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Juan Pablo Cervantes - Questionnaire 

Who was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election? (200 words)

Joe Biden is the rightful winner of the 2020 Presidential election.

While my focus is on conducting fair and accurate elections in Humboldt, your registrar of voters must be aware of the efforts to undermine democratic processes across the country.

Despite a lack of evidence to show elections tampering, many believe that the 2020 election was marred by fraud and misconduct by elections officials. The effort to promote this misinformation is commonly referred to as the "Big Lie."

While the "Big Lie" has not plagued our elections process in Humboldt County, the indication is that partisan politics will continue to use voter fraud, even in the absence of evidence, to attack local elections.

Voters are justified in wanting an election free of fraud, which is above reproach by misinformation. Unfortunately, misinformation, by definition, is not based on evidence.

Even when all evidence supports an accurate election count, those who propagate false allegations will damage voter confidence. While I cannot silence misinformation, I can combat it by expanding how we broadcast transparency in Humboldt County. I will expand on our use of those mediums that residents use to communicate and explore new means of making our reporting on elections more accessible.

Nationally, which do you believe is a larger problem: election fraud or voter suppression? (200 words)

Voter suppression is, unquestionably, a larger national issue than election fraud.

While election fraud is extremely rare (and generally something we can detect), the efforts to restrict voter access are at levels unprecedented since passage of the Voting Rights Act and the 24th Amendment prohibition on poll taxes.

Even as our nation's top investigative and cyber agencies find that evidence does not support the major allegations of 2020 voter fraud, the, "Big Lie" proponents overstate the public's concern for election fraud as a justification for embracing voter suppression policies.

Examples of proposed laws, include:

Laws restricting the mail vote by limiting the availability of drop boxes, shortening the period for mailing in ballots, and making it more burdensome to receive a mail ballot.

Anti-solicitation laws prohibiting elections officials from encouraging voter registration.

Additionally, election sabotage laws are being proposed to threaten the fair administration of elections. These laws enable partisan officials to take control of the election administration process, from vote counting to illegitimate investigations into fraud allegations.

Humboldt voters are fortunate that California law requires the democratic election of our Clerk and registrar of voters every four years. The people are the check on partisan officials who would undermine democracy.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the recorder's office currently and what are your plans for addressing them? (200 words)

Customer service.

From my conversations with realtors to researchers, the main concern I hear about is customer service — internal and external. It's an issue that many government organizations face.

When people think of bureaucracy, they think of long lines, unresponsive staff, and the expectation that they must know the right question to ask to get what they need. I plan to address the issue by empowering our employees with training and policies that consider user experiences. And we'll find efficiencies by revamping our websites and bolstering our online services.

The DMV is a great case study on how informed public administration can radically change how people interact with their government. The DMV has harnessed technology to free up staff time so that their workers have the time to guide people through whatever bureaucratic needs brought them there. Now, a trip that used to eat up your entire morning can be made with time enough to get a sandwich on your lunch break.

Now, a brief questionnaire to help voters get to know you a bit better:

Age? 38

City of residence? Eureka, CA

Where did you grow up? Woodland, CA

How long have you lived in Humboldt County? A decade

Can you please provide a brief education history? 

Humboldt State University, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

CSU San Bernardino-Masters in Public Administration Graduate Candidate (online)

Panetta Institute for Public Policy

California Professional Elections Administration Credential

Completed Coursework:

Voting Equipment Acquisition, Operation, & Maintenance

Ballot Access, Design, and Preparation

Poll Workers: Recruiting, Maintaining, Training, and Managing

Federal Constitutional Law

Voter Registration and Alternative Voting Integrity of Elections

Requirements for Precincts and Polling Places

Managing the Elections Office

Can you please provide a brief work history? 

For 20-plus years, I served as a poll worker. As the President of Cal Poly Humboldt's Associated Student Association, I organized university-wide campaigns to register students to vote, coordinated lobbying trips to the capitol, advocated for legislation to improve transparency, and advocated alongside the student and faculty union to improve working conditions. I also dedicated my time analyzing legislation for the Northcoast Environmental Center.

After graduating, I partnered with Access Humboldt to provide training to district boards to increase public access to their services, volunteered with Centro del Pueblo to improve the accessibility of their website, and have lent my support to several other community organizations.

My work at the County started at DHHS, where I had the privilege to work with our community's most vulnerable populations through connecting them to resources so their basic needs could be met. Many of those marginalized communities are also left out of our democratic processes. Transitioning from DHHS to the Elections Office has allowed me to combine my passion for democracy and equity for all Humboldt County communities into one.

This passion is matched by expertise. Since joining the Elections Office, I've played a key role in expanding voter security and combating election misinformation. I completed a major overhaul of the Elections Office voter information and candidate guides to make the process more accessible and transparent. I served as a Union Steward for AFSCME, and now sit on the California Secretary of State's Language Accessibility Advisory Committee. I have developed and delivered training to our poll workers, and now oversee the Elections office as Elections Manager.

What is your current occupation? 

Deputy Registrar/Elections Manager for the Humboldt County Office of Elections

What do you consider the three most important endorsements you have received to date in your campaign?

The Humboldt Del Norte Central Labor Council

Bonnie Neely Former Humboldt County Supervisor

Garry Eagles Former Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools

Now, a few questions to give voters a taste of your personality:

What is your favorite movie? 

Rocky

What is your favorite book? 

The Enchiridion by Epictetus 

What magazine do you read most regularly? 

The Atlantic.

If your campaign had a theme song, what would it be? 

"The Impossible Dream (Man de la Mancha)" or "My Shot" (Hamilton)

Who is your favorite fictional government employee? 

President Jed Bartlet (The West Wing) 

Who is your favorite real-life government employee? 

My fiancée Aisha! Dr. Shirley Weber runs a close second, though.

Dogs or cats? No Party Preference!

What is your favorite hobby? Reading/Cooking

What would your superpower be and how would you use it? Clone myself: more door knocking, more visiting my family, cooking, weight-lifting ...

If you could sum up your candidacy in a single haiku, what would it be?
Sole candidate with
Bona fide experience
Running elections.

 

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