From: Tommy Gong <>
Date: March 25, 2021 at 5:02:18 PM PDT
To: Randall Jordan, Cheryl Burbach, Paul Bareis 
Cc: Helen Nolan <>, Melissa Lile <>
Subject: Re: [EXT]Fwd: Palomar Homes

Note: The response below is the same as the attachment. Sincerely, Tommy

March 25, 2021

Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County
7357 El Camino Real
Atascadero, CA 93422
Attn: Randall Jordan, Cheryl Burbach, Paul Bareis

Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Burbach, and Mr. Bareis,

Thank you for attending our Zoom meeting on March 4.  During this meeting you expressed your desire for an audit of hard drive data and logs from the voting machines used during the November 3, 2020 election.  I must decline your request to conduct an audit. The California Secretary of State performs extensive certification testing on the counties’ elections technology, including those provided by Dominion prior to its use within California. As a result, the state has developed one of the most strenuous voting systems testing and certification programs in the country. (See e.g., Cal. Elec. Code § 19100 et seq.) New voting systems applying for certification must undergo months of extensive testing which includes;

Examination and testing of system software;

Software source code review and evaluation;

Hardware and software security penetration testing;

Hardware testing under conditions simulating the intended storage, operation, transportation, and maintenance environments;

Inspection and evaluation of system documentation; and

Operational testing to validate system performance and functioning under normal and abnormal conditions.

California law requires all county registrars to complete their own election audit prior to certifying the election results. (Cal. Elec. Code §§ 15360,15365-15367.) These audits can either take the form of a public manual tally of a randomly selected sample of at least one percent of the ballots tabulated using a voting system or a risk-limiting audit involving human inspection of ballots to ensure a full manual tally of the ballots would not show different outcomes than the voting system results. Representatives of all concerned parties observe the manual count. In San Luis Obispo County, our state mandated 1% manual tally was conducted during the November election as a part of the official canvass of election results, which confirmed that our counting machines accurately tabulated all votes cast. I am also advised by counsel that there is no legal authority providing for an audit of county election systems, other than the audits noted above.

Finally, strict chain of custody and procedures are required by the Secretary of State for use of the system. As a matter of policy and best practice from a security standpoint, we limit physical access to the tabulation systems to only selected Clerk-Recorder staff at all times.

In addition to the foregoing, any such audit is contractually prohibited. In this regard, our contract with the vendor, Dominion Voting Systems (DVS), states that the County shall not, without the prior written permission of DVS, transfer a copy of Dominion software onto any other storage device or hardware or otherwise copy the software in whole or in part except for purposes of system backup.  I can provide a copy of the contract that the Board of Supervisors approved on January 23, 2018, which is 48 mb in size, but I do not want to clog up your email.

While I would welcome an additional opportunity to demonstrate to voters that our voting system is counting ballots accurately by conducting a risk limiting audit or other additional manual tallying of randomly selected ballots tabulated for the November 3, 2020 election, this is not authorized by law. According to Election Code sections 17301 and 17302, the ballots and identification materials shall be kept by the elections official, unopened and unaltered for 22-months (federal elections) or 6-months (state and local elections) from the date of the election.

In response to the specific issues you presented in the attachment you sent me, please see my responses attached to this letter.

As you are aware, my office is in the middle of performing the signature checking on the Governor recall petition as well as two initiative petitions requiring full counts.  This requires my staff to verify approximately 32,000 signatures.  If there are sufficient signatures statewide, we will have a Special Recall Election in late November-early December, at around the same time that redistricting is being completed and voting precincts will need to be adjusted to the new boundaries. Despite the workload our Elections Division of my office is under, I, like you, desire to increase public confidence in elections, and therefore it is my goal over the next several months to take the following measures to address the public confidence issues:
1.      Make a presentation to the County Board of Supervisors about the Voter’s Choice Act (Vote Center Elections) and Voting Systems.

