SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – The three candidates for San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder on the June 7 Primary Election ballot have been using the same three keywords in their campaigns.
Trust, transparency, and integrity in the county elections process.
Incumbent Elaina Cano was appointed Clerk-Recorder by the SLO County Board of Supervisors last year after former Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong resigned before the end of his term.
"I want to prove to everybody how transparent and safe and secure our elections are already", Cano said in a recent interview with News Channel.
San Luis Obispo Attorney Stew Jenkins specializes in election law and has closely observed SLO County elections for decades.
"I realize that we are so divided here," Jenkins said. "A lot of people thinking the last couple of elections were stolen, and a lot of people worried about voter suppression from the other side, that somebody with my experience was needed to step forward to try to bring everybody into the process so that we can restore elections that everybody can trust."
U.S. Army consultant and military combat veteran and commander James Baugh of Paso Robles wants to bring transparency and accountability to the County Clerk-Recorder's office.
"When it comes to election integrity, I believe it's just being open and honest and being candid," Baugh said. "If you made mistakes, say you made a mistake. We're a very forgiving nation, as long as you have a plan to fix it, people forgive you and you move on. But the answer is not not giving an answer, and that's what we're getting right now."
The candidate with a simple majority of the vote, which is 50% plus one, in next month's election will be declared the winner, otherwise, the top two vote-getters will go to a runoff election in November.
"I've had 34 years of leadership experience and that's what we need now," Baugh added. "We need a leader that can lead this county in the Clerk-Recorder's Office to do the things that need to be done in order to bring the public's trust back."
"I think I'm one of the few people who is positioned to be able to bring both sides in," Jenkins said. "Talk to both sides, listen to both sides and make sure the elections are run securely and with integrity and in a way that everybody can see that."
"As far as trust goes, trust comes with vision," Cano said. "I think people need to take the initiative to come and see what the process is about, and see how transparent it is already and see there are lots of observers that come through our office to watch and I think that's what will rebuild the trust. I think people have to see it for themselves."
Vote by mail has already begun in San Luis Obispo County.
For the full interview with candidate Elaina Cano, play the YouTube video below.
For the full interview with candidate Stew Jenkins, play the YouTube video below.
For the full interview with candidate James Baugh, play the YouTube video below.