California supervisor who tried to get rid of Shasta County vote-counting machines survives recall

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A local official in a rural Northern California survived a recall attempt spurred in part by his effort to get rid of the county's vote-counting machines following unfounded accusations of fraud amplified by former President Donald Trump.

Kevin Crye was elected to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors in 2022. He and two other supervisors then voted to get rid of the county's vote-counting machines, directing local officials to hand count ballots. The machines were made by Dominion Voting Systems, the company at the center of debunked conspiracy theories of how Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.

The decision divided the community and prompted a group of residents to file a recall petition to remove Crye from office a little over one year into his four-year term. That effort failed by just 50 votes out of more than 9,300 ballots cast, according to official results that were certified on Thursday by the Shasta County Registrar of Voters more than three weeks after Election Day. Crye won his seat in 2022 by just 90 votes.

Shasta County eventually replaced its vote-counting machines after Democrats in the state Legislature passed a law last year that banned hand-counting election ballots except in narrow races.

But local election officials ended up hand counting a majority of the ballots in the recall. Assistant Registrar of Voters Joanna Francescut said they did that because the race was so close and they wanted to increase the community's confidence in the accuracy of the results. She said the hand count resulted in only one discrepancy, where the machine did not count a ballot that had not been completely filled in. Elections officials ended up counting that ballot, which did not change the outcome of the race.

Now that the results have been certified, Francescut said voters have five days to request a recount in any election. Voters who do request a recount would have to pay for it.

The committee behind the effort to recall Crye has not decided if it will request a recount, according to spokesperson Dana Silberstein.

While Crye will stay in office, one of his allies on the board will not. Patrick Jones, a supervisor who also voted to get rid of the vote-counting machines and was running for reelection, was defeated by business owner Matt Plummer.