The Wild Truth About SLO County’s Election Skeptic Supervisor Debbie Arnold

Aaron Ochs
5 min readJul 21, 2022
SLO County District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold (Photo by Caroline Sylva of Mustang News)

SLO County continues its rapid descent down the election rabbit hole.

Shortly after revealing her nearly decade-old story of verbal assault by two county supervisors and currently and contemporaneously failing to corroborate her account — District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold decided to inject herself in the news cycle once more as an election denier.

At the July 19 SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting, Arnold cast a protest vote against approving this year’s primary results, ambiguously citing problematic “changes to our election process,” which “created so many vulnerabilities that the public is losing confidence.” She mentioned vote-by-mail ballots, drop boxes and ballot tabulations as examples of these “changes” that made the election “less secure.” Arnold doesn’t explain how these particular components of our local election suddenly and inexplicably made the results more suspect.

Though Supervisor Arnold was the lone vote against approving the election results, this is the first time we’ve seen baseless conspiracy theories about our local election influencing a county supervisor’s vote. That’s a red flag.

New Times’ Peter Johnson was the first to report on Arnold’s vote and how that parlayed into her own political party’s efforts to cast doubt about our local election integrity.

Paso Robles resident Darcia Stebbens is moving forward with the District 4 vote recount, which will cost an upwards of $100,000, according to Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano. As several people have pointed out to me since my previous column was published, a recount is a perfectly legal request to make after an election takes place. Nothing wrong with that in particular. The problem are the conspiracy theories that lays the foundation for the recount.

Joining Stebbens is Richard Patten, author of the SLO County’s controversial new redistricting map, and Laura Mordaunt, Executive/Strategic/Technical Director of the SLO County Republican Party. Together they formed a political action committee SLO County Citizens Action Team (SLOCCAT). And SLOCCAT’s purpose is to question our election. According to the SLO County GOP, who is distributing flyers promoting SLOCCAT, the group aims to purge voter…

Aaron Ochs

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