Inside The Ridiculous Attempts to Undermine SLO County Elections

Aaron Ochs
6 min readJul 15, 2022
SLO County’s June 7, 2022 primary election ballot and guide. Photo by Benjamin Purper of KCBX

Elections keep getting crazier and crazier in SLO County.

This week, we learned that Paso Robles resident Darcia Stebbens is requesting the recount of District 4 votes allegedly “on behalf of Lynn Compton not necessarily at the request of.” Earlier this month, the 2022 SLO County primary election results and District 4 supervisor candidate Jimmy Paulding beat incumbent Compton by 639 votes.

Let’s be clear. Recounts are often requested by candidates after elections take place, especially in tight races. Not uncommon. But what is uncommon is when a losing candidate — that the recount would supposedly benefit — has nothing to do with the recount and has already conceded. Compton told the New Times that she doesn’t know Stebbens, was not consulted or involved in her request, and is not personally contesting the election.

Why is Stebbens requesting a recount when her preferred candidate already accepted the results? “Election integrity.”

At the May 12 SLO County Board of Supervisors meetings, Stebbens delivered public comment and ambiguously touched on issues about the elections. There was no data. Only rhetoric.

“We have local governance that is in question,” Stebbens said.

What specifically is being questioned? Who is questioning it?

“We have been asking for relevant documents, relevant materials,” she said. “We’re not calling into question some of the staff, we’re calling into question the process, and, in fact, some of the results.”

Stebbens’ comments echo ones made by fellow election skeptic Richard Patten, who was responsible for crafting a controversial redistricting map that disenfranchises thousands of county voters and is currently in litigation. The conservative board majority approved his map, which was pushed heavily by the SLO County Republican Party. That same Richard Patten told the BOS at the July 12 meeting, “We do not have fairness and transparency in our elections.”

The lack of self-awareness from both of these so-called “election integrity” activists is rather stunning, given both of them personally watched county staffers meticulously counting the ballots. And according to county officials…

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Aaron Ochs

Author, artist, advocate and entrepreneur from Morro Bay, California.