San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder

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The wife of San Luis Obispo County’s top election official has admitted to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a high school fundraising club. A criminal complaint filed by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office alleges Sherry Gong stole more than $32,000 from an Atascadero booster organization.

Courtesy of the Hind Foundation

A north San Luis Obispo County government office may close or possibly reduce services. The county’s clerk-recorder says time constraints and looming budget cuts are prompting reconsideration about operations at its small Atascadero office. But for north county residents who frequent the office, this may mean more expense and longer drives to San Luis Obispo to file documents.

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San Luis Obispo County officials chose this week not to switch to a new voting system for the 2020 election, created by the state legislature aiming to modernize voting in California. The county’s election official presented options, and community members shared their support, but the price tag may have swayed supervisors from changing, for now.

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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was in San Luis Obispo this week to crown Cal Poly the winner of the inaugural California University and College Ballot Bowl. That's a new competition from the Secretary of State's office and various nonprofits aiming to encourage voting among California's students. Of the schools that competed, Cal Poly students and administrators registered the largest number of students to vote in the 2018 election: 3,178.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Two weeks after the general election, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong says his office is still counting vote-by-mail ballots. He expects to release more numbers later this week, and next. But one thing has halted: those election mailers stuffing mailboxes since summer. How much do campaigns spend on mailers? How many mailers were there? And where do they end up when the election is over?

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Regardless of which candidates and ballot measures voters choose this November, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said this year’s general election is remarkable. San Luis Obispo County has seen a surge in the number of registered voters.

“We shattered our voter count record,” Gong said. “And we sent out 130,000 vote-by-mail ballots—10,000 more vote-by-mail ballots than 2016’s presidential election.”

In terms of voter registration, Gong said, it feels a bit more like a presidential election year than a midterm cycle.