Recount was for the 2022 District 2 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors election

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — After a judge ruled that San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano overcharged a woman who requested a ballot recount for the 2022 District 2 San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Board of Supervisors election, the county submitted a new motion to reconsider the ruling.

In 2022, Darcia Stebbens requested the ballot recount, which named Bruce Gibson the District 2 SLO County Supervisor. Stebbens volunteered as the front

person for the initiative backed by a community group named the SLO County Citizens Action Team (SLOCCAT). The group comprises local citizen volunteers concerned with the integrity of the voting system in California at all levels.


Stebbens told Paso Robles Press/Atascadero News, “I do not believe that election should have been certified,” based on documentation received during the recount process.

In January 2024, Judge Rita Federman ruled that Cano did not adequately prove that $5,088 of overtime hours was worked by salary employees during the recount. Originally, Stebbens was charged $53,000 by the county to pay for the recount. Therefore, the residing judge ruled that Stebbens was overcharged over $5,000. 

However, the county has since submitted a motion to the SLO County Superior Court asking for the judge to reconsider the ruling. Their reasoning states that county code permits salaried employees to work beyond the standard eight-hour workday, and they should be duly compensated for any labor they perform during the recount.

Stebbens had until March 6 to file her response to the motion, which she tells Paso Robles Press/Atascadero News that she did.

She also reiterates to us that while this court case is centered around money, it highlights a bigger conversation that she and others felt the recount process was not transparent enough for the public. She notes that during the recount in June, she and members of SLOCCAT were not given access to observe some of the counting procedures.

As far as the bill is concerned, Stebbens says she would want to see the judge remove all hours worked by salaried employees since they would have been paid to work by the county whether or not they worked on the recount.

According to California Code of Regulations 20815, “At least one day prior to the commencement of the recount, the elections official shall determine the estimated cost for the first day of the recount and shall advise the requestor in writing of the advance deposit required. The requestor shall, before the recount is commenced, deposit this amount with the elections official. The same procedure shall be followed for each subsequent day of the recount. Daily estimates may vary based upon experience or additional requests made during the course of the recount.”

It continues to say that “All actual costs of the recount that would not have been incurred but for the requestor’s particular recount request shall be directly recoverable from the requestor and may include, but are not limited to, additional supervision hours, security guard hours, the elections official’s staff hours, space rental, transportation of ballots and materials and administrative costs.” 

The code adds that a receipt of payment for each daily deposit will be provided and contain a daily log of “estimated costs, deposits, actual expenses and amount of refund due, if any.”

In her original decision, Federman specifically did not agree with the 50 hours worked by three employees outside of the regular eight-hour work day and on the weekend and that it was not proven to be considered part of the actual costs for the recount.

Federman then ordered the county to remove those hours from the bill and that Stebbens would not have to pay the remaining $4,448.

The judge was expected to make her decision on the new motion from the county after March 15. She will either choose to schedule another hearing for the parties to present arguments or make a decision on her own with the submitted briefs. As of now, no decision or new ruling have been made.

Featured Image:

The 2022 District 2 SLO County Supervisor candidates Bruce Gibson (left) and Bruce Jones (right) of which the community called for a recount of. Contributed Photo.