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Elections office addresses Q&A ad

Natalie Adona’s name appeared prominently in an April 30 ad that appeared in The Union newspaper, a placement some detractors have claimed makes it appear like a campaign advertisement.

The ad features a Q&A on the upcoming June 7 primary election, Adona said, similar to a style used in previous informational campaigns backed by the elections office.

Adona is running for the clerk-recorder/registrar of voters position, along with Paul Gilbert and Jason Tedder. Current Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Greg Diaz isn’t running for reelection.

The ad, paid for by the elections office, cost $356.40.

“It wasn’t intended to be an ad for my campaign, but rather information important to voters that we provide in all elections,” Adona said.

Similar ads appeared in the newspaper in advance of the November 2020 election. That ad had Diaz’s name at the top. An ad for the September 2021 gubernatorial recall election had Adona’s name.

Adona said she shares the office’s communication responsibilities with Diaz.

“One of our temps designed it,” Adona said, adding that the idea was based off previous informational boxes the office provided for the November 2020 and September 2021 elections.

“Greg did the Q&A for the general election; I did the Q&A for the recall,” Adona said. “When it was brought to our attention that this Q&A could be misconstrued, we agreed that it’s a good point and so the remaining Q&As for the newspaper will be from Greg.”

According to California Fair Political Practices Commission, an advertisement refers to communication made with the intent of supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot measure.

A “disclosure” refers to the portion of a political message that identifies the person or entity who paid for or authorized the communication.

Brittney Barsotti, general counsel for the California News Publishers Association, said in an email that the April 30 ad reads more like a public service announcement than an advertisement.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

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