation on the job. 

As a bulwark for free and fair elections in Shasta, Darling Allen's departure could have serious repercussions going into the November election.

Supervisors Mary Rickert and Tim Garman want Assistant County Clerk Joanna Francescut to replace Darling Allen. Garman called it a "no-brainer.” Another option is Bob Holsinger, a former utilities manager who lost the race against Allen in 2022. Holsinger was a county coordinator for the Election Integrity Project California, a non-profit which amplifies stolen election claims. He supported the county’s controversial decision to cut ties with Dominion Voting Systems over baseless conspiracies about the 2020 race. 

Much will depend on whether Supervisor Kevin Crye is recalled next month. Crye is part of a far-right majority that has clashed with Darling Allen over election procedures. If he's ousted, the board is likely to select a replacement from Darling Allen's office. If not, supervisors will be poised to choose an "anti-establishment" candidate like Holsinger.

You can read about some of the other options for replacing Darling Allen here

One thing is certain. Whoever succeeds Darling Allen, either temporarily or permanently, will have big shoes to fill. Over her illustrious career, she has signed off on 188,000 marriages and overseen forty elections. The March 5th primary will be her last.

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