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Hollister
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June 28, 2022

Board is being vindictive toward the elections office

I believe that the public is entitled to know why the San Benito
County Board of Supervisors is attempting to strip me of my
authority as County Registrar of Voters that is, by long tradition,
part of the duties of the county clerk.
Dear Editor:

I believe that the public is entitled to know why the San Benito County Board of Supervisors is attempting to strip me of my authority as County Registrar of Voters that is, by long tradition, part of the duties of the county clerk.

It is nothing less than vindictiveness that arose from my decision to decline the members’ suggestions about the March 5 primary election.

Most of the Board’s members participated in the Committee For Measure G. The Committee For Measure G asked me to change the name of the measure shortly before the ballots were printed. I declined, reasoning that a change in an already complex issue would further confuse the voters.

When the results indicated that candidate Jaime De La Cruz had defeated Supervisor Bob Cruz by 10 votes, board members told me to void 10 of the challenger’s votes. I refused because I did not find anything wrong with the votes they wanted voided.

Dissatisfied with my stand, board members told me to withhold certification of the election or, failing that, to attach an addendum stating that there were irregularities in the election. Because my staff and I could not find any proven irregularities, I declined.

Soon after, representatives of state government inspected my office. They determined that there were areas in which our department could better serve the voters. One is the addition of a bilingual worker in the Election Department to help ascertain that voters whose primary language is Spanish are given full opportunity and encouragement to exercise their rights in voting.

I have been in public life for many years and I readily accept any suggestions that will give our residents full participation in their rights. Some suggestions have resulted in a better way of doing things.

However, neither for the general public nor for myself, will I accept questionable directions from any entity whose sole purpose seems to be to accrue more power for itself at the cost of stripping it from officials that the public has elected to represent them.

Three of the present board members are on their way out, one by choice and the others through defeat at the polls. I am sorry to see that they are trying to undermine my office and others as they leave and feel that the public should know about it.

John R. Hodges, San Benito County Clerk/Auditor/Recorder, Hollister

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