Shasta County’s Elections Commission is a Complete Dumpster Fire

A second member of the Shasta County Elections Commission resigned on Monday, leaving the body without the quorum needed to move forward with its regularly scheduled meeting. Meanwhile, a third member is due to step down any day now, raising questions about whether the embattled commission can even continue.

The first member to resign was Dawn Duckett, an appointee of District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman. She stepped down last month. Both Duckett and Garman expressed frustration with the commission’s pursuit of fraudulent election claims, despite a lack of evidence. 

“We the public are growing tired of the false narrative that our election department is either corrupt or inept. It’s just not true,” Duckett said.

Garman referred to the commission as a “sham” and tried unsuccessfully to have it disbanded. He has refused to appoint another member to fill Duckett's seat. 

Former member Susanne Baremore, who has expressed similar frustrations, resigned just two hours before Monday’s meeting. She told the Shasta Scout that she stepped down in part because of the involvement of commissioner Bev Gray.

Gray was appointed to the body by Patrick Jones. She has been criticized for participating in a controversial radio ad supporting Laura Hobbs’ lawsuit against the county. The failed supervisor candidate has alleged voting irregularities and potential wrongdoing in the March 2024 election and is seeking a recount after losing narrowly to Allen Long.

Gray herself is resigning from the commission soon, which will mark the third departure. As far as institutionalists are concerned, her replacement may be even worse. Jim Jones has selected Laura Hobbs’ spokesperson Patty Plum to fill the seat. 

Election denialism is an issue that has deeply divided Shasta County, pitting Democrats and moderate Republicans against self-described MAGA supporters like Hobbs and Supervisor Kevin Crye. Crye only narrowly survived a March recall attempt launched in response to the failed hand-counting fiasco. The recall was defeated by just 50 votes. Oddly enough, neither Crye nor his allies are raising questions about that result.