2.      Form a focus group to examine the vote center election we conducted last November and compare it to a typical polling place election.  I have been planning to form this since the completion of last November’s election.  This will also be an opportunity to get a pulse on overall perceptions of public confidence in elections in our county and develop a plan to boost confidence.  I hope you and some members from the Republican Party will serve on this committee.  An email will be coming out on this soon.

Finally, you were going to provide me copies of the information that was provided to you regarding allegations that there were 31 instances of “dual ballots, moved ballots, deceased ballots and even Primary ballots being sent out.” As of this date, you have not provided me with this information. Please do so as soon as possible, so that I may review each instance to determine what transpired.


Tommy Gong
County Clerk-Recorder


1) Chinese Communist Party Financial Control of Dominion Voting Machines 

This claim has been debunked by reputable news organizations. Please see the first link below to an article addressing this issue and a second one addressing more generalized fraud claims regarding Dominion. In addition, since Dominion has now filed litigation against former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani regarding similar fraud claims, the merits of this claim will likely be sorted out through the judicial process.

Furthermore, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an Intelligence Community Assessment on foreign threats to the 2020 US elections, finding “no indications that any foreign actor attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 US elections.”  (See Unclassified Report of National Intelligence Council – 2020 Threats to the U.S. Federal Elections, dated March 10, 2021, p. [i] [Key Judgment 1] and p. [1] [Election Interference].)  In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security also released a report concluding there is “no evidence” that foreign governments or other actors interfered with the elections, and that claims of foreign governments manipulating or owning election infrastructure used in the 2020 elections are “not credible.” (See “Joint Statement from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Assessing the Impact of Foreign Interference During the 2020 U.S. Elections” dated March 16, 2021.)

In sum, to the extent the claim stated above inferring interference by the Chinese government based on alleged control of Dominion Voting Systems is presented as a basis for the audit, without credible proof that this is the case, it is unlikely the Secretary of State or any other registrar of voters could legitimately rely on this claim as the basis for an audit of the 2020 Election.

2) Changes wanted for 2021 Special Election and ongoing elections 
      A.  Encourage in person voting for special election unless (physical) hardship.  

If a recall election is conducted, Senate Bill 29 has been approved and signed by the Governor as urgency legislation that extends the provisions requiring counties to mail a ballot to every registered voter through the end of 2021.  Assembly Bill 37 is also pending in the state legislature requiring this for all future elections.  Based on the foregoing, this issue will not be within the control of local election officials; rather, it appears that voters will continue to have a choice if they desire to vote by mail or in person.

B. Back to local precinct voting. 
This issue is addressed on page 2 of my letter in the second item noted as proposed actions I intend to take to address public confidence in elections in San Luis Obispo County.

C.  Paper ballots with hand counting of all ballots.

San Luis Obispo County’s voting system is paper-based.  Based on metrics from our 1% manual tally during the canvass, we estimate that it takes at least a full day for four workers to manually tally all contests on 200 ballots.  We counted 162,615 ballots.  Therefore, it would take at least 26,018 staff hours to completely count that many ballots.  At a minimum wage rate of $14 per hour, the temporary election worker cost alone would be $364,252 and is therefore cost-prohibitive. In addition, the Clerk’s Office does not physically have space to operate more than three manual tally teams at one time, rendering it impossible to hand count this volume of ballots in time to certify election results without relocating our office to a much larger space and adding more permanent staff to manage the increased temporary staff.  It is our expert opinion based on decades of experience, that manually counting all ballots will result in higher costs and increased errors when compared to machine counting.

D. Bipartisan vote tabulation by part-time and volunteer workers. 
Our temporary help staff in the office as well as poll workers and volunteers affiliated with various parties, include Republicans and Democrats as well as “No Party Preference,” and other political parties that are qualified in the state.  The primary directive for all staff is to maintain an apolitical and non-partisan position when involved with the duties of conducting the election.  As a more formalized implementation, I suggest this be a topic for the upcoming focus group to discuss.

E. Purge San Luis Obispo County voter rolls. 

We perform all voter maintenance activities required by state and federal law, including processing updates from Department of Motor Vehicles, United States Post Office, death records from state and local Public Health officials and other agencies